Heathrow Airport Emissions

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A short report on various ways and techniques that could be employed to reduce Heathrow\'s environmental impact.

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Heathrow Airport Emissions

  1. 1. HEATHROW AIRPORT CO2 EMISSIONS<br />EU Derivatives, Kyoto Agreement, Committee of Climate Change, EU-ETS, IATA guidelines, Airline and Airport pledges, and the oncoming Copenhagen Summit. All set out different deadlines, guidelines and targets for Aviation to abide by, it can be very confusing for an operator as to what guideline to follow or what scheme to implement. With this in mind “EU directives on all industries to reduce their carbon emissions significantly by 2050.” Part of the assignment question directly contradicts the targets set out by the others listed above, with the Copenhagen Summit introducing yet more guidelines and regulations on December 7th 09 potentially replacing or altering EU laws with G20 laws and regulations it makes it hard to try and quantify what set of regulations this assignment should follow. For this reason I will plan to show how Heathrow can become carbon neutral by 2050 as the second part of the assignment asks (which contradicts EU legislation of 60-80 reduction by 2050) and show how immediate and 10-15 year implementations can be introduced to target the 2020 quota for reduction of emissions. I hope I have made myself somewhat clear and I hope it will not reduce the mark of this assignment.<br />Introduction<br />There is world-wide agreement that Climate Change is being accelerated by human activities with the primary cause being from the release of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Aviation in its current state accounts for 1.6% of global emissions (CO2) but it is widely accepted if the growth and CO2 is to remain at the growth of doubling or possible tripling in 2030-2050 then Aviation will become the leading CO2 emitter in the developed world. <br />Aviation emissions are largely a result from Aircraft operations with actual flight being the biggest contributor towards the CO2 and NOx(Nitrogen Oxide) but what about the operations on the ground? Heathrow is the busiest international Airport in the world a title to be proud of to a certain extent but a title that brings major attention to the impact it has on the area it operates in. Heathrow has been constrained for many years, it’s placed on the edge of West London, a very congested wealthy area with Reading another bustling city further to the West. It is literally surrounded by residents and has no real room to grow to the Airport it should become. Heathrow is a major contributor to Aviation in the UK with 67million passengers flying through the Airport as of 2009 a number that has been constant since 2004 CITATION CAA09 l 2057 (CAA, CAA Aviation Trends, 2009). At 97% capacity it is clear that Heathrow is in need of rapid expansion to cater for the intense demand to land there. <br />How can Heathrow justify and sustain an expansion in a World that has in the past 5-8 years turned completely against Aviation expansion? The drawbacks with expansion are; increased emissions, increased noise pollution, degrading Air quality, increased congestion and increased distain in public opinion. Heathrow has to make a considerable change to its policies to become a ‘green Airport’ to win approval from Aviation lobbyists about the increase in flight movements expansion will bring. <br />The real question: is Heathrow a victim of the clients that operate within it? Newly developed T5 made huge strides to maintain a good image environmentally with facts such as: <br /><ul><li>“At Terminal 5 we will be collecting 85% of the rainwater that hits the building and re-using it for non-potable uses, reducing demands on the mains system by 70%.
  2. 2. 85% of Terminal 5’s heat will be supplied by excess heat produced from the Heathrow heat and power station, piped through an underground tunnel.
  3. 3. Terminal 5 is built on reclaimed land from a previous sludge works.
  4. 4. 30,000 native woodland plants and 4,000 trees and shrubs are being planted around Terminal 5.
  5. 5. Smarter runway and Airport design means Aircraft engines idle less, reducing emissions. Aircraft will do less taxiing too.
  6. 6. We’re also encouraging passengers to reduce their emissions by making it easy to use more environmentally friendly transport to get to and from Terminal 5.”
  7. 7. CITATION BAA096 l 2057 (BAA, 2009)</li></ul>You could almost say T5 has shown that Airport construction can be almost environmentally sustainable and with this in mind BAA can emulate this environmental role throughout the Airport with the reconstruction of T1 & T2 and with further expansion from T6 and a third runway. <br />However, Heathrow is largely dependent on fossil fuels to power the enterprise and could improve considerably in the ground operations and with new Air traffic congestion policies. With the ultimate goal to reduce carbon emissions to 2005 levels by 2050 set out by the Committee of Climate Change in its recommendation to the UK Government CITATION Com09 l 2057 (Change-Committee-on-Climate, 2009) Radical and somewhat unorthodox changes have to be implemented both Ground and Air-borne. <br />Technological breakthroughs are being heavily relied on for the Airline Operators but for Heathrow the technology to sustain a near zero emission, zero waste Airport are already available albeit with future improvements. I will be looking into the possibility of implanting renewable energy resources throughout the Airport, replacement of ground vehicles with hydrogen cell vehicles or electrical vehicles powered by renewable energy, improvements of taxing and Air Traffic Control (ATM) systems, the recycling and reusable materials to reduce carbon intensive production of materials and the problems all of these changes will have to overcome for Heathrow to become carbon neutral by 2050.<br />Air traffic Control<br />22745701593850While Air Traffic control improvements would largely benefit Airline operators a distinct benefit can be seen from the adjustments it would make over Heathrow Airspace. By using SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) allows for a segmented European Air traffic control system to be united under one controlling body. This in turn results in the direct routes to destinations instead of re-routing over certain areas due to ATM agreements; this in turn reduces time duration of a flight allowing for a reduction in carbon emissions. A more structured Air Traffic Flow Management system allows for reduced delays in terms of taxing and a reduction of stacking with the benefits seen below:<br /> CITATION Eur09 p 108 l 2057 (Eurocontrol, 2009, p. 108)<br />The benefits from the reduction of CO2 may be negated by the massive increase in flight movements an approved single ATM would allow Heathrow to handle. However, this would also result in a better route structure allowing for a reduction in noise by using more convenient routes.<br />25717501050925<br /> CITATION Eur09 p 42 l 2057 (Eurocontrol, 2009, p. 42)<br />Investment would also be very low for Heathrow as shown in the chart to the right and would in theory allow for a greater reduction of idling time around Airport Airspace which may have a positive effect on Air quality and reduced noise from an improved Continual Decent Approach procedure. <br />Obstacles<br />The main problems with implementing this procedure for Heathrow is the fact that there has been no real agreement for SESAR to be implemented as of yet. The ATC of Europe is largely divided at the present time with only the might of EU law and political clout that can push forward these changes. A single sky operates within the United States a model for such a system to be implemented in Europe. However, “Definition of clear governance and leadership structure for the deployment activities covering all phases is vital.” CITATION Eur09 p 130 l 2057 (Eurocontrol, 2009, p. 130) This has not come to fruition at the present time with clear political leadership required to take ownership of the master plan of implementation. <br />According to the Eurocontrol Master Plan CITATION Eur09 p 66 l 2057 (Eurocontrol, 2009, p. 66) ATC service level 5 the final level for full implementation of SESAR will become a reality at 2028, 19 years away if there are no delays. A substantial wait for the system with emission targets of 20% by 2020 SESAR should be put in place far sooner. <br />Ground Operations<br />Transport Investment<br />Trains<br />A backbone of Heathrow trains ferry passengers in and out of the Airport. Reliance on trains is a good thing as trains can be powered by renewable energy from offshore wind-farms or by the use of extensive nuclear power. Improvements to the efficiency of the trains operated by BAA are also welcomed in helping reduce total energy consumption with Fristco an Airport design consultant derived ways to reduce 200t/yearly of CO2 on the Heathrow Express train by implanting small changes such as<br />Escape shafts - change to normal-off and use remote control function<br />Station areas, platforms and concourses - reduce lighting levels out of hours<br />Back of house areas not in common use - use movement sensors CITATION Fri09 n l 2057 (Firstco Reduces Heathrow Express' Energy Consumption, 2009)<br />Buses & Car<br />“The bus and coach station at Heathrow is the second-busiest bus station in the UK. BAA invests directly in local bus services by providing funding for cleaner buses and subsidising local bus routes around the Airport so that all passengers, staff or local residents can travel for free.” CITATION BAA08 l 2057 (BAA, How we are reducing emissions from vehicles, 2008)<br />“Encouraging staff to car share<br />BAA operates the largest car-sharing scheme in Europe. More than 6,000 people from over 300 Airport companies are members, and two-thirds car share three times a week. Since 2001 the scheme has prevented 53 million kilometres of unnecessary car journeys, cut fuel consumption by nearly 5 millions litres and saved 11 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.” CITATION BAA08 l 2057 (BAA, How we are reducing emissions from vehicles, 2008)<br />As shown, BAA are promoting good practice by offering free travel and promoting a more environmentally way to get to the Airport for staff. This is The inherent problem with this is the cost that these programs and investments cost, the transportation of 1,000s of staff and offering potentially 10,000s of local residents free travel may promote a kinder image but can become very expensive. <br />Personal Rapid Transit<br />20154909080535394903687445Heathrow business car-parks are a considerable distance from terminal buildings with less valuable land being used as car space. With this in mind the need for buses and taxis increase the CO2 released by the Airport considerably. This is increased further when congestion is taken into account which is often very frequent in the Heathrow area. Therefore Heathrow have taken the opportunity to add a revolutionary new vehicle that’s run completely on electricity, has no driver, can accommodate up to 4 people, and reduces carbon emissions drastically compared to other transport. The Personal Rapid Transit(ULTra) designed by ATS (Advanced Transport Systems) is the first of its kind in any Airport. It runs entirely on its own road and therefore bypasses any congestion at Heathrow car-parks. <br />The energy efficiency can be shown in the table below with the Y-axis showing megajouls of energy required to run per passenger. <br />The service is largely on a trial basis and could be implemented further to other car-parks or far away area in Heathrow. A future implication could also involve the introduction of the vehicles on Airside to deal with transportation of passengers from planes or by personnel. The speed of 25mph limits the use to car-parks and short distances but this could be improved over the coming years as the relatively new technology develops further. <br />Renewable Energy<br />Solar Power<br />The British climate may not be the ideal place for solar panels to work at 100% efficiency however, the advantages that come from using solar panels still make them a worthy investment. Solar panels feed off of the sun’s energy and therefore only work through daylight hours and are at peak efficiency when there is ample sun to acquire. This can make them unreliable considering British weather. However, with efficiencies of 30% of sunlight harnessed being average for high-grade solar panels it makes it an ideal choice to reduce carbon emissions. <br />Vancouver, Canada has a very similar climate to ours with comparable seasons and similar sunlight levels. Vancouver Airport has implemented the changes needed to install “100 solar panels on the roof of the domestic terminal building help to heat an average of 800 gallons of hot water each hour.” With “savings of nearly $90,000 and 8,569 gigajoules of electricity per year, and a proportional reduction in emissions.” CITATION env09 l 2057 (enviro.aero, 2009) Showing a clear indication that Solar at Heathrow is a good investment for the future. The future Terminal East that will replace T2 and the Queen’s building and merge with T1 and will cater for a complete solar panelled roof, but will not arrive until 2019. CITATION Bri09 n l 2057 (Foster + Partners Unveil Energy-Efficient Heathrow Airport Terminal, 2009)<br />Obstacles<br />Solar energy is expensive for the energy it produces, with the average cost of a solar panel taking 20-30 years to recover back. However, with a complete array of Solar panels this cost can be taken back quickly this can be coupled with economy of scales of large installations of Solar. Solar at the present time won’t be implemented into Heathrow until 2019 this is too late to meet 2020 deadlines of at least 20% reduction of CO2 to 2005 levels, a swift installation onto existing buildings could cater for the excessive wait and allow CO2 reductions to be far quicker in the coming years. <br />Wind Power<br />3173730344170 Boston Logan Airport<br />Wind Power is a renewable sustainable energy source that could be used at Heathrow to achieve its goals to reduce CO2 from on-site energy requirements. By 2020 20% of energy will have to be obtained from renewable resources as states the EU Energy Targets which the UK has signed up to. With this in mind wind turbines (now accounting for 1.5% of renewable energy in UK) has been put in planning and practice in Airports around the world. <br />A prime example is Boston Logan Airport which has installed 20 wind turbines on its turbine roof as shown from figure 4. The Airport hopes that the 8-foot-tall towers will generate about 100,000 kilowatt-hours a year. That's about 2% of the building's monthly energy use. CITATION usa08 l 2057 (usatoday, 2008)<br />A similar proposal can be used upon any Heathrow building; the interference feared with ATC and large wind turbines is unfounded with the size of the small turbines. The small reduction in CO2 from the relatively small turbines can be exchanged for larger turbines that have been proposed at East Midlands Airport. <br />57150857250“Each turbine can produce up to 225kWh. On average in the UK they produce about 30% of their rated output, in this instance that should be enough to supply around 10% of the Airport’s power or enough to power over 500 houses.”<br /> CITATION Eas07 n l 2057 (Our commitment to your environment - East Midlands Airport’s Wind Turbine proposal, 2007)<br />Obstacles<br />However, East Midlands Airport has the advantage of not being surrounded by neighbouring towns and has plenty of space to place turbines the proposed turbines would be 800metres from any house or property allowing for a massive reduction on public disapproval by bypassing the NIMBY factor. For Heathrow, this would not be the case as can be shown from the map below. <br />Red dots signify the most likely placement of wind turbines of considerable size and blue dots could be a placement of similar Boston style mounted wind turbines. Very little research has been done upon a proposal on wind turbines at Heathrow and therefore this is pure theory as to whether the turbines would be feasible in an Airport of Heathrow’s size. I based the placement on minimal interference with flight paths and the placement away from any towns. For the small mounted turbines, T5 is the most likely compared to other terminals as they are very likely to be considerably re-designed in the coming years with indications on T1 and T2. New Terminal buildings can also be applied to the proposal in the coming years though.<br />Wind turbines are largely reliant on the speed of wind for their power and therefore can never be a complete replacement for Heathrow for a sustainable resource. With a limited use of wind turbines the target to become carbon neutral can be added to from an almost extra source rather than a dominant reliable source as space and reliability is at the present time not feasible for such an important structure. Whether these disadvantages will change by 2050 with improvements in technology is pure speculation but with world-wide implementation of wind turbines there is a likely hood that cost of production and improvements to models may make turbines more efficient for use. <br />Geothermal Energy <br />190501508125A far more sustainable resource compared to wind turbine or solar is geothermal energy. Geothermal Energy is energy taken from the heat of the earth from below the crust allowing for a sustained energy replacement to heating alternatives. Paris Orly Airport have already laid the plans for its own geothermal source to power the near entirety of its Airport and neighbouring business park. The infrastructure is to cost €10m and is to save 3,600t of oil and 7,000t of CO2 emissions a detailed overview can be found below: <br /> CITATION Par08 n l 2057 (CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REPORT 2008 - Paris, Aéroports de, 2008)<br />The system is expected to have a lift of 30 years which until needing replacing or extensive maintenance work. Paris Orly has 25million passengers passing through the Airport every year CITATION Aér09 l 2057 (Aéroports de Paris, 2009). The system is the first in the world and should be used as a future template for what Heathrow can achieve while extensive work will need to be done to see if it is viable in the area of Heathrow there should be a consortium to carry out the necessary ground work to cater for the needs of such an Airport as large as Heathrow. By drastically reducing heating costs and the resulting emissions it would allow Heathrow to make a considerable step towards being carbon neutral more so than reliance on wind and solar energy would. <br />Obstacles<br />There are some drawbacks to the system however, there is little knowledge on the Geothermal potential under Heathrow Airport and the need to research this matter may take a considerable length of time this is coupled with the implementation of the system in a considerably constrained Airport area. This could be overcome with night work when flights are majorly reduced and the impact of drilling and construction would be very much reduced to a minimum. There is also the cost of the system while Orly is a relatively small Airport compared to Heathrow it makes it hard to compare relative costs of the similar system. The system would have to go through planning procedures and perhaps approval by governmental bodies to be allowed to go ahead. There is also the limited space to install excessive heating systems and pipeline in an Airport that is already experiencing overcapacity in majority of terminals. A feasibility study of the area would be the best way to overcome these obstacles and allow for a more balanced view on how the heating would benefit the Airport as a whole. <br />Recycling & Sustainability <br />While recycling and sustainability may not seem the obvious choice to directly reduce carbon emission you have to take into account that materials and goods are still predominantly produced using factories that rely upon the power of non-renewable carbon producing power. While this would not directly impact upon Heathrow’s carbon footprint the cost to the environment is still as great. A program of promoting recycling is key to not only save costs but to save the planet, by reusing waste and materials from rebuilding and reshaping areas of Heathrow the Airport is indirectly saving on CO2 and allowing for a greater reduction of CO2 as a country. This may not seem obvious at the present time but when EU-ETS comes into full force, carbon trading will benefit greatly if unneeded manufacturing of goods and materials do not have to be made. This allows industries to sell on to Aviation (in particular) excess carbon trades to cater for the lack of technological improvement that may occur for the future of Aircraft, and sustaining Airport growth.<br />“BAA has a target of recycling or composting 40% of its waste by 2010 and 70% of its waste by 2020. We are also investigating the possibility of turning our non-recyclable waste into energy.” CITATION BAA092 l 2057 (BAA, Cutting emissions from airport buildings, 2009) A target that will maintain the stability of the surrounding environment and save on landfill costs for Heathrow. By using the non-recyclable waste into energy a decrease in CO2 may occur. <br />“Waste materials have been segregated on the Terminal 5 site and over 85% of the waste from the project has been recycled. We have set a further target of 90% of the demolition waste from the Heathrow East project to be recycled.” CITATION BAA081 l 2057 (BAA, Setting new standards for low-carbon construction, 2008) This is a clear indication of a reduction of purchasing materials and reducing CO2.<br />Obstacles <br />Recycling can be a learning curve for some employees and training will need to be implemented to make sure that all staff knows that recycling has to be done within the Airport at all times. However, while training can be relatively easy to perform and painless the main obstacle is to maintain the procedures with employees and on-site construction to ensure that the regulations are met. <br />Burning non-recyclable waste may result in a carbon increase this is obviously a bad step to take if Heathrow is to reduce its carbon emissions considerably. A study will have to be performed to negate whether the energy produced is worth the increase in CO2 and reduction of waste. <br />Carbon Neutral by 2050<br />Can Heathrow become carbon neutral by 2050? If heavy investment is put in place for a complete shift from fossil fuels and a 100% recycling program then yes. However, it is not currently possible. The lack of renewable energy on the Heathrow site is lacking compared to the mega-structure of the Airport. The infrastructure needed in terms of wind-farms would have to be the same as a small town, and the solar energy required would need an area far too great to be sustained economically. <br />Heathrow can only hope that reliance on the UK energy grid introducing a far abundance of renewable energy to buy will cater for their CO2 emissions. The waste and recycling are already to a very high standard in Heathrow and it is only set to improve with procedures that other Airports should be taking notes from. <br />As for transport to and from the Airport, Heathrow have made strides in committing its resources in building up the infrastructure to ensure that Heathrow is one of best connected Airports in Europe by having multiple train options and underground, coupled with a large coach station and on-site transport that is very environmentally friendly. Heathrow is subject to people’s choice, if people choose to use their non-hybrid car to drive to Heathrow then there is nothing Heathrow can do to prevent the onset of the emissions from that car. However, the important factor is that there is a multitude of cheap choices available to the passenger and if they choose to be environmentally friendly they can choose the right option for the planet. Heathrow is overall on the right track to become an environmentally friendly Airport despite the bad press from the planes that use it. <br />Conclusion<br />Aviation as a whole will come under continued scrutiny within the coming years as the growth explodes in the Eastern-Asia regions and continues to grow at a moderate pace in Europe. There is little that the EU can do to combat exceptional growth outside of Europe but within Europe it can maintain the stance that there will substantial cuts by 2020 and drastic cuts in aviation emissions by 2050. The EU-ETS in the past has failed with prices falling too low for the system to succeed. However, with Phase 2 allowing for an increase in the price of carbon per tonne this could all change and we could see a true market of carbon trading happening by 2012. <br />--<br />Substantial cuts will come in emissions but I believe it won’t be because of fear of global warming or environmental damage on the part of the public and business; it will be the fear of schemes that threaten to not damage our planet but damage our pocket. <br />Word count with references 4015<br />Word count WITHOUT References 3159<br />Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY Aéroports de Paris. (2009, Nov). Retrieved from moodiereport.com: http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?c_id=1178&doc_id=22389Airport, E. M. (2007, August). Our commitment to your environment - East Midlands Airport’s Wind Turbine proposal. Retrieved Nov 2009, from eastmidlandsairport.com: http://www.eastmidlandsairport.com/emaweb.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/Wind+Turbine+Information.pdf/$FILE/Wind+Turbine+Information.pdfBAA. (2009). Cutting emissions from airport buildings. Retrieved Nov 2009, from heathrowairport.com: http://www.heathrowairport.com/portal/page/Heathrow%5EGeneral%5EOur+business+and+community%5EHeathrow+and+climate+change%5ECutting+emissions+from+airport+buildings/9e81875427b54110VgnVCM20000039821c0a____/448c6a4c7f1b0010VgnVCM200000357e120a____/BAA. (2008). How we are reducing emissions from vehicles. Retrieved Nov 2009, from heathrowairport.com: http://www.heathrowairport.com/portal/page/Heathrow%5EGeneral%5EOur+business+and+community%5EHeathrow+and+climate+change%5EReducing+emissions+from+vehicles/d502875427b54110VgnVCM20000039821c0a____/448c6a4c7f1b0010VgnVCM200000357e120a____/BAA. (2009). Our Terminal 5 vision . Retrieved from terminal5.ba.com: http://www.terminal5.ba.com/en/our-terminal-5-vision/our-world/BAA. (2008). Setting new standards for low-carbon construction. Retrieved Nov 2009, from heathrowairport.com: http://www.heathrowairport.com/portal/page/Heathrow%5EGeneral%5EOur+business+and+community%5EHeathrow+and+climate+change%5ESetting+new+standards+in+construction/78c2875427b54110VgnVCM20000039821c0a____/448c6a4c7f1b0010VgnVCM200000357e120a____/CAA. (2009, June). CAA Aviation Trends. Retrieved from http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/80/ERG_AviationTrends_Q2_2009.pdfChange-Committee-on-Climate. (2009). Aviation report. Retrieved from theccc.org.uk: http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/aviation-reportenviro.aero. (2009). Vancouver Airport and solar panels. Retrieved from enviro.aero: http://www.enviro.aero/VancouverAirport.aspxEurocontrol. (2009, Mar). European Air Traffic Management Master Plan. Retrieved Nov 2009, from eurocontrol.int: http://www.eurocontrol.int/sesar/gallery/content/public/docs/European%20ATM%20Master%20Plan.pdfFristco. (2009, Apr 16). Firstco Reduces Heathrow Express' Energy Consumption. Retrieved Nov 2009, from railway-technology.com: http://www.railway-technology.com/contractors/project/firstco/press14.htmlMeinhold, B. (2009, Aug). Foster + Partners Unveil Energy-Efficient Heathrow Airport Terminal. Retrieved Nov 2009, from inhabitat.com: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/08/17/foster-partners-unveils-energy-efficient-heathrow-airport-terminal/Paris, A. d. (2008). CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REPORT 2008 - Paris, Aéroports de. Paris: Aéroport de Paris.usatoday. (2008). Airport Check-in: L.A. boosts safety; Boston catches the wind. Retrieved from usatoday.com: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2008-06-29-airport-checkin_N.htm<br />

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