Why not turn the airport into a giant solar farm?


next time If you stare into the airplane window during takeoff or landing, scan the airport. You will see hangars and other supporting buildings, and of course the terminal building. But in most cases, you will see a lot of blank space. As many aviation engineers have pointed out, airplanes are open space for obvious reasons, including not getting along with trees.

Do you know anything like open space? Solar panels not only hate trees, but also high-rise buildings. So, why not use solar panels to cover our airport (dedicated space dedicated to other uses besides air travel)? Well, it turns out that the airport not only has a lot of white space, but also a lot of rules.

But let’s talk about their potential first. A new study in Australia shows how effective the country’s 21 airports will be exposed to sunlight. Researchers scanned satellite images of the airport to find open roof space in which solar panels can best avoid shadows and found a total usable area of ​​2.61 square kilometers (1 square mile).

For comparison, they also scanned satellite images and found 17,000 residential solar panels in the town of Bendigo, north of Melbourne in southern Australia. The researchers calculated that the amount of solar energy potentially generated by the airport may be ten times that of 17,000 residential panels, enough to power 136,000 homes. The output of Perth Airport alone is twice that of Bendigo. (Perth is very sunny and there are many large buildings at the airport.) They further calculated that solarizing all 21 airports can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 152 tons per year, which is equivalent to removing 71,000 passenger cars from the road. .

With plenty of sunlight, Australians are sitting on the energy equivalent of a gold mine. The large amount of empty roof space in the airport provides opportunities for concentrated solar energy production. Installing panels from door to door is great, no one said we should stop because we need all the solar energy we can get.But commercial panels are larger and more efficient, so they can produce Greater power. In addition, residential roofs come in various shapes and sizes, and therefore are more difficult to use than the usual flat commercial roofs. Chayn Sun, a geospatial scientist at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, said: “Just imagine the workforce that is going to install on residential buildings of various shapes.” paper Modeling in the description Journal of Architectural Engineering. “Compare it with an airport building with a lower roof.”

Adding light to the airport may power the airport itself with Even export energy. “Not only can they be self-sufficient, but they may also have excess electricity that can be sent to the grid to power the surrounding area,” Sun said.

Although paneling these roofs may be effective, it is still not easy. For example, in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration requires airport officials to prove that its new panels will not produce glare and will not emit sunlight into the eyes of pilots and air traffic controllers in the tower. (that Shouldn’t This is a problem thanks to the coating on modern solar panels, but officials still need to consider this in their plans. The FAA also wants to ensure that these panels will not interfere with radar communications at the airport.

In addition, Denver International Airport (DEN) senior vice president of sustainable development Scott Morrisey said that installing panels on existing roofs may require renovations, which will increase costs. However, when building a new structure or expanding a wharf, the solar capacity can be designed directly into the plan. “You are the truth designing Integrating solar energy into the building makes it more cost-effective than going back and trying to retrofit the old building. “Morrisey said.


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