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Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport Goes Electric

April 1, 2014 in Aviation, Electric Drive, EVs, Fleet Order by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

600 Chargers to Support eGSE Vehicles Saving $2.8 Million per Year

Battery electric ground support vehicles will save some $2.8 million per year at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the Port of Seattle says, reporting a $31 million project with partners including Alaska Airlines and the Western Washington Clean Cities organization.

Alaska Airlines and its affiliate Horizon have committed to 204 electric vehicles at Sea-Tac.

Alaska Airlines and its affiliate Horizon have committed to 204 electric vehicles at Sea-Tac.

“The eGSE project here at SeaTac should serve as an example of how energy efficiency is not only good for the environment, but is also a smart financial investment,” U.S. Congressman Adam Smith said in a Port release.

“We must continue to invest in alternative energy technologies that protect consumers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strike a balance between moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels while mitigating the economic impact of that transition,” Smith said.

eGSE vehicle supplier Charlatte is a beneficiary of the federally backed Sea-Tac electrification program...

eGSE vehicle supplier Charlatte is a beneficiary of the federally backed Sea-Tac electrification program…

576 Charging Locations by September

Suppliers including Charlatte for eGSE baggage tugs, bag ramps and pushback vehicles, and AeroVironment for high-power PosiCharge equipment to support them, are among the major industrial beneficiaries.

“As many as 650 vehicles could eventually be covered by electric technology and make a huge difference in the airport’s carbon footprint,” said Courtney Gregoire, co-president of the Port of Seattle Commission.

The Sea-Tac electrification project includes bright yellow charging corrals with smart, fast-charging plug-ins for vehicles to receive a full charge in less than four hours. A first phase provides 296 charging locations. A second phase cover the rest of the Sea-Tac terminal for a total of 576 charging locations by September.

‘Alaska Airlines Has Taken the Lead’

“Alaska Airlines has taken the lead in this green opportunity,” states the Sea-Tac announcement, with 204 electric vehicles (146 with Alaska, 58 with Horizon). “Alaska’s conversion to electric vehicles is the equivalent of taking 360 passenger vehicles off the road for a year,” the Port says.

...as is AeroVironment's PosiCharge unit.

…as is AeroVironment’s PosiCharge unit.

Funding came in large part through federal grants, including $5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy through a grant with the Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition. An additional $3.5 million came from a Federal Aviation Administration grant.

The investment in eGSE is just part of the story at Sea-Tac, which notes that

  • centralized pre-conditioned air for aircraft parked at gates will save $15 million in airline fuel costs (operation began in July 2013);
  • the 48 electric vehicle charging stations in the airport garage, installed from 2010 through late 2013, is the most of any airport in North America;
  • a fleet of compressed natural gas/CNG buses moves customers between the terminal and the Sea-Tac rent-a-car facility;
  • the airport requires taxis to use CNG vehicles or have high efficiency engines of 45 miles per gallon or better (2011),
  • a centralized off-aircraft recycling system of large capacity, computer-monitored compactors reduces waste sent to landfills, decreases air emissions, improves ramp safety, saves more than $250,000 each year and reduces pickup trips by 75% (2010); and
  • a partnership with Alaska Airlines, Boeing, other airports and Washington State University is supporting aviation biofuel development in the Pacific Northwest.

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Source: Port of Seattle with Fleets & Fuels follow-up 

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