UK airport to plant its own willow farm to produce biofuel for terminal building biomass boiler
(photo: East Midlands Airport)
Thu 8 Apr 2010 – The UK’s East Midlands Airport is to establish a 26-hectare willow farm on its land to produce biofuel to power a biomass boiler, which will be situated in the terminal building. The farm is to be located north of the runway on land owned by the airport and is planned to be fully planted by 2013. Cuttings will be planted in three phases to ensure a continual crop of willow. The willow farm is expected to produce around 280 tonnes of wood fuel annually, which in turn will save 350 tonnes of CO2 emissions, says the airport.
“We believe we are leading the way for airports and this is the first step of an ongoing process that will take approximately five years to complete,” commented Neil Robinson, East Midland Airport’s Director of Sustainability. “By growing our own wood fuel we are taking another important step towards our overall goal to make our ground operations carbon neutral by 2012. The willow farm is one in a long line of projects that will provide energy for our on-site buildings and will help us to become more sustainable for the future.”
The airport has received planning permission for four on-site wind turbines and recently launched a six-month trial to run an airport passenger transfer bus powered by liquid biomethane fuel (LBM), described as a carbon-neutral fuel.
The gas is produced by the decomposition of biomass – organic waste, such as food byproducts – which is created by extracting the natural gas produced by biomass in landfill or by digestion of the biomass by-products of industries, such as food manufacture and retail. The gas is then converted to LBM fuel that can be directly substituted for both Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Following the trial period that will test vehicle performance compared to the performance of a similar vehicle fuelled with diesel, the airport says it will consider progressively increasing the number of vehicles using the fuel on the airport site.