Consolidating Fuel delivery at Logan
New farm and hydrant system replace five independent systems
By John F. Infanger, Editorial Director
BOSTON — In November, 1999, Boston Logan International Airport brought online a new consolidated loop fueling system that took 27 months to construct and came in under the original budget of $63 million. The project was financed through bonds and is being paid for by a 29-airline consortium, and brings with it a host of environmental advantages.
The process for the new fuel system began back in 1989 for the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), owner/operator of Logan, according to airside program manager Laurie Cullen. "We had six separate fuel farms serving five different terminals," she explains. "All were owned and operated by different parties — basically, each carrier had its own. Then there was one system that served all of Terminal E, run by Signature Flight Support."
The initiative began for a number of reasons, spurred by changing environmental regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and by future airport construction. In addition, highway and airport parking construction projects were affecting storage capacity.
Explains Cullen, "In the early ’90s, we probably lost over 500,000 gallons of storage and were set to lose that or more in the next several years. Completion of this project gave us about five to seven days of on-airport storage."
Initially, Massport asked the air carriers to come up with a proposal for the new system. However, the process was moving slowly, so the agency took the lead, put out a bid, and hired URS Greiner (now URS Greiner Woodward Clyde) of Tampa to design the consolidated loop hydrant system.
Massport then negotiated a 40-year lease with a new corporation, BOSFUEL Corporation, which included the air carriers serving Logan and was formed specifically for the project. BOSFUEL was incorporated in Deleware as a non-profit corporation. Requiring the carriers to incorporate, says Cullen, gave Massport a legal entity that the agency could have legal recourse against, if necessary.
"BOSFUEL Corporation consists of the 29 carriers who are bound by an interline agreement, which basically makes them one entity" explains Cullen. "BOSFUEL went to the market and borrowed money to build it. It was a $111 million bond issue." She says the bond issue was for 50 years.
The initial phase of the project, opened last November, was projected to cost $63 million. Rodney Hoke, P.E., fuel system project manager for URS Greiner, estimates the final tab will come in at $58.7 million. The remainder of the $111 million was related to Massport costs for managing the project as well as other associated costs, he says.
Says Cullen, "What we have is almost an entirely new fuel system. There are three current systems that we incorporated. According to the lease agreement, those have to be replaced within 15 years of the lease commencement date, which would make it around 2012."
"What's really nice about the new system from the carriers' perspective," says Cullen, "is they can move around. So, regardless of where they park their plane, they just send their fuelers over and they can fuel off the system. There's no more of this: United can we borrow some fuel?
"It gives us great flexibility in construction, like when we have to close down an alleyway.
"It's a consolidated loop. There are two main lines that run out around the entire terminal area, so every single gate can be fed two ways. So, if someone hits an emergency fuel shutoff (EFSO) and shuts down one zone of the system, instead of the fuel flowing that way, it can flow back the other way. So, there's never more than four or five gates that have to be shut down at one time in the event of an emergency. Most of the previous systems had dead-ended — they had a main line, it went into the terminal, and that was it. Now it's completely looped for every terminal."
DynAir Fueling, Inc., was awarded a five-year contract to operate the system for BOSFUEL. Carriers pay for it through a cost-sharing formula, according to Cullen, in which 10 percent of the expenses is distributed evenly, and 90 percent is distributed by fuel consumption.
According to Hoke at URS Greiner, the project had its share of "ups and downs," as might be expected with an initiative of this magnitude, but none proved insurmountable. "One of the biggest challenges was that we had to get the authority and the airlines all on the same page," he explains. "After all, the airlines themselves are all competitors. It usually came down to cost issues. The airlines are paying for this, but (ownership) reverts back to the authority. So, we got into a lot of value-engineering calls.
"A big part of this was that this was done on an active airfield. Every gate was occupied. It was a juggling act to keep the airport operational, with us crossing taxiways and tearing up the airport for a couple of years. The fuel system is one thing; keeping the airport operational is another."
Hoke says that while the consolidated loop system is not new technology, it was for Logan, and it brings with it the advantages of redundancy and backup which the airport did not have previously.
Besides the obvious environmental benefit of upgrading a 25-year old fueling system, says Cullen, there were the added benefits of new technology not available when the original lines were installed. "We have a unified leak detection system, a unified cathodic protection system, a unified EFSO system," she says. "We designed a cathodic protection system that has a 50-year life expectancy."
In addition, according to Massport, because the new system can hold a 5-7 supply of jet fuel and uses a hydrant system for delivery, the number of trips made by truck on the airport has been dramatically reduced. By 2010, according to the agency, the total project will have eliminated nearly 60,000 truck trips per year.
Also, air quality emission reductions are significant: Massport estimates that, by 2010, some 3.09 tons of volatile organic compounds and 4.18 tons of nitrous oxides per year will have been eliminated from tank evaporative emissions and from emissions caused by tanker truck traffic.
Meanwhile, Cullen says this project can serve as an example to other large airports that are looking to build new fueling systems. "It's a good model because we didn't have to incur the debt to build it — BOSFUEL did. By owning it and doing the project with tax-exempt financing, we were able to get a low interest rate for them to borrow the money but, at the same time, it's not a debt against our books.
"Our only obligation under the bond issue is in the event BOSFUEL goes belly-up some day — which means 29 air carriers would have to have gone belly-up. Of course, if that happens we have a different problem."
Boston Logan's new consolidated fuel system brings with it a number of environmental advantages, including ...
• Cathodic protection
• Leak detection
• Secondary containment ... by way of a liner beneath the above ground tank bottoms
• Computerized tank overfill and inventory gauging system
• Spill containment ... through a series of dike walls, equipment pads, and fuel transfer facilities • Stormwater management
• Fuel reclamation management ... includes recovery of and reuse of fuel from facility waste operations, reducing hazardous waste generation
• Design: URS Greiner Woodward Clyde, Tampa (formerly URS Greiner)
• Construction: M. DeMatteo Construction Company, Braintree, MA
• Civil Design/Logistics: Edwards & Kelsey, Inc., Boston
• Capacity: 4 tanks, 43,000 bbl (7.2 million gallons)
• Cost: just under $63 million
CAP Logan's new storage system features four above ground tanks. One of the key logistics challenges related to the 27-month project was installation of the consolidated loop system while airline operations continued.