Research Projects

Documenting the Effectiveness of Gate Electrification Systems and Electric Ground Support Equipment Projects

Recent Research and Synthesis studies have investigated airport implementation of air quality and greenhouse gas reduction projects (see 02-76 and S02-20, both in preparation). This research has identified a wide variety of projects and best practices for successful implementation. However, it has also identified gaps in data that require more in-depth study.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Over the past ten years, airports and their stakeholders have collaborated on a variety of projects that have reduced impacts on local communities and the broader environment. Two practices in particular - equipping gates with electric Pre-conditioned Air (PCA) units and Ground Power Systems (collectively referred to as gate electrification systems), and installing chargers to power new electric ground support equipment (or eGSE) - have been widely adopted. The FAA's Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) Program has funded many such projects further demonstrating that these projects improve local air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, there appears to be little information readily available clearly illustrating the environmental benefits of these projects (i.e., how often the gate electrification systems are operating (and the APUs are not) and how much diesel fuel is not being burned due to eGSE. Based on initial review through recent ACRP research, this information should be available at most airports through a review of electric bills and fuel purchases and more sophisticated data collection (such as Building information Systems or BIMs). Implementing a data collection program to consolidate this information from a sample of airports will provide the industry with data to show that public and private investments are resulting in measurable environmental benefits.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

The objective of this research is to collect data on two widespread environmental practices - gate electrification systems and electric ground support equipment - to demonstrate their effectiveness in improving local air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

Ten airports would be selected for data collection - five for gate electrification systems, and five for eGSE. The opportunity to participate would initially be presented to airports that have received VALE grants for such projects. There would be an interest in collecting information from a diverse group of airports based on size and geography, if possible. A request for information would be sent to each of the participating airports which would be reviewed and consolidated, with gaps in data identified. Site visits would be conducted at each of the airports to identify sources of data and means for collection. For example, through past research, it was learned that many airports have systems for collecting data on the use of gate electrification systems. However, that information was either not being actively collected or was not being distributed for use by airport environmental staff. It is expected that during a single site visit, this data can be identified and sources for collection and reporting specified. Upon completion of the site visits, the data collection methodology can be prepared for use by a broader set of airports as a product of the research. Meanwhile, airports participating in the research project can collect and report their data to the project team in raw form for processing and interpretation on a regular (e.g. monthly) basis. Depending budget and time, the data collection for the participating airports will comprise of up to one year of data. This data will then be interpreted and presented in a final report which will include data that the industry can use to demonstrate the benefit of these particular projects.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

One site visit (40 man hours) plus travel equals $7,500 times ten site visits equals $75,000. Preparation of material and review of existing information equals $50,000. Review and interpretation of data collected equals $100,000. Drafting and finalizing protocol and research results equals $100,000. Administration including reporting and kickoff meeting and in-person meeting equals $25,000. Total budget estimate equals $350,000.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

ACRP 02-76 (in preparation), S02-20 (in preparation), ACRP Report 11: Guidebook on Preparing Airport Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories; ACRP Report 56 Handbook for Considering Practical Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Strategies for Airports; ACRP Report 64: Handbook for Evaluating Emissions and Costs of APUs and Alternative Systems; ACRP Report 78: Airport Ground Support Equipment: Emission Reduction Strategies, Inventory, and Tutorial; ACRP Report 149: Improving Ground Support Equipment Operational Data for Airport Emission Modeling. These reports provide a significant amount of guidance on how airports plan and implement air quality improvement projects. However, they do not provide results of the projects that have been funded by airports, the FAA, airlines and other stakeholders. The proposed research would fill this gap.

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Idea No. 175