AmpCart H2 looks to make hydrogen power a reality for airport ground service equipment

Feb. 26, 2024
The operational demonstration involved the charging of two DHL electrified tractors using the AmpCart H2 prototype and portable hydrogen storage modules.

HAWTHORNE, Calif., - A towable charging station prototype that uses hydrogen to produce electricity for ground support equipment (GSE) was demonstrated at California's Hawthorne Airport in late February. The AmpCart H2 was developed by Oskosh AeroTech in Oskosh, Wis. and Universal Hydrogen Co. in Hawthorne, Calif.

Oshkosh introduced its initial iteration of the AmpCart, a charging station enabling GSE to be charged anywhere on the ramp, at the International GSE Expo in September 2023. The electric AmpCart operates with a single grid input power.

The AmpCart H2, scheduled for operational deployment by the end of 2024, incorporates modular hydrogen fueling technology. Eliminating the need for dedicated hydrogen fueling infrastructure makes every airport adaptable to hydrogen technology.

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Arnaud Namer, Chief Operating Officer of Universal Hydrogen, emphasized the challenges in electrifying airport ground support equipment due to inadequate charging infrastructure. Universal Hydrogen aims to address this gap by providing a hydrogen-powered mobile charging solution for airports.

In a February 21 news release, Namer stated, “In the last 10 years or so, there has been a major push among airlines, airports, and ground services providers to electrify airport ground support equipment (GSE), but unfortunately the charging infrastructure is significantly lagging, leading to adoption of diesel generators for charging of electric GSE. We aim to change that by providing a clean, hydrogen-powered mobile charging solution for airports.”

During the operational demonstration, two DHL electrified tractors were charged using the AmpCart H2 prototype and portable hydrogen storage modules.

Related: Sirius Aviation unveils hydrogen aircraft powertrain

Universal Hydrogen officials explained that hydrogen modules are fueled with green hydrogen off-airport and then transferred to the airport landside using existing intermodal freight. The modules are loaded onto a trailer for safe and efficient transportation airside, enabling flexible and opportunistic charging of electric GSE between operations. This approach optimizes GSE operations, minimizes equipment downtime, and is scalable from small regional airports to major hubs.

Universal Hydrogen foresees the modular delivery of hydrogen as a solution to the infrastructure challenge for hydrogen adoption in various applications, according to Paul Eremenko, Chief Executive Officer of Universal Hydrogen. Eremenko sees the charging of electric GSE as a crucial early step in decarbonizing the overall aviation ecosystem, providing a proof point years ahead of regional aviation products.

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