Together with other partners in the aviation sector, Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport is taking new measures to reduce the emission of ultrafine particles. According to a recent research carried out by the institute TNO on behalf of Schiphol airport, outside the airport’s terminal and piers there are concentrations of an average of 100,000 to 120,000 ultrafine particles per cubic centimeter. Since the concentrations of particles at Schiphol were measured during the day, they cannot be compared with yearly averages at other airports or cities.
Following the results of the TNO research, the airport started investigating additional measures to further reduce ultrafine particle concentrations in the area. The airport has been investigating ultrafine particle emission since a while. Already in 2019, Schiphol and the aviation sector created an ultrafine particles action plan that includes investments in new fleets, the use of sustainable fuel, and the rethinking of the ground operation in a more sustainable way. The plan aims at reducing emissions produced by air traffic to and from the airport, at the airport itself, and by the aircrafts.
One possible new initiative that is currently under investigation is the possibility of implementing a sustainable taxiing measure and making it a standard procedure by 2030. However, this measure requires the adjustment of infrastructures, new technologies, and new processes. Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport and its Dutch partner’s (e.g. Air Traffic Control the Netherlands, KLM, Transavia, and Corendon) are already preparing these changes. Furthermore, the aviation sector aims at making the ground operation emission-free by 2030 by electrifying ground equipment, looking for alternatives to fossil gas and, where possible, making the switch to renewable energy.
To date, there is little knowledge on the impact of different ultrafine particles on human health. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is currently working on a study to investigate the consequences of ultrafine particles on the health of people living close to the airport area. The institute has also proposed to investigate the effects of the particles among platform employees. The proposal is currently under examination. The results of the research conducted by RIVM on the effects of long-term exposure to ultrafine particles are expected to be released at the beginning of 2022.