Chicago Airports Plan Solar, Alternative Fueling, Composting

by | Nov 2, 2011

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announced a series of sustainability initiatives at the 2011 Airports Going Green conference in Chicago, including plans for a 60-acre solar panel installation, an alternative fueling station for private and commercial vehicles at O’Hare International Airport, and a composting program for some restaurants operating at Midway International Airport.

The CDA said that it will issue requests for proposals (RFPs) in coming weeks for the installation and operation of up to 60 acres of ground-mounted solar panels around O’Hare on vacant properties.

The goal is to begin construction in the next 12 months and to generate about 36 million kWh of energy per year,The Chicago Tribune said.

The fueling station RFP will seek developers to construct and operate a station that will supply several alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, and electric vehicle charging at and around O’Hare, the CDA said.

This proposed development will leverage the city of Chicago’s new electric vehicle charging infrastructure, partially funded earlier in 2011 through a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The CDA’s composting program, in partnership with Midway Airport Concessionaires (MAC One), will involve 13 restaurants operating at Midway International Airport to collect pre-consumer food waste and deliver it to an off-site, certified composting facility in the Chicago area, the CDA said.

The CDA has a number of sustainability programs in place, according to its 2011 sustainability report, including 232,534 square feet of vegetated roof space at O’Hare and Midway, with an additional 126,456 square feet currently proposed or under construction.

Photo: Chicago Department of Aviation

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