Solar powered vehicle heads to Antarctica

A Dutch couple has come up with an ingenious way of promoting a zero waste lifestyle and embracing solar power. They are about to embark on a 2400 km round trip to the South Pole driving a solar powered vehicle made out of 3D printed recycled materials.

In the countdown to the start of expedition in the Solar Voyager Liesbeth and Edwin ter Velde say creating a cleaner world is an adventure for everyone. They’re not out to set a record. They want to inspire you to take your own step for a better a world.

The project, known as Clean2Antarctica, started over a dinner time conversation about how they could deal with their everyday plastic waste. That led to experimenting with shredding and melting plastic into a material that could be used by a 3D printer. They then designed a new hexagonal building block that was light and strong and printed 4000 to build the Solar Voyager.

The vehicle consists of a four-wheeled cab towing a pair of two-wheeled trailers. The trailers supports 10 solar panels and also store supplies, including 47 days worth of food. Rather than carrying water they’ll use the ice around them and melt it in solar vacuum tubes. Infrared windows are also installed in the cab to absorb sunlight and keep it warm. The vehicle has been tested in Iceland and modified to survive the harsh conditions.

In just over a month, the team will set out from their Antarctica base camp and drive to the South Pole and back -  a journey of 2,400 km that is expected to take about 30 days. As the sun never sets at the height of the Antarctic summer they shouldn’t have to worry about running out of power.

Find out more about the expedition and follow the Solar Voyager’s progress here.