Binghamton airport first in the country to use geothermal power to heat an aircraft parking ramp



The Greater Binghamton Airport and NYSERDA announced that the airport is moving forward with an energy-saving improvement process on the strength of $350,000 awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council Initiative. Officials met at the airport today to announce the groundbreaking.

Binghamton is the first airport in the country to use a geothermal system to heat an aircraft parking ramp. The $1.25 million dollar project is expected to result in the avoidance of 103 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

“New York State has long been a leader in energy technology innovation and this collaborative geothermal project is another example of how the state’s vibrant innovation ecosystem continues to transform our clean energy economy,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “By supporting projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut costs, and reduce fossil fuel dependence, the state is driving towards a more sustainable energy future and furthering Governor Cuomo’s agenda for long-term protection of New York’s environment.”

“Projects that stimulate economic development in the region are essential to the Southern Tier’s long-term economic security and the Greater Binghamton Airport project is a perfect example of what regional, community-based partnerships can accomplish,” said REDC Co-Chairs Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University and Tom Tranter, President and CEO of Corning Enterprises. “This investment will help lay the groundwork for a cleaner, more energy efficient New York State.”

In 2010, Greater Binghamton Airport, in conjunction with Binghamton University (BU), submitted a proposal to the FAA to design and construct a prototype snow melting system in a portion of the Airport’s terminal pavements. This proposal was based on a submission by BU students in association with the 2009 National FAA Design Competition for Universities. In 2012, The Southern Tier Economic Partnership was granted $900,000 to design and construct the in-pavement systems.

The current project supplements the BU plan by expanding the system to cool the terminal building during the summer months, utilizing the same geothermal wells originally proposed for the prototype snow melting system.

The airport will also have an educational energy display so visitors can see how the building is performing.
“The geothermal project at the Greater Binghamton Airport is an innovative measure that brings more of the technology of the 21st Century to Broome County,” said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “As energy continues to evolve, Broome County is on the cutting edge of technologies that bring first-rate services and substantial savings to our taxpayers. Just as the Greater Binghamton Airport is a leader in aviation, Broome County will continue to be a leader in the energy initiatives.”

NYSERDA and FAA funding will cover installation of a geothermal well field, construction of a mechanical building, installation of mechanical equipment and connection piping, connections to a chilled water cooling system and replacement of two existing terminal building boilers. The project is expected to be completed in March 2014.

Geothermal systems utilize the relatively constant temperature of the earth instead of the outside air temperature to provide efficient heating and cooling. The systems operate by using water-source heat pumps which can be distributed throughout the building. Heat energy can be extracted from the earth in the winter, and carried to the building. In the summer the process is reversed when unwanted heat is extracted from the building and released into the earth.

"I'm happy NYSERDA is working with Greater Binghamton Airport to update their infrastructure,” said Senator Tom Libous. “These improvements are important in making our airport greener and more efficient. It's great that the prototype snow removal system was created by the bright minds at BU, who continue to be innovative leaders in our area."

“Greater Binghamton Airport is certainly leading the way with this geothermal project, making the airport more environmentally friendly,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Co-chair of the NYS Legislative Aviation Caucus. "Geothermal power is not only sustainable, but is helping to reduce our carbon footprint. I'd like to thank NYSERDA and the Regional Council for their support."

“Renewable energy technologies are an important part of the energy plan for New York. The earth’s abundant geothermal energy can be a valuable part of this mix as technologies to tap its potential are developed to cost effectively compete with other alternatives. NYSERDA’s commitment to research and development of renewable energy sources, including the extensive performance monitoring of this experimental installation, should provide useful data for future evaluation and analysis,” said Assemblyman Christopher Friend.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. The Councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. As a result of the first two rounds of awards, $1.5 billion in investments has been awarded to support more than 1,400 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects that are creating or helping to retain an estimated 75,000 jobs across the Empire State and generating investments to grow the economy.

NY Regional Economic Development Council