Wind Power, Electric Vehicle Being Tested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
Aircraft propellers are not the only things spinning at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). The Metropolitan Airports Commission has installed 10 wind-powered electricity generators and purchased an electric-powered utility vehicle for use at the airport.
The MAC purchased the new equipment to test the viability of using wind-power to generate electricity and electric vehicles to reduce fuel costs and emissions at the airport. If the results indicate the equipment is financially and operationally sustainable, the MAC could expand use of such environmentally friendly tools in the future.
The tests are part of the Stewards of Tomorrow’s Airport Resources (STAR) program, which the MAC launched in 2008 to advance airport activities that are environmentally, operationally and financially sustainable.
“Changes in technology are creating potential opportunities for addressing environmental concerns in ways that also make sense from a financial and operational standpoint,” said MAC Executive Director Jeff Hamiel. “We will monitor how well the wind-power generators and the electric vehicle perform at MSP to determine whether they might play a bigger role in the airport’s future.”
The 1 kW wind turbines were mounted on the roof of Airport Fire Station 1, just northeast of the Humphrey Terminal. Placement was designed to maximize use of prevailing northwest winds. Each unit has five black fan blades and a shroud to protect the blades and turbines from snow, ice, birds or other obstacles to efficient operation. Manufactured by Aerovironment, the 10 units together are expected to generate 10 kW of electricity per hour, on average.
The MAC’s new Cushman Motors e-Ride exv2 electric utility vehicle is equipped with a 72 V AC motor with a driving range of 70 to 90 km per charge. The vehicle will be used primarily by parking management staff, although the MAC will test it for other potential uses as well. Unlike hybrids, the Cushman utility vehicle is powered entirely by electricity. It uses no fossil fuels, emits no exhaust, operates quietly and can be powered for a cost of approximately $202 per year.
“We continue to look for sustainable solutions to meet our airports’ operating needs,” Hamiel said. “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.”