TECH TO THE RESCUE

Houston Airports roll out eco-friendly fleet of fire rescue vehicles

High-tech firetrucks are ready to serve the area that includes George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Photo courtesy of Houston Airports

Houston Airports and the Houston Fire Department will roll out a new fleet of eco-friendly and health-promoting vehicles this summer.

Four new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) trucks will be deployed at HFD Stations 99 and 92 near IAH. The vehicles were purchased with $4.6 million from the Airport Improvement Fund and will replace a fleet purchased in 2006.

One truck is already operating HFD Station 99. Others are expected to be operational by August, according to Houston Airports.

"The safety of passengers and crew at Bush Airport is our top priority," Steve Runge, director of operations for Houston Airports, says in a statement. "These new ARFF trucks represent a significant investment in the latest firefighting technology, ensuring the Houston Fire Department has the resources it needs to respond swiftly and effectively to any aircraft emergency while utilizing eco-friendly foam."

The vehicles feature several innovative features including:

  • Synthetic fluorine-free foam that extinguishes fires with minimal environmental impact
  • High-capacity water pumps that deliver up to 1,200 gallons of water per minute
  • Specialized rescue equipment for rescuing passengers and crew from crashes
  • Rosenbauer re-circulation air scrubber system that reduces firefighter’s exposure to carcinogenic toxins

They can carry 3,000 gallons of water, 400 gallons of foam, 450 pounds of Purple K dry-chemical and 460 pounds of Halotron to extinguish fires and rescue passengers and crew, according to Houston Airports.

"From the health of the firefighters to protecting people and property at Bush Airport, we appreciate this investment by Houston Airports,” Ronald Krusleski, senior captain and ARFF coordinator for the Houston Fire Department, adds.

Houston Airports also plans to build a 21,000-square-foot facility to replace the current HFD 92 at IAH that will include six apparatus bays, fire inspector and administrative offices, and direct access to the airfield, according to a statement. It'll be funded by $30 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Airport Infrastructure Grants for Fiscal Year 2024 from the FAA. Hobby Airport also received $15 million to demolish and reconstruct existing ARFF buildings.

Last year Houston Airports also received $12.5 million for projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The projects included replacing existing generators and conducting an energy audit.

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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A View From HETI

Nádia Skorupa Parachin joined Cemvita as vice president of industrial biotechnology. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

Houston-based biotech company Cemvita recently tapped two executives to help commercialize its sustainable fuel made from carbon waste.

Nádia Skorupa Parachin came aboard as vice president of industrial biotechnology, and Phil Garcia was promoted to vice president of commercialization.

Parachin most recently oversaw several projects at Boston-based biotech company Ginkjo Bioworks. She previously co-founded Brazilian biotech startup Integra Bioprocessos.

Parachin will lead the Cemvita team that’s developing technology for production of bio-manufactured oil.

“It’s a fantastic moment, as we’re poised to take our prototyping to the next level, and all under the innovative direction of our co-founder Tara Karimi,” Parachin says in a news release. “We will be bringing something truly remarkable to market and ensuring it’s cost-effective.”

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita, says the hiring of Parachin represents “the natural next step” toward commercializing the startup’s carbon-to-oil process.

“Her background prepared her to bring the best out of the scientists at the inflection point of commercialization — really bringing things to life,” says Moji Karimi, Tara’s brother.

Parachin joins Garcia on Cemvita’s executive team.

Before being promoted to vice president of commercialization, Garcia was the startup’s commercial director and business development manager. He has a background in engineering and business development.

Founded in 2017, Cemvita recently announced a breakthrough that enables production of large quantities of oil derived from carbon waste.

In 2023, United Airlines agreed to buy up to one billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Cemvita’s first full-scale plant over the course of 20 years.

Cemvita’s investors include the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, an investment arm of Chicago-based United; Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy company Occidental Petroleum; and Japanese equipment and machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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