Geneva Airport installs autonomous heat pumps on runway

Geneva Airport has announced the installation of seventeen autonomous heat pumps on its tarmac, in a bid to bring significant energy savings.

Depending on its surroundings, an aeroplane needs to be supplied with either hot or cold air prior to take-off, which up to now was achieved through pipes laying underneath the tarmac.

“The current system is dated and the pipes have, over time, become less and less airtight,” said Fabio Bernardo, leader of climate engineering projects.

A problem with the outdated pipes is that water and de-icing fluid find their way inside, meaning the air pumped into the planes is of insufficient quality.

It also means the system requires a great deal more energy to produce lower temperatures.

“For the system to work, the network needs to be maintained at a constant temperature, meaning it is constantly switched on, whether an aeroplane is connected or not,” added Bernardo.

Installation of the new autonomous heat pumps started in mid-June 2019 and is expected to reach completion in a month and a half.

Advantages include the fact that the pumps use a lots less energy then the old pipes, produce less noise and no kerosene, and are easier for ground teams to use, with only a button to operate, rather than a trap door.