Research Projects

Project at a Glance

Project Status: complete

Title: Innovative means to minimize electric GSE charging infrastructure costs. Final report

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Electric Transportation Engineering Corp.

Contract Number: ICAT 04-4


Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: ICAT Grants / Technology


Abstract:

Use of electric ground support equipment (GSE) is considered a viable option for reducing non-aircraft exhaust emissions at airports. In 2002, eTec began a project with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) (administered by Sacramento Municipal Utility District [SMUD]) to develop a battery-powered aircraft pushback tractor for
pushing aircraft away from the gate when ready for departure. This tractor was to be tested by United Airlines at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to determine if a low-capacity, high power density battery combined with fast opportunity charging could meet the operational needs of the airlines.

In 2005, a related project—funded through CARB’s Innovative Clean Air Technology (ICAT) program—was added. This project called for the demonstration of eTec’s Bridge Power Manager (BPM), which allows the battery charger to share the jet bridge’s existing power circuit without overloading that circuit’s built–in protection. Time-sharing the power circuit in this way eliminates the need for, and cost of, installation of a new circuit, hopefully removing this obstruction to the introduction of electric GSE at many airports.

During the course of the project, the site was moved to Oakland International Airport (OAK) in partnership with Southwest Airlines (SWA). In September 2007, eTec, OAK and SWA planned and conducted the installation of the battery charger and BPM at gate 32 at OAK, and the system became operational in mid-October, 2007. The demonstration effort was conducted for a six-month evaluation period. During this time, the charger recorded data for each charge event, including interruptions required by the BPM to limit total power in the jet bridge circuit. The data show that the BPM technology was successful in allowing SWA to operate their electric GSE without loss of use due to lack of charger availability.

This demonstration enabled SWA to experience the operation of the BPM with their current battery charging equipment. As a result, SWA elected to purchase additional BPMs and chargers from ETEC to expand its use of electric GSE at OAK.


 

For questions regarding research reports, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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