Adelaide Airport has teamed up with SA Water to trial the heat mitigation methods at the airport.

Results from the three-year trial will be presented at the Airports Council International’s Airport Exchange that is being held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from 25 to 27 November.

During the trial, it was observed that the use of water for the maintenance of soil moisture and cultivate green space decreased average ambient temperatures by over 3ºC on warm days.

This is said to be capable of reducing air conditioning and aircraft performance costs that are dependent on different factors such as heat.

The method was developed by SA Water manager of environmental opportunities Greg Ingleton.

Ingleton stated that this technique can help in sustainably lowering the carbon footprint of the airport.

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Work involved using the recycled water obtained from SA Water’s nearby reuse scheme to 4ha of land that is located 600m south of the airport’s runway.

The water was used two times each week in the night, offering a cooling effect. The practice also led to the production of revenue-generating food crops.

Ingleton added: “The extensive hard surfaces and cleared land around airports means they can often become sources of increased heat, which impacts both terminal and airside operations.

“In warmer, less dense air, planes must travel faster down the runway to produce the lift needed for take-off. When a runway lacks the distance required to reach these speeds, a plane’s weight must be lowered, or the aircraft needs to use more fuel, impacting commercial aspects of an airline.

“Two years ago, in Arizona in the United States, 50 flights were cancelled in one day due to it being too hot for the planes to take off.”

Adelaide Airport sustainability manager Leigh Gapp noted that the trial can decrease fuel burn, leading to reduced carbon emissions during take-off.