As part of the ongoing sustainability efforts at Chicago’s airports, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announced it has contracted with a private company to develop a 4,000-square-foot fueling station and travel center featuring a range of alternative fuels and food options on City-owned vacant land near O’Hare International Airport. Located at the Southeast corner of Higgins Road and Patton Drive, the travel center will offer compressed natural gas (CNG), biodiesel and fast-charge charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as conventional gasoline.
The announcement was made today at the Airports Going Green Conference, the airport industry’s leading sustainability forum hosted annually by the CDA and the American Association of Airport Executives.
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“Providing better access to alternative fuels at O’Hare provides multiple benefits for the City and the public,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, while at the same time generating revenue.”
An increasing number of vehicles using the airport are powered by alternative fuels, including taxis, and hotel and rental car shuttles. The public-access travel center near the airport will offer convenient access to alternative fuels for these fleets, as well as the general public.
The project is expected to create 73 construction jobs and 30 permanent positions. The CDA will receive a base rent of $100,000 for the land and 5% of gross sales.
The travel center will be built and operated by PMG Airport Developers, builder and operator of cutting-edge travel plazas at airports across the country, and Clean Energy Fuels, the nation’s leading provider of CNG, LNG and Redeem renewable natural gas (RNG) for transportation, with nearly 500 stations. The target opening date for the travel center at O’Hare is early 2016.
In addition to environmental benefits, alternative fuels like CNG can deliver economic benefits, according to Clean Energy officials. CNG costs up to $1.50 less per gallon than gasoline or diesel. In addition, natural gas engines can be up to 50% quieter than traditional diesel engines. And 98% of the natural gas consumed in North America is produced in the U.S.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the travel center will feature a convenience store with central pay location, a quick-serve restaurant with walk-up and drive-through service, a car wash, flight information display screens, an ATM and Wi-Fi.
According to Neysan Rassekh of PMG Airport Developers, “this innovative partnership with Clean Energy allows us to create the next generation in fuel and food options, a one stop shop where traditional fuel, CNG, biodiesel, and electric charging stations compliment a variety of food offerings.”
“Building out the infrastructure for CNG fuel is critical to increasing the number of green vehicles on the road,” said Peter Grace, senior vice president for Clean Energy Fuels. “This CNG station will support airport traffic and serve as catalyst to help small businesses and larger fleets that are looking to improve their environmental footprint and their bottom line by switching to cost-efficient natural gas vehicles.”