Used for scientific research and closed during the harsh winter months, this area is largely undeveloped, particularly in terms of infrastructure. There are no supermarkets, no highways, nor even roads. Provisions are packed into a small aeroplane and flown in. Waste materials are flown out.
“We need to get all the non-burnable waste materials off site before the start of winter,” says Henrik Spanggård at Danmarks Miljoundersogelser. “We usually fly it out and then ship it back to Denmark. The price is measured according to volume and weight. It can get very expensive.”
An eco-friendly and cost-effective solution
To help solve this challenge, Bramidan agreed to custom-make a special drum press for the Zackenberg facility. Having designed something similar for a Norwegian research station in Antarctica ten years previously, they were well-equipped to do so. The project was completed and the drum press assembled at the site in the summer of 2010.
The drum press serves two functions. The first is to compress all non-combustible waste inside the oil drums, which are then flown to a supply ship and shipped back to Denmark. The second function is to compress any remaining unused oil drums themselves in order to remove them from the station. “Uncompressed oil barrels with their noxious gases pose a threat to the research facility and to the environment, whereas compressed oil barrels become metal waste and can even be sold for money,” explains Mr Spanggård. “In fact, the cost of the drum press can actually be financed in due course with the money received from compressed oil barrels,” he adds.
Customized solution from Bramidan
The space and weight limitations dictated by the small aeroplane used to transport goods to the Zackenberg facility meant that the drum press needed to be delivered in three pieces. “Material flown in is not permitted to weigh more than 400kg,” says Mr Spanggård.
The drum press was supplied disassembled from the factory and packed onto pallets, put on a supply ship and then flown in on the Twin Otter Series 300 plane used by the station. The reassembly of the machine during summer meant that waste was removed before winter and the environment preserved.
Zackenberg Research Station is an ecosystem research and monitoring facility in Northeast Greenland, 25 kilometres west of Daneborg. It is part of Danmarks Miljøundersøgelse (the Danish Environmental Research programme), owned by the Government of Greenland, with another branch facility in Daneborg in a former meteorological station.