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Airport World rounds-up a handful of the latest sustainability news stories making headlines across the globe.

New sustainability milestone for Hyderabad and London Luton

Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD) and London Luton (have become the latest gateways to achieve Level 4 in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

Achieving Level ‘Transition’ status, HYD – operated by GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL) – is a sustainability pioneer for the region.

GHIAL CEO, Pradeep Panicker, said: “Today, climate change is the most pressing challenge and as a global corporate citizen, Hyderabad Airport is building multiple pathways to reduce carbon emissions.

“Our entire airport operation runs on renewable energy with a mission of zero waste and zero discharge. This achievement shows our commitment to environmental responsibility.

“We have set ambitious targets to achieve zero carbon emissions. We continue to invest in sustainable technologies and assets, enabling the airport eco-system to contribute to the environment and help build a greener world.”

Earlier this year, GHIAL announced its transition to 100% sustainable green energy for its energy consumption at the airport and across its ecosystem.

In partnership with Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL), the move has transformed its operations by harnessing the power of green energy through a combination of its own 10 MWp (megawatt peak) solar power plant and green energy supplied by TSSPDCL.

By integrating green energy into its operation and infrastructure, the airport is expected to reduce its carbon footprint by approximately 9,300 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Panicker said: “We at Hyderabad International Airport have pledged to build a sustainable environment that will help reduce our impact on the environment and create an environmentally friendly airport. It permeates every aspect of the airport’s infrastructure and operations at every touch point of activity.”

Meanwhile, in Europe, London Luton Airport (LLA) has become only the third major UK airport to achieve Level 4 ‘Transformation’ status.

The ACA scheme is a globally recognised carbon management programme that independently assesses and recognises efforts to manage and reduce airport carbon emissions.

As a Level 4 accredited airport, LLA has demonstrated that it is ‘transforming its operations to achieve carbon reductions in line with global climate goals’. The airport notes that the  achievement also highlights its commitment to working with key airport partners to reduce their emissions at the airport.

Airport CEO, Alberto Martin, said: “London Luton Airport is committed to sustainable aviation and achieving the highest level of the ACA programme is a significant milestone, demonstrating our commitment to minimising the environmental impacts of the airport.

“LLA has taken important steps to set an ambition to be Net Zero in its carbon emissions by 2040. However, we recognise there is still a great deal of work to be done, continuing to demonstrate our focus on delivering on our sustainability commitments for our passengers, industry and local community.”

The Level 4 accreditation is a significant milestone in LLA’s sustainability journey, underlining the progress of its Net Zero roadmap and the drive to achieve significant carbon reductions across all aspects of the airport including partner operations.

Key initiatives include:

• Collaboration with airlines to increase the number of quieter, more fuel-efficient next-generation aircraft operating from the airport – reducing airline emissions by 20% per aircraft
• Finalising plans for the installation of a 10Mwp solar plant at the airport that will generate enough green energy to satisfy 25% of the airport’s electricity demand
• Transitioning to alternative sustainable fuels (e.g., HVO) saving around 80% of carbon across the carbon lifecycle, as well as continued investment in electric vehicles.

This year also saw the transformational launch of the fully automated, electrically powered Luton DART connecting the terminal and the mainline railway at Luton Airport Parkway station.

LLA notes that encouraging passengers to travel to and from the airport by rail, rather than car, will reduce the environmental impact of journeys, saving around 80% on carbon emissions (6.8kg of CO2e per passenger journey from central London).

The DART has carried over one million passengers within the first six months of operation.

Fraport unveils plan to turn electric vehicles into mobile power storage units

Global airport operator, Fraport, is gradually converting its fleet of vehicles at Frankfurt Airport to electric drives and, even more ambitiously, looking to upgrade ita charging infrastructure turn them into mobile storage units that are able to feed unused power back into the grid if needed.

The technology needed to do this isn’t yet ready for large-scale use and current interfaces will need to be standardised, particularly for many of the special-purpose vehicles used for aircraft ground handling. However, Fraport is receiving support from the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action for broadly implementing this ambitious idea at the airport.

Over the next four years, a total of €5 million will flow to Frankfurt Airport within the scope of Germany’s programme to promote electromobility. Fraport itself, together with other partners, will invest another €4.1 million in the project.

“Frankfurt Airport is providing an ideal, self-contained field test system for implementing a bidirectional charging infrastructure,” explains Michael Kuschel, Fraport’s vice president responsible for power and networks.

“We are playing all of the main roles in it: we are both the network operator and its primary consumer. The charging points are part of our own infrastructure, and we are also providing the required software. This unique constellation enables us to model the required test environment despite the fact that not all of the technical and regulatory definitions have been fully formulated yet.”

Also involved in the project are Stromnetz Hamburg GmbH (the owner and operator of Hamburg’s power distribution network), which will support Fraport for developing the required software, and the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, which will be monitoring the economic and technical aspects.

The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has put the DLR German Aerospace Center in charge of the project.

Fraport AG currently has a fleet of about 650 electrically powered vehicles and is planning to add another 600 cars, buses, and dedicated ground handling vehicles with electric drives by 2026.

With the aid of bidirectional charging equipment, the storage batteries of this motor pool will collectively constitute a large-scale virtual reservoir able to accept and provide constantly changing amounts of electric power.

Controlled by sophisticated software, it will manage supply and demand without negatively impacting everyday operations at Frankfurt Airport.

“Fraport’s long-term goal is to introduce bidirectional charging throughout the airport while taking the wide variety of vehicle types used into account,” adds Kuschel.

“An airport operates critical infrastructure, which makes it essential to consistently ensure a stable network and dependable power supply. This is a major challenge, but once it has been successfully mastered the system will crucially strengthen the airport.

“It will also provide attractive economic benefits, since we expect that this migration will also allow us to reduce our expenditures for electric power by making efficient use of available resources.”

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