Chicago's airports will make a determined effort to go green with solar energy panels coming up on about 60 acres of land at O'Hare International Airport and a service station selling alternative fuels for private and commercial vehicles opening near the airport, Chicago's aviation chief has announced. She was speaking at the 2011 Airports Going Green conference.
"The solar panels will provide a substantial renewable energy source to help power O'Hare, and the alternative fuelling station will promote the use of clean fuels and electricity to power vehicles," city aviation commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said at the conference.
At the Midway Airport, a composting programme 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.
A total of 200 tons of compostable waste at both airports will be diverted from landfills each year, officials said.
"The fuelling 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.
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 aim 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.
Denver International Airport currently operates the biggest solar power system among US commercial airports, generating more than 8 megawatts of solar power on 45 acres of farmland near the airport. This accounts for about 6 per cent of the airport's electricity usage, airport officials said.