Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Station, named after Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, eldest daughter of King Philippe of Belgium, is the first-ever zero-emission station located in Utsteinen Nunatak in Queen Maud Land. Since the days of the Belgica in 1898, Belgium had a strong relationship with Antarctica and built the King Baudouin research station that closed in 1967. However, after four decades, on February 15 of 2009, Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Station, a Belgian scientific polar zero-emission research station, designed, built and operated by the International Polar Foundation was founded.
The station was built to further explore the polar region. Researching the earth’s magnetic force, polar science, microbiology and many more, make it possible for scientists and researchers to explore and have an expedition with ease. The station helped them to save time and energy, as the base is one conducive facility to further study their discoveries. Researchers will not waste time in going to and from the Antarctic to Belgium but can have all the time to explore and stay at the station, making it more economically practical for both the government and the International Polar Foundation. The station also gives security to the scientists as they will not experience and endure the freezing cold temperature of the region but can shelter in the unique features of the facility making them warm and comfortable while studying their discoveries.
With the extreme weather in Antarctica, known for its strong winds and sunlight, the station as the first zero-emission station, runs entirely on solar and wind energy through the use of a smart grid or the electrical grid which includes different operation and energy measures including smart meters, appliances, renewable energy resources and energy-efficient resources.
The station is the first polar base that used eco-friendly construction materials, clean and efficient energy, effective energy consumption and smart waste-management schemes.
Through its aerodynamic shape and strong foundation, anchoring deep into the permafrost, the station can withstand strong winds which naturally occurs in the region.
The station’s upper deck serves as the actual station, overlooking the ridge. While its lower deck serves as a garage for vehicles and other utilities. The station can house up to 16 scientists at a time.
The International Polar Foundation uses innovative technologies to exploit the extreme weather in the region. In creating and conceptualizing the facility, the foundation took advantage of the strong Antarctic wind gusts, barren landscapes, surrounding mountains, harsh climate, and 24-hour sunlight during summer. They use wind power and sunshine to create energy that will run the station, both economically and in a nature-friendly way. No transporting of fuel and no pollution produced.
The research station with its continuous operation, exploration, and discoveries, will help society in further learning and further advancing humanities technology and innovations. Different organizations and businesses partnered and supported the station, such as the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and Madame Tussaud Museum. Some of the station’s partners also give tips on what to do in Amsterdam and cheap hotels in Amsterdam.