The city of Atlanta is striving to be one of the nation’s top tier sustainable cities.
Implementation of sustainable initiatives at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport
(ATL) is essential to meet these goals. ATL seeks to fulfill the goals and objectives outlined in
the Sustainable Management Plan and the City of Atlanta’s Zero Waste Zone initiative. As part of these initiatives, ATL has proposed the creation of a sustainable ‘Energy Park’ that would divert grease, compostables, yard trimmings, and FW from ATL and the Southern Crescent community from landfills and turn them into energy and useful products. Determining the best use of the products and the energy to supplement the Airport’s energy needs is the desired end goal of this proposal. The designated location for the Energy Park is a 39 acre site near the airport. The first stage of the design process is to evaluate the monetary, environmental, and social costs and benefits of building the Energy Park. As a first step towards the development of the proposed Energy Park, ATL has requested the Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), a nonprofit student organization at the Georgia Institute of Technology, to evaluate the costs and benefits of multiple technology options for the Energy Park. Components of the Energy Park that are considered in this report include anaerobic digestion (AD), enclosed composting, a combined heat and power plant, biofuel and food crop production in greenhouses, and biodiesel generation. Also included is an analysis of outsourcing some of these processes. An energy balance analysis has been performed for each process to show the net energy gain of the proposed system.
We hope that this report sheds some light on different aspects of such a complex system and
helps the decision makers at ATL and the City of Atlanta in their sustainable initiatives and
An Energy Park would provide an outlet for grease, compostables, yard trimmings, and food waste from the airport and the Southern Crescent community. Diverting these materials from landfills and turning them into energy meets the goals and objectives of the Airport’s Sustainable Management Plan and the City of Atlanta’s Zero Waste Zone.
This research project would not have been possible without the support of many people.
ESW wishes to express its gratitude to its academic supervisor, Dr. Wayne Whiteman who was
abundantly helpful and offered invaluable assistance, support, and guidance. Deepest gratitude
is also due to Dr. Valerie Thomas, Dr. Steven Van Ginkel, and Dr. Spyros Pavlostathis from
Georgia Institute of Technology; without their knowledge and assistance, this study would not
have been successful.
Our thanks and appreciation also goes to Mr. Michael Cheyne, Director of Asset
Management and Sustainability, who trusted ESW-GT with such a significant project, and Ms.
Sharon Douglas for providing us with data and information from the airport. We also thank Ms.
Jean Pullen from the City of Atlanta who willingly introduced us to this project and the airport.