Zero emissions polar station inaugurated

The world's first zero emissions polar research station was pre-mounted and inaugurated in Belgium during September.

The world's first zero emissions polar research station was pre-mounted and inaugurated in Belgium during September. The assembly was carried out to enable the designers and construction team to overcome any final problems prior to its final installation in the Antarctic.

The International Polar Foundation (IPF) was commissioned by the Belgian government to design and build the first polar research station functioning entirely on renewable energies to celebrate the International Polar Year 2007-2008. The Princess Elizabeth polar station will be supplied with power from photovoltaic panels and eight wind turbines.

The station will use a passive heating system and cogeneration, recycling the thermal radiation emitted by the internal systems. Snow will be melted to provide water and once used it will be recycled into potable water using a bioreactor. The walls are highly insulated to prevent heat loss and maintain an ambient temperature of 18-20°C. The main MEP plant will be stored underfloor.

The station is currently being dismantled for transportation, with an expected arrival date in Antarctica of 25 December. Construction of the exterior shell will be completed during the arctic summer of January to February 2008; the interior fit-out will be finalised a year later, with testing and modifications continuing in Belgium until this time. On completion, the Belgian Science Platform will direct scientific research projects at the station.

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