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Athena: Wisdom to Guide Energy Transformations at U.S. Ports

Jan. 6, 2020


Airports are complex transportation hubs that coordinate the movement of passengers, goods, and services from the surrounding urban area. They need decision support and actionable insight to reduce uncertainty and mitigate risk for long-term planning. There are significant challenges in adapting complex transportation networks to rapidly evolving technology megatrends—and poor planning or execution may result in increased energy use, costs, and system inefficiencies.


Athena is a collaborative effort funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office and industry and is led by NREL in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. NREL and Oak Ridge National Laboratory experts are leveraging the powerful scientific computing capabilities at the labs to develop sophisticated models of current and future behaviors based on expanded mobility choices to and from transportation hubs, increased freight volume, and anticipated dynamics of airport access.


The Athena team is developing a “digital twin” model of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport with data from individuals, traffic, freight routes, flight schedules, autonomous vehicles, and other sources. Using data-driven statistical modeling and artificial intelligence, this model can simulate the impacts of future capacity expansion scenarios. It will also identify options that maximize the value of passenger and freight mobility per unit of energy and/or cost. The project aims to inform transportation hubs in integrating transformative technologies and achieving ambitious energy goals.

Read more on the Athena website.