Sustainable solutions for airports in 2021
As airports return to normal and passengers around the world take to the skies again, there is growing pressure for Aeronautics and Aerospace companies to switch to a more sustainable model. With global emissions rising and air travel accountable for 2% of global CO2 emissions, more and more people are looking for sustainable solutions when it comes to air travel. From rainwater harvesting stations to using recycled materials in airport expansions, some of the worlds’ best airports are responding to this new challenge with innovation and creativity.
Switching to sustainable power
Perhaps the biggest concern for the aviation industry is the fuel they use, from the power supply for Information Display Systems to the fuel used by aircraft. Innovations in aviation technology have led to a wealth of more sustainable and less harmful fuel solutions, with a push towards renewable energy in airports. More and more airports are using biofuels and alternative energy sources to power their operations, like Denver International airport which has the largest solar power farm at a commercial airport in the US with four on-airport solar arrays and the Galapagos Ecological Airport which was designed in 2012 to run completely on solar and wind power.
Reducing waste in airports
Improving efficiency by reducing waste is both good for the balance sheet and for the planet. From the materials used in the construction of airport expansions to wasted water, more and more airports are looking for ways to reduce their waste. Advanced environmental management systems can also be a game-changer, with an in-depth and thorough approach to reducing waste across the entire airport. Initiatives to encourage passengers to divert waste from landfills can also be effective, such as water bottle refilling stations to reduce plastic consumption and recycling facilities throughout the airport. Technologies such as low-flow bathroom fixtures to save water can make a big impact, considering the huge scale of international airports and the number of people who use them. More and more airports are using recycled and reclaimed materials in their construction and expansions, which reduces emissions and diverts materials from landfills.
Innovative new technology
There has been a wave of new, innovative technologies designed to help the aviation industry reduce its carbon impact. Using technologies such as environmentally friendly asphalt for airport runways can make a big difference, with far lower heating temperatures required and far less energy needed. Rainwater harvesting stations are another innovative system that is being utilised in airports across the world. Biofuel-powered heating systems are another innovative and effective new technology, like the one used in Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden which achieved carbon neutrality in 2009. Switching to more energy-efficient fixtures and fittings can be another powerful way to reduce waste, such as choosing low-power LED lighting or installing underground energy piles to heat and cool terminals, like Zurich Airport which has reduced its carbon emissions by 30% since 1991.