Science and Technology

CERIS researchers participate in European project that promotes green sustainable airports

Técnico is one of the partners of TULIPS project, selected by the EU within the European Green Deal.

Aviation is responsible for 3% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a percentage that is expected to increase rapidly by 2050, as the demand for flights – both for passenger and cargo transportation – increases worldwide. Airports will play a pivotal role in the transition towards a climate-neutral aviation. The sustainable production and use of energy – both on land and air – as well as the choice of efficient multimodal transport options will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also improve local air quality in the vicinity of airports.

The TULIPS project – Demonstrating Lower Polluting Solutions for Sustainable Airports across Europe – aims at developing, demonstrating and implementing solutions to reduce the carbon footprint at airports. This project includes a research team from Técnico and was selected by the European Commission, within the European Green Deal, under the Horizon 2020 programme. The TULIPS consortium brings together 29 partners, is led by Schiphol Airport, but also involves Oslo, Turin and Larnaca airports.

The work carried out over 48 months will improve the multimodal transfer of passengers and cargo, as well as the airside infrastructures for future electrical / hybrid aircraft, the study of smart energy solutions to manage airport operations, among other things.

Rosário Macário, professor at IST Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geo-Resources (DECivil) and researcher at CERIS – Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability, will coordinate the Técnico team and the University of Antwerp team. The two teams will be responsible for developing possible scenarios (economic and political) for future air transport; the performance evaluation of the 17 Demos; the competitiveness analysis of the 17 Demos; the value chain analysis; the transferability of solutions adopted to other airports; and the definition of decarbonisation roadmap at Schiphol airport and the others included in this project.

The Técnico professor highlights “the project will have a major impact, which is why the European Commission’s total funding is around 24 million”. “It is expected that the project will develop and test solutions that, after evaluation – which is our responsibility – will be transferable to other European airports and, will probably influence other airports outside Europe”.

It is expected to achieve an estimated savings 800 KT CO2/ year by 2025, at Schiphol Airport. The TULIPS project will officially start in September 2021.