The European Union, Province of Drenthe, Holthausen Clean Technology, University of Groningen, New Energy Coalition, KLM Equipment Services and Groningen Airport Eelde are enabling the development of a hydrogen Ground Power Unit and working together to make aviation more sustainable.
Diesel becomes hydrogen
A Ground Power Unit (GPU) is used to power aircraft on the ground with electric power. Diesel-powered GPUs account for more than a third of the diesel consumption of ground equipment at airports.
Holthausen Clean Technology has fitted a GPU, originally fossil-powered, with a fuel cell. This GPU comes from KLM Equipment Services at Schiphol Airport. They are making the GPU available for the benefit of hydrogen knowledge and technology development at Groningen Airport Eelde (GAE). The airport is leading the way in making aviation more sustainable and serves as a testing ground and demonstration location for other airports. GAE shares the acquired knowledge and experience with other airports to enable more sustainable aviation. The hydrogen GPU will be tested and demonstrated as a proof of concept at both Groningen Airport Eelde and Schiphol.
Paul Feldbrugge, Manager Fleet Management & Engineering:
“KLM Equipment Services is pleased to contribute towards a Zero Emission airport operation through hydrogen technology. In the coming years, basically all Diesel GPUs will be replaced by either hydrogen GPUs or battery-electric GPUs.”
The fuel cell built into the GPU uses a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell to generate electricity. Combining hydrogen and oxygen in the fuel cell creates an electrochemical reaction that produces electricity. This electricity is then used to power aircraft on the ground.
Subsidy from HyTrEc2
Funds for this development have come from the European programme HyTrEc2, part of the Interreg VB North Sea Region Programme. The Province of Drenthe is a partner in this programme, which aims to support the use of hydrogen in the transport and energy sector in the North Sea Region (NSR).
Tjisse Stelpstra, Deputy Drenthe Province:
“We are proud of this cooperation of the Province of Drenthe with the airport, which as a frontrunner focuses so emphatically on making aviation more sustainable, making use of the network, knowledge and experience that exists in our Province in the field of hydrogen.”