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BGM and BU Students Selected for Major FAA Demonstration Project
Southern Tier Economic Partnership (STEP) awarded $374,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to fund Phase I of the project
The computer science students from the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science were led by Binghamton University Associate Professor William Ziegler, and advised by Broome County Commissioner of Aviation Carl Beardsley and Chad Nixon, Vice President of McFarland-Johnson Inc. Their paper proposes to remove snow and ice from airport pavement in critical areas by warming the surface using sustainable geothermal technology. With its practical and environmentally sensitive applications, this concept gained significant interest from the FAA and the aviation industry after it was awarded first place in the operation and maintenance category. As a result, discussions began almost immediately with local officials regarding FAA interest in funding a prototype, which would make this concept a reality.
“This project began as a classroom exercise and has turned into a once-in-a-lifetime partnership between the students of Binghamton University, and a number of local government and economic development entities. For our students to see their project come to fruition as a construction project that could benefit the entire aviation industry, is truly astounding and I am certainly proud to be part of the experience”, said Ziegler.
The project team includes public and private organizations including STEP, Binghamton University, the Greater Binghamton Airport and local engineering firm McFarland-Johnson, Inc.
Coincidentally, work is scheduled to begin this month to rehabilitate the main ramp pavement at the Greater Binghamton Airport. The project requires removal of the old pavement, offering a perfect opportunity to install the heating prototype under the newly paved surface. Integrating the geothermal prototype work into the design of the main apron rehabilitation project is proving to be relatively seamless and the unified project is expected to be completed in summer 2011.
“Although just a segment of the ramp will be fitted with the geothermal technology, in the end the research will provide us with the real data needed to determine the extent we could use this in the future,” said Beardsley. “Needless to say, we are proud to have worked with the students of Binghamton University, Professor Ziegler and McFarland-Johnson on this exciting project.”
As a leading firm in aviation planning/design and sustainable design solutions, McFarland-Johnson, Inc. provided the team with aviation industry insight and engineering guidance. Nixon expressed excitement at the company’s involvement in the collaborative effort and emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships within the community. “MJ is constantly looking to improve our processes, designs and interaction with the community,” he said. “The FAA design competition offered an opportunity to work with some great young minds to help develop sustainable solutions to the day-to-day challenges our clients face.”
Posted: 9/15/2010 8:31 am