The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has launched solar-at-gate projects in Cameroon and Kenya. The new ground-mounted 1.2MW solar power generation facility at Cameroon’s Douala International Airport and the 500kW solar power generation facility at Kenya’s Moi International Airport, were put into operation recently to help reduce the CO2 emissions produced by aircraft during ground operations.
By providing pre-conditioned air and compatible electricity that runs on solar energy to aircraft during ground operations, these new solar-at-gate projects will eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft parked at the gates, which currently use their auxiliary power unit (APU) powered by jet fuel or airport ground power units (GPU) fuelled by diesel to run on-board systems before departing for their next flight.
Through its new solar installation, the Douala airport will now be eliminating at least 2,575 tonnes of CO₂ from over 5,100 flights annually, based on the more than 5.5 million kWh per year it is projected to generate. Also, the solar facility at the Moi airport will generate 820,000 kWh per year and will avoid emitting at least 1,300 tonnes of CO₂ every year, while serving more than 2,500 flights per year.
Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, ICAO Council President, says the projects are not only transformative development in the aviation sector of Kenya and Cameroon – and of the continent – but also an inspiring model of how such change can best be accomplished. He hopes that the ‘Solar-at-Gate’ projects will serve as inspirations that will see their replication in many other States in support of a low emissions air transport.
Jean Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe, Minister of Transport of Cameroon, enthuses: “With this solar facility at Douala International Airport, Cameroon advances the modernization of its energy sector by using renewable energy to reduce green-house gases emissions and protect the environment”, adding: “The Government of Cameroon is determined to continuing the implementation of tangible actions for a more sustainable aviation.”
Capt. Gilbert Kibe, Director General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), comments: “I would like to acknowledge the financial, technical and strategic support of ICAO and the European Union. Through this initiative, we were able to develop Kenya’s Action Plan to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Aviation and identify the use of solar energy at airports as a measure to contribute to global efforts to minimize aviation’s carbon footprint.”
The projects are part of a €6.5 million initiative, entitled “Capacity Building for CO2 Mitigation from International Aviation”, implemented by ICAO and funded by the European Union, which targets 14 States – 12 from the African region and two from the Caribbean region – to address carbon emissions in the aviation sector.
Top: The President of the ICAO Council, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu (centre right), officially inaugurates Moi International Airport’s “Solar at Gate” project in the presence of (from left to right) ICAO’s Deputy Director for Environmental Protection, Ms. Jane Hupe; the Representative of Kenya on the ICAO Council, Ms. Mercy Awori; the Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Gilbert Kibe; and the Kenya Airports Authority’s Managing Director, Mr. Jonny Andersen.
Bottom: The President of the ICAO Council, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu (far right), the Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Gilbert Kibe (centre right), and the Deputy Ambassador of the European Union to Kenya, Mr. Bruno Pozzi (centre left), listen intently as the Kenya Airports Authority’s Managing Director, Mr. Jonny Andersen, describes the finer details of the Moi International Airport Solar-At-Gate project at its launch.