Customer :

aeroport cote d'azur

Aeroport de Nice

Key Figures:
building surface: 20.000 m²
4 more million passengers a year
SWAC : 1,4 MW thermal
250 kW peak photovoltaic

Performance for customer:

A SWAC woud yield the following results:

  • Energy consumption decreased by 50%.
  • No stress on groundwater resources.
  • No extra-rooftop needed to settle the PV panels.
  • Few maintenance.


The French Mediterranean Coast is characterized by a saturation of the electricity network. The region is also highly urbanized. Thermal captures on groundwater for Heat-pumps or simply cooling, is widespread, which puts stresses on the availability of groundwater and slowly pushes the underwater temperatures upwards during peak demand periods.

New sources of energy for air-conditioning, sparing higher electricity consumption, must be investigated.

Project Description

This airport plans an extension of its terminal building to host a further 4 million passengers a year. The stated official aim is to create a “positive energy” building.

Our study has to technically, environmentally and economically compared 3 potential solutions:

  • A heat pump with ground water supply
  • A heat pump with air cooling
  • A deep sea water pumping (Sea Water Air Conditioning)

Photovoltaic panels to counterbalance electricity consumption were also investigated in order to provide a baseline.

The deep seawater air conditioning system (SWAC) has proven to be the most economical and ecologically-friendly solution, in part thanks to the exceptional bathymetry of the French Riviera.

Means Deployed

Bathymetric and sediment assessment.

Pre-analysis and interview of the environmental authorities.

Detailed analysis of the possible solutions.


Dynamic thermal simulation to estimate the needs for cooling/heating.

Feasibility of the 3 solutions.

Comparisons with PV panels solution.

Environmental and financial comparison.

Specific Features

Due to the specific temperature gradient of the Mediterranean sea, design of the cooling distribution loop has to follow a special investigation. Cooling ceilings are a smart way to increase the return temperature of the distribution loop.

Below the thermocline, the Mediterranean sea is at 13°C. The SWAC system, producing the base, can be coupled with a heat pump to face the cooling peak.

Preliminary discussions with the local environmental agencies.