Belgium has opened a “zero emissions” polar station in Antarctica, more than four decades after closing its first base there.
Named after the country’s Princess Elizabeth, the station is aimed at studying climate change, with teams of scientists from all over the world already at work. Attending the opening ceremony on Sunday, Belgian Defense Minister Pieter de Crem said: “It’s important that, as a small country, Belgium can show it’s taking part in large international efforts here in Antarctica. (…) We have been here since the sixties, and now we’re back again.” The prefabricated station took two years to move from Belgium to the South Pole, and cost 20 million euros, in a public-private partnership partly funded by the Belgian government. It is totally energy self-sufficient and aims not to produce any carbon dioxide emissions. Its roof is covered by solar panels, designed to provide most of the energy needed to run it, combined with large wind turbines.