EU airports to reduce CO2 emissions by 20pc with new software

29 Jul 2014

The European Commission (EC) is testing a new software and sensor system to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs by 20pc in European airports with Irish help.

Two Italian airports, Rome’s Fiumicino and Milan’s Malpensa, are the first to test the system known as CASCADE. The system is expected to save the airports at least 6,000MWh, which equates to 42,000 tonnes of CO2 and €840,000 a year, according to the EC.

Nine teams from across Europe are working on the project. Two of the teams are from Ireland, specifically, from NUI Galway and fellow Galwegian software management company Enerit. The Irish teams will be working on the research and development of energy efficiency.

Typically, a modern airport is one of the worst offenders when it comes to wasting energy through poor planning and not considering energy use when trying to run operations smoothly.

Some of the worst offenders the CASCADE team has found are running pumps and fans continuously, even when they are not in use, poorly programmed control systems, and a lack of maintenance. The typical electricity consumption of an airport is 100GWh-300GWh per year, which is roughly equivalent to what 30,000-100,000 households consume, according to CASCADE.

Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, said CASCADE will be a relatively low-cost solution to a major environmental problem.

“I travel often in my job, and I believe 100pc that our airports need to become smarter and greener. The CASCADE system shows us that being sustainable doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and that actually it can save us money,” Kroes said.

Green flight image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic