On the occasion of the International Polar Year 2007-2008 the Belgian government commissioned the International Polar Foundation to build a new Antarctic research station. One of the co-founders and a driving force behind this project is explorer, civil engineer, entrepreneur, carpenter, mountain guide, and good-will Ambassador for UNICEF Alain Hubert.
In 1997/98 Alain crossed the Antarctic continent, with Dixie Dansercoer, covering 3924 km in 99 days in autonomy. I remember the two of them well. It was my first season on the Ice and these two were the smelliest but nicest people I ever met. After crossing Antarctica, one of them almost broke his neck on one of the rickety chairs in our computer lab. Unknowingly to Alain we later collaborated on a construction project. I finished the bathroom he started to build at a friends place in Maine.
Now he has put his tremendous energy behind this project. The station is designed for a population of 16 and thus on a much smaller scale than the new South Pole station. If everything goes according to plan the “Princess Elisabeth” station will be the first zero emission Antarctic station, using only solar and wind power.
Not only that, but she is also beautiful. Alain’s background as a carpenter certainly comes through. Check out this video of the station while it was on display in Belgium.