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Wednesday , 21 February 2024

French solution for Mitigating environmental impact of aviation infrastructure

As a result of more frequent and extreme events in recent years and an increase in overall environmental awareness, significant political and public pressure has forced the actors of the transportation industry to find ways to mitigate both their local and global impact on the environment. These impacts are not simply greenhouse gases? emissions, but also noise, local air quality, wastes, water, bio-diversity, etc. Various initiatives have emerged at European, national and local levels in order to build a framework which results in increased obligations for transport businesses. On a similar line, the Government of India issued the ?Aviation Environment Circular 1 of 2012? on January 2, 2012, which requests airlines and airports to provide the Director General of Civil Aviation with carbon footprint estimates by January 31 every year.

These new burdens should be seen as opportunities to optimise the design, operations and end-of-life of the transport industry as a whole. This thought process has already been applied to various airports world-wide. For example, a large airport in the Middle East achieved a saving of over 21 millions of kWh (equivalent to almost 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and economies around US $21 million) by increasing the air conditioning in the terminal buildings from 21?C to 24?C and by switching to energy-saving lamps coupled with occupancy sensors.

Based on this vision, scientists and engineers at Envisa have been working on an online solution aimed at easing the process of better understanding the environmental and operational risks resulting from current transportation modes and other industries. The company?s objective is to improve technologies and optimise processes to achieve economic savings while mitigating environmental impacts. This resulted in the Envisa web-platform: a unique online tool capable of full scale environmental studies of aviation infrastructure including life cycle assessments using harmonised methods and databases. The first application developed on the web-platform deals with the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA), a voluntary scheme elaborated by the Airport Council International (ACI) ? Europe and rapidly endorsed by the ACI ? Asia Pacific. The innovation lies in the fact that a single interface and data entry process can be used for many purposes since a large number of parameters are common for all impact studies. For example, the total number of movements on an airfield and the fleet mix (i.e. the aircraft / engines combination for each movement) is a critical parameter for green house gas emissions, generating noise contours and for local air quality studies. Consequently, the process of data entry, verification and validation is simplified as it only needs to be done once and for all topics to be considered.

Furthermore, the use of an online platform allows for simplified procedures to update databases and methods to ensure that all users have access to the most recent state-of-sciences methods as well as complete transparency and reproducibility of the results. The unique reporting functionality of the Envisa web-platform allows exporting customisable diagrams, and full reports in compliance with the existing legislation in-place. Moreover, the modules dealing with waste, water, bio-diversity, soil pollution and socio-economic impacts provide an exclusive solution to comply with the new ISO 26000 norms dealing with Corporate Social Responsibility.

The web-platform, ACA tool uses the same processes applied by the company for its clients world-wide which are proven to add value and efficiency many times. The first step is mapping emissions, i.e., describing and understanding the dependencies within the industrial ecosystem of a particular customer. It is quickly followed by the assessment of the risks and opportunities which open the ground for the optimisation of the system studied as a whole. In particular, the web-platform features a renewable energy module which proposes viable alternative to fossil fuels (including an estimate of the capital and associated operational costs). Finally, for those willing to do their uttermost for the protection of the environment, various measures are proposed to reach neutrality (recognising the fact that it is not possible to achieve neutrality for all types of impact).

The Envisa web-platform can be used in two ways. For rather simple cases (single site / company), the online application provides a feature rich environment for conducting assessment studies. The platform can also be deployed at a client?s premises to allow for complex customisations tailored for their assessment works: a national airports? authority could monitor the environmental impacts of all its airports at once, or a world-wide company with many sites located in various regions of the world would be able to use the same solution to fulfil all its environmental obligations — all whilst optimising processes and reducing consumption on all scales.

The Envisa web-platform is expected to be fully operational from June 2013.

Highlights of Envisa

? Huge harmonised database of defaults for? building any kind of environmental model
? Access to a bespoke set of global movements and forecast tools to model contemporary and future use cases
? Upload data once but use over and over again for multiple environmental studies
? Constant updates to reflect the most contemporary current and future regulatory needs
???? Constantly updated reporting tools ensuring that whatever the regulatory changes, full compliance remains
? A core focus on visualisation and communication to provide the best possible summaries of operations to experts and novices alike including online data previews, and support for Office products
? Ability to process huge terabyte data sets in seconds using massive parallel cloud resources which reduce processing time from days to minutes

 

Nicolas Duch?ne
Technical Director, ENVISA
Paris, France
(Nicolas Duch?ne works with Envisa, a world-leading company providing all types of environmental impact assessments, carbon footprint elaborations, sustainability studies and optimisation solutions for the transport industry. Nicolas has diplomas in Operational Safety and the Environment (University of Technology of Troyes, France) and Pollution Control Technology (Cranfield University (UK).)

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