ENVIRONMENT Last modified on November 26, 2017

Going green

We report on the Royal Schiphol Group’s decision to turn to wind power, dnata ramping up its recycling efforts and the latest biofuel initiatives.

Life’s a breeze for Royal Schiphol Group

The Royal Schiphol Group has announced that Amsterdam Schiphol and its entire Dutch airport network will utilise wind power from next year.

The electricity will be provided by wind farms operated by renewable energy company, Eneco, and it is hoped that the decision will accelerate the development of sustainable electricity production in the Netherlands.

Eneco will supply Schiphol, Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Lelystad airports with sustainable power from January 1, 2018.

Together, the airports consume around 200GWh, which is comparable with the consumption of 60,000 households. In the Netherlands, this is about the size of Haarlemmermeer or Delft.

Jos Nijhuis, president and CEO of Royal Schiphol Group, enthuses: “For our new energy contract, we wanted nothing but sustainable power generated in the Netherlands. After all, one thing is certain: aviation can, and must, be made more sustainable.

“We feel that the most important elements of this collaboration with Eneco are that all the Schiphol Group airports are involved and that additional sustainable energy sources will be developed in the Netherlands. This will allow our airports to increase their sustainability and offer economic benefits.”

While Jeroen de Haas, CEO of the Eneco Group, says: “For the energy transition, it is crucial for the business sector – which is by far the largest energy consumer – to embrace sustainability.

“Pioneers such as Royal Schiphol Group are consciously choosing new, sustainable forms of production and are therefore setting the tone for others. As a result, they are also helping Eneco Group to invest in wind farms and other sustainable energy sources.”

The first new wind farm that will generate power for Royal Schiphol Group is Vianen, which will be operational from January 2018.

More wind farms will follow, and from January 1, 2020, all of the power will come from newly built farms.

Until the new wind farms have been constructed, the power will come from existing sustainable energy sources in the Netherlands.

The decision to use new wind farms means that Schiphol will not be drawing power from the existing sustainable energy network. It will also increase the range of sustainable power options in the Netherlands. 

Load of rubbish

Planes could take off from British airports using fuels made from rubbish that gets sent to landfill, under a new scheme by the UK government.

As part of plans to promote clean alternative fuels, the UK government is offering funding for projects in the UK to develop low carbon waste-based fuels for planes and lorries, with matching funding from industry.

The government claims that it is already planning to revolutionise the motor industry with ultra-low emission electric cars, and now plans “going further and investing in a new generation of fuels” which will power aircraft and lorries.

The Department for Transport (DfT) states that trials of sustainable jet fuel, made from waste materials, have taken place in Europe and North America, and now the launch of a UK competition will see British experts conduct pioneering research in this sector. Indeed, it notes that it has already had interest from more than 70 groups in bidding for the funding.

According to the DfT, the new fuels are chemically very similar to conventional fuels, so can be used in existing aircraft without the need for any engine modifications.

And it argues that low carbon transport fuels made from waste materials could be worth £600m a year to the British economy by 2030, and could also support up to 9,800 new jobs.

UK Transport Minister, Jesse Norman, says: “We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally-friendly fuels that will help us meet that goal.” 


Dnata steps up its recycling efforts

Dubai-based dnata has ramped up its recycling programme for its fleet of 12,000 units of GSE (Ground Services Equipment) at both of its Dubai hubs (DXB and DWC).

Since the launch of the recycling programme this year, over 80 units of GSE have been renewed at the GSE maintenance base, reducing waste generated from GSE by 110 tonnes, while passing all safety and quality checks.

The projection for 2017 is an estimated 140 pieces of GSE being recycled, saving the company approximately over AED13 million and reducing waste by 250 tonnes.

As GSE reach the end of their lifecycle, they were previously replaced with newer versions. However, given the sturdy and enduring nature of the machinery, it says that the GSE mostly simply required a mechanical overhaul to be put back into service.

Located at DXB its GSE maintenance facility spans 36,000sqm and employs 1,145 dedicated team members who carefully check the GSE for any faults before replacing parts that need renewing, therefore extending the lifespan to up to 18 years.

“Our reality is that sustainability is a necessity, not a choice, and at dnata, we endeavour to meaningfully fulfil our environmental responsibility wherever we operate,” says dnata president, Gary Chapman.

“We are extremely motivated by the success of our GSE recycling programme in Dubai. It provides us with a tangible way to reduce our carbon footprint at the source, rather than carbon offsetting as a way of merely clearing the corporate conscience.

“It has been rewarding to see the impact of this initiative, and it is the start of many initiatives dnata has in the pipeline to bring about a change in the way we use resources, in our effort to promote sustainability. We are getting creative and innovative when collaborating with our equipment suppliers, to seek more environmental efficiencies for our fleet,” he added.

Other initiatives for a greener operation include the conversion of all forklifts in dnata’s cargo operations to electric. Out of a fleet of 102 forklifts in Dubai, 73 are electric and the remainder are powered by diesel.

The plan is to replace all current diesel forklifts by the end of 2017 with electric alternatives – reducing the carbon footprint at dnata’s cargo operations by 80%, generating a fuel savings (consumption) of 200,000 litres per year, and CO2 emissions reduction of 47 tonnes per year. 


Norway leading the way on biofuels

In August, Bergen Airport became the second Norwegian gateway after Oslo to begin the sale of biofuels to its airline customers.

Talking about the launch of AirBP provided biojet fuels at the airport, Avinor’s CEO, Dag Falk-Petersen, says: “Those involved in Norwegian aviation are sharing the responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Biofuel, together with new more energy-efficient aircraft, is helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation industry.

“Biofuel can be imported or produced in Norway. A report from Rambøll shows that it is possible to achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions using Norwegian sustainable biofuel obtained through biomass from forestry. This would also help create new businesses and jobs in Norway.”

While Bergen Airport’s director, Aslak Sverdrup, comments: “We are absolutely delighted to become the second airport in Norway to make aviation biofuel available to airlines.

“This is an important step in establishing a market and infrastructure for the production and delivery of biofuel on a large scale.”

According to Avinor, biofuel can be mixed directly with conventional fuel and no adjustments to the aircraft engines or distribution system are required.


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