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Komatsu donates Hybrid excavator to zero-emission Antarctic base

Komatsu has donated a new HB215LC-1 Hybrid excavator to the International Polar Foundation, which operates the only zero-emission scientific base in the Antarctic, Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth Station.

The excavator was supplied through Komatsu’s Belgian distributor BIA, which also provided attachments for the machine.

It was handed over on November 27 by Keiko Fujiwara, Komatsu Europe CEO and Managing Director, accompanied by other BIA and Komatsu senior managers to representatives of the International Polar Foundation.

The excavator left the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium on December 2, and is scheduled to arrive in Antarctica on January 15, 2014 – from where it will be transported overland 240 km to the Princess Elisabeth Station.

The HB215LC-1 hydraulic excavator is a second-generation hybrid machine fitted with Komatsu’s cutting-edge fuel-saving technology. Average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are 25% less than a conventional excavator.

The International Polar Foundation was founded in 2002 by Belgian polar explorer Alain Hubert, Professor Hugo Decleir and Professor André Berger.

Its aim is to bring about a better appreciation of the role of science, particularly research in the polar regions.

The Foundation supports polar scientific research for the advancement of knowledge, the promotion of informed action on climate change, and the development of a sustainable society.

It partners with corporations and institutions both on specific projects, as well as to implement its mission of supporting science in the polar regions, meeting the climate challenge and achieving a low-carbon society.

The Princess Elisabeth station in Antarctica, located on Utsteinen Nunatak in Queen Maud Land (71.57°S 23.20°E), is a Belgian scientific polar research station opened in February 2009, and is the only zero-emission base on the Antarctic.

It runs entirely on solar and wind energy through the use of a “micro smartgrid”.

Designed, built and operated by the International Polar Foundation, the station is the first polar base to combine eco-friendly construction materials, clean and efficient energy use, optimised energy consumption and innovative waste management techniques.

It is built against the Utsteinen ridge ,which is exposed to gales of up to 300 km/h, and can withstand such strong winds through its aerodynamic shape and foundation anchoring several metres deep into the permafrost.

The station is connected to nine wind turbines stretching out along the ridge, and which generate much of its power.

The upper deck of the building is the actual station, able to house up to 16 scientists at a time, while the lower deck contains a garage for snowcat vehicles and other utility equipment.

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