"The International Polar Foundation is very pleased to be able to work with the Belgian Government in making this station Antarctica's most sustainable research platform," Alain Hubert, Chairman of the IPF, said today.
Hubert went on to say that "the Princess Elisabeth station will represent international best practice in being entirely run on renewable energy and in completely recycling all waste. Belgium, one of the twelve original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty, will not cause any damage to the pristine Antarctic environment".
"When we know already that we need to live more sustainably to avoid drastic climate change, we must certainly research sustainably in the Antarctic" Hubert said. The station will be situated inland, near the Sor Rondane mountains in Dronning Maud Land, not far from where Belgium maintained the "Roi Baudouin" base for a decade following the last international polar year (1957-58). The station site (at 71 degrees South and 23 degrees East) is in the 1500 kilometer empty stretch between the Japanese Syowa station and the Russian Novolazarevskaya station.
The Belgian Government, following its 2004 decision to take up the IPF's proposal for a new base, announced on 19 May 2006 that it would provide €3 million to the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) for the station's management and research program in 2008 and 2009. The construction of the base is expected to cost around €6.4 million, of which €2 million has already been committed by the Belgian Government and with the remainder to be found by the IPF through private sector sponsorship and public donations.
The Belgian Government also announced on 19 May that it would mint a commemorative coin for public sale with the proceeds to go towards the International Polar Foundation and its fundraising for the Princess Elisabeth station.
The station's research program is expected to involve scientists from European nations as well as other international researchers, including from Japan. Building on the existing BELSPO Antarctic research program (with a budget of around €6 million over 2006-2010), the additional research funding will help tackle some of the key questions about the vast Antarctic continent and our planet's endangered climate.
High-resolution pictures of the final station design are available on our server.