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ICAO trials new “solar-at-gate” project

International Civil Aviation Organization trials a new environmental pilot project at airports in Jamaica.

A pilot project has just been launched bringing renewable power sources to aircraft parked at airport gates, to be introduced at two facilities in Jamaica.

Starting with Norman Manley International Airport, the project involves the installation of gate electrification equipment, along with a solar power generation facility.

To power on-board systems and provide heating and cooling while parked at their gates, aircraft usually use fuel-powered auxiliary power units or diesel-fuelled ground power units.

This new solar-at-gate solution will eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the former fossil-fuel powered units, which the International Civil Aviation Organization calls “a practical and cost-effective means by which the Caribbean country and other Small Island Developing States can reduce their aviation carbon emissions”.

Flagship project
“The importance of this flagship project for the aviation sector in Jamaica, and for other Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean, is hard to overestimate,” declared Rohan Campbell, deputy director general of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority.

“This new solar-at-gate solution will replace carbon intensive sources of energy for parked aircraft with more sustainable renewable options.”

The inauguration ceremony for the new technology was attended by around 75 officials from the Caribbean region. It falls within the framework of a collaborative project being undertaken by ICAO and the United Nations Development Programme, with funding from the Global Environment Facility.

Jane Hupe, ICAO’s deputy director for the environment, mentioned in her ceremony remarks: “For some [small island] airports, energy can constitute a major operational cost. The use of sustainable energy sources therefore helps them to take a significant and very positive step toward greater economic and environmental sustainability.”

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