Texas is BIG—268,597 square miles, featuring the most roadway in the United States at 314,000 miles, the largest share of rail lines at 10,400 miles, and 400 airports, including 2 of the top 15 busiest airports in the nation. Leaders in transportation are reducing emissions, becoming carbon-neutral, and recycling tens of thousands of tons annually. In an industry not typically synonymous with conservation, Texas transportation companies are driving sustainability advances for others to follow.At the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) Airport, more than planes are airborne. DFW purchases all its electricity from Texas wind farms, helping to reduce their emissions by eighty-three percent on a per passenger basis since 2010 and become the first airport in North America to achieve carbon neutral status.
“Becoming the first airport in North America to achieve carbon neutral status proves our blueprint to reduce emissions, lower operating costs, and drive economic value is successful and good for business,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport. “This success gives us a platform and responsibility to tackle even more complex challenges. We have a lot of work left to do and more knowledge to gain and share, so our vision for a more sustainable enterprise will require commitment, innovation, and collaboration for many years to come.”
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The third largest airport in the world by land area and the fourth busiest for flights, DFW is a complex transportation hub that coordinates the movement of passengers, goods, and services from the surrounding urban area and is considered to be the fastest growing airport in the U.S.
DFW partners with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a project to improve passenger and freight mobility and reduce congestion, which was funded by a $5 million-dollar award from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2018. The three-year study utilizes high-performance computing to analyze and model the movement of people and freight at transportation hubs.
The airport also works closely with airlines to operate as efficiently as possible: it provides planes with access to electric gate power and pre-conditioned air, which allows aircraft to shut down their engines at the gate, minimizing diesel and jet fuel usage and exhaust.
And, DFW has begun transitioning its vehicle fleet to renewable natural gas that is captured from local landfills from the old vehicle fleet that ran off compressed natural gas. Combusting renewable natural gases, like methane from local landfills, helps cut emissions, saves the airport approximately $1 million in annual operations and maintenance costs, and allows for the sale of renewable fuel credits. That’s impressive efficiency for an airport that served 73 million travelers in 2019.