Solar farm, alternative fueling station, composting set for O'Hare & Midway

From an article by Jon Hilkevitch in the Chicago Tribune:

Solar energy collectors will be installed on up to 60 acres at O’Hare International Airport, and a service station selling alternative fuels for private and commercial vehicles will open near the airport, Chicago’s aviation chief announced Monday.

“The solar panels will provide a substantial renewable energy source to help power O’Hare, and the alternative fueling station will promote the use of clean fuels and electricity to power vehicles,” city Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said at the 2011 Airports Going Green conference, which runs through Wednesday in downtown Chicago and at O’Hare.

At Midway airport, a composting program will be launched to handle food waste from its 13 restaurants, Andolino said.
private waste hauler will collect compostable materials at Midway, ranging from leftover food to cardboard boxes, and deliver them to an off-site composting facility, said Amy Malick, deputy commissioner of sustainability at the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The Midway project follows a pilot composting program at O’Hare. A total of 200 tons of compostable waste at both airports will be diverted from landfills each year, Malick said.

The service station selling alternative fuels will be located on a 2.25-acre parcel at Patton Drive and Higgins Road (near the intersection of Mannheim Road and Higgins) just outside the airport, Andolino said.

“The fueling station will be able to provide alternative fuels like bio-diesel, ethanol, electric charging as well as traditional fuel” to commercial vehicles and private passenger vehicles, Andolino said. Construction of the facility is expected to begin in about a year, she said.

35 Milwaukee County cars now hybrids

From an article in The Daily Reporter:

Milwaukee County’s vehicle fleet is becoming more fuel-efficient, thanks to an infusion of Ford Fusion Hybrid vehicles unveiled Monday at Milwaukee County’s Fleet Maintenance facility.

The vehicles will replace 35 aging Chevy Impalas currently used in a variety of county departments that were driven a total of 332,500 miles and cost nearly $40,000 in fuel annually, according to a news release from acting Milwaukee County Executive Lee Holloway.

The new hybrid vehicles are estimated to cost $26,000 in fuel annually — a 35 percent fuel savings – and will save more than 4,400 gallons of petroleum per year, according to the release.

Milwaukee area seen as hybrid hub

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

It’s August. The forecast calls for weather in the 90s. You pull into a parking ramp downtown and plug your hybrid-electric car into a charging station.

By midafternoon, with air conditioners all over town running full tilt, the local electric utility can’t keep up with the demand. So instead of charging up, your car’s battery begins feeding power back to the grid – saving the city from a brownout.

That night, an app on your cell phone confirms how much money you saved on your electric bill by helping out.

This scenario may have seemed far-fetched just a few years ago. But today, more and more utilities are working with transportation researchers on developing the infrastructure for an advanced way for Americans to fuel their cars and trucks.

And some lawmakers and businesses are working to position the Milwaukee region as a leader in the industry.

“This is an area that’s going to be growing in national importance, and there are some really unique opportunities that we are well-positioned to take advantage of,” said state Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale).

Legislators push region as electric vehicle hub

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Southeastern Wisconsin shouldn’t overlook its expertise in battery and energy research and development as it strives to become a center for water technologies, local lawmakers say.

With that in mind, state Rep. Jeff Stone (D-Milwaukee) and state Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee) on Monday will announce a series of proposals designed to make the region a hub for energy storage and plug-in electric vehicle research.

The proposal is linked to the region’s being home to the headquarters and R&D center for Johnson Controls Inc. as it develops next-generation hybrid batteries for cars and trucks, said Stone. But it’s also born of a desire to see plug-in vehicles on the road in larger numbers as a move to reduce air pollution.

Legislative proposals to be unveiled Monday, Stone said, would:

• Eliminate the sales tax for consumers who buy plug-in electric hybrid cars or all-electric cars.

• Scrap of the state’s emissions-testing program, with the funds now spent on that program reallocated to a fund for grants for firms or universities conducting research into electric technologies and energy storage.

• Create tax credits for equipment used in research and development.

• Exempt electric-vehicle charging stations from the personal property tax for companies that want to install the charging stations in their parking ramps.

Johnson Controls gets Ford hybrid deal

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. plans to make batteries for a Ford Motor Co. plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that is to be introduced in 2012.

Ford has selected the hybrid battery joint venture between Johnson Controls, the world’s largest battery supplier, and French battery developer Saft to supply lithium-ion batteries for plug-in hybrids.

“This is a great day for the automotive industry in America,” Alex Molinaroli, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions, said in a statement prepared for release at the Washington Auto Show, where the Ford partnership is to be announced today.

“Today, nearly all batteries for hybrid electric vehicles are manufactured offshore. As the United States works to build a manufacturing infrastructure and supply base for hybrid and electric vehicles, this contract signals significant progress for our industry here. . . .”

Cell design, engineering and testing will take place at the joint venture’s research hub, the 58,000-square-foot Battery Technology Center in Glendale, the company said.