Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First carbon-free polar station

A zero-emission polar research station, carbon-free opened in Antarctica on February 15, 2009. Hailed by scientists all over the world, this kindles hopes of viable alternative energy even in the coldest region on the earth. This station built by Belgium called the Princess Elisabeth draws renewable natural wind and solar power for its needs, which cost nothing at all. Of course problems such as designing installations to survive extreme cold, and winter darkness have to be encountered in the process, but the scientists are hopeful about that too. It is claimed that solar panels on the Antarctic Peninsula can collect as much energy in a year as many places in Europe.

Yes, green power is a feasibility to be considered seriously especially in the light of the ongoing damage by global warming from greenhouse emissions. If we can build such a station in Antarctica, we can do that elsewhere at more congenial places on the earth to save the earth from further global warming.

The present polar station in Antarctica is a steel-encased station and uses micro-organisms and decomposition that helps researchers to re-use shower and toilet water up to five times before ultimately dumping it in a crevasse. Wind tunnels installed on the Utsteinen mountain ridge and the solar panels on bug-like three-story building supply the most essential power and hot water. Even its window designs contribute to energy conservation.

Jean Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said failure to reduce emissions by 50 to 85 percent by the middle of this century could be catastrophic. "Globally we will be in a temperature increase zone that the earth has not known for the past two to three million years," he said

Here is a warning for all of us from the scientists monitoring global warming. Higher global temperatures result in faster melting of the Antarctica, which is the world’s largest repository of fresh water thus raising sea levels and altering shorelines. Let each one of us become fully aware of this danger and save Mother Earth for our progeny. Let us save the earth for future generations.

Source: Times of India, February 17, 2009

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