Many airports these days are moving away from diesel powered GSE. This means a growing interest in Passenger Boarding Bridge (PBB) mounted solid state electrically powered Ground Powered Units (GPU) and Pre-Conditioned Air (PCA) units. This not only addresses the airports’ sustainability goals but also addresses the challenge of labor shortage.
According to Steven Ng, Sales Director Asia Pacific there is an increase in new airport developments showing increased demand for more environmentally friendly solutions, particularly in countries like Thailand, Hongkong, Philippines and Vietnam.
An alternative to the diesel-powered GPU is the battery powered ITW GSE 7400 eGPU. It offers extremely low noise, no emissions at airside and has a low total cost of ownership compared to the diesel counterpart.
The demand for ITW GSE 7400 eGPUs has been soaring globally, especially after the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Consequently, after several decades of engine driven ground power units as an important part of our portfolio, our focus is now on environmentally friendly power alternatives like the battery-powered eGPUs and the solid-state GPU and PCA.
Leading the Way in Battery Powered Ground Power Units
Introduced as the first-ever on the market in 2017, the ITW GSE 7400 battery driven eGPU is a remarkable innovation, combining cutting-edge Li-ion technology at input with ITW GSE’s solid-state converter technology at output. This ensures a highly reliable battery powered ground power unit that can be conveniently charged overnight during off-peak hours without necessitating an increase in electrical capacity. Furthermore, nighttime electricity rates are often lower. The battery powered GPU may support up to 8-10 turnarounds with narrow-body aircraft before requiring a recharge and is immediately ready to deliver 400 Hz / 28VDC power when you hit the start button as opposed to an engine driven GPU which needs time.
Regional Airline operators such as Japan Air Commuter and Firefly Airline have embarked onto the green journey with ITW GSE 7400 eGPU.
In another exemplary case, at Darwin International Airport, Australia, the eGPUs are charged using electricity generated by the airside solar farms, resulting in a sustainable, zero-emission operation.
Looking Into the Future of eGPUs
Steven Ng anticipates that ongoing advancements in electric vehicles and battery technology will contribute to ever more efficient batteries, and drawing a parallel with the automobile industry, he suggests that economies of scale can drive the development of new energy technologies which leads to more adoption of eGPU in the near future.
Looking ahead, Ng envisions a potential demand for the pooling and leasing of ground support equipment (GSE) in Asia, similar to practices in Europe. Such services could help smaller ground handlers streamline their operations by outsourcing GSE to lessors and service providers. As an alternative to leasing, ITW GSE offers a Power By the Hour subscription plan giving customer instant access to green equipment without major capital investment.
Driving Sustainability in Bangkok
One noteworthy project that showcases a strong commitment to sustainability is Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport satellite terminal. The airport’s sustainability goals led them to equip the satellite Terminal with electric ground support equipment which allowed ITW GSE to supply 36 PCAs, 72 GPUs and 72 hose retrievers for the project, making a substantial impact on reducing carbon emissions. Steven Ng emphasizes, „These fixed ground services have the potential to cut carbon emissions by nearly 90,000 metric tons of CO2 annually in this airport”. Additionally, with no need for tractors to tow GPUs and PCAs on the apron, it enhances ground safety while reducing the manpower required.
ITW GSE’s vision is to supply the aviation industry with the cleanest, most reliable, and cost-efficient GSE systems and provide sustainable and innovative solutions. The rise in demand for greener GSE solutions in Asian airports, as exemplified by the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport project, reflects the industry’s commitment to environmental responsibility and efficiency – and we are committed to help the industry make a giant leap towards a greener future with sustainable ground support equipment.
ITW GSE is represented globally with approximately 90,000 GSE products in operation worldwide, and a significant portion, around 14,000 units, serve the Asia-Pacific region.