The Transport Research Arena (TRA) has gathered experts from around the world in Lisbon to discuss the foremost challenges on the path to decarbonise transport by 2050, in line with the goals set by the European Green Deal of making Europe the first carbon neutral continent.
“Innovative infrastructure for Europe 2030” was the main theme on the third day. The plenary session built on the concerns expressed on Monday about transport infrastructure not being able to keep up with the technological advancements that can support the sector’s green transition, while one of the more in-depth strategic sessions focused specifically on the role of ports and airports.
Airports, maritime and inland ports play a major role, both as inter-connection points in the respective transport networks, but also as major multimodal nodes and commercial sites, linking with other transport modes, hinterland connections and integrated with cities. Thus, green ports and airports have a great potential to o immediately drive the transition to carbon neutral aviation, shipping and wider multimodal mobility.
A green port should be a resilient port because in the challenge ahead of us it will be crucial to stay focused and on track, but also ready to deviate. For a green port, this resilience will be very important, it needs to be ready to respond to unforeseen disruptions.Inge de Wolf, PIONEERS Project Coordinator, Port of Antwerp-Bruges
According to the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy adopted by the EU, ports have the potential of becoming “new clean energy hubs for integrated electricity systems, hydrogen and other low-carbon fuels, and testbeds for waste reuse and the circular economy”.
Leading the transition, the PIONEERS project (Portable, Innovation, Open Network for Efficiency and Emissions Reduction Solutions) is proposing a green port master plan for turning ports into truly green mobility and energy hubs. The plan is built on 4 pillars: clean energy production and supply, sustainable design, modal shift and flows optimization and digital transformation.
The project is a consortium of 46 partners, comprising public and private institutions, as well as universities. Four European ports are part of the project: the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, as a coordinator, the Port of Barcelona, the Port of Constanţa and the Port of Venlo.
Airports are also crucial to the overall decarbonisation of transport, not only for the aviation industry, but also for becoming multi-modality and green energy hubs hubs.
The SEA Milan Airports, Malpensa and Linate, have established a roadmap to turning into a hydrogen hub, not only for aircraft, but also producing for nearby offtakes, explained Massimo Corradi, Head of Funded Initiatives Program Management (SEA Milan Airports).
Moreover, as part of EU’s Orchestra project, the Malpensa Airport in Milan is coordinating and synchronizing multimodal transport involving road, rail, water and air transport through increased automation and user involvement, said Corradi. Particularly, the airport has built a rail link between Terminals 1 and 2 and is further building a link between terminal 2 and the Simplon – Milan rail line.
“SEA is committed to making Milan’s airport infrastructures net zero emissions by 2030 and intends to contribute to the decarbonization of the entire air transport system by 2050. The journey is long, but we have already started”, concluded Corradi.