The ground support equipment (GSE) electrification project is being run by operator the Port of Seattle, in conjunction with Alaska Airlines, Western Washington Clean Cities and US government.
All vehicles on the Seattle-Tacoma airfield running on fossil fuels will be replaced by those running on electric power, and the drive is being led by Alaska Airlines, who will have more than 200 new electric vehicles.
Nearly 600 electric charging stations will be placed throughout the airport for GSE, such as baggage tugs, bag ramps and pushback vehicles.
By converting the GSE from fossil fuel to electric, each year the project is projected to save $2.8 million in airline fuel costs, and 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
The port has installed charging corrals with smart, fast-charging plug-ins for vehicles to receive a full charge in less than four hours.
In the first phase, 296 charging locations will be placed throughout concourse D, C, and the north satellite, and the second phase will cover the rest of the terminal at concourse A, B, and the south satellite with a total of 576 charging locations by September.
Courtney Gregoire, co-president, Port of Seattle Commission, says: “This project provides the infrastructure for airlines to convert their vehicles from diesel to electric in Sea-Tac’s effort to become the first major airport in the US to provide charging stations at all gates.
“As many as 650 vehicles could eventually be covered by electric technology and make a huge difference in the airport’s carbon footprint.”
The $31 million project is funded in large part through federal grants and from an additional grant of $3.5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Part of the grant money is being used to help airlines fund the purchase of new electric vehicles, and additional airlines are scheduled to join the programme later this year.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the 15th largest airport in the US and handled 34.7 million passengers in 2013.