Green Airports Part 2.

28 Apr 2011

Earlier this month Arthur blogged about a semi-robotic “tugboat” in development that can move commercial planes from the gate to the runway for a significant fuel savings.  Yesterday it was announced that the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids will soon be growing some of its own fuel for its maintenance vehicles.

The one-year study, to be conducted by researchers from MSU Extension, will use three acres on the airport property to grow plants (specifically, pennycress, oriental mustard and canola) for conversion into bio-diesel (estimated to produce about 150 gallons).  The fuel will then be used in one or two airport maintenance vehicles.  According to the Mlive.com article, the airport spends around $280,000 a year on fuel for the airport’s 100-vehicle fleet.  The study seeks to determine whether non-traditional land can be used to aid in the production of bio-diesel.

With so many people pushing for urban farming in Detroit, I’m surprised that I haven’t heard about any project that plans to produce crops for bio-diesel fuel.  The MSU study may shed some light on whether it might be feasible and worth exploring in the city, which, according to Detnews.com, has 100,719 vacant parcels equating to 10,950 acres of land.  That’s a lot of fallow, blighted land that could be put to good use.



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