Amsterdam Schiphol launches new knowledge centre to develop innovative sustainable solutions

Amsterdam Schiphol launches new knowledge centre to develop innovative sustainable solutions | Schiphol

Launching of theGROUNDS (photo: Schiphol Group)
Mon 24 May 2010 – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has inaugurated a dedicated state-of-the-art facility, called theGROUNDS, to develop innovative applications for making the airport more environmentally sustainable. The first partners to participate in the initiative include TU Delft, Wageningen University & Research Centre, Imtech and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). Initial projects to be developed by the partners include sustainable energy, water and mobility solutions, and Schiphol is also seeking to further develop a microalgae pilot project at the facility. The airport is aiming for its ground operations to become carbon neutral by 2012.
“We developed theGROUNDS to raise our ambition as a leading airport in the area of sustainability and innovation,” said Jos Nijhuis, President & CEO of Schiphol Group. “Our unique collaboration with renowned specialized parties, as well as the airport’s potential as a location, offer important benefits in this regard. As a catalyst, theGROUNDS will help accelerate the development of groundbreaking innovations and new products.”
The official launch included the opening of theGROUNDS INCUBATOR, a working location in The Outlook building at Schiphol Centre, which offers the partners a place to develop and elaborate business cases. Wageningen UR, Imtech and TNO are the first to take up space and other companies and research institutions will be encouraged to join the initiative.
“Our focus will be on innovative ideas that can be directly applied to the airport in an economically viable manner,” commented Pieter Verboom, Executive Vice President and CFO of Schiphol Group.
TU Delft is already working on an electrically powered transportation project, including an innovative parking concept that involves recharging an electric car while the passenger is travelling on the plane. Imtech, on the other hand, focuses on sustainable energy through energy conservation, energy efficiency and sustainable power generation.
As well as an ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2012 and generate 20% of all its energy requirements sustainably by 2020, Schiphol is striving to improve water quality and expects theGROUNDS to develop initiatives and solutions that meet the objectives ahead of target dates.
The microalgae pilot project has a two-fold purpose. Microalgae produce oxygen that helps to degrade glycol – the substance used to de-ice aircraft – in a quick and natural manner. In addition, Schiphol expects to be able to further improve environmental performance through closing its water recycling circuit. Waste released from biodegradation will serve as food for the microalgae and the residual heat released from the airport buildings will also provide the necessary heating for the microalgae. The purified water can ultimately be recycled and used in the airport’s operational processes. Combining the components of waste, water and heating in the processes can enable Schiphol to achieve sustainable water purification.
Previous sustainable initiatives at Schiphol include the application of cold and heat storage in the terminal and at Schiphol Group’s head office. Last month, the airport’s TansPort building – which houses the head offices of and Martinair – was awarded the first BREEAM-NL certificate for sustainable construction in the Netherlands (see story).

Schiphol’s activities in sustainable water management (see full activities at



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