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Duluth International Airport receives $3.8 million grant from FAA program

Duluth International Airport officials announced they will receive a $3.8 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration Voluntary Airports Low Emissions Program.

Duluth International Airport officials announced they will receive a $3.8 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration Voluntary Airports Low Emissions Program.

The FAA VALE program allows airport sponsors at commercial service airports located in air quality non-attainment and maintenance areas to apply for grants used to finance projects to improve airport air quality.

The funding will be used for the design and construct a geothermal heating and cooling system in the new passenger terminal building along with the installation of preconditioned air units and 400Hz ground power at the new terminal's four passenger loading bridges.

Duluth is the first airport in Minnesota to receive an FAA VALE grant.

We first learned about this program a year ago and felt we could not pass up an opportunity to further our efforts in making our new terminal building as green as possible, said Brian Ryks, Duluth Airport Authority executive director.

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"Not only are we reducing emissions to the environment, added benefits include lower operating costs for airlines in Duluth and a significant reduction in annual utility costs for the DAA," he said

The geothermal system will include a well field of 80 wells drilled to a depth of 500 feet. Piping is arranged in the wells and used to support the pumping of heat transfer liquid through the wells to take advantage of the earth's latent temperature. The liquid is returned to the buildings' mechanical heat pumps and chillers to support heating and cooling the terminal. The geothermal system is estimated to save more than $30,000 in terminal utility costs as compared to a traditional heating and cooling system.

The pre-conditioned air units will be installed on passenger loading bridges to supply heated or cooled air to aircraft parked at the airports gates. Additionally, ground power converter units will be installed on the loading bridges providing electricity to parked aircraft for Internal lighting and to ensure continuous power for navigational instruments.

When used simultaneously, air and converter units enable parked aircraft to forego the use of auxiliary power units and ground power units, substantially reducing both jet-fuel and diesel fuel consumption. The installation of both the air units and ground power will result in the savings of almost 1.8 million gallons of jet fuel over the course of 20 years.

This is an important cost benefit for the airlines and significant reduction in environmental emissions, Ryks said. The VALE program is an excellent fit with the airport's commitment to environmental protection and sustainability as will be demonstrated by the new terminal's LEED certification, he said.

Related Topics: TRANSPORTATION
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