A report prepared by researchers from Cranfield University in Bedfordshire said the UK needs to invest millions in carbon capture to turn “green airports” into a reality.
The researchers explored how carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technology can be used to decrease airport emissions and turn airports into “green energy power stations.”
According to the Cranfield report, what would help the UK on its way to achieving net zero targets is a combination of green hydrogen tech, direct air capture (DAC), and green aviation fuel.
Measures to decrease carbon could potentially revolutionize aerospace sustainability, particularly through CCUS at airports, said co-author Dr. Chikage Miyoshi who leads the new Sustainable Aviation Systems Laboratory at Cranfield University.
The report looked at six types of CCUS technology that could be paired up with natural solutions such as tree planting to help bring down emissions.
“Although the land required for DAC is relatively small, the initial investment is large. However, when we compute the operating cost to abate CO2 per passenger, it represents value for money,” Miyoshi said.
Current CCUS engineering measures would need as much as 2.5 km2 of land of Luton Airport, the researcher said. Some methods to decrease emissions could be introduced with airports in collaboration with local power sites.
“This collaboration provides timely, valuable insight into carbon capture and storage technologies and innovations, some of which we will explore further as we develop our evolving net zero roadmap,” said David Vazquez, head of sustainability at Luton. He added that some emissions cannot be reduced immediately but Luton Airport is committed to achieving net zero by 2040.
The report, named “The Viability of Carbon Capture at Airports using Innovative Approaches” will be available by the end of this month on the Cranfield University website.