Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

World's First Solar Airport Generates More Power Than It Consumes

Business
World's First Solar Airport Generates More Power Than It Consumes

More than 46,000 solar panels have been laid out across 45 acres of land to fuel the operations of Cochin airport, India’s fourth largest in terms of international passenger traffic.

The vast 12 megawatt solar plant that now powers Cochin airport. Photo credit: CIAL

Officials at the airport in the south-western state of Kerala say it will now be “absolutely power neutral”—and will even produce an excess that will boost the state’s electricity grid.

The project’s designers say between 50,000 and 60,000 units of electricity will be supplied each day by the 12 megawatt plant, commissioned by the German multinational engineering and electronics company Bosch at a cost of US$9.5 million.

“When we realized the scale of our power bill, we looked at various possibilities,” says V.J. Kurian, Cochin International’s managing director.

Sustainable Model

“We consume around 48,000 units of power a day. So if we can produce the same by strictly adhering to the green and sustainable model of infrastructure development we always follow, we can send a message to the world.

“Now this has become the world’s first airport that fully operates on solar power. In fact, we are producing a few megawatts of extra energy, which is being contributed to the state’s power grid.”

India, which relies heavily on coal-fired power plants for its energy, is the world’s fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs), sending nearly 1.3 million tonnes into the atmosphere each year. China is the world’s biggest polluter, with annual GHG emissions of more than six million tonnes.

Other airports in India are now being urged by the government to follow Cochin’s lead. The Netaji Subash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, West Bengal is already planning to set up a 15 megawatt solar plant on 60 acres of land.

Around the world, other airports are adopting solar power to run all or part of their ground operations.

Cost-Effective

A new international airport in Mexico City aims to be the world’s most sustainable when completed in 2018. The revamped Terminal 2 at London Heathrow airport has many solar features integrated into its operations. And Denver International is one of a number of U.S. airports utilizing solar power plants.

Cochin International says its new solar plant, which began operations in mid-August, is cost-effective, very efficient—and has attracted widespread attention.

The airport’s public relations manager, P.S.Jayan, told Climate News Network: “During the inauguration of the airport service, schoolchildren visited to see how solar energy is used to operate the entire airport facility.

“We have received many requests from schoolteachers who want to send their students here to learn about renewable energy.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Third U.S. City Goes 100% Renewable

Bill McKibben: The Turning Point Towards a Low-Carbon Future

U.S. Navy Invests in World’s Largest Solar Farm

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A resident works in the vegetable garden of the Favela Nova Esperanca – a "green favela" which reuses everything and is subject to the ethics of permaculture – in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 14, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP via Getty Images

Farmers are the stewards of our planet's precious soil, one of the least understood and untapped defenses against climate change. Because of its massive potential to store carbon and foundational role in growing our food supply, soil makes farming a solution for both climate change and food security.

Read More Show Less
Once the virus escapes into the air inside a building, you have two options: bring in fresh air from outside or remove the virus from the air inside the building. Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

By Shelly Miller

The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading in a home or business would be to simply keep infected people away. But this is hard to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus to others.

Read More Show Less
California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a historic announcement Tuesday when he named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

A northern mockingbird on June 24, 2016. Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0

Environmentalists and ornithologists found a friend in a federal court on Tuesday when a judge struck down a Trump administration attempt to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions through rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MBTA).

Read More Show Less
A spiny dogfish shark swims in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less