Heathrow operator may use underground de-icing system
A geothermal energy system to keep ice off the runways could be the answer for major European airports badly affected by what seem to be increasingly extreme winter weather conditions. Heathrow operator BAA is reportedly considering using such an “environmentally friendly” solution by storing waste energy underground in summer and then warming the ground below the aircraft with it to battle snow and ice. Similar systems are in use at Scandinavian airports. Last December hundreds of flights were grounded at Heathrow due to fast-forming ice.
“We are working on a concept to capture geothermal energy from the surface of the tarmac – so it is energy without using the grid – during the summer, to then provide a heating capability so the stands don’t freeze in the winter,” explained Steven Morgan, BAA’s capital projects director, told Building magazine, which is part of TTG’s parent company UBM. “We would store the energy underground and use it to gently heat water that would then be run through pipes in freezing conditions to warm the stands, which are the slabs of concrete directly beneath the planes, to just above zero.”