Research Field: Environment
Airports are facing increasing challenges and opportunities as they strive to achieve environmental goals, increase energy resiliency, and meet the quickly evolving energy needs of their customers. For example, gas-fired central utility plants typically create the majority of greenhouse gas emissions under an airport's control, and some airports are exploring converting their plants to electric power. Additionally, airports are vulnerable to power disruptions from the larger energy grid, which may cause not only adverse impacts to their facilities but often to large segments of the National Airspace System, resulting in millions of dollars in costs. Finally, the power requirements of airports and their customers are increasingly relying on electrification (e.g., private electric vehicles, electric ground service vehicles, and even e-aircraft), resulting in enhanced charging infrastructure and related ancillary needs. Yet some potential untapped solutions may also exist. For example, energy vectors are a means of storing energy from a place and time of availability to a place and time of utilization. And solar photovoltaic technology and vehicle-to-grid technology may also be used to tap energy stored in electric vehicles to offset peak electrical demand in the event of grid outages. While ACRP and others have conducted limited research on these topics, the practice continues to evolve, and airports need resources to ensure they meet their long term energy requirements and those of their customers in a sustainable and resilient manner.
The objective of this research is to provide airport industry practitioners with resources, including guidance and tools, to help address their long-range energy needs and the energy needs of their customers in a sustainable, reliable, and resilient manner. The resources should help airports develop an energy resiliency strategy, evaluate alternatives, and implement selected solutions.