Reducing carbon emission and costs in the aviation industry through innovative airport design and handling processes

In the iPort project a new approach to both airport design and handling processes is being examined. The iPort concept, which allows landed aircrafts to be managed and prepared for flights at one central rotating structure, offers significant savings in both emissions and resources.

The climate change issue

The aviation industry currently accounts for 3% of human generated greenhouse gas emissions. This share is expected to increase to 5%. Up to 90% of these emissions occur during the handling and taxiing of aircraft. Aircraft handling now is a parallel process requiring many resources, while aircraft landing and departing are sequential processes. This accounts for many parallel flows of goods, people, energy, water, food and waste.

The project solution

The iPort project presents a new, revolutionary concept for airport design. The iPort is a terminal building on a circular rotating platform, which allows condensing airport flows and makes their environmental impacts easier to address and manage.  It also implies transforming handling into a sequential process. Moreover, the iPort concept comprises both an Aircraft Transportation Platform (ATP) and a Rotating Platform. The ATP is the core component of the iPort, which accounts for lateral movement of aircraft, whilst the rotating platform allows the sequential handling process in a limited area. The iPort concept will lead to greenhouse gas emission reduction, as well as turnaround time and resources necessary for handling processes, mobility equipment, personnel and walking distances for passengers.

The first calculations show that by relying on this concept, a carbon footprint reduction in terms of energy and resources of more than 40% can be achieved. In the iPort project these data will be further assessed with Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) calculations.

The iPort concept is not only highly innovative, but also offers huge reductions on both costs and the environmental impact. iPort therefore has the potential to become the global standard for sustainable airports. It is well suited for new airports as well as renovation of existing airports.

The role of Climate-KIC

“Thanks to the Climate-KIC network I got to know Jonas van Stekelenburg of Schiphol the Grounds. He approached me to participate in and coordinate this project, involving collecting operational data on energy efficiency and saving possibilities of aircraft landing and handling processes at Amsterdam Airport. To complete our team we now have York Ostermeyer on board, who is an expert in environmental life cycle analysis at Chalmers University, Sweden, being one of the partners in Climate-KIC’s new Nordic location.” , Utrecht University