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Construction Begins On Geothermal Lake Plate Cooling System in Nashville

A former rock quarry in Nashville, Tenn., is getting an upgrade by the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority.

The area soon will be the site of the largest geothermal lake plate cooling system in North America. The quarry has an average depth of 150 feet and contains about 1.5 billion gallons of water. The water temperature is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit at a depth of 50 feet.

The system being constructed will take advantage of that temperature by running water through geothermal heat exchangers submerged in the quarry to Nashville International’s (BNA) central plant, cooling the entire terminal. The system also will allow the water to be used for landscape irrigation.

“This is a remarkable project for its scope, ingenuity and efficiency,” says Rob Wigington, president and CEO of the MNAA. “The airport authority is committed to making sustainability an integral part of our business model. Not because sustainability is easy – rather, it is often a complex process – but because the benefits to our airports, the region and our environment are overwhelmingly positive. This historic project will significantly reduce our electricity usage and potable water consumption, which will result in substantial annual utility savings. This is the very essence of sustainability.”

Implementation of the system is expected to reduce electricity usage by 6,000 kilowatts of peak demand, resulting in annual savings of 1.3 million kilowatt-hours, 30 million gallons of potable water and more than $430,000.