Department of Energy collaborates with city partners to develop sustainable aviation energy technologies

SAN ANTONIO – A city-wide collaboration advancing sustainable technology in the aviation industry is expected to dampen San Antonio International Airport’s energy footprint.

CPS Energy, UTSA, and the city’s aviation department signed an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) agreement with the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop and promote sustainable aviation technologies.

The agreement marks the first time an international airport will work together with ARPA-E,” a DOE press release said.

ARPA-E, the Department of Energy’s innovation arm, will work with the collaborators to develop and implement “new energy technologies to decarbonize the aviation sector.”

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) encourages collective efforts from all partners to forward technologies supporting sustainable aviation, battery technologies, enhanced electric vehicle charging, and power demand management.

Several ARPA-E-funded projects were shown Wednesday, including a hybrid-electric aircraft from Ampaire, a sustainable air travel company.

Ampaire showcased its EEL aircraft during a showcase of ARPA-E-funded projects at a Wednesday ceremony. (Ampaire)

“This is a unique partnership designed to promote transformative energy technologies and it propels the City of San Antonio’s Aviation Department to the center of innovation,” Jesus Saenz, the director of airports for the City of San Antonio said.

The collaboration for the airport comes amid a rebrand for the facility ahead of upgrades and a new terminal.

In February, the Federal Aviation Administration issued $30 million in grants as a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Airport Terminals Program to assist with the construction of a new terminal expected to open in 2028.

First look at the San Antonio International Airport’s new, third terminal

UTSA joined the collaboration as a potential workforce provider and supporter of growing the aviation and energy industries in Texas.

UTSA was invited to join the partnership due to its commitment to growing the state’s leading industries, including aerospace and the new energy economy

“Together, this collective will accelerate discoveries that will positively impact the local and regional economies while advancing technologies that change the world,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said.

The university’s work in renewable energy comes through the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute, which UTSA created to sustain community energy partnerships.

“Researching the decarbonization of aviation and finding new sustainable energy models is important work, and I am proud San Antonio will be playing a leading role in this cutting-edge research,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

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