Firstly, Detroit Metropolitan Airport is reducing its consumption of fossil fuels. It can do more but they are doing more than others.
Cause already they are producing their own wind energy at two locations. Both are on opposite ends of the facility.
In addtion, the Wayne County Airport Authority Board approved a contract. One with Michigan-based Southern Exposure Renewable Energy Co. They installed the five wind turbines at the airport entrance. That’s one wind turbine on Rogell Drive and at the South Cell Phone Lot on Eureka Road.
Unlike the traditional, towering, three-blade, windmill-type turbines, the Windspire units are different. Manufactured by MasTech Manufacturing of Manisee, are cylindrical, vertical-axis wind turbines. All that operate quietly while generating electricity for immediate use regardless of wind direction. At only 30-feet in height, they easily fit within DTW’s airspace height limitations.
They did the numbers and reported that with the wind up there Power is all good. At least they calculated that the two units at the South Cell Phone Lot will generate 60 to 70 percent of the power. Power needed for the lot’s overhead lights and to illuminate the sign. Estimates came from WCAA Director of Facilities and Infrastructure Ali Dib.
“On windy days and during daylight hours, we will be feeding electricity back to DTE Energy’s grid.”
The wind energy project is one of many eco friendly initiatives at the airport. DTW has been the world leader in recycling aircraft de-icing fluid for eight of the past nine years. The new North Terminal is programmed to harvest daylight and to automatically reduce lighting and cooling in terminal areas not in use.
The North Terminal also supplies pre-conditioned air, 400hz power and underground jet fuel to each gate which reduces the need for aircraft engines to be idling and excess vehicles on the ramp. This is expected to reduce emissions of various air pollutants by more than 1,300 tons over the expected life-span of the building.
The airport has installed a solar panel and LED lighting prototype at the North Cell Phone Lot and established more efficient electrical fixtures in the parking structures saving $79,000 in energy costs annually.
In 1999, Detroit Metropolitan Airport received international acclamation for the creation of Crosswinds Marsh, a 1,000-acre wetland preserve constructed in Sumpter Township to replace airfield wetlands disturbed by runway and terminal construction. Described as “Michigan’s showcase wetland,” the preserve continues to provide spectacular habitat for a variety of wildlife and offers public access and educational opportunities for children.
“Many other such initiatives are under way or planned for the future,” said WCAA CEO Lester Robinson. “We continue to look for opportunities to be a friend to the environment while maintaining one of the most operationally-capable airports in the world.”
Wind Turbines at Detroit Airport
Propellers and jet engines aren’t the only thing spinning at Metro Airport these days, now that it has installed a half dozen wind turbines.
The $75,000 project put six turbines at the north and west sides of the airport. These are not your normal wind turbines. They are made in a cylinder, so the blades are vertical. The made-in-Michigan turbines stand 30 feet tall but measure only four feet wide. They will not interfere with air traffic.
“We’re trying to stay as low as possible,” says Ali Dib, director of facilities for Metro Airport.
The wind turbines harness wind energy at lower speeds (4.5-5 mph). The electricity will help supplement the demands of the airport and will serve as a testing project to see if more are feasible.
“My CEO has advised me that he would like more,” Dib says.
Among the other sustainable features at the airport are recycling aircraft de-icing fluids, using old cooking oil from airport concessions for biofuel for airport vehicles, and $1.5 million worth of LED light fixtures (5,000 in total) for taxiway edge lights. Those lights save more than $12 million in energy costs per year compared to the incandescent fixtures they replaced.
Metro Airport is also looking at a number of other sustainable projects, such as installing solar panels, green roofs, and gray-water recycling.