Electric ground equipment trialled at Schiphol airport

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Schiphol airport in the Netherlands is to trial electric ground power units (e-GPUs) for handling ‘widebody’ aircraft.

Currently, the airport uses seven e-GPUs for the smaller, narrowbody planes. As larger aircraft require more power than these existing can e-GPUs provide, the trial will test three units with double the power capacity over the course of six months. These three power units will first be tested on cargo planes and subsequently with passenger planes. Based on the experiences and collected data from the trial, conclusions can be drawn about deployability and rollout at Schiphol.

The e-GPUs are expected to reduce the amount of CO2, (ultra) fine particle and nitrogen emissions that the diesel version produced. This ground equipment is intended to replace the diesel-powered models and provide planes with power while they are parked. The trial will investigate whether the new electric ground equipment has the same technical quality as the diesel generators and whether they can be deployed at the airport.

Oscar Maan, innovation manager assets at airport operator Royal Schiphol Group, explained, “Planes need electricity when they are parked at the gate or on the apron in order to keep the systems on board running. Special diesel generators were used for that. However, we’ve been making changes for some time now to improve air quality and reduce emissions.

“At the moment, 73 of the 128 gates at Schiphol have fixed power units for planes. Our aim is to install them at all gates. Because the airport doesn’t have fixed power units at all locations yet and, for example, cargo planes do not park at the gate, Schiphol collaborated with ITW to develop an electric and portable generator. We call it an electric ground power unit (e-GPU).”

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