Liesbeth and Edwin ter Velde are heading to Antarctica in a vehicle named Solar Voyager made from plastic waste and powered by the sun in an attempt to explore the planet’s southernmost continent and show that “we have all the technology we need for a sustainable world.”
The Solar Voyager expedition is one of several nameplate initiatives being planned by non-profit foundation Clean2Antarctica, created by Dutch couple Liesbeth and Edwin ter Velde.
The Foundation’s goal is to raise and inspire awareness of sustainable alternatives for everyday living and, in doing so, to accelerate the transition from a “linear to a circular society.” Clean2Antarctica does this by creating initiatives that promote and advertise this mission, including the Solar Voyager expedition to Antarctica.
Solar Voyager is a vehicle, made for the harsh environs of Antarctica, build from plastic waste and powered by solar panels.
The expedition’s central star, the Solar Voyager, has to be able to do a lot all on its own – make water and drive on top of the snow or ice, communicate back home, and keep its occupants safe and sound for a 2,400-kilometre journey through some of the planet’s most unforgiving landscapes.
Lisbeth and Edwin will drive to the South Pole and back again in -30°C, proving the reality of sustainable living on a continent that, by law, is zero waste.
“We want to accelerate the transition to a circular society because it is the right thing to do,” Clean2Antarctica said on their website. “We need to venture out into the unknown, since we don’t exactly know how to build a circular society. Therefore, we need to experiment. Our expedition will result in new building blocks that will help us to build a circular society.”
Solar Voyager was tested earlier this year in Iceland and is set to hit Antarctica in late-November. The Iceland tests helped finetune the Solar Voyager and what the team needed to know to survive in rough, icy conditions.
The Antarctica expedition is one of several initiatives Clean2Antarctica is involved in, including Quest for Change, a floating think-tank of 21 millennials aboard the Tallship Morgenster who, on a three-leg journey across the Atlantic Ocean, will “solve wicked problems” such as how to make Japanese company Teijin more circular.