There is a growing global objective to reduce emissions from all sources. The introduction and improvements in current technologies that reduce or eliminate emissions have resulted in cleaner air. While aviation is growing, it represents a relatively small percentage of overall emissions and as new technologies become viable, aviation will represent a larger percentage of overall emissions, and will thus see increasing pressure to reduce or eliminate emissions.
Airports are seeking to reduce or eliminate emissions by taking advantage of state and federal programs, cleaner energy, and improvements in ground transportation, and by partnering with their tenants, such as the airlines, to reduce ground service equipment (GSE) emissions.
The industry is finding that there are several ways in which zero emissions can be defined. In fact, some consider zero emissions to mean zero net emissions, i.e., no new emissions. While there are some zero emissions technologies like solar and wind, these are not yet developed enough to sustain our energy requirements. And there are no standards across industries for what zero emissions mean, especially within aviation.
The infrastructure investment that is necessary to support zero emission technologies may involve a long planning time horizon, requiring airports to budget and build at least a couple of years before implementation and in anticipation of future needs, but airport staff don’t always know where to start. A roadmap to reduce or pursue zero emissions may assist airports in identifying policy and technology options, and in confidently making those long-term investment decisions.
The objectives of this research were to develop a (1) guidebook and (2) methodology or process that airports can use to develop a roadmap to achieve zero-emissions.
Status: The research is complete and a pre-publication can be found https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/180127.aspx The research team will be implementing their guidelines at an airport in 2020, and will update the guidelines to incorporate lessons learned on implementation.