In mid-February, construction work for the aircraft de-icing fluid recycling plant at Vilnius Airport began. According to representatives of Lithuanian Airports, the plant, which will be operational in the second half of this year, will enable the airport to carry out the necessary aircraft preparation procedures in a more advanced manner, which at the same time are more environmentally sustainable. The construction of the building and the installation of the necessary technological equipment will be carried out by “Arionex LT”, with a total project investment of EUR 2.9 million (excluding VAT).
It is claimed that the plant will collect and recycle all the wastewater from the aircraft de-icing processes, which can then be used as a raw material for the production of aircraft re-purposing fluid, or as a raw material for other industries.
“Building an efficient, safe, and sustainable infrastructure is one of our organisation's strategic goals. These common denominators are covered by the new recycling plant, which will be finished in the second half of this year. It is important to point out that this plant will also allow us to develop the principles of the circular economy. In the future, we plan to start looking for international or local market partners who would be interested in the collected materials for the further production of products,” says Arnas Dūmanas, Head of the Lithuanian Airports Operations and Infrastructure Department.
Works will include the installation of tanks for the collected liquid, a separate plant building and modern recycling technologies. The whole process of collection, cleaning and storage will be fully automated, requiring only personnel for periodic maintenance of the equipment, recording of process outputs and various measurements.
In the future, it will be possible to treat de-icing wastewater from Kaunas and Palanga airports in Vilnius by collecting the wastewater in tanks and then transporting it to an automated cleaning plant for cleaning and processing.
During the major reconstruction of Vilnius Airport, which was completed a few years ago, four special de-icing areas (two on the north and two on the south side) were built. After the completion of the works, the materials generated by the surface water network will be collected and recycled in a cleaning plant on the south side of the airport.
Some of the separated materials after cleaning can be used as raw material for the production of new de-icing fluid or for other purposes, which reflects the overall environmental and sustainability objectives of airport infrastructure development.
The whole de-icing procedure is very important for flight safety during the cold season, as it removes all the accumulated snow and ice from the aircraft, and at the same time adds an additional layer that prevents ice formation for a certain time. If the aircraft does not take off after this process within the specified time, the whole procedure must be repeated.