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Project Status: complete

Report Published January 2002:

Title: Demonstration of the use of fast charged electric ground support equipment as a means of reducing airport emissions. Final report

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

Contract Number: ICAT 99-4

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: ICAT Grants / Technology, Mobile Sources & Fuels


This document is the final report of work completed under ICAT grant number ICAT99- 4, titled “Demonstration of the Use of Fast Charged Electric Ground Support Equipment as a Means of Reducing Airport Emissions”.

The purpose of the Project was to promote the reduction of airport emissions from ground support equipment (GSE) by successfully demonstrating an integrated electric GSE solution at a major California airport. Tasks 1-2 encompassed the selection, design and installation of fast charging equipment as well as the placement of 12 battery-powered bag tractors and ancillary equipment at the Sacramento International Airport (SMF) for operation and use by Southwest Airlines. Task 2 also required the development and implementation of a Management Information System for tracking the operation of the equipment for the du ration of the project. Task 3 required operating and monitoring the operation of the equipment, collecting data from both the charger and the electric vehicles.

The project successfully demonstrated that electric ground support equipment can replace fossil-fueled equipment in normal operations at SMF. A system including the charger, batteries, state of charge meter and discharge limiters was developed to allow for normal operations of the ground support equipment. While the charge was seen as a large electric load, its effects on the supply grid’s power quality was found to be minimal.

Furthermore, the additional cost of electric energy required for the Project was far offset by the fossil-fuel cost savings; a net savings of $1,277 per year. The elimination of fossil-fuel powered equipment resulted in a reduction in emitted pollutants, including 343 tons of CO, 16 tons of HC and 7.4 tons of NOx.

Task 4 was added during the conduct of Tasks 1-3 of the Project and required the procurement of a 13 th bag tractor powered by an AC drive system (as different from the DC drives for the original 12 tractors) in addition to laboratory and field testing of sealed lead-acid, golf-cart style battery modules. Task 4 was successfully completed, demonstrating the increased efficiency of the AC drive system. The lighter, lower capacity battery proved its ability to support airport operations in a fast charge environment.

As a result of the successful demonstration of an integrated electric GSE solution at SMF, Southwest Airlines has replaced additional internal combustion equipment at SMF with battery-powered equipment at SMF. In addition, Southwest Airlines has installed similar equipment at the Ontario, California Airport. Furthermore, SMF management has successfully obtained funding to install three systems to service Delta, American and United airlines.


For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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