Dis­tillery gives green boost to ex­plor­ers’ trek to South Pole

The Scotsman - - Features - By KATRINE BUSSEY

0 Robert Swan and son Bar­ney are pre­par­ing for their South Pole ex­pe­di­tion A new whisky dis­tillery is help­ing a fa­ther and son with their bid to be­come the first peo­ple to trek to the South Pole only us­ing re­new­able en­ergy.

Ex­plorer Robert Swan, 61, was the first man to walk un­aided to both the north and south poles in the 1980s, and for his fi­nal ma­jor ex­pe­di­tion he is team­ing up with son Bar­ney, 23, for the zero car­bon South Pole En­ergy Chal­lenge.

The ex­plor­ers are pre­par­ing to set off from their base on Union Glacier in Antarc­tica and the hi-tech equip­ment they will be car­ry­ing in­cludes so­lar snow melters which have been de­signed and built in Scot­land at the Ard­gowan Dis­tillery.

Bosses at the dis­tillery in In­verkip, 30 miles west of Glas­gow, have also given them two small hip flasks of 20-yearold sin­gle malt – one of which the pair will use for a spe­cial Hog­manay toast.

The other hip flask will ac­com­pany the ex­plor­ers all the way to the South Pole be­fore be­ing brought back to Scot­land, where Ard­gowan will use it as a key part of a spe­cial com­mem­o­ra­tive bot­tling.

Mr Swan Snr said they were tak­ing on the 600-mile trek to prove re­new­able tech­nol­ogy could work suc­cess­fully even in the harsh­est of cli­mates.

He said: “By putting th­ese clean en­er­gies to the test in Antarc­tica, the Earth’s harsh­est wilder­ness, Bar­ney and I want to prove that they can be de­vel­oped for use any­where and, there­fore, play a cru­cial part in help­ing the planet tran­si­tion to a low car­bon fu­ture.”

Ard­gowan Dis­tillery chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Mcadam told how they had be­come in­volved in the project be­cause of their “strong back­ground in low car­bon in­no­va­tion”.

He added: “Robert came to us with a clear chal­lenge – to de­sign and build an ef­fec­tive so­lar snow melter which would be re­li­able enough to sur­vive the rigours of an eight-week ex­pe­di­tion.

“Get­ting enough fresh wa­ter to drink is a con­stant chal­lenge in the Antarc­tic and usu­ally this is done by melt­ing snow and ice with kerosene, which of course burns a lot of car­bon.

“Our team de­signed a very sim­ple and ro­bust melter com­pris­ing a matt black stain­less-steel flask en­cased in su­per-strong clear Lexan plas­tic, with in­ert ar­gon gas as an in­su­lat­ing layer in be­tween.

“They’re de­signed to be strapped on top of Bar­ney and Robert’s sledges so they can cap­ture the max­i­mum heat of the sun as they trek along.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.