Belgians return from research station in south pole

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Belgians who worked on the construction of the new Belgian polar research station returned earlier than planned.

A group of Belgians returned Monday morning from Antarctica. They had worked on the construction of the new Belgian polar research station. Despite the bad weather and some technical setbacks and other problems, they came back earlier than planned.

The structure of the Belgian Antarctic research facility is finished. Over the past few days, the last parts of the facade and roof were fitted onto the polar station, named Princess Elisabeth, after the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Philip.

The base will run entirely on renewable energy sources. It is the first zero emission research station on the continent. Furthermore, 75% of the water used at the base will be recycled.

The construction of the station proceeded faster than expected. It went so quickly that part of the expedition team in Antarctica was able to return to Belgium a week earlier than planned.

A small group has stayed behind to take care of the last details inside and to secure the Princess Elisabeth until the research station can start its work. Next season the station will be fully equipped and the Belgian federal department of scientific policy will send the first scientists.

40 years after the King Boudewijn base was closed down, Belgium again has a polar research station in the South Pole.

Scientists at the base will carry out research into the effects of global warming on the frozen continent. 

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