At Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, SAS Ground Services works alongside the airport in order to use renewable fuels in all applicable vehicles on airside.
By 2012, the aim is for all airports vehicles to run on renewable fuel or be classified as environmentally clean.
Already, both bio-gas and ethanol are available at the airport, and work is underway to improve the infrastructure for other renewable fuel sources. The airport reports it is even studying the possibility of buying or producing its own biofuel.
New power sources
Other ground handlers around the world from Hong Kong to Frankfurt, are similarly playing their part in aviation’s environmental mitigation work.
Fraport, for example, has successfully trialed vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which could be the next big move in fuel sources. It has also conducted a study into how it uses its vehicles, the main idea being the avoidance of “empty runs,” where ground support vehicles are unnecessarily used. The airport has introduced a new software system for managing its ground operations, and it’s reported this could save as much as 500 tons of CO2 per year.
Similarly, Brussels-based Aviapartner, which operates at 31 stations throughout Europe, has its new “Visualiser” airport system, which again aims to facilitate more efficient use of its vehicles. The company has also said it is open to the idea of pooling GSE, wherever this makes sense.
Other innovative solutions further highlight the efforts being made by ground support companies. For example, increasing stationary power supply so aircraft don’t have to run their Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) has already reduced emissions at a number of stations.
Waste management is also crucial. The glycols used in deicing are environmentally damaging, and these must be handled with care and disposed of responsibly. One idea is electronic management of glycol content so there is only as much in the mix as the conditions warrant. SAS Ground Services has even looked at infrared deicing, although it found the technique was not best suited to extreme Nordic conditions.
Recycling equipment, reducing water consumption during equipment washes and mobile passenger stairs that operate using solar power further illustrate the commitment being shown in the fight to alleviate climate change. And it’s not just specifics. The holistic view is allowing companies to greatly reduce paper consumption by introducing better software, integrating electronic procedures and files and generally improving operational efficiency.
The fact that Copenhagen didn’t impose any targets on the aviation industry hasn’t affected the ongoing work in environmental mitigation. Ground Handlers have long-standing and far-reaching strategies, and these will undoubtedly help the aviation industry look ahead to a greener future.
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