An electrification project at Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport to switch ground support equipment from fossil fuels to electric power is projected to save $2.8 million in airline fuel costs and 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
By September, 576 electric charging stations will be provided throughout the airport for ground support equipment such as baggage tugs, bag ramps and pushback vehicles.
The yellow charging corrals, installed by the Port of Seattle, will be equipped with smart, fast-charging plug-ins for ground support equipment vehicles to receive a full charge in less than four hours. The smart technology in the charging units can determine which vehicle needs the most charge and meters out the power.
In the first phase of the project, 296 charging locations will be installed throughout concourse D,C and the north satellite. The second phase will cover the rest of the terminal at concourse A, B and the south satellite.
As many as 650 vehicles could eventually be covered by electric technology at the airport, said Port of Seattle Co-President Courtney Gregoire.
Alaska Airline‘s conversion to electric vehicles is equivalent to taking 360 passenger vehicles off the road for a year or reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 metric tons a year, according to Sea-Tac.
The $31 million project is funded largely through federal grants including $5 million from the US Department of Energy. Some of the grant money is being used to help airlines fund the purchase of new electric vehicles. Additional airlines are scheduled to join the program later this year.
Last year, the Northwest ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Metro Vancouver pledged to reduce diesel particulate matter (DPM) by 75 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, per ton of cargo, by 2015, according to the ports’ updated Clean Air Strategy. Both air pollution reduction targets use 2005 levels as a baseline.