Evonik has helped provide scientists at the edge of the Antarctic with fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers and tomatoes.
A greenhouse made from Plexiglas Alltop is helping the crew of the Chinese Great Wall Station on King George Island to exist without some of the supply flights from the mainland.
Thanks to their own greenhouse, the first in the Antarctic, scientists have their own supplies of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce and various herbs.
The island at the edge of the Antarctic has an area of 1,150 sq km, more than 90% of which is covered by ice, the rest being coarse gravel, dotted with occasional patches of lichen and grass which defy the icy temperatures and harsh winds.
The Polar Research Institute of China and Shanghai Dushi Green Engineering Co worked on the design of the Antarctic‘s first greenhouse for two years.
“Among all the materials we researched, Plexiglas Alltop has proven to be most suitable as covering materials for greenhouses on extremely cold Antarctica,” said Le Lu, an engineer at Shanghai Dushi who was involved in developing the greenhouse at the Great Wall Station.
Because of its 91% light transmission, Plexiglas Alltop guarantees that the plants get sufficient natural sunlight.
Six hundred sq metres of 16mm-thick multi-skin sheets provide good insulation and UV transparency so that the plants can grow under conditions that are as close to nature as possible.
“Now we want to build a second greenhouse in the Antarctic together with our partner. It‘s already in the planning phase,” said Weimin Wang from Evonik.
“The second greenhouse will supply scientists at another Chinese research station in the interior of the enormous ice-covered continent with fresh vegetables. A place where temperatures drop even lower and the winds are even more bleak.”