With extensive experience in the deployment of telemetry equipment to remote locations Meteor have developed a range of Independent Power solutions for use in remote areas. If you have equipment in a remote location which needs power, we have the expertise and technology for your application.
Meteor have supplied many systems to customers across the UK (onshore and marine) using a range of Primary Battery, Solar Rechargeable and Fuel Cell power. We work with you to ensure that the optimum system is provided, balancing power requirements, duration of deployment and location sensitivities.
We can build systems for loads of all sizes from less than a watt through to kilowatts to withstand the most severe conditions. Some examples of the type of systems we can provide can be found below:
For fixed and portable applications requiring up to 10W in locations where solar panels are not practical for reasons of portability, visual impact or vandalism, a primary (non-rechargeable) battery power supply may be the best solution. Modern primary battery systems can be relatively small and light in weight while having capacities of many thousands of ampere-hours and can be used to power low current loads for several years before needing to be replaced. They also have advantages over lead-acid rechargeable batteries of being much lighter in weight, much less toxic and able to tolerate low temperatures down to –40 Celsius.
For applications requiring up to a few tens of watts, a solar array may be the most cost effective, environmentally sustainable, maintenance-free solution. Even in the north of the UK and Europe, cost-effective systems can be designed to power loads reliably throughout the year.
The pictured example was supplied to the Environment Agency was a mobile water quality monitor with a solar power system designed to operate a pump running with a 20% duty cycle as well as the sensors and telemetry anywhere in the UK at any time of the year. The system can be towed to a new site and be operational within 30 minutes and consists of three solar panels and a large rechargeable battery bank which has sufficient spare capacity to provide sufficient power to run the station all year round, even when conditions at a location are less than ideal.
For static applications where the solar panel and battery systems can be designed specifically for a particular location, it is usually possible to use a smaller numbers of panels and batteries. Moreover, for applications related to drought monitoring or fish migration, where operation during the winter months is not necessary, much smaller solar systems can be designed.
Fuel cells can represent a reliable and cost effective source of power for remote applications requiring a few tens of watts, without the visual impact and security vulnerability of a solar array. They are nearly silent in operation and produce only a small amount of water and heat, with no risk of site contamination. Also, they are compact and can therefore be fitted in relatively insignificant, vandal resistant enclosures.
The pictured example was a system to monitor and report fish movements in a fish pass. This required twenty watts of continuous power and was sited in a public area so that minimum visual impact and maximum security were important. A robust steel enclosure was supplied for this project, partitioned to provide a bund in the unlikely event of fuel spillage, a fuel cell, rechargeable maintenance-free batteries and the recording and telemetry equipment. In this case, the fuel cell was sized for a duty cycle of 30% to maximise its operational life and a battery reserve of five days was provided to allow for refuelling.
A range of fuel cells are available for different sizes and types of load and Meteor can advise on the correct system for each application, with appropriate environmental housings and battery reserves. The methanol liquid fuel is supplied in single-use cartridge form with health and safety certification approved for use by the Environment Agency.
As with solar systems, operation of fuel cells during the winter months has additional challenges. In this case, it is necessary to design the fuel cell installation so that it cannot freeze. A properly designed system will only use a little more fuel during the coldest months and the overall annual running cost of the system will not be increased by more than a few percent.