In an era where environmental and sustainability considerations continue to gain importance, a partnership between Universal Hydrogen Co. and JBT AeroTech has adopted a unique approach to elimination emissions and further sustainable aviation technology. This collaboration aims to improve airport ground support equipment’s efficiency with the H2AmpCartTM, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered mobile battery charger, challenging the status quo of typical airport ground support equipment.

The alliance addresses a critical bottleneck in airport operations: the electrification of Ground Support Equipment (GSE). With over 4,000 commercial airports worldwide, the shift from diesel to electric GSE will aid in reducing greenhouse gases and improving local air quality. However, this transition has been complicated by a large amount of investment in charging infrastructure and the existing power grid’s limitations. With the H2AmpCartTM, these challenges are countered by a solution that offers a swift and economical shift to zero emissions without waiting years for infrastructure overhaul.

Universal Hydrogen, initially focusing on hydrogen aircraft, brings its modular hydrogen delivery system, sidestepping the need for additional on-site infrastructure. This means airports can immediately adopt this technology for a small win, today. Furthermore, Universal Hydrogen’s expertise in integrating hydrogen fuel cells to aviation powertrains illustrates the dual applicability of their innovations, both in the air and on the ground.

JBT AeroTech complements this partnership with a legacy in electric ground support equipment development. The company’s existing AmpCart product and its expansive network as a leading GSE Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) positions it to spearhead production, compatibility, sales, and support for this new venture.

The H2AmpCartTM’s design is responsive to a growing demand from airlines for cleaner GSE solutions that deliver on climate and community benefits. The partners are swiftly advancing to a demonstrator unit by the end of 2023, with full production and service launch anticipated by the end of 2024.

Why it’s important: This partnership not only signifies a significant stride for the reduction of emissions in aircraft ground support equipment today but also foreshadows the type of support operations that are typical of the proposed aerial mobility ecosystem: an increasingly larger share of clean energy to supply a growing transportation industry. Further, technological advances in the aerial mobility space may also permeate to large commercial air transport operations in certain areas in order to leverage innovation across the board for mobility.

Posted by Naish Gaubatz