Growing Vegetables in Permanent Ice

Growing Vegetables in Permanent Ice


More than 90 % of King George Island at the edge of the Antarctic is covered by ice. Countries such as Chile, Russia, and China have established research stations on the island. About 300 researchers remain there even in the Antarctic winter. So far, they receive their supplies from ships and planes from Chile. However, the crew of the Chinese Great Wall Station can now grow their on tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce, and various herbs in the first greenhouse in the Antarctic.

The Polar Research Institute of China and Shanghai Dushi Green Engineering Co., Ltd. worked for two years on its design. With 91 % light transmission, PLEXIGLAS® Alltop from Evonik guarantees that the plants get sufficient natural sunlight. 600 m² of 16 mm 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. The material also exhibits no visible yellowing even after 30 years, and thus, retains its maximum light transmission and makes it especially durable.

PLEXIGLAS® Alltop is also very stable in high winds. In collaboration with Evonik, Shanghai Dushi developed a special aluminum profile to reinforce the construction.


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