The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has revealed plans to open its first-ever publicly accessible fuel station at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The US$6m development travel plaza will provide airport users and the surrounding communities with access to an increased selection of sustainable and traditional fuel sources.
The facility is slated to open in November 2019. It will provide a range of alternative fueling options, including electric vehicle charging stations, and will also feature a drive-through restaurant and convenience store.
“CDA is thrilled to break ground on the O’Hare Travel Plaza which is setting the standard for 21st century fuel stations with its sustainable design and impressive selection of alternative fuel sources,” said CDA commissioner Jamie L Rhee. “This forward-thinking multi-fuel station demonstrates the CDA’s ongoing efforts to implement sustainability wherever we can as we continue to build a better, more modern airport for our passengers and the surrounding community.”
The travel plaza incorporates many sustainable features designed to help reduce the impact on the environment while serving airport visitors, transportation providers, commercial vehicles, as well as fleets frequenting the airport’s nearby Northeast Cargo Development. While a standard gas station typically dedicates 15-20% of its pumps to alternative fuels, this travel plaza will dedicate 60% to alternative fuel sources, including E85 ethanol fuel and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. This new facility will nearly double the current number of EV charging positions at O’Hare to a total of 41.
The canopy over the fuel pumps will house 150 solar panels. The 330W panels will generate approximately 55,000kWh a year, creating an estimated US$100,000 in energy savings annually. These panels will provide in excess of 50% of the average electric consumption of the retail building on site.
The news comes as Chicago O’Hare prepares for an historic US$8.5bn expansion that will transform the airport from curb to gate.