Energy and Financial Viability of Hydronic Heated Pavement Systems
Ice and snow impact transportation infrastructure systems and add significant costs to the United States economy in the form of snow removal, damaged pavement, and lost productivity due to travel delays. As a result of environmental and logistics concerns associated with conventional snow removal systems (CSRS), the use of heated pavements systems (HPS) at airports are continually gaining attention as a desirable alternative. The main objective of this research was to examine the financial viability of installing HPS at airport aprons for different categories of airports. To achieve this, two economic analysis techniques, the Net Present Value and Benefit Cost Ratio, were employed in analyzing a set of case scenarios implementing hydronic heated pavement system (HHPS) as representing HPS. HHPS has been used in practice and familiar to business sectors among different HPS technologies. The required data for economic analysis were collected through airport site visits, email questionnaires, government websites, reports, etc. The costs incurred from melting snow by HHPS and their potential benefits were calculated and compared with the operating costs of CSRS under specific case scenarios. Due to the inherently uncertain nature of weather-related delays, an in-depth sensitivity analysis was conducted to represent contrasting scenarios. It was found that HPS, despite the high installation costs, could be economically viable at commercial airports. The feasibility depends on the size of the airport in terms of operations and area of installation. As HPS technology continues to evolve with time, especially with the use of renewable energy sources and advanced construction methods, the benefits are far likely to outweigh the existing high initial installation costs.
Authors: Pritha Anand, Ali Nahvi, Halil Ceylan, Vasiliki Dimitra Pyrialakou, Konstantina Gkritza, Kasthurirangan Gopalakrishnan, Sunghwan Kim, and Peter C. Taylor