Fraport has defined stricter climate targets, come 2030. Instead of setting free up to 75,000 tons of CO2 per year, the management capped the emission level again, allowing only a maximum of 50,000 metric tons to be blown into the air by activities initiated by the operator. Wind farms in the North Sea will play a central role in achieving this target. At the same time as Fraport’s tightened climate announcement, DB Schenker also unveiled plans to decarbonize its road transports.
Aviation must do significantly more to fight global warming. True to this general industrial awareness, Frankfurt Airport is pushing green electricity up front since it is the most important lever for drastically cutting CO2 emissions.
Two energy sources
Fraport is adopting a two-pronged approach. Main energy providers are offshore wind parks in the North Sea, complemented by photovoltaic systems implemented onsite. Both should provide sufficient power to speed up the airport’s journey from a fossil fuel user to a greener player in future. The most important cornerstone in reaching this aim is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed by Fraport and energy supplier, EnBW. The deal foresees that offshore wind farms managed by EnBW will provide the lion’s share of up to 80% of the energy needed by Fraport. Solar panels mounted on top of buildings erected on-airport will cover the difference to reach the 50,000 tons emissions target, calculations say. This is complemented by other measures as Fraport CEO Stefan Schulte points out: “These include the installation of smart, needs-driven building technology for air conditioning and lighting, in addition to continuing the switchover to LEDs.”
Taking the direct route
The executive adds to this that all decarbonization efforts from 2026 onwards will be enabled by an electricity mix used at Rhine-Main, which will largely consist of renewable sources, making the infrastructure more climate-friendly. He complements this statement by saying that a policy which relies on compensating greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees or peatland restoration, is not Fraport’s way of fighting global warming: “We’re not going to rely on compensatory measures and their impact in the distant future. We’re taking the direct route.”
Although the measures and targets announced by CEO Schulte apply to all activities of the airport operator, air freight can take specific steps to achieving the goals defined for 2030. Here is what Fraport Head of Cargo, Max Conrady (MC), said:
MC: “As we expand our infrastructure at Frankfurt Airport, we are taking advantage of suitable opportunities in the cargo area to drive forward the issue of climate protection. Take, for example, the roof of the state-of-the-art large cargo terminal at CargoCity South, which we have leased to Swissport. A large photovoltaic system is installed there, powering internal processes. Such a system is also planned for the next project - the facility for DHL Global Forwarding. These rooftop installations thus pay into the overall photovoltaic performance at the site.”
CFG: Your cargo customers could also contribute to making the airport greener. How do they react when they raise the issue?
MC: Of course, we are in constant exchange with our partners. For example, we are investigating with representatives of the major freight forwarders the extent to which alternative systems to power trucks such as hydrogen are standing on their agenda, and how we can support their initiatives by implementing an adequate infrastructure needed here at our site. To be prepared for this upcoming technology, we are involved in the nationwide “H2erkules” initiative. It has set itself the goal of contributing to setting up a European hydrogen market, and it is pushing ahead with plans to build two pipelines running across Germany. One of these will also supply Frankfurt Airport with hydrogen. This will give us and other industrial supporters of the project planning security for our future infrastructural investments."
CFG: Max, you haven't mentioned airlines yet. But we assume that you are talking to them as well:
MC: "Every company and even every individual can contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. However, protecting our climate must be a collective task of the entire industry. That is why we welcome initiatives from our partners who are actively pursuing this goal. At Rhine-Main, Lufthansa Cargo is a pioneer: The airline is launching numerous initiatives to actively reduce CO2 emissions. In doing so, the carrier cooperates closely with partners such as DB Schenker.”
CFG: Thank you for your insights.
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