Posted: 16 September 2022
We are proud to have worked with the British Antarctic
Survey (BAS) and have supplied two, K4 recirculating chillers for the
laboratory aboard the polar Royal Research Ship (RRS) Sir David Attenborough (SDA). The 15,000-tonne floating science lab which
represents the largest commercial ship built in Britain in 30 years.
The ship was launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
in September 2019 at the Cammell Laird Shipyard in an event involving local
school children. And was part of a three-day
public celebration which aimed to inspire and inform people about polar
science, engineering and technology – and why it matters to everyday life.
Replacing previous vessels, the RRS Ernest
Shackleton and RRS James Clark Ross the ship will study ice sheets, ocean
currents and marine life as part of the Cambridge-based British Antarctic
Survey. The role of the Royal Research
Ship is to document the polar changes that are happening and to help scientists
work out how fast the melting will impinge on lower latitudes. The research will be carried out into understanding
rising sea levels and ice losses at the poles.
Sir David spoke of the “greatest possible honour” that had
been bestowed on him. The ships role he
said would be to address the environmental crisis. “This astonishing ship will find the science
with which to deal with the problems that are facing the world today and will
increasingly do so tomorrow.”
Specially designed and multi-functional facilities on-board include
specialist wet, dry and temperature controlled cold labs for biological
analysis and several specialist laboratories for trace metal chemistry,
atmospheric and sea water analysis along with water purification systems.
Specialist equipment is used to deal with at sea conditions,
standard ATC chillers were adapted for this environment and constructed from titanium
to cope with seawater. This required
cooperation between our engineers and the BAS project engineers. Working
closely together they developed the specification and ATC engineers integrated
the design into the specialist chillers to achieve the desired result.
The K4 chillers are used when transporting live samples
North from Antarctica. The animals live in seawater tanks that need to be
refreshed at regular intervals to maintain good conditions. The seawater in the
tropics is too warm for Antarctic creatures and needs to be cooled to an
appropriate temperature. In the past this new, warm seawater was stored in a
‘refer container’ until it was at the correct temperature. This is an
inefficient use of deck space as an extra container is needed just to chill
The two new chillers and insulated stillages enable sea
water to be chilled to the correct temperature without taking up valuable deck
space. The chillers will be located in the science hanger where they will be
used to pre-chill 1000l of sea water so that it can be used in the aquarium
facilities on board the RRS SDA.
Facilities on the ship include cranes
and a helipad, along with the ability to deploy the scientific submersible
known as Boaty McBoatface.
We are proud to have supplied the K4 chillers in partnership with SciQuip, a UK company supplying scientific and
laboratory equipment to research, clinical, academic and manufacturing
professionals. It has been a privilege
on a prestigious £200M project of significant British scientific achievement and
research into climate change.
Read more about the polar research ship.
Find out about the K4 chiller range