ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technology, Energy and the Environment) has started a research project in 1997 which has included the realization of PULSA, a transportable closed greenhouse facility for the production of fresh food plants to personnel spending the austral summer period at the station Terra Nova Bay "Mario Zucchelli" in Antarctica. TNB station (latitude 74°41'42"S; longitude 164°07'23"E) is situated on the coast of the Northern Foothills, SE of Gerlache Inlet. Since the Italian station can only be reached by ship or aeroplane three times a year, and only over the short summer period, the PULSA installation was completed in two different campaigns, in 1997 and in 1998, respectively. Construction of the plant facility was made by utilizing a couple of standard sized containers, each one of 2.43 m (L)×6.06 m (W)×2.59 m (H). The plant facility was manufactured as a closed greenhouse system of 15.00 m (L)×2.43 m (W)×2.59 m (H), provided with a total front transparent surface of about 9.48 (L)×1.32 (H) m. The two container modules were linked together with a smaller module placed in between to allow communication and service space. The plant facility has been provided with services, acclimatization systems and hydroponics. The paper reports a detailed description of the growing production unit (PULSA) and some results related to a lettuce growing cycle held in the winter 2001-2002, that showed a reasonable performance and indicated that the plant production unit can certainly contribute to supplement fresh food to personnel working in research stations in Antarctica.
|Publication status||Published - 30 Apr 2011|
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