A first of its kind pilot project in Africa consisting of a ground-mounted 500kW solar power generation facility and mobile airport gate electric equipment was launched last month at Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kenya.
By providing pre-conditioned air and compatible electricity that runs on solar energy to aircraft during ground operations, this new solar-at-gate project will eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft parked at the gate, which currently use their auxiliary power unit (APU) powered by jet fuel or airport ground power units (GPU) fueled by diesel to run on-board systems and cooling before departing for their next flight.
The solar facility will generate 820,000 kWh per year and will avoid at least 1,300 tonnes of CO₂ every year, while the airport gate equipment will serve more than 2,500 flights per year, demonstrating a concrete solution to reduce aviation carbon emissions. “It is not only a transformative development in the aviation sector of Kenya – and of the continent – but it is also an inspiring model of how such change can best be accomplished”, said Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
“I wish that this ‘Solar-at-Gate’ project serves as an inspiration and that we could see its replication in many other States in support of a low emissions air transport.” The inauguration ceremony was attended by more than 150 representatives from all ICAO Member States, including ICAO Council Members, representatives of international organizations and officials from Civil Aviation Authorities, airport authorities, and relevant stakeholders.
This pilot project was implemented as part of a €6.5 million initiative, entitled “Capacity Building for CO2 Mitigation from International Aviation”, implemented by ICAO and funded by the European Union, which targets 14 States – 12 of them from the African region and two from the Caribbean region – to address carbon emissions in the aviation sector. “I would like to acknowledge the financial, technical and strategic support of ICAO and the European Union” recognised Capt. Gilbert Kibe, Director General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).
“Through this initiative, we were able to develop Kenya’s Action Plan to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Aviation and identify the use of solar energy at airports as a measure to contribute to global efforts to minimize aviation’s carbon footprint. I am pleased to announce to all of you here today that this project has been an incentive for Kenya Airports Authority to move ahead and adopt a new strategy of green energy at Moi international Airport. Our target will be among other targets, operating on zero-carbon emissions by 2020.” Mr. Jonny Andersen, Managing Director of Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) noted.
The expected savings on electricity as well as reduction in carbon emissions will contribute towards the efficient operations of Moi International Airport” Today’s inauguration ceremony is followed by a capacity building seminar with the focal points of the 12 African States that are part of the ICAO and European Union partnership. This will be the last of four Seminars organized under this project in the region to support the preparation of Action Plans on Emissions Reduction, the establishment of emissions inventories and the implementation of mitigation measures.