Jetwash greenwash or planet saver? Edinburgh Airport claims it could hit net zero by 2040

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EDINBURGH Airport has unveiled plans that it claims could lead to net zero within 20 years.

The airport reckons green technology could eliminate carbon emissions from all operations by 2040 – including the aircraft that fly in and out.

At the heart of the bold claim is the use of new hydrogen fuels produced from offshore wind farms.

Edinburgh Airport has signed a memorandum of understanding with renewable energy company Ørsted.

A single large jet can create over 500 tonnes of C02 with evert flight. Photo by Paolo Chiabrando on Unsplash

They aspire to remove carbon from the energy used in the airport, by vehicles that are used to operate the airport, vehicles getting passengers and goods to and from the airport, and even the fuel used by aircraft.

A single, large jet can create over 500 tonnes of CO2 per flight. It is estimated around 3,000 trees would be needed to offset this amount of greenhouse gas.

And Bristol Airport was accused of “cynical greenwashing” by a local Green councillor this summer when it made similar net zero claims.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, acknowledged: “The aviation industry realises the part it plays in emissions and the need to move towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.

“We have made huge advances in technology and we want to continue to innovate and ensure aviation’s future is one that is decarbonised.”

Dewar conceded that most emissions come from the aircraft but he said he was confident they could help develop sustainable fuels.

Duncan Clark, Head of UK Region at Ørsted said: “Renewable hydrogen is key to decarbonising heavy transport and air-travel and look forward to working together on this technology.”

The Edinburgh Airport project will see electricity sourced from offshore wind farms and the renewable hydrogen will then be combined with sustainably sourced carbon to produce 250,000 tons of e-kerosene and e-methanol per year when fully scaled up.

Edinburgh Airport is owned by Global Infrastructure Partners, a global, independent infrastructure investor.

The firm has invested in a number of offshore windfarms including 50% ownership of Ørsted’s Hornsea One, the largest offshore wind farm in the world.