The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
World's First Solar Airport No Longer Pays Electricity Bills
Cochin International Airport is the world's first fully solar powered airport in the world. Located in the state of Kerala, the Cochin is the fourth largest airport in India in terms of international passenger movement and seventh largest in terms of domestic passenger movement. Photo credit: Cochin Airport
"We wanted to be independent of the electricity utility grid," Jose Thomas, the airport's general manager, told the CNNMoney.
Cochin started its solar journey three years ago when it installed solar panels on the roof of its arrivals terminal. It eventually blossomed into a 12 megawatt solar project after the airport commissioned German multinational engineering and electronics company Bosch to build the impressive $9.5 million plant that features 46,000 panels laid out across 45 acres of unused land near the airport's international cargo terminal.
The plant switched on Aug. 18, cementing Cochin's status as the world's first fully solar powered airport and the only power-neutral airport on the planet.
Thomas told CNNMoney that the panels generate on average slightly more than the roughly 48,000-50,000 kilowatts of power that the airport uses per day. The excess energy is sent to the state’s electricity grid.
Not only does the airport expect to have its return on investment in less than six years, the solar plant will avoid more than 300,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from coal power over the next 25 years, CNNMoney reported.
Building upon its success as a "green-port," Cochin is planning to double its solar power generation capacity. Photovoltaic panels will be laid over 3-kilometer long irrigation canal, new car park area and the unused land which houses the existing 12 megawatt array. The new project will meet the power needs of a new international terminal the airport is adding.
In another green initiative, the airport is making a foray into organic farming. Cochin is setting up the farm on same plot of land where the solar plant sits, the Deccan Chronicle reported, noting that the water used to clean the solar panels will also be used to water the plants.
Crops such as ash gourd, okra, cucumber, ridge gourd and snake gourd will be cultivated in the garden and will be sold commercially.
“The products will be initially sold through outlets set at the airports, however, we plan to make available the branded products in markets too at a later stage. The vegetable products reaped today were sold to the airport staff itself,” a senior official said.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
The crowd appears to attack a protestor in a video shared on Twitter by ITV journalist Mahatir Pasha. VOA News / Youtube screenshot
Some London commuters had a violent reaction Thursday morning when Extinction Rebellion protestors attempted to disrupt train service during rush hour.
By Kristen Fischer
Though the science has shown sugary drinks are not healthy for children, fruit drinks and similar beverages accounted for more than half of all children's drink sales in 2018, according to a new report.
Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.