Do Rangers currently have any “workarounds” or solutions regarding a mobile power supply?
Small diesel generators are the main mobile power supply currently relied upon, in addition to some individual energy solutions (battery-powered lamps etc) but those solutions are customised to each device and do not provide a full power supply that can be used for a variety of outputs like a generator can. Some disadvantages of diesel generators is that they are fairly costly to run and rely on a limited stock of fuel, whereas solar doesn’t have these same challenges of fuel reliance and can be used stand-alone for months and years at a time.
Are they required to return to a community where power is accessible more often because there is no mobile energy source?
Not necessarily – they might choose to stay overnight at a site where there is an accessible power supply and other infrastructure for the night like an existing water supply, but if rangers are doing work on a site ‘out bush’ which doesn’t have that infrastructure accessible in the nearby area they will stay where they are working. However, your task is to design a mobile power supply regardless so that it can be used wherever they are, especially for remote areas without this infrastructure.
Is there a mobile power supply that is currently in use but is impacted heavily by road vibrations and harsh weather?
There are none currently in use on Cape York that we know of. It would be great if your research could investigate this, and influence your design. There are remote solar units that exist in Australia like these but they have not been tested or adapted for use in these conditions – like you say, to withstand long durations of significant road vibrations, significant off-road use, harsh weather, and more regular moving of sites (unlike that article which was for stationary, longer-term use). The vibrations are of particular concern for the robustness of the design.
Hope this helps! Best of luck with your project, and feel free to ask us to clarify anything here.
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