The Princess Elisabeth research hub is totally energy-self-sufficient and also aims not to emit any carbon dioxide, according to the International Polar Foundation, which runs the base.
The octagonal, spaceship-like base sits on stilts on a ridge a few kilometers north of the Soer Rondane Mountains. It will focus on analyzing nearby deep ice shelves.
The station's roof is covered by solar panels, designed to provide the bulk of energy needed to run the isolated post. Other energy will come from large wind turbines.
The base is expected to have a lifespan of 25 years and will conduct research in climatology, glaciology and microbiology. Teams of scientists, including glaciologists, are already at work there from Belgium, Japan, France, Britain and the United States.
The station was inaugurated Sunday by the Belgian defense minister, Pieter De Crem, and other government officials.
"It is really important that as a small country we can show our participation in large international efforts here in Antarctica," De Crem told VRT television from Antarctica.
Maaike Van Cauwenbergh, from the Belgian Science Policy Office, said the base is in an isolated area "where there has been little research done." She said it cost €20 million, or $26 million, to build and was in a vast 1,000-kilometer, or 600-mile, zone between the Russian and Japanese research stations.
The Belgian government partially finances the public-private project.
The International Polar Foundation said the new station "raises new standards" in research on the inhospitable polar continent.
"The Princess Elisabeth station attests that there is growing public interest in projects carrying a message of sustainable development, especially in terms of energy management," the polar group said in a statement.
"The conception of a 'zero emission' building capable of standing up to the extreme conditions in the Antarctic goes to show that similar techniques can also be deployed in more temperate areas of the world," it added.
Belgium closed its first science station in Antarctica in 1967.
The Associated Press. Feb 15th 2009. www.iht.com/articles/2009/02/15/europe/belgium.php