Indoor Hydroponics – McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

Activity on the Shipping containers is a bit slow right now so decided to start looking at other containers that are relevant. This one for example is relevant in two ways as its part of green living as well as housed in a container. For which I am going to start looking to add in more green fingered activities on the blog as well to help expand things out a bit from construction and design of shipping containers into a broad way of container living.

This is the McMurdo Ice Station in Antarctica which is a science and support facility. Everything that is going into the South Pole will pass through McMurdo making it a bit of a mailbox for the most remotest place on the planet. During peak season you will find around 1500 but when the skies turn dark its left with a skeleton staff of support crew and engineers.

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

What has all this got to do with Hydroponics your probably wondering, well in that container building under a rather white sky you will find a lot of plant life in one of the harshest living condition environments in the world. It all began with someone wanting fresh food over tinned and frozen goods. Initially seeking to start with tomatoes wasn’t long until a pilot was bringing in seeds and a small idea became a big reality. Ok may not seem so big here! but if your used to living on tinned and frozen food having some fresh produce makes a huge difference in life when away for months without it.

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

Add to that though  the bleak surroundings and the dry environment of the Antarctic the hydroponics garden doesn’t just become a food source but a place of life and an injection of light as well as humidifiers giving a more “at home in the garden” feel. It no so surprise that people would want to spend spare time in there with months of living in the Antarctic.

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

The interesting thing here though is to add most of what you see is more like a scrapheap challenge than some scientific adventure. Reason being is bringing stuff to the remote station is often expensive and infrequent. Budgets may be allowed for projects on going but not for the vegetables for your plate. Everything has been pretty much been salvaged where possible but lucky they have the right people in the right place to pull it off. A hot bed of grey matter working away to get it up and running. No scientific experiment going on just people who love good food and willing to put a bit of effort in to make it happen.

Indoor Hydroponics - McMurdo Ice Station Antarctica

Photo credits owner unknown.

The Myth of Ceramic coatings for Shipping containers and what does ISBU stand for?

When companies realised that a new market was emerging a quick fix was found and marketed in the Ceramic coating markets to insulate shipping container homes in reality it was fake. In fact the information they used to justify the Ceramic coatings being used couldn’t be replicated and on top of that you could pretty much get the same result using white paint which is a lot cheaper and easier to find. In reality the best method is SPF insulation (Spray Polyurethane Foam) which is a sticky mixture that fills the voids easily creating a solid wall of foam. I would recommend using this internally with stud partition that you panel over once insulated. Another issue people are overlooking is condensation which causes rust although its not as bad as people often make out due to the design of the ISBU which stands for “Intermodal Steel Building Unit.”   It doesn’t rust easily its designed for some of the harshest environments on the planet and has not only got to deal with what the weather throws at it but also being thrown around. Its a solid piece of equipment and if treated properly is going to probably out last most people who convert over to the new modular way of living.