April 18, 2014

Electrolux in Antarctica

I’ve seen many documentaries about scientists in Antarctica. I’ve seen one that focused on the staff of maintenance workers it takes to keep an outpost running smoothly. The base camps were large campgrounds of barrack-like buildings and with scientists, engineers, and crew, can at times host a large number of people.

On one show, the kitchen staff pointed out that although the outside was cold enough to keep food frozen, storing food outside attracts animals, and the temperatures are really too old for optimal storage. There is also a large amount of laundry to be washed. Electrolux had a plan.

At the Princess Elizabeth Station in Antarctica, you’ll find a high-tech living facility that has all of the home appliances that make life easier for those of us living in warmer climates, including six washing machines, six tumble dryers, ‘A+’ refrigerators, frost-free chest freezers, double ovens, ranges, microwaves and an ‘AAA’ dishwasher.

Due to its continued focus on designing energy efficient home appliances, Electrolux was approached to design the set of appliances for the station. Some of the appliances are even specifically designed for the scientists: the washing machines have larger doors to fit “bulky polar outdoor gear” and the freezers can freeze food for up to a year at -18 degrees Celsius.

According to cnet.com, the appliances are also run entirely on renewable energy: 90 percent of the energy is supplied to the station via wind turbines, and the rest is supplied by solar panels. Preheated water is used in the washing machines to save energy and elaborate waste and water management systems are used as well, contributing to the astonishing 95 percent of waste that the facility is able to recycle.

The Princess Elisabeth Station will focus on researching global warming and climate change, as well as CO2 emissions. On keeping the series of appliances in line with the principles driving the research, Station Manager Johan Berte remarks, “We want to show the world that if you can build a zero emissions facility in the forbidding climate of Antarctica, you can build them anywhere!”

You can read the whole story of Belgium’s Princess Elizabeth Station HERE.