Naples International Airport – the 40th carbon neutral in Europe

March 18, 2019

Naples International Airport brought the year 2018 to a close with a significant achievement in terms of environmental sustainability. In December, the airport qualified for Neutrality, the highest level of carbon management within Airport Carbon Accreditation, making it the 40th airport in Europe, and 49th globally to ever reach this important milestone. 

Since 2012, Gesac, the company operating the airport, has reduced the CO2 emissions from airport controlled sources by more than 20% in absolute terms. In unitary terms, this signifies that for each passenger passing through Naples International Airport, carbon emissions fell from 1.5 kg CO2/pax to 0.8 kg CO2/pax in 2017.

How did Gesac achieve such significant reduction of emissions? The past 7 years, the operator has carried out an important action plan aimed at reducing its energy consumption and improving the energy efficiency at the airport.

Year by year, an important reduction of Scope 2 emissions was achieved, thanks to activities which focused on the optimisation of lighting of indoor and outdoor areas, air conditioning control systems, as well as display units at the Terminal. Last year, the airport successfully adopted a full-scope Energy Management System, in accordance with the UNI ISO 50001, taking the energy efficiency optimisation process to the next level. 

Gesac also implemented several activities in order to reduce CO2 emissions through cooperation with ground handlers and other stakeholders working at the airport. Among them, we can mention the replacement of the main part of the vehicle fleet operating airside with electric vehicles, the adoption of Airport Collaborative Decision Making, as well as the promotion of environmental campaigns directed at the entire airport community, regarding sustainable mobility, energy consumption and waste management.  

In order to attain Level 3+ of Airport Carbon Accreditation, Gesac needed to offset the remaining residual CO2 emissions. The airport operator chose to contribute to the realisation of a hydro-electric plant in Laos, achieving a reduction in CO2 emissions and helping the development of rural communities in that country. 

What about the plans for the future? The airport is already drawing up ambitious plans for further reductions. The objective is to bring their emissions down by another 10% next year.

One of the projects that will help them achieve this goal entails construction of a new power plant. The so-called tri-generation plant, which was designed to achieve the best energy efficiency on the market, will use methane gas to produce enough electricity and hot water to serve the passenger terminal, cargo terminal and other office buildings around the airport complex. All this should lead to a massive reduction in CO2 emissions. According to the company’s estimation this new power plant will cut around 900t/year of CO2.

On top of that, the airport operator has several exciting projects on the horizon, including increasing the number of electric vehicles and other electrical equipment at the airport, all aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions.