Broome County Announces Geothermal Project at the Airport

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Greater Binghamton will be the first airport in the country to use the temperature of the Earth to melt snow in the winter and cool its terminal in the summer.

Ground was broken today to dig 500 foot deep geothermal wells at the airport. Water will circulate through the ground, which is roughly 50 degrees year-round, and then be used to warm the tarmac apron and walkway in the winter. In the summer, the geothermal system will augment air conditioning in the terminal building.

Aviation Commissioner Carl Beardsley says the system will impress visitors on a snowy winter day.

“They could find their walkway completely void of precipitation, of snowfall, on our ramp. That has a certain amount of ‘Wow factor’ that’s not only going to reflect well on the airport, but it’s going to reflect well for the community,” said Beardsley.

The idea for geothermal originally came from a class of B.U. students back in 2009 who submitted the concept to an FAA competition. Justin Flechsig, who has since graduated, returned today to see his vision becoming reality.

“I couldn’t compare it to any other experience I’ve had in my life. And, it’s been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve worked on in undergraduate or graduate as well,” said Flechsig.

The $1.25 million project is being paid for by a $900,000 grant from the FAA and another $350,000 from NYSERDA. Construction is expected to be complete by next March.

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