EnvironmentClimate protection strategy

The commitment: carbon-neutrality by 2030

The climate-policy goals are developing quickly, and FMG’s standards are high. These two parameters are the foundations of Munich Airport’s climate goal: From 2030, the airport will be carbon-neutral – the first German airport ever to be so. To achieve this, the Munich Airport Group is reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that can be attributed directly to its operations by at least 60 percent using various technical measures. The remaining 40 percent are to be balanced out by suitable compensation measures, preferably within the region. This climate protection goal adopted in December 2016 is significantly more ambitious again than the previous goal to achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020. Flughafen München GmbH is investing € 150 million by 2030 to achieve this target, almost an entire year’s net profit.

Carbon emissions at Munich Airport

Scopes 1, 2, and 3 without the LTO cycle, APUs, and public transport
In tonnes per year

Graphic: Carbon emissions at Munich Airport

CO2 emissions per passenger are sinking further

FMG has lowered CO2 emissions from around 162,000 tonnes in the reference year 2005 to around 150,000 tonnes to date. Had the some 249 individual measures not been taken, CO2 emissions at Munich Airport would be significantly higher than they actually are - more than 36,000 tonnes a year higher. Added to that is the more than 400 tonnes of savings generated by the commissioning of the first large-scale photovoltaic system by Munich Airport Group on the roof of the P51 parking structure. In 2018, Flughafen München GmbH invested around € 2.1 million, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,667 tonnes in the long term. The improved energy efficiency is particularly evident in this comparison: While passenger figures at the airport have increased by around 62 percent since 2005 and the building areas have grown by around 16 percent, the CO2 emissions of buildings, systems, and vehicles fell by some seven percent. CO2 emissions per air passenger in the same period thus fell by 43 percent. These successes make it clear that even the most ambitious of climate goals can be achieved by continuously improving efficiency in existing stock, through sustainable building construction and through the increased use of renewable energy.

Greenhouse gas emissions at Munich Airport

In percent

Graphic: Greenhouse gas emissions at Munich Airport

Footprint: complex math problem

The operation of a piece of international infrastructure involves emissions from the most varied of polluters. They all flow into the accounting of the greenhouse gas emissions of an airport (sorted by descending order of relevance):

  • Air traffic in the LTO cycle (landing and take-off cycle): taking-off and landing aircraft up to an altitude of 3,000 feet (914 meters)
  • Natural gas and heating oil for the power centers
  • Power, district heat, cooling power, fuel, and natural gas supplies to external companies
  • Feeder traffic: landside/public vehicle traffic (employees, passengers, visitors, and freight)
  • Auxiliary power units (APU) and engine test runs
  • Power and district heat purchases for the Group
  • Airside/in-house vehicle traffic (such as buses on the apron, luggage transporters, and aircraft tug vehicles), ground power units, and other service and de-icer equipment

Carbon footprints provide the basis for the reliable recording of all forms of emissions and lend themselves to international comparisons. They break down all greenhouse gas emissions that can be attributed to an airport into three different sources (scopes) according to an international standard, the «Greenhouse Gas Protocol».

Scope 1 and Scope 2

In the year under review, it was possible to further reduce the emissions of Scope 1 and 2, i.e. the emissions of the Munich Airport Group. In addition to factors over which the airport has no influence, such as the changes in the German electricity mix and the weather, two things contributed especially to this development: a modification in the calculation (the energy requirement of the pre-conditioned air systems is attributed to the airlines, which thus avoid emissions from the auxiliary power units) and a performance increase caused predominantly by rising passenger figures and the associated increase in energy requirements. This is offset by savings in the amount of 3,667 tonnes of CO2, which almost completely canceled out the increase. The development shows clearly that additional measures are required to achieve the CO2 goal; plans are underway.

Development of CO2 emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2)

In tonnes

Graphic: Development of CO2 emissions 2018

Block heat and power plant is highly efficient

With its block heat and power plant, the airport generates over half of its on-site energy requirements using natural gas. The waste heat generated from this alone covers almost all of its heating and cooling requirements without requiring the use of additional energy. The airport then covers its remaining heating requirements by procuring district heat from Fernwärmeversorgung Freising. In turn, 50 percent of the purchased district heat – i.e. around 14 Gigawatt hours (GWh) – comes from a biomass thermal power plant in Zolling, which reduces the CO2 emissions by a further 3,000 tonnes approximately per year. If the heat and power were generated separately in the mix applied in the Federal Republic of Germany, the amount of CO2 produced each year would be 40,000 tonnes higher.

Less than a third of the power used on the airport campus comes from external energy providers. Overall, emissions produced by the external procurement of power and district heat have decreased by 25 percent since 2005. Looking at the Munich Airport Group alone, this figure has fallen by almost 50 percent. This is down to the new, even more efficient engines for cogeneration of heat and power on one hand, and reductions in power consumption on the other.

Photovoltaics generate renewable energy

In its drive to achieve a carbon-neutral airport, Munich Airport is also using renewable energy. The first system of this type with an installed rated output of around 750 kilowatt was realized in the summer of 2018 on the new P51 parking structure. It will then generate around 730 megawatt hours of renewable electricity per year and thus save 423 tonnes of CO2 annually. An expansion will take place in 2019. By 2030, systems with a total output of up to 20 megawatts are planned.

LED changeover on the aprons completed

One milestone on the road to carbon-neutrality at the airport has been achieved: After a six-year implementation phase and the investment of more than two million euros, the airport has completed the changeover of the apron lighting to energy-saving LED technology. With 185,000 LEDs in around 1,900 lamps on lamp posts standing up to 34 meters tall, Munich Airport currently boasts one of the largest LED high mast systems in the world. The new LED lighting impresses with its particularly high levels of energy efficiency combined with better light output, longer service life and low maintenance costs. Already, the airport is saving around 14,700 tonnes of CO2 through the optimized lighting alone – about a fifth of that is attributable to the aprons. Time for the next major project: The external lighting in the public areas of the airport will also be switched to LED technology by 2022.

Photo: Lighting technology
After nightfall, the old and the new lighting technology is recognizable at a glance. While the old sodium vapor lamps light yellow, the new LED lamps give off a radiant white light.

E-mobility on the rise

As part of its climate protection program, Munich Airport uses alternative fuels from renewable energy sources within its vehicle pool:

  • 24 cars use biogas.
  • 85 passenger cars/mini-transporters and 268 pieces of handling equipment are electrically operated. 44 additional electric passenger cars have been ordered.

The proportion of electric vehicles is rising significantly: By 2030, they should comprise the lion’s share of the vehicle pool. In 2018, Munich Airport replaced a further 85 of its older vehicles run on gasoline or diesel. Electric vehicles currently comprise more than 20 percent of the current vehicle pool. The six-figure, environmentally-friendly investment is supported by subsidies from the German Ministry of Transport. Compared to 2017, it proved possible to reduce the local emission of CO2 by around 76 tonnes.

Synthetic fuels from waste

The new fuel «C.A.R.E. diesel», which is made from residual and waste materials as well as from renewable raw materials, also promises further potential. A successful practical trial was started in November 2017 in the road sweeper fleet. It has been possible, with approximately 60,000 liters of C.A.R.E. diesel, to avoid around 157 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared to conventional diesel. In the meantime, the use of this fuel has been suspended.

Scope 3

One important factor in the climate protection strategy is the new pre-conditioned air systems (PCA systems). Since autumn 2016, this technology has been supplying aircraft parked in the parking positions next to the buildings at Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and at the satellite building with pre-conditioned air. As a result, the aircraft no longer need to run their auxiliary power units (APUs), which are responsible for high levels of noise, carbon emissions, and other air pollutants. In 2018, the operating times of the 64 PCA systems increased further, which lead to a reduction of 18,364 tonnes of CO2.

Flughafen München GmbH together with the airlines and the companies based at the airport also improved other climate protection measures in 2018, such as the environmentally-sound continuous descent operations (CDO) and the optimized taxiing system (ACDM; Airport Collaborative Decision Making), which reduces taxiing times.

Excerpt from the CO2 reductions program projects completed in 2018 (Scope 1)

Issue Measure Carbon reductions per year
Lighting Changeover of the lighting in the suburban railway tunnel to LED technology 41 t
Changeover of street lighting in the Zentralallee and in the freight area 113 t
Air conditioning Use of air doors in the C-West hall 197 t
Use of air doors in Terminal 1, Level 3 1,072 t
Renewable energies Photovoltaic system on the roof of the P51 parking structure 423 t
Mobility Increase in efficiency of drives and expansion of electromobility (without C.A.R.E. diesel) 396 t

Air quality

Influence of road and air traffic

In the assessment of air quality at the airport and in its environs, nitrogen oxide NOx, sulfur dioxide SO2 and the particulate matter fractions PM10 and PM2,5 play a key role. In terms of air pollutants, as with CO2, the aircraft cause significantly more emissions than the ground traffic on the apron, feeder roads, and service roads. It is not possible however to differentiate between the immissions metrologically.

Landing charges are also charged based on nitrogen oxide emissions

Flughafen München GmbH levies emissions-oriented landing charges. This gives engine and aircraft manufacturers a long-term incentive to invest in the development of aircraft that produce less in the way of harmful emissions. Munich Airport is thus actively contributing to better environmental quality in its environs. With the information on the aircraft types that have landed, the airport can record the contaminants – including CO2 – specifically for the engine, and directly map the technical progress.

Photo: kale and grass cultures
Using kale and grass cultures, Munich Airport determines whether the operation of the airport is having an impact on the quality of vegetables and forage/fodder crops.

Fixed and mobile measuring points

The air quality at Munich Airport is continuously monitored at two measuring points. The measurement stations in the western and eastern areas of the airport record the effect of pollutant emissions from road traffic, air traffic, and other airport operations – overlaid with the background levels from the Munich metropolitan area and the natural background concentration in the atmosphere. The contaminants ozone, nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, xylene, dustfall, particulate matter PM10, and particulate matter PM2,5 are monitored. All statutory limits for the protection of human health were once again met in 2018. For particulate matter PM10 there were twelve (permitted) breaches of the statutory 24-hour limit. The 2018 annual averages for the key parameters of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter were in fact significantly below the limits, as they have been in previous years.

Munich Airport is the first airport in Germany to additionally determine the quality of air using a mobile air quality measurement station. It measures the same substances as the stationary measuring point in the east of the airport in specialist investigations conducted over several months in the surrounding municipalities. In 2018, the mobile measurements took place in Wartenberg and Haimhausen. The measured concentrations were below the statutory limits and thus confirmed the results from the stationary measurements.

Measuring points for air quality and biomonitoring

Chart: Measuring points for air quality and biomonitoring

Concentration of contaminants at the measuring point on the east side of the airport premises

Annual averages in μg/m3

Graphic: Concentration of contaminants at the measuring point on the east side of the airport premises

Keeping track of contaminants

Long-lasting contaminants can accumulate in the environment and therefore seep into the food chain. Munich Airport has been monitoring this situation for many years using a variety of methods. In 2018, plant pots containing Italian ryegrass and kale, and pots for collecting dustfall were set up at twelve measuring points around the airport site. 240 grass cultures and 36 kale samples provide around 1,700 measurements per year relating to air pollutants and their impact. Work also continued on the honey monitoring project in 2018.