Turin Airport goes green with EVs, reused water and a biodiversity protection scheme

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Turin Airport (TRN) in Italy intends to make its infrastructure more sustainable by protecting biodiversity and water, addressing its CO2 emissions and better managing its waste and green areas.

The airport’s primary aim is to reduce waste and recover any that is produced, thus applying the principles of the circular economy. Activities will therefore focus on reusing water to reduce the airport’s unsustainable consumption. To aid water collection, a system of tanks and filters will be completed by 2024. This water will then be used for airport operations and for routine industrial maintenance.

TRN also plans to have 40% of its vehicles powered by hybrid or electric motors by 2023, including the first electric ambulance to operate in an airport. Electric charging spaces will become available to the public, with eight columns for 16 cars alongside new parking dedicated to electric car sharing. The airport Smart Grid project is also underway, aimed at the efficient and sustainable self-production of the energy necessary for the functioning of the infrastructure. To do this, TRN will use a combined system powered by different energy sources such as methane, biogas, hydrogen, photovoltaic and solar energy.

Similarly, the airport is adopting an impoverishing regime (‘poor grass regime’) in the management of its green areas. Making the airport lawn less attractive to birdlife and fauna is intended to minimize the risk of wildlife strikes. It is hoped that this initiative will protect biodiversity and cut the total working hours of agricultural tractors, thereby reducing the airport’s environmental pollution. Moreover, from autumn 2021, 15ha will be dedicated to the cultivation of chamomile, which favors biodiversity (to be more bee friendly) and does not attract birds. The rest of the organic material collected will be used for biogas production, with the possibility of using this biogas to serve the airport infrastructure. However, this infrastructure possibility is still being evaluated.

The Torino Green Airport project will involve not only the employees of the SAGAT Group (which manages TRN) but also the entire airport community: commercial partners, suppliers and passengers. To educate and raise awareness within every part of the airport business, the Torino Green Airport will also become the subject of an external communication plan, which will involve the creation of a new ad-hoc brand characterized by the blue logo of Turin Airport combined with the green of Torino Green Airport, and an internal communication plan targeted at employees and the entire airport community.

These new efforts will be combined with past projects. Previous success has been achieved through upgrading the airport buildings by installing consumption monitoring systems and more energy-efficient air-conditioning. The airport also replaced its heat generators with low-emission equipment and its lighting bodies with new LED systems. Similarly, it installed an air-conditioning unit with high-efficiency refrigeration units and automatic systems to regulate the perceived power of light. Finally, the airport installed an IoT system for the General Aviation Terminal. This system captures data from probes installed throughout the building and adjusts the heating and air-conditioning systems appropriately. The installation has enabled electricity and natural gas consumption savings of up to 30%.

The result of these measures between 2009-2019 saw TRN reduce its consumption of CO2 , electrical energy and heating fuels. Overall, 45% less CO2 was emitted between 2009-2019: in 2009 Turin Airport emitted 13,626 tons of CO2 into the environment, whereas in 2019 it emitted 7,500 tons. There was a 55% decrease per individual passenger, with 4.2 tons of CO2 emitted in 2009 but only 1.8 tons in 2019.

The total consumption of electrical energy dropped from more than 25,000MWh in 2009 to approximately 17,000MWh in 2019, a reduction of 32% over the decade. There was a 45% decrease per individual passenger, from 7.83kWh in 2009 to 4.32kWh in 2019.

Consumption of heating fuels was reduced by 20% over this period, declining from 9,167MWh in 2009 to 7,350MWh in 2019. Per individual passenger, the percentage reduction over these 10 years is higher – from 2009 to 2019 there was a 35% decrease, from 2.84MWh to 1.86MWh.

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