New ways to use solar energy at Australian airports – pv magazine Australia
Airports are increasingly turning to solar power to decarbonize, with ideas ranging from fancy solar runways and “dead zone” solar lanes to very real roof panels. Whatever happens, solar certainly has its place at airports, with Brisbane Airport saving between $ 20 million and $ 50 million thanks to the solar system it installed in 2019.
As transportation electrification accelerates, aviation is under renewed pressure to plan its shift away from fossil fuels. While the precise way in which the planes themselves will reduce their emissions remains uncertain, airports are turning to solar power to meet the 2030 net zero targets to which more than 100 global airports have already committed.
Some of the ideas launched include solar runways as well as the introduction of solar sidewalks in “dead zones” between where planes park at the gates. Both “gimmicks” in the sense that such projects are conceptual and still far from reality, Ken Conway of aviation consulting firm Airbiz said that there are much more entrenched avenues for airports today. integrate solar energy.
Speaking at the Smart Aviation Asia Pacific event on Tuesday, Conway pointed out that instead of a solar runway, which is quite questionable in terms of the force required to cope with the dynamic load of landing planes. , it is much more likely that solar energy can be installed on the shoulders, or edges of tracks. For a 7.5-meter-wide and 3,500-meter-long runway, Conway estimates that approximately 50,000 square meters could potentially be used to install solar power, which could in turn power lighting systems or other airport operations. “This is where the thought now begins to imagine itself moving forward,” he said.
While Conway described solar pavements in airport dead zones as “stargazing,” he said the introduction of solar power above terminal doors is already a reality. Airports, he added, are now exploring opportunities to introduce green autonomous ramps.
As part of his work, Conway is now starting to see airports co-locate ground-based solar panels of over 20MW integrated with “main” battery storage systems that alone can provide between 30% and 35%. of the airport’s electricity demand each year.
In terms of Australian airports, Brisbane currently has the largest operational solar panel with 6 MW, of which 5 MW of capacity is installed on the rooftops, while 1 MW is mounted on the ground. Speaking at the same event, Dhwaraknath Nagarajan, the electrical project manager at Brisbane Airport, said that the airport’s impressive solar panel, which is spread across five sites at the airport, has helped d ” save both significant sums and carbon emissions over the two years and more. worked. “With solar power, we were able to shift the capital expenditure onto what we call the high-voltage infrastructure needed to run the airport’s power grid. So we were able to defer $ 20 million to $ 50 million because the peak load demand was handled by our solar system, ”Nagarajan said.
Brisbane Airport will soon be overtaken by Melbourne, which is currently installing a 12 MW project at its airport, doubling Brisbane’s capacity.
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