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Chicago's O'Hare Airport Plans Alternative Fuel Station

California-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has been tapped by the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) to develop an alternative fuel complex near the northeast corner of the O'Hare International Airport property. Clean Energy will partner on the project with travel plaza developer PMG Airport Developers.

The city wants PMG and Clean Energy to develop a 4,000-square-foot property into a fueling station and travel center featuring compressed natural gas (CNG), biodiesel and electric vehicle recharging facilities, along with food options on some city owned vacant land.

Chicago airport officials said there are an increasing number of vehicles using the airport that are powered by alternative fuels, including taxis and hotel/car rental shuttles. A public access travel center near the airport is aimed at providing convenient access to alternative fuels for those fleets and the general public.

CDA is in line to get $100,000 of annual rent for the land and 5% of the gross sales at the station, which will be designed, built and operated by PMG and Clean Energy. Construction of the facilities will create 73 jobs and the station will have 30 permanent employees. PMG envisions replicating the alternative fuel station at airports across the nation.

Open 24/7, the travel center will feature a convenience store with a central fuel pay location, a quick-serve restaurant with walk-up and drive-through services, a car wash, flight information display screens, an auto teller machine and Wi-Fi.

PMG Airport Developers' Neysan Rassekh called the collaboration with Clean Energy an "innovative partnership" that should lead to a network of the next generation of fuel and food options that include traditional and alternative fuels.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said having access to the alternative fuels near O'Hare Airport  provides "multiple benefits" to Chicago and the general public. Emanuel cited the environmental benefits and the fact that the city can generate revenues, too.

Clean Energy's Peter Grace, senior vice president, said continuing to build out the alternative fuel station network was critical to increasing the number of green vehicles on U.S. roads. "This CNG station will support airport traffic and serve as a catalyst to help small businesses and larger fleets that are looking to improve their environmental footprint and their bottom lines by switching to cost-efficient natural gas vehicles."

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