World’s first biogas-fuel snow removal – in Sweden

Swedavia invests around €22 million in the new vehicles

For the first time, snow removal at airports can be carried out at airports using biogas-fuelled snow removal equipment that is environmentally sustainable.

Swedavia, which operates ten airports in Sweden, has a target of zero fossil carbon dioxide emissions from its own operations by 2020. Since 2005, Swedavia has cut its emissions of fossil carbon dioxide by 69%, to 3,800 tonnes in 2013.

Now what it calls a “critical step” is being taken to meet that target as new snow removal equipment has been adapted to run on renewable biogas. Swedavia is investing about SEK 200 million (€22 million) in the new vehicles by 2016. So far, the operator has ordered 29 new snow removal machines, eight of which will be delivered this winter.

In addition to reduced carbon dioxide emissions, it means lower fuel costs and a standardised fleet of vehicles with lower maintenance costs, Swedavia stresses. The development work is being carried out together with vehicle manufacturers Aebi Schmidt and Volvo. Otherwise the fleet has largely been replaced by electrically powered vehicles.

For the ploughing of runways at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, up to ten vehicles operate in formation at the same time. That way they plough, sweep and blow the 2,500–3,500 metre-long landing runways clean in about eight minutes. The new vehicles, which are 15 metres long and weigh close to 30 tonnes with the plough attachment, then plough, sweep and blow the remaining snow at a speed of 130 metres a second.

When ten vehicles are used at once, 400 litres of fuel are consumed in an hour. Operating on biogas will cut vehicle emissions in the short term by 70% using a diesel mix. Swedavia’s goal is to replace that diesel mix with renewable diesel by 2020 at the latest, which means “zero emissions of fossil carbon dioxide for the entire Swedavia Group”.

TTG Nordic

[photo courtesy Swedavia]


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