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Japan Airlines deploys world’s first ground power units powered by batteries 

Japan Airlines (JAL) has introduced the world’s first electrically powered ground power units (eGPU) at Matsuyama Airport (MYJ) in Japan. The units, manufactured by Tokyo-based Tamagawa Aero run on lithium-ion batteries and are expected to significantly cut CO2 emissions and noise pollution that conventional GPUs emit by running on fossil fuels such as diesel, or even auxiliary power units (APUs) installed in commercial aircraft. 

Both GPUs and APUs are generally used to provide electrical power to aircraft while they are on the ground without their engines running. The electrical energy generated is used to power air conditioning and aircraft lighting while that aircraft is parked at an airport. 

By introducing the eGPUs, the airline states that CO2 emissions will be reduced to zero, while noise levels will decrease by approximately 30% (below 65db) compared to more traditional GPUs or APUs. It is hoped that this will improve the working environment for ground staff, mitigate noise and environmental issues in communities around airports, and contribute to the preservation of the global environment. 

The eGPU units can supply electricity continuously for approximately 14 turnarounds of a Boeing 737-800-sized aircraft on a full charge. To date, orders for over 400 of the units have been received from airports and airlines worldwide. 

japan Airlines

JAL has been exploring the deployment of eGPU units at domestic airports as part of its efforts to promote CO2 emission reduction in airport facilities and vehicles, advocated by the Civil Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. 

To this end, within the JAL Group, JAL’s regional subsidiary Japan Air Commuter has introduced the eGPU at seven airports (Tanegashima, Yakushima, Kikaijima, Amami Oshima, Tokunoshima, Okinoerabujima, Yoron), while another subsidiary, Hokkaido Air started operations with the eGPU at three airports (Sapporo Okadama, Rishiri, and Okushiri) in March 2024. 

Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines said in a statement that in considering the expansion of eGPU deployment at airports across Japan, the installation of charging infrastructure and securing AC power sources for use with jet aircraft were issues. However, at Matsuyama Airport, this issue was resolved by converting the power plugs used for snowplow vehicle heaters, leading to the introduction of the eGPU.  

This implementation of the eGPUs within the JAL group of carriers is expected to pave the way for further deployments at other airports, leveraging the knowledge gained from the experience obtained so far. 

The post Japan Airlines deploys world’s first ground power units powered by batteries  appeared first on AeroTime.

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