Metro Airport installs first wind turbines

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 Windspire 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.

Source: Ali Dib, director of facilities for Metro Airport
Writer: Jon Zemke
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