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22 April 2024

Eco-friendly aircraft cooling system to boost UAE airlines' green credentials

By Safura Rahimi




A new eco-friendly aircraft air-conditioning system is expected to bolster UAE airlines’ “green” credentials, as the industry aims to move towards cleaner alternatives.

Aircraft including Emirates’s new Airbus A380s will be installed with new pre-conditioned air systems by the end of this year, which will save fuel and cut carbon emissions, according to Cavotec Middle East, a supplier of environment-friendly power solutions.

Chairman Stefan Widegren said yesterday Cavotec hopes to have the first order to install its pre-conditioned air (PC-air) systems in Emirates aircraft this year, with a larger build-up of orders expected in 2009 and 2010.

“We know it works, we’ve done tests here several times. We now need the first order to show that this is not just testing and we hope that will happen in 2008,” Widegren told Emirates Business.

“Emirates has been very proactive in developing the PC-air product for us, which is especially valid in hot climates,” he said, explaining that the investments were made by the Dubai Airport Authority and not Emirates.

“All the big airlines are interested but this works for us pretty much through Emirates, Airbus and Boeing,” said Widegren.

The company is currently in talks with the two aircraft manufacturers, said Widegren. “The big wide-bodied aircrafts cannot be cooled with the conventional technology anymore because they’re not sufficient, and today it seems we are the only ones who have the technology that can actually cool an Airbus 380 in the timeframe required.”

The new technology brings enough cool air into planes to cool them in an hour or so, said Widegren.

Cavotec Middle East yesterday unveiled its new Dh10 million regional headquarters in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone as it aims to cater to the firm’s expanding operations in the region.

UAE Minister of Government Sector Development Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri opened the facility alongside among senior representatives from the government and private sectors.

The new 7,200 square-metre location includes offices, warehouse and manufacturing and assembly areas. The firm is also looking to expand its operations to Abu Dhabi International Airport and is in talks with the UAE capital.

According to Widegren, providing green alternatives is becoming more important to the industry as environmental pollution continues to become a global problem.

“An airport with all its planes burning up fuel becomes one of the biggest polluters in the city, without maybe knowing it,” he said.
“Same with the port, where you have ships that come in and have to keep their engines running because they need electricity. If we could shut down those engines the city would become cleaner.”

Cavotec provides eco-friendly products to ports, including an automatic mooring system for ships, that is more efficient than conventional methods.

“A port like Jebel Ali can be very big and have a big demand, maybe not now but maybe in a decade from now. Before they can put automatic mooring in the whole port, it will take some time to test it and so on,” he said.

“I can sense that the authorities here are open-minded about [finding cleaner alternatives] and that they would welcome this development’s affects on Dubai.”

Cavotec Middle East’s turnover doubled between 2005 and 2006, growing from about Dh40m to Dh80m before hitting Dh100m in 2007, according to Widegren. Forecasts for this year are pushing towards Dh120m to 140m, he said.

“Cavotec as a whole has been growing 20 per cent per year in the last seven or eight years and we can see that this growth can continue not only in Dubai but worldwide,” he added.

The company recently completed installation and commissioning of specially designed pop-up pits for Dubai International Airport, and is currently also active in Oman, where the firm has supplied automated mooring units to the Port of Salalah.