Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Today one of the major contributors to the generation of greenhouse gases and increasing the carbon footprint goes to large-scale industries, facilities, and business establishments. Therefore, using renewable energy to run these infrastructures will be more beneficial for the environment and the public as well. Airports all across the world have a major share in the generation of greenhouse gases due to the high amount of power consumption. Moreover, it's high time that these facilities start to e depend on renewable energy and gradually acquire a greener functioning self-sustainable solution.
Considering an airport, self-sustainability is an achievable factor in the aspect of power generation as they occupy larger areas and have a bunch of vacant spaces to install solar panels. However, the use of wind turbines is not advisable as it may cause disruption to flight paths.
You might have probably heard of it the Cochin International Airport - CIAL has chosen the path of greener energy, the first of its kind to be fully functional under solar power. All the power requirement for the airport is met from the solar panels placed in the airport compound besides the airstrips in without creating any disturbance to frequent flights.
In this blog, I am about to describe the milestone achievement by CIAL in functioning as a fully solar-powered airport and another initiative following a similar path.
Absolutely power neutral airport is how the airport website has described itself in its website. The setup was established in 2015 and today it has been fully functioning effectively with modernized additions of renewable technology and allocated aspects. The solar field stretches to over 45 acres within the facility, today with the capability to generate over 40-megawatt power the CIAL has become a fully solar-powered airport and the first solar-powered airport in India.
Moreover, with SCADA- Supervisory control and data acquisition the remote monitoring of the entire solar field, power generation and the control of power distribution was well managed and controlled. One of the key aspects of the development is that the power generation is only possible and storage is missing to the facility as it would even add up the cost and infrastructure. Rather they provide the power generated to the Kerala State Electricity Board and is supplied through the grid during the day when the power is generated and they will buy it back from them during the night time. Therefore, they will function as a non-renewable energy source.
As of now the installation of the 1st solar-powered airport in India has saved over 550 Metric Tonnes of CO2 emissions which will be generated if dependable on renewable sources. Moreover, the facility will generate 18 million units of renewable power on an annual basis from the best renewable source, the sun, which will be equivalent to power ten thousand households for more than a year.
Additionally, a fully solar-powered airport will also have a positive environmental impact with the initiative as it will save an equivalent amount of carbon emission generated by the burning of 3 lakh metric tonnes of coal.
Gautam Buddha International airport is another solar-powered airport.
After CIAL in India being a success in being the first solar-powered airport in India and the world, various other airports are willing to follow the initiative. An example of this is the Gautam Buddha International airport of Nepal also has taken steps to follow the initiative of going green in operations of the airport.
Similar to CIAL it has various vacant areas adjacent to the facility and in the compound allowing for the successful installation of solar fields. Moreover, the main aim of the facility and its board of directors is to be a power neutral facility which means the airport will be self-sufficient in the power needs through solar power generation.
So why are airports going solar?
Many of the concerns among this initiative will be the economical aspects related to the airports going solar or partially solar-powered. Yes, it's a topic which all should consider while discussing such a large facility operating in renewable power. More than that, consider the amount of energy, carbon emissions, burning of coal, and use of other non-renewable sources we can save with the initiative. I would say that the idea of going power neutral and running on solar-powered operation for an airport will be a cost-efficient initiative.
In addition, the use of solar panels will provide renewable self-sustainable power generation. Moreover, to that, it will be an eco-friendly initiative and will reduce the carbon footprint left on earth by such facilities.
Hope that various airports will be converting to operating on renewable energy sources and become power neutral soon.