The aviation transport sector is growing fast and air traffic is expected, at current rates, to double its volume during the next 25-30 years. This would lead to aviation generating in excess of 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Sustainable biofuels are the only currently available and tested alternative for reducing the carbon footprint of aviation.
Two barriers are at stake: (i) the supply of sustainable biofuels at competitive market pricing to become commercially attractive to airlines, notably enabling to overcome the economic gaps evolving from the fact that fuel represents circa one-third of the operational costs of an airline; (ii) the operation and logistics of handling such biofuels in the operational context of a major airport – including procurement, blending, fuelling, quality control and safety due processes – as a condition sine-qua-non for its penetration within the aviation’s supply-chain.
This challenge is designed to tackle this latter deadlock. It is in line with the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) and the specific targets for commercialization of advanced biofuels identified in the Declarations of Intent in the context of the SET-Plan, Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive and Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda (STRIA).
In addition airports are commercial sites with significant greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. Novel concepts and solutions aimed for enhancing the capability of airports communities in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change are needed in meeting the 2050 policy targets. Specific solutions based on a holistic perspective that integrates the airport physical and operational infrastructure with their users, business and logistics operators, peripheral businesses, and ultimately with the whole transportation system that uses and commutes to the airport, as well as the physical environment it is embedded in.
Proposals will demonstrate novel concepts and solutions aimed at developing effective solutions for the take-up of biokerosene and other relevant alternative fuels by aviation. The actions should be designed towards ensuring a strong demonstration component involving an exchange of best-practice within the airports participating in the project.
Herein, Lighthouse Airports (the airport that leads the consortium and where the demonstration actions will be implemented) are expected to closely collaborate with Fellow Airports (the airports that participate in the consortium and follow closely the developments and demonstration actions at the Lighthouse airports) in supporting the transfer and tailoring of best-practice solutions tuned to the specific local conditions of the latter.
Each consortium will have one Lighthouse Airport that will demonstrate the novel concepts and solutions and a further two “Fellow Airports” that will follow closely the demonstration actions and are committed to implementing the best practices identified in the project. The Lighthouse Airport must be in a different EU Member State or Country associated to Horizon 2020 than at least one of the Fellow Airports. To increase the impact beyond the airports participating in a consortium, the project will develop a bold vision for the future Smart Airport of 2050.
This should cover the relevant sustainable mobility, technical, operational, economic, environmental and social aspects that are expected to shape the airports of the future as well as their integration in the urban hinterland. In addition, the projects should also include a handbook on how to move from planning through implementation to replication and scaling-up of the successful demonstrated solutions in such an over-arching context.
- All biofuels and other relevant alternative fuels must meet the EU sustainability criteria as these are defined under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and its recast (REDII). In this context, advanced sustainable biofuels of EU or local or regional origin are highly preferable.
In such a wide context, it is necessary that projects guarantee a holistic perspective in tackling the questions at stake, by systematically addressing all aspects mentioned in the following activity areas:
A) Smart use of biofuels in airports and other relevant alternative fuels in aircraft:
Proposals will address all of the following:
- Integration of sustainable bio-kerosene and other relevant alternative fuels in the fuelling infrastructure and associated fuel handling logistics of the airport, including blending operations resulting in blends compliant with the ASTM standards.
- Promote decarbonisation of aviation, and airports while improving local air quality by stimulating the uptake of sustainable biokerosene and other relevant alternative fuels blends;
- Ensure the development of scalable solutions –replicated/gradually scaled-up to larger or scaled-down to smaller airports, together with the demonstration of their environmental sustainability and technical, operational, and economic, reliability;
- Incorporate field performance monitoring of the deployed solutions starting at least 6 months before the innovative solutions are applied to be followed for a period of at least 1 year within the project duration. This will allow comparing the effectiveness of the deployed solutions.
Projects should deliver all of the following:
- Projects should include specification of the following key quantities for each of the participating airports: blending percentage; total volume of fuel to be blended with bio-kerosene and total fuel consumption.
- Guidelines and metrics to support the transfer of best-practice results into other airports, in particular for purposes of:
– Quality control of the sustainable bio-kerosene and of the blended fuel supplied to the airlines, including consideration of aspects such as source and seasonal variations.
– Aircraft fuelling logistics, including relevant procedures and associated due processes – e.g. fuel handling, safety considerations.
– Collecting feedback from airlines on the impact of using sustainable bio-kerosene and other relevant alternative fuels blends on commercial operations – notably, in engine performance and maintenance.
– Notification by the airport to the national authorities regarding the use of bio-kerosene in compliance with the prevailing environmental and transport regulations in force –volumes and qualities of biofuels, certification schemes used, GHG reduction, number of flights fuelled with bio-kerosene.
– Key economic indicators associated with a fully-fledged commercial scenario of bio-kerosene and other relevant alternative fuels –price of the bio-kerosene and other relevant alternative fuels and final blends, price variations and trends, market availability of bio-kerosene and other relevant alternative fuels, security of supply. If possible, collect feedback from airlines regarding bio-kerosene and other relevant alternative fuels differential cost coverage.
– Gathering passenger perception on using flights operated with a blend of sustainable biokerosene and other relevant alternative fuels.
To enable a widest dissemination of the lessons learned the solutions demonstrated should be monitored, analysed and eventually elaborated in accessible best-practice handbooks and tools, covering:
1.The state-of-the-art and reliable sustainable solutions for aircraft fuelling with bio- kerosene, addressing notably:
- the procurement of bio-kerosene;
- the assessment of its impact on the airport energy system;
- the airport planning requirements and operational processes to support large scale roll-out – e.g. handling, quality control, safety;
- the availability of fit-for-purpose storage and blending facilities.
2. Practical recommendations arising from the project experience on issues relating to
- regulatory, legal and data security/protection aspects, including those that might hamper the adoption of the solutions demonstrated for sustainable biokerosene;
- Description of effective business models for the different sustainable solutions, that reflect the relevant technical, operational, economic, social and legal/regulatory implications of their adoption;
B) Smart Energy in airports:
Projects will demonstrate novel concepts and solutions aimed at improving the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating adaption to climate change.
Projects will address all of the following aspects:
- Promote decarbonisation of aviation, airports and terminals while improving air quality, such as by using smart solutions for aircraft taxiing (electrification);
- Integrate planning and management of the energy and transport infrastructures at airports, developing planning and infrastructure management tools supported by intelligent networks improve the energy and resource efficiency at airports, and the use of renewable electricity that integrates airport-specific infrastructures and energy uses (e.g. taxiing, ground handling, including through e-mobility) with other infrastructure and uses (e.g. heating, electricity);
- Ensure the development of scalable solutions –replicated/gradually scaled-up to larger or scaled-down to smaller airports, together with the demonstration of their environmental sustainability and technical, operational, and economic reliability;
- Promote governance that addresses the interactions between airport authorities, local communities and local authorities and particularly city planning departments;
- Incorporate field performance monitoring of the deployed solutions starting at least 6 months before the innovative solutions are applied to be followed for a period of at least 1 year within the project duration. This will allow comparing the effectiveness of the deployed solutions;
- Practically tested and proven solutions to maximise use of sustainable e-mobility solutions of the airport operations (e.g. taxiing, passenger logistics, fuelling logistics, etc);
- Effective innovative ways of increasing energy efficiency (waste heat recovery, battery storage etc.) and renewable energy in all relevant areas of the airport activities based on a thorough analysis of energy and resource flows (e.g. with the involvement of energy service companies, ESCOs). Increased sourcing of electricity and heat from renewable energy sources (e.g. through own generation or power purchasing agreements) can be combined with energy efficiency through smart grid approaches.
These solutions should be monitored, analysed and elaborated in accessible best-practice handbooks and tools including existing state-of-the-art and reliable sustainable solutions related to:
- electro-mobility; the assessment of its impact on the energy system within the boundaries of the airport, notably as support to air operations – e.g. aircraft taxiing, ground handling, emergency control.
- Infrastructure management and planning tools that are able to gather and combine data from different sources and allow optimisation of energy and resources;
- Best practice examples of transport solutions within and around the airport.
Proposals must foresee a work package for cooperation with other similar actions and earmark appropriate resources (at least 3% of the requested EU contribution) for coordination and communication efforts and relevant research work with other projects and initiatives.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 12 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately (of which around 2/3 must be dedicated to aspects relating to “SMART use of biofuels in airports” and around 1/3 must be dedicated to aspects relating to “Smart Energy in airports”). Typically, projects should have a duration of 48 to 60 months. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts or durations. At least 15% of the requested EU contribution should be for the Fellow airports.
The technology related to the utilisation of biokerosene in airports will move the TRL from 6 to 8 (see part G of the General Annexes). The TRL refers to infrastructure and biokerosene logistics, blending, fuelling et al. and not to technology for fuel production.
Eligible costs are primarily those that concern the innovative elements of the project needed to:
- foster innovative overall energy systems integration;
- demonstrate effective integration of transport modes within and around the airport;
- foster wider use of electrification at airports.
Costs of commercial technologies are not eligible, for example:
- Buildings: purchase, construction, retrofitting and maintenance;
- Electric vehicles and charging stations: purchase, installation and maintenance;
- Airport ICT platforms: purchase, development and maintenance;
- Standard, commercially-available RES: purchase, development and maintenance;
- Biokerosene or biokerosene blends, or other relevant alternative fuels: direct purchase.
The supported projects are expected to facilitate the deployment of advanced biofuels, e-mobility, energy storage and waste heat recovery in airports and reduce greenhouse gas and other air pollutants (e.g. sulphur oxides and particulates) emissions by airports. Projects should measure the reduction in GHG emissions due to actions demonstrated. Projects should measure the improvements in ambient air quality by the reduction of emissions due to the actions demonstrated.
 Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009
 Directive 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018
Shanghai airport first to launch automated clearance system using facial recognition technology
A CCTV display using a facial-recognition system in Beijing. China has made strides in facial recognition technology because of its large population and centralised identity databases.
Project to build the world’s most powerful facial recognition database to identify any one of China’s more than 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds.
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, one of the city’s two major airports, introduced China’s first automated clearance system for airline passengers using facial recognition technology. The automated clearance procedure was deployed at Shanghai Hongqiao’s Terminal One and includes unassisted passenger check-in, luggage check-in, security check and boarding, according to a statement posted on the Shanghai government’s official website.
It said the project, which took three years to complete, installed eight self security checking machines at the terminal. These machines scan passengers’ ID cards and make use of facial recognition technology to complete the security check process in about 12 seconds.
Although the terminal’s throughput per hour will remain at 10 million passengers, the quality of the clearance procedure will be improved, said Dai Xiaojian, the vice-president of operator Shanghai Airport (Group) Co, in the government statement. During rush hour at the airport, the terminal will be able to handle clearance of 2,000 passengers per hour, he said.
The system in Shanghai moved ahead of a planned deployment of facial recognition technology in Beijing’s new US$12 billion airport, which is designed to handle up to 100 million passengers a year at full capacity. The new Zaha Hadid-designed airport, situated about 50 kilometres south of central Beijing, is expected to use the technology to match passengers to their belongings, so that unattended baggage is easily tracked and assessed for security risk. Facial recognition will also be used at the airport’s immigration section and for security checks of passengers.
From travel and retail to banking, China’s facial-recognition systems are becoming part of daily life. China has made strides in facial recognition technology because of its large population and centralised identity databases.
Although Chinese citizens have raised concerns about privacy protection, the country’s broader initiative to become a global leader in artificial intelligence has prompted major enterprises and local governments across the country to embrace facial recognition technology.
Tech start-ups push to make China’s facial recognition systems part of daily life across Asia. In 2015, the Ministry of Public Security launched a project to build the world’s most powerful facial recognition database to identify any one of China’s more than 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds. The agency is developing that system with a security company based in Shanghai.
BEIJING—As hundreds of millions of Chinese begin traveling for the Lunar New Year holiday, police are showing off a new addition to their crowd-surveillance toolbox: mobile facial-recognition units mounted on eyeglasses.
China is already a global leader in deploying cutting-edge surveillance technologies based on artificial intelligence. The mobile devices could expand the reach of that surveillance, allowing authorities to peer into places that fixed cameras aren’t scanning, and to respond more quickly.
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