Water Production and Treatment
The Princess Elisabeth Station is optimally located for its primary resources: wind and sun. However, those were not the only factors taken into consideration when choosing the location for the station and snow, the primary source of clean water in Antarctica, is everywhere to be collected.
The Full Process
Water Produced by Melting Snow
In Antarctica, the lack of flowing water makes snow your primary source of water, be it for nutrition or hygiene. The station is ideally located near a virtually endless supply of snow, which is why the Princess Elisabeth Station was equipped with a snow melter to supply the necessary water to the station's inhabitants.
The Princess Elisabeth Station features an advanced water treatment system that allows it to treat 100% of its grey and black waters. About 60% of the water is re-used, while the rest is disposed of in a crevasse near the station. Before it is disposed of, the water is treated extensively in order not to contaminate the pristine environment of Antarctica, in accordance with the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
The Princess Elisabeth Station features two bioreactors: an aerobic and an anaerobic one. These bioreactors are used to carry out a chemical process with bio-organisms. The tricky part of the process is to maintain optimal conditions for the organisms to carry out their work efficiently.
Active Carbon Treatment
The active carbon treatment allows to remove a large variety of compounds from the station's waste waters through absorption. This natural process, which causes the contaminant molecules to gather at the surface of the water, leaves the water clean after removal.
UV Treatment and pH Correction
The UV treatment uses UV light at a sufficiently short wavelength to break down micro-organisms. This process allows the removal of all micro-organisms through UV germicidal irradiation, sterilizing drinking water.
Water Heating System
Following its "Zero Emission" target, the Princess Elisabeth Station is equipped with thermal solar panels in addition to the photovoltaic ones.
Unlike their counterparts, these do not transform solar radiation into electricity, but in heat. Linked to the water system, it allows the various team members to take "Zero Emission" warm showers while at the station.
After the snow was melted in the station's snow-melter, the water is directed to two separate locations.
While the cold water is stored in cold water tanks, the warm water follows a longer circuit with thermal solar panels and is stored in the hot water tank after heating.