ITW GSE: Battery driven GSE equipment in high demand

posted on 21st March 2019 by Justin Burns
ITW GSE: Battery driven GSE equipment in high demand

The aviation industry and its stakeholders are committed to contribute to a cleaner and greener environment and reducing carbon emissions and increasing airport sustainability are the aim of the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) organization that was created back in 2009, according to ITW GSE.

Since then, 261 airports in 69 countries have signed up to the program which equates 43.6 per cent of the global passenger traffic and the number of participating airports is rapidly increasing as airports want to demonstrate their environmental responsibility.

Often the world’s largest airports are located next to major cities that are growing in line with global urbanisation, meaning that cities and airports are coming into ever-closer contact. This leads to more strict requirements in terms of the emissions local governments can and will accept.

Therefore equipment that can reduce carbon emissions in the airports is in high demand. One of the solutions is switching to electrically driven ground support equipment (GSE) equipment.

ITW GSE says this is where its 400 Hz solid-state and battery driven power supplies come into play as the most environmentally friendly equipment is “without any doubt the ITW GSE 2400 range of solid-state ground power units”.

Those units do not cause any CO2 emissions at the place of use. They also have a very high efficiency and a very low noise level to the benefit of airport staff and boarding passengers. Since the launch of this green solid-state product range, the demand has been ever increasing and today, ITW GSE manufactures in the range of 2000 units per year.

Solid-state equipment does, however, require electrical input. Therefore, there has been room for traditional diesel driven equipment for remote areas and for airports without sufficient electrical infrastructure.

But with the introduction of the new battery powered ITW GSE 7400 eGPU, there is a green alternative. The eGPU is a completely independent source. It can be used anywhere. For hangar use and at remote areas.

At smaller airports that are often situated close to residential areas where diesel units have so far been the only option, the eGPU can make a difference to the neighbors that are challenged by the high noise level and harmful emissions from diesel units.

The first 7400 eGPU was taken into regular service in Eindhoven in the autumn of 2018. Since then, the unit has gone into operation in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Abu Dhab, Brisbane and Los Angeles.

In the US, United Airlines was the first US airline to publicly commit to reducing greenhouse emissions (50 per cent by 2050) and strengthening their commitment to become the world’s most environmentally conscious airline which would eliminate 21 million metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere per year, equivalent to removing 4.5 million cars off the road or all of the cars in Los Angeles and New York City combined.

With this strong commitment, United Airlines was not surprisingly the first airline in the US to go for the 7400 eGPU solution. End of January, the eGPU was presented in Los Angeles International Airport to a well-attended group of stake holders from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB).

First, the 787-10 Dreamliner was connected to a conventional diesel GPU – afterwards United Airlines switched to the 7400 eGPU – and the drop in noise was remarkable according to ITW GSE.

United Ground Service Equipment and Facilities Director, Barbara Sullivan: “This is the clean, quiet future of ground power units. These units also promise to be much less costly to maintain and operate over the years, so the more we can add to our fleets, the better.”

The mentioned benefits are very well in line with the findings at Stuttgart Airport, Germany where a general electrification project has been ongoing for some years.

Data and Process Manager, Martin Hofmann concludes in a published article from Jan-Feb 2019 that the airport’s statistics show an energy improvement of between 50-80 per cent over diesel vehicles. Also, the airport has seen advantages only.

Electrical units are quiet. They are popular with the workforce and, most of all, they do not pollute the local air, which is a big talking point in Germany – as it is the case at many other places.

“Diesel GPUs is by far the largest consumer of fuel during a turn-around compared to other diesel driven GSE equipment like belt loaders and push back tractors. An exchange of  diesel GPUs with eGPUs therefore contributes most in respect to reducing CO2 emissions. Such initiatives do so to speak give more green value for money.

“Seen in that light, ITW GSE is very proud to be the first GSE manufacturer to bring an eGPU on the market,” explains ITW GSE Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Poul Elvstroem.

“We have approximately 75 units on our production plan this year, but with the very high market demand that we experience, we may have to go beyond which is possible.

“Without compromising any of our other manufacturing lines, we can upscale to over 200 units/year due to the unique and strong ITW GSE manufacturing concept. I doubt that other manufactures can do the same,” Elvstroem continues. “We look forward to sustaining the many green initiatives.”

The 7400 eGPU certainly puts ITW GSE at the forefront of an increasingly large number of airlines and airports worldwide proclaiming the age of electricity and promising to move away from fossil fuel powered GSE.

With an ITW GSE 7400 eGPU, airports can reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 90 per cent and nitrous oxide by 95 per cent.  The ITW GSE 7400 eGPU is certainly set to change how airlines and airports think about ground power!

“All in all, we are very happy with the development and all the positive feed-back that we receive from our customers,” Elvstroem concludes.

“We can’t hardly wait to see the effects of exchanging diesel equipment with battery GPUs. A greener future is certainly on its way – once again based on initiatives from ITW GSE who has been taking the lead when it comes to green power and air products for decades.”