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JFK opens hydrogen fuel station

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John F. Kennedy International Airport is getting major additions that will benefit New Yorkers who want to travel in green style and for passengers who are looking for a good meal before they head to the skies.

The Port Authority Tuesday announced the opening of Queens’s first hydrogen fuel station at Building 141 at the airport. Drivers of vehicles that use clean burning hydrogen fuel will not have to travel far when their tank is empty, according to Duncan Macleod, the vice president of Shell Hydrogen, which is providing the pumps for the station.

“This is part of a demonstration program. It will be as close to the fueling experience that you have with gasoline,” he said.

This is the second hydrogen fueling station that Shell has opened in New York state, with the other station located in White Plains, according to Macleod. The company is planning to open another station in the Bronx to create a cluster of hydrogen fueling stations, the vice president said.

General Motors has given approximately 30 prototype hydrogen fuel celled Chevy Equinox cars to private drivers, government officers and local businesses in the state to test out the hydrogen engine as part of it’s “Project Driveway” promotion, according to Larry Burns, the car company’s vice president of research & development.

“The goal was to let people understand that this technology is very real,” he said.

Evan Matzkin, a Westchester CPA who is driving one of the test cars, said he has been impressed with the vehicle’s handling and was glad that another refueling station had opened in New York.

“You don’t hear the engine noise. You don’t hear the transmission shift. It’s a lot quieter. It is a lot smoother ride,” he said.

In other news, nine eateries are set to open at Terminal 4, which reopened last year with JetBlue Airlines as its operator, giving flyers a taste of what the city has to offer, according to Janice Holden, chief commercial officer at JFK IAT, the management company that oversees the terminal.

One of the largest restaurants includes the The Palm Bar & Grille, the famous family-owned Manhattan steak house. Eaters can enjoy a large menu of various Italian meat and fish dishes at the restaurant while waiting for their plane.

The Seafood Bar, which has restaurants in Hong Kong, London and Geneva, will offer a primer menu of dishes such as Balik smoked salmon and Caspian caviar. Flyers watching their calories can check out ZPizza, which includes pies made from 100 percent organic wheat, cheese and tomato sauce, according to Holden.

The terminal will also offer Asian fast food dishes at the Panda Express restaurant that has Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine.

Flyers looking for a casual meal between flights can check out Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar and Tigin Irish Pub & Restaurant, which have tasty snacks and refreshing drinks. Early-morning eaters will have three options for breakfast menus, including French bakery Upper Crust, Panapolis and Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 6:34 pm, October 10, 2011
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