We are now in the age of global warming, worrying as it sounds, but the innovation in Kenya is pretty much remarkable. Kenya has become one of few countries in Africa to install a solar system at an airport in order to reduce aviation carbon emissions by planes during takeoff. Kenya follows the footsteps of South Africa and Lesotho who are among the first African countries to implement solar systems in their airports. South Africa pioneered the move towards renewable energy in 2016, deploying a solar system at the George Airport in Western Cape.
The Kenyan groundbreaking initiative was launched at Moi International Airport. The 500 kW solar power generation facility will help reduce at least 1,300 tonnes of carbon emissions through providing pre-conditioned air and compatible electricity that runs on solar energy to aircraft during ground operations.
Electricity creates a lot of expenses, and this new development is expected to massively save up electricity costs. This will lead to efficient operations at the airport.
Kenya already has a plan to cut carbon emission from aviation, called the State's Action Plan for Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Aviation. The step to use a solar system has been hailed as a major move in order to meet the goals and aims of the State's Action Plan for Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Aviation.
Director General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Captain Gilbert Kibe said, "This project will make a big difference on how we consume energy in our airport. Our target is to among others to operate on zero-carbon emissions by 2020."
As it stands, planes rely on their auxiliary power unit powered by jet fuel or airport ground power units fuelled by diesel to run on-board systems and cooling before departing for the next flight.
Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, the president of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said, "It is not only a transformative development in Kenya's aviation sector - and of the continent - but also an inspiring model of how such change can best be accomplished."
This project was materialized through the concerted efforts of ICAO and the European Union. It was funded by the EU as part of a €6.5 million initiative, entitled "Capacity Building for CO2 Mitigation from International Aviation."
Kenya can bask in the glory of this innovative method for their airport.
Header image: Tuko
Updated on Dec 21, 2018 to reflect similar developments in South Africa and Lesotho