Kenya has become the first country in Africa to install a solar system at an airport to reduce aviation carbon emissions by planes during take-off.
The ground-mounted 500kW solar power generation facility which was launched at Moi International Airport – will help reduce at least 1,300 tonnes of carbon emissions (CO2) through providing pre-conditioned air and compatible electricity that runs on solar energy to aircraft during ground operations.
The solar project will also have savings on electricity hence efficient operations at the Airport.
Currently, planes 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 the next flight.
“It is not only a transformative development in Kenya’s aviation sector – and of the continent – but 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).
Captain Gilbert Kibe, Director General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority said the initiative enabled the development of Kenya’s State’s Action Plan for Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Aviation.
It also identified the use of solar energy at airports as a measure to bolster global efforts to minimize aviation’s carbon footprint.
” KCAA recognises the importance of the global warming issues which took centre stage at the COP 24 Conference in Poland. As such we have been making aggressive efforts to address Green Gas House (GHG) emission from Aviation with the financial, technical and strategic support of ICAO and the European Union,” said Kibe
Kenya Airports Authority Managing Director, Jonny Andersen, was excited to note that the authority is the first in the region to have the Solar PV system installed.
“This project will make a big difference on how we consume energy in our Airport. Our target is to among others to operate on zero-carbon emissions by 2020.”
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This pilot project was implemented by ICAO and funded by the European Union (EU) as part of a €6.5 million initiative, entitled “Capacity Building for CO2 Mitigation from International Aviation.”
The initiative targets 14 States – 12 of them from the African region and two from the Caribbean region – to address carbon emissions in the aviation sector.