Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) and Michigan State University (MSU) have signed an airport land-use agreement for the purpose of conducting biofuel agricultural research.
MSU received a grant from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth to conduct biofuel research using non-traditional land consisting of airports, highway right-of-way, and urban parcels. Michigan airports participating in the program include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Detroit Metro. The three-acre parcel to be used at GFIA is located at the southwest corner of airport property along Kraft Avenue, and is not in the immediate vicinity of aircraft movement areas.
MSU will plant and harvest biofuel-producing crops on the parcel, to include camelina, oriental mustard and canola. The term of the land-use agreement covers the 2011 crop growing season. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that biofuel crops can be grown on airport property. The harvested crops will be processed into biodiesel and used in ground support vehicles at the airport.
GFIA has received approval from the FAA for non-aeronautical use of the airport land. MSU has received letters of support from the US Department of Agriculture, which will assist MSU in monitoring the parcel.