Chicago airports announce plans to go green

Solar energy collectors will be installed on up to 60 acres at O’Hare International Airport and a service station selling alternative fuels for private and commercial vehicles will open near the airport, Chicago’s aviation chief announced today.

«The solar panels will provide a substantial renewable energy source to help power O’Hare, and the alternative fueling station will promote the use of clean fuels and electricity to power vehicles,» city Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said at the 2011 Airports Going Green conference, which runs through Wednesday in downtown Chicago and at O’Hare.

And at Midway Airport, a composting program will be launched to handle food waste from the Southwest Side airport’s 13 restaurants, Andolino said.

A private waste hauler will collect compostable materials at Midway, ranging from leftover food to cardboard boxes, and deliver them to an off-site composting facility, said Amy Malick, deputy commissioner of sustainability at the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The Midway project follows a pilot composting program at O’Hare. A total of 200 tons of compostable waste at both airports will be diverted from landfills each year, Malick said.

The service station selling alternative fuels will be located on a 2¼-acre parcel at Patton Drive and Higgins Road (near the intersection of Mannheim Road and Higgins) just outside the airport, Andolino said.

«The fueling station will be able to provide alternative fuels like bio-diesel, ethanol, electric charging as well as traditional fuel» to commercial vehicles and private passenger vehicles, Andolino said, adding that construction of the facility is expected to begin in about a year.

Electric vehicle charging stations are currently provided free of charge at O’Hare and Midway parking garages, Andolino said. They are Level II charging stations. Level III stations will be added to reduce the charging time, officials said.

The city also plans to issue a request for proposals in a few weeks inviting companies to bid to design, build and operate seven ground-based solar photovoltaic collection sites at O’Hare, Andolino said. The goal is to begin construction in about a year and to generate approximately 36 million kilowatt hours of energy per year, enough energy to power 3,800 homes annually, she said.

Currently the only on-airport solar facility in Chicago is at O’Hare, at the Chicago Fire Department firehouse. The solar power generated there is used to heat water for the firehouse, officials said.

Denver International Airport currently operates the biggest solar power system among U.S. commercial airports, according to industry experts. The Denver airport generates more than 8 megawatts of solar power on 45 acres of farmland near the airport, accounting for about 6 percent of the airport’s electricity useage, airport officials said.

Source / Fuente:

Author / Autor: Jon Hilkevitch

Date / Fecha: 31/10/11

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