Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fuel Sales For Green Energy

Airport May Use Some Fuel Sales For Green Energy

December 4, 2010 - Two Aspen businessmen have made a proposal to Pitkin County that they believe could revolutionize how private aircraft are serviced at airports across the country.

Cliff Runge and Andrew Doremus want to start a second full-service business at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport for private airplanes providing everything from fuel to ramp space and a humble terminal. Runge and Doremus want to start a relatively small fixed-base operation, or FBO, as service centers for private aircraft are called, that would require only a small amount of construction of new facilities.

What makes their proposal unique is a plan to take $1 from every gallon of aircraft fuel sold and commit it to an alternative energy project. Fuel currently sells for about $6.50 per gallon. Runge said the goal would be to benefit the environment overall and specifically to reduce the carbon footprint of private aircraft flying in and out of Aspen.

"If there's one industry in the world that could change its image the most with a little thing" it's general aviation, Runge said.

A 2005 city inventory of Aspen's greenhouse gas production showed that flights by commercial airlines and private aircraft were cumulatively responsible for about 41 percent of the town's carbon emissions. Commercial flights have the advantage of hauling lots of people, so the emissions per passenger mile are low.

Private aircraft flights generally involve planes that get poor mileage and haul only a few passengers, meaning higher emissions per passenger mile.

"A Gulfstream G-III one of the largest jets flying into and out of Aspen emits about 10.9 tons of carbon dioxide over a 1,000 nautical-mile trip," the city government's study says. "With eight passengers onboard, the Gulfstream will emit 2.45 pounds CO2 per passenger mile about equal, surprisingly, to the emissions performance of the ubiquitous Hummer H2 driven alone."

Runge and Doremus want to take action to reduce the greenhouse gases produced by private aircraft in Aspen and create a model for other fixed-based operators to follow. {read rest}

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