Kohler gen-sets return to Antarctica

Kohler joins as energy provider for Undaunted expedition

Kohler has announced a partnership with Robert Swan, OBE (Order of the British Empire), on his Undaunted: South Pole 2023 expedition that is expected to take him across the Antarctic landmass to the geographic South Pole and beyond relying solely on renewable energy sources. Swan embarks on his journey in December 2022 relying on Kohler energy solutions, with the goal to reach the South Pole mid-January.

Richard Byrd Robert Swan stands with the Kohler gen-set Admiral Richard Byrd used during an expedition in 1929 and the 2023 Undaunted Kohler generator. (Photo: Kohler)

Swan has dedicated his life’s work to the preservation of Antarctica and the planet through promoting renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change through his 2041 Foundation. 

Kohler will equip Swan’s journey with a customized Kohler generator that utilizes a Kohler diesel engine fueled by hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). Reportedly, the fuel is 90% carbon neutral and sourced entirely from waste products. HVO is a replacement for diesel fuel that is made from waste vegetable oils and other sustainable materials. It allows generator users to adopt low carbon, renewable energy without compromise on performance.

“Increased climate challenges have made critical resiliency solutions more important than ever,” said Swan. “We all have a responsibility for this last great wilderness left on Earth. Antarctica has always been a natural reserve land for science and peace, and it’s the only place like it on the planet.”

The off-grid sustainable system is expected to provide the energy needed to operate Swan’s base camp and provide battery charge to his mobile equipment. The integrated energy system is controlled by the Heila Edge, a modular and decentralized energy platform from Heila Technologies – part of Kohler Co. – that connects and optimizes solar arrays, batteries and other distributed energy resources, creating a resilient microgrid solution for Swan’s Antarctic base camp.

Kohler said its portfolio of energy products is built to withstand harsh weather conditions and provide reliable, resilient power when the grid cannot, making them a dependable energy solution for Swan.

The company has a proven history of resilient power solutions that have survived the unforgiving terrain of the South Pole. More than 90 years ago, Admiral Richard Byrd powered his Antarctic journey with Kohler generators. Swan and Kohler’s partnership on the Undaunted expedition honors the progress of resilient and clean energy solutions and celebrates future possibilities of helping to control climate change and preserve the planet.

“Kohler’s relationship to the Antarctic and environmental sustainability is deeply rooted within our history,” said Francis Perrin, vice president of Marketing for Kohler, adding that Swan’s passion and perseverance are admirable traits that have also served Kohler well for 150 years. “Supporting the Undaunted Expedition with renewable energy solutions illustrates Kohler’s ongoing commitment to provide resilient energy systems and our journey toward strengthening our clean energy offerings.”

Calling himself a modern-day explorer, Swan first skied to the North and South Poles in the 1980s. In 2017 Robert and his son, Barney, set off on the South Pole Energy Challenge. Halfway through this 600-mile journey, Robert was forced to turn back due to a physical injury leaving Barney to complete the challenge. In January 2020 Robert returned to Antarctica to finish the remaining 300 nautical miles across the landmass but again fell short of his childhood dream by 97 nautical miles after injury again forced him to evacuate. In January 2023 Swan will set out to complete his 35-year-long goal of crossing the entire Antarctic landmass.

The organization that Swan founded, the 2041 Foundation, takes its name from the year in which the global agreement that designates Antarctica as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” will be re-negotiated.

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Alister Williams VP Sales Tel: +1 843 637 4127 E-mail: alister.williams@khl.com
Julian Buckley
Julian Buckley Editor Tel: +44 771 009 6684 E-mail: julian.buckley@khl.com
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