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South Pole highway drive poses no threat to Antarctic environment: group

South Pole highway drive poses no threat to Antarctic environment: group

A U.S. team's drive to the South Pole later this year will use soft-track vehicles and pose no threat to Antarctica's pristine environment, a spokesman said Tuesday.
The vehicles for the planned trip along the U.S.-developed Antarctic ice highway during the 10-day, 1,600 kilometer (1,000 mile) journey will use biofuel, a hydrogen fuel cell, electric batteries and ultra-lean gasoline, said Nick Baggarly, executive director of the expedition, called Zero South.
Baggarly's team defended its plan, saying the vehicles would demonstrate the viability of alternative fuels, after Antarctic expert and academic Alan Hemmings raised concerns that the trek would stress the fragile environment of the frozen continent.
"It will be very low impact, nearly zero impact, and a carbon neutral traverse," Baggarly told The Associated Press. "The vehicles don't even have tires, they'll use mat tracks."
The vehicles will not cross protected Antarctic dry land areas, or sea ice, wildlife areas or lakes on their route to the pole, said Baggarly, a member of Drive Around the World, a nonprofit group comprised of San Francisco-area scientists and others.
An environmental evaluation of the project is being developed for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. National Science Foundation is also examining the proposal.
Baggarly said full details of the trip would be made known if and when they get approvals from the necessary bodies.
NSF developed the ice highway from the north Antarctic coast to the South Pole to supply its science base at the pole using crawler tractors and sleds, cutting back cargo airplane flights.
The four alternative fuels being proposed for the trip represent "the zero and low emission solution" to greenhouse gas-producing oil products, Baggarly said.
"People need to see these alternative fuel technologies are capable of extraordinary achievements," he said.
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http://www.drivearoundtheworld.com


Updated : 2021-05-11 08:39 GMT+08:00