• Review of Power Sources for Alaska DOT&PF Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS): Phase I

      Wies, Richard (2014-08)
      This report documents the findings related to a review of power sources for six off-grid Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) in Alaska. Various power sources were reviewed as a means of reliably operating the off-grid RWIS sites throughout the year. Based on information collected on current power sources and equipment used at the off-grid RWIS sites, and visits to off-grid installations in Alaska, some viable methods of reliable operation were discovered. Power sources included in the study were solar photovoltaics (PV), small wind turbines, fuel cells, and thermoelectric generators, all charging a battery bank which powers the weather sensors, cameras, and communication equipment. The results showed that while solar PV provides enough standalone power to keep the sites operational from early spring to late fall with wind supplementing this somewhat during the transition seasons, a fossil fuel based source is necessary to maintain operation through the winter. These findings suggest that a combination of power sources is required for reliable RWIS operation throughout the year and is dependent on the location of the site.