Focusing on emissions in the air, it is easy to forget the CO2 saving opportunities on the ground. In its 'E-PORT AN' initiative, Fraport and the Lufthansa Group aim to power all ground movement with electricity.
The E-PORT AN partnership started in 2012 with the goal of converting ground movements from fuel-burning to electric propulsion wherever feasible and sensible.
The ground handling fleet currently comprises almost 300 vehicles. Vehicles under review include those that carry passengers, personnel, baggage, cargo, catering, fuel, jet bridges and mobile stairways.
To allow engines to remain switched off until the aircraft is at the head of the runway, Lufthansa and partners are testing their developments of two electric towing vehicles for aircraft: the pilot-driven TaxiBot (see page 35 for information); and the eSchlepper, which is the world's first aircraft tug for towing wide body aircraft over distances of up to seven kilometres from maintenance hangars to apron positions. This saves significant amounts of diesel and is expected to reduce maintenance by about 50%.
Further to the electric towing vehicles, E-PORT AN is working on: an eTaxi system which is fitted onto the landing gear, replacing conventional aircraft engine taxiing with an auxiliary power unit electric drive. The eLift catering truck, which uses both electric drive and lift; Fraport is also deploying prototypes of an electric container transporter, a solar-driven passenger stairway, nine electric pallet loaders as well as two mini buses and 30 electric cars; and numerous charging points installed throughout the airport apron for the regular cars used by ground personnel.
The E-PORT AN project was honoured with the prestigious Green Tec Award in the category Aviation in 2014.