Flumicino Airport

European researchers have developed a new software and sensor system to lower carbon emissions and energy costs in airports by 20%.

The development was backed by funding from the European Commission, under the EU Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development.

The new system, known as CASCADE, will allow Italian airports to lower energy consumption by 6,000MW/h, which is equivalent to 42,000t of CO² a year.

CASCADE is currently being tested in Rome’s Fiumicino and Milan’s Malpensa Airports.

"The CASCADE system shows us that being sustainable does not have to cost a fortune."

Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems CASCADE project coordinator Nicolas Réhault said: "Airports are complex. We have gained a lot of know-how on how these infrastructures work.

"This can be replicated to other highly complex buildings such as hospitals and banks and it could be downscaled to simpler things, too."

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CASCADE features sensors and meters, which detects faults such as fans operating unnecessarily, control errors, as well as simultaneous heating and cooling. The information on the faults will be then communicated to a central database.

The system also suggests corrective actions to the energy management and maintenance teams such as resetting controls or replacing faulty detectors.

European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes said: "The CASCADE system shows us that being sustainable does not have to cost a fortune and that actually it can save us money."

Image: Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. Photo: courtesy of Raboe001.