Minneapolis International Airport Installs Wind Generators
These days many companies are exhibiting awareness about clean and green energy and trying to use that technology for reducing costs too. Recently Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has set up ten wind-powered electricity generators. They are using the energy to power an electric utility vehicle. We are acquainted with the fact that airports are windy places. So a knowledgeable management can utilize this air power and boost its environmental credentials too. They have installed ten 1 kW Aerovironment wind turbines on top of the airport fire station to harness the power of prevailing northwest winds. The turbines are expected to generate 10 kilowatts of electricity an hour. They are powering their fully-electric Cushman Motors e-Ride exv2 utility vehicle with the energy generated by these turbines. Their utility vehicle has a range of 45-55 miles and costs around $200 a year to run.
Jeff Hamiel, who is the Metropolitan Airports Commission director, talks about the goals and future plans, “Testing the potential of wind power and electric vehicles is part of an ongoing effort to explore cost-effective, environmentally sound alternatives in the development and operation of Metropolitan Airports Commission airports. We will monitor how well the wind-power generators and the electric vehicles perform at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to determine whether they might play a bigger role in the airport’s future.” So right now they are looking into the financial and operational viability of using wind-generated electricity to power electric vehicles at the airport. They want to reduce the fuel costs and poisonous emissions as well. If they find the whole exercise beneficial they will implement it further.
The Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) expects the turbines to bring down the costs of fuels. The turbines cost them USD$94,000 and have a life span of more than 20 years. Each unit has five black fan blades and a shroud to protect the blades and turbines from snow, ice and birds.
MAC launched the Stewards of Tomorrow’s Airport Resources (STAR) program in 2008. The goals of this program are to advance airport activities that are environmentally, operationally and financially sustainable.
The MAC’s new Cushman Motors e-Ride exv2 electric utility vehicle possesses a 72 volt AC motor. The vehicle will be used chiefly by parking management staff. But Mac is planning to test it for other potential uses as well. The Cushman utility vehicle is not a hybrid vehicle. It is run on entirely by electricity. So obviously it doesn’t emit exhaust and does its work silently. Its maintenance cost will be approximately $202 per year.
Jeff Hamiel shares his views and future plans by stating, “We continue to look for sustainable solutions to meet our airports’ operating needs. Testing the potential of wind power and electric vehicles is part of an ongoing effort to explore cost-effective, environmentally sound alternatives in the development and operation of MAC airports.”