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Frankfurt Airport modernizes ground power supply 

Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport

Fraport equipping more aircraft parking positions with ground power connections – Mobile Ground Power Units to be exclusively electric in future – German federal government backing modernization with 215,000 euros grant. 

Airport operator Fraport is pushing ahead with an overhaul of its ground power supply at Frankfurt Airport (FRA). As part of the Group’s climate protection strategy, the remaining diesel units supplying electricity to on-board systems for parked aircraft will disappear entirely from the FRA’s apron by 2040. However, the nature of the airport’s infrastructure means that it will not be possible to equip each one of the current 255 aircraft positions with a stationary 400 Hz connection. At these remaining aircraft parking positions, only battery-powered ground power units (GPUs) will be used.

Fraport will be supported to implement this climate initiative by the ground power directive funding program operated by the German Ministry for Digital and Transport. The funding of 215,000 euros will be used to equip a building position in terminal section C. Due to the structural conditions at this aircraft position, Fraport will procure a battery-powered e-GPU that includes charging infrastructure. The total investment involved is 307,000 euros.

Christoph Schiller from Fraport AG’s asset management team for central infrastructure explains: “The first aim is to connect those parking positions that do not yet have a stationary ground power connection to the electric grid. But to achieve this, major excavation works are necessary. These need to take place during ongoing operations. We are therefore proceeding on the basis that we will be able to upgrade around 12 positions by 2026.” Around 67 percent of the positions are currently connected. However, it will not be possible to install fixed 400 Hz ground power units at some positions, as the locations would require the installation of an above-ground transformer. “These sites include our ’roll-through’ aircraft positions, in which the aircraft, instead of being pushed back, uses its own power and leaves the position by rolling forward. We can’t have any obstacles in the way in these cases,” specifies Christoph Schiller. “Going forward, we will need mobile e-GPUs at these positions. With every diesel unit that we remove from the apron, we can save up to 30,000 liters of diesel annually and significantly reduce our CO2 emissions.” Fraport currently has eight e-GPUs and around 61 diesel-powered units in use.

The ground power directive

The ground power directive is a funding initiative from the German Ministry for Digital and Transport to support alternative technologies for climate- and environmentally-friendly supply of ground power to aircraft at airports. The funding directive is coordinated by NOW GmbH, with applications approved by Germany’s Federal Agency for Administrative Services (BAV).

Climate protection a key component of Fraport’s sustainability strategy

Fraport will operate on a carbon-free basis by no later than 2045 at its home-base in Frankfurt and all of its Group airports worldwide. By 2030, Fraport aims to reduce its emissions at FRA to 50,000 tonnes annually. These climate goals are part of the Group’s overall sustainability strategy. For Fraport, sustainability means future viability. The comprehensive overhaul of the ground power supply will make a major contribution to ensuring Fraport’s climate-friendly future.

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