Rickenbacker International Airport, a gateway on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, operated by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority and perhaps best known as a logistics hub, launched a US$565,000 improvement project on its passenger boarding bridges (PBBs) at the beginning of this year that it says will increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution “for decades to come”
At the beginning of this year – 2 January to be precise – the installation of a new ground power unit (GPU) and pre-conditioned air (PCA) unit on both of the airport’s charter terminal’s two PBBs was begun. Also upgraded over the course of the month were various other pieces of electrical equipment on the bridges and the terminal. The work was expected to take about a month to complete, and was actually finished on 25 January.
The pieces of equipment in question are the Hobart 90 kVA PoWerMaster ADV, model 90SX200 GPU, and the Twist Aero 30-ton PCA unit, model PCA030480WH.
“We continually pursue energy conservation, efficiency and innovation as we power the facilities that carry people and cargo where they need to go,” declares Tory Richardson, interim president and CEO of the airport authority. “The Rickenbacker Charter Terminal served about 260,000 passengers in 2017, with about 950 arrivals that had an average turnaround time of 50 minutes. Eliminating the need to use separate fuel-burning equipment during that time is crucial to saving energy and reducing emissions.”
Funding of the improvement was sourced largely from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) $508,569 grant awarded through its Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) programme. The airport authority covered the balance of the cost. The VALE programme, created in 2004, helps airports meet air quality standards set by the US Clean Air Act.
This particular project is also said to have helped support the objectives of ‘Smart Columbus’, through a process of reducing emissions and by growing the Smart Columbus Acceleration Fund of aligned regional investments in energy-efficient and data-driven technologies.
“Smart Columbus seeks to improve the sustainability of the region’s transportation sector,” explains Michael Stevens, chief innovation officer for the City of Columbus. “This project will help to better serve passengers at Rickenbacker while also reducing Columbus’s environmental impact.”
Angie Tabor, spokesperson for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, offers Airside more details about how the airport authority has executed on the plan to further its green agenda. “In August 2016, we completed similar improvements at John Glenn Columbus International Airport [another airport for which the airport authority is responsible] that ensured all gates had the latest emission-reducing equipment.
“Using a $2.7 million VALE grant, we installed new PCA units at 11 jet bridges and upgraded 13 existing GPUs. The rest of the gates at the airport already had the latest upgrades. We also installed a new electrical substation near Concourse B gates through that project.”
And, with regard to the project at Rickenbacker: “The passenger boarding bridge effort is part of our commitment to reducing emissions within our airports’ footprints. At the same time, the project provided ground-based assets to help our airline partners deliver affordable air service to connect Ohio with the world.”
Tabor continues: “The airport authority maintains a compliance programme across three airports that ensures environmental protection related to storm water management, materials management, storage tanks and more.
“The airport authority has spent the better part of the last decade reducing its consumption of both electricity and natural gas. For example, we converted a diesel-powered parking shuttle fleet to run on propane. Measures such as this not only reduce emissions but also create an economically sustainable business operation.”