New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport’s new terminal one will soon be partly powered by a microgrid and the largest rooftop solar array in the city, according to a report by Business Insider
The new project will consist of a microgrid with 11.34 megawatts of electricity from rooftop solar, gas fuel cells, and battery storage. The project will also boast a system that captures waste heat from the fuel cells in order to chill and warm water.
The initiative will be led by AlphaStruxure, a joint venture of the private equity firm Carlyle Group and France’s Schneider Electric, The entity will construct and operate the energy project as it has been awarded a contract from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is behind the airport, and the New Terminal One consortium.
Solving the airport’s energy challenge
“Solving our energy challenge really comes down to three things: electrifying, digitizing, and decarbonizing by getting more electricity from renewable sources. Microgrids are key to achieving all of this,” Annette Clayton, the CEO of Schneider Electric North America, said during a press briefing according to Business Insider.
Once completed, the new power system will be made up of more than 13,000 solar panels making it the largest in New York City and at any U.S. airport terminal, AlphaStruxure said.
In terms of energy output, it will produce approximately what 3,570 average U.S. homes would use in a year. It will consist of many interconnected “power islands” that will boast fuel cells and battery storage.
In terms of timelines, three power islands are set to be completed by 2026, with the final one becoming operational by 2029.
All these upgrades will mean that the New Terminal One will be able to operate independently of the city’s power grid during emergencies that see access to power cut off, Juan Macias, the CEO of AlphaStruxure, added.
In terms of carbon footprint, the system is expected to generate 38 percent less greenhouse-gas emissions and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide by 98 percent, Macias further explained. For the time being, the fuel cells will use natural gas but are equipped to function with cleaner fuels such as hydrogen.
Reimagining the international passenger experience
According to the terminal’s consortium, the New Terminal One “will reimagine the international passenger experience at John F. Kennedy International Airport, serve as a global gateway to the New York metropolitan area and set a new standard for world-class design and service, aspiring to be among the top ten airport terminals in the world.”
The project will be sustainably designed and future-focused, and feature expansive, naturally lit, public spaces, cutting-edge technology, and “an array of amenities, all designed to enhance the customer experience and compete with some of the highest-rated airport terminals in the world.”
The structure will boast more than 300,000 square feet (91,000 square meters) of dining, retail, lounges, and recreational spaces.