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Hamburg becomes Germany’s first carbon neutral airport


Hamburg Airport has become the first major commercial airport in Germany to achieve CO2-neutral operations according to Airport Carbon Accreditation guidelines.

Airport CEO, Michael Eggenschwiler, said that numerous internal measures and woodland projects made the achievement possible.

And he stressed that Hamburg Airport is continuously optimising its technical building infrastructure to reduce the gateway’s impact on the environment.

This, he says, has included investment in more efficient ventilation and air-conditioning facilities, the expansion of the site heating network, and the conversion to LED lighting, which saves emissions through significant reductions in energy consumption in the terminals and on the operational areas.

The airport notes that it uses a thermolabyrinth to provides environmentally friendly climate control in the terminals and meets around 70% of its heating energy requirements with its own block-type thermal power station.

This highly efficient installation is powered by natural gas. The supplemental green electricity bought in is from 100% verifiable CO2-neutral generation.

Not one drop of fossil diesel fuel in more than five years

Hamburg Airport’s apron vehicle fleet has been almost completely converted to alternative powertrains and fuels with airstairs, for example, running on solar power, towing vehicles on natural gas (and in the future on hydrogen), and cars on electricity.

Since the end of 2016, all diesel-powered vehicles at Hamburg Airport use a synthetic, zero-emissions fuel. Hamburg was the first international airport in the world to make this switch. The airport is currently planting an additional 50 hectares of new woodland at its 750-hectare forest site in Kaltenkirchen.

Eggenschwiler says: “Despite the economic difficulties arising from the coronavirus pandemic, we have pursued our climate protection goals as a top priority and we are thrilled to be the first major airport in Germany to achieve CO2 neutrality.

“Today, we are reaping the rewards of the innovative environmental work that our committed team has undertaken over more than three decades. We would never have achieved CO2 neutrality so soon had we not started working consistently towards that goal more than ten years ago.

“As a municipal corporation, we are leading by example and making our contribution to achieving Hamburg’s climate protection targets.”

Its efforts mean that Hamburg Airport has effectively reduced its annual CO2 emissions by almost 80% from 40,000 tonnes a year to just 8,700 tonnes.

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