North Sweden Cleantech

How to reduce the carbon footprint in the transport sector

The use of district heating/cooling for parked aircraft to reduce the carbon emissions at airports.

Many airports have their own heating/cooling plant or are already connected to a waterborne heating/cooling network to supply the terminal building with its energy need. Although few have realized the benefits of connecting the aircraft air conditioning units to the system as well. In doing so the airport will be releasing electric power for other areas where it cannot be replaced by other energy forms. This will give a better utilization of our energy resources. It also opens up to a reduction of carbon emissions related to the aircraft maintenance.

The air conditioning units are used to keep the aircraft warm and ventilated when parked on the ground to avoid the risk of sensitive systems freezing and to have the cabin at a comfortable temperature for the crew and passengers when boarding.

At Luleå Airport, one of two pilot sets, this was previously done with electrically powered units. They are now replaced with units connected to the district heating system. The units are mounted underneath the boarding bridges and the air is transported through a new unique, insulated duct to the aircraft. The duct is lightweight and flexible which makes it easy to handle and folds in a crate for storage between uses. The district heating in Luleå is waste heat from SSAB which means instead of going to waste by being let out to the environment it is utilized to keep buildings, homes and now aircraft warm.

The installation of district heating powered air conditioning units from Smart Climate Scandinavian AB have drastically reduced the electricity demand at Luleå Airport. The option was to build a new transformer substation but with the installation of new air conditioning units for the aircraft that could be avoided.

The results were immediate. During the first year of use the electricity demand to the aircraft was reduced by 95%. The total amount of energy used by the three boarding bridges where the units are installed was 40% lower than before. The carbon emissions are also 95% lower which means 12 ton less of carbon dioxides per unit and year.

Design temperature in Luleå is -30°C (-22°F) and there has been no problem with keeping the aircraft warm during the coldest nights. Prior to the exchange of AC-units the ground crew sometimes started to experience problems when the outside temperature dropped below -20°C (-4°F). The district heating combined with the Pure Generation AC provides capacity that previous equipment could not.

Pilot sets:
Luleå Airport. Three units mounted under the boarding bridge.
(Ängelholm/Helsingborg Airport. Three mobile units.)

Visit Luleå Airport during: Winter, spring and fall.
Duration: approx. 1 hour
Languages: Swedish and English


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