ACRP Research Report 207: Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems for Airports

Air quality is of significant concern to airports in the U.S. and globally. Airport operations result in the emission of various air pollutants from numerous sources, such as aircraft, vehicle fleets, and ground transportation. Airports have invested in the installation of gate electrification equipment and systems to power, heat, and cool aircraft parked at gates, reducing the need to run aircraft auxiliary power units (APUs). Airports and airlines share the strategic objective to optimize the use of gate electrification equipment and minimize aircraft APU use, both to reduce air emissions and to save on fuel and maintenance costs however, these systems are not always optimally utilized.

Based on industry stakeholder outreach with airports, airlines, pilots and equipment manufacturers, HMMH identified common challenges and opportunities for airports and airlines to optimize the utilization of these systems. Specifically, the need for improved communications between stakeholders and behavioral changes emerged, such as improved equipment handling and compliance with standard operating procedures.
ACRP recently published Report 207, authored by HMMH, which identifies and presents solutions for the factors that contribute to the use or non-use of gate electrification systems (electric pre-conditioned air and ground power systems) at airports to achieve maximum environmental and air quality benefits.

As part of this research project, HMMH investigated the barriers and challenges that affect utilization of gate electrification systems, analyzed their individual and collective impact on gate electrification system utilization, and identified best management practices to overcome or mitigate these challenges. The research project resulted in a final guidance document that includes: a visual or graphical representation of the findings; challenges leading to non-use of the systems; case studies that demonstrate examples and benefits of effective utilization; and industry best practices for airports and airlines and other practical applications for the guidance and a utilization tracking methodology.

As part of the project HMMH devised a self-assessment checklist which serves as a high-level screening tool for stakeholders to identify challenges, determine their impact, and prioritize solutions. A utilization tracking methodology was also developed to provide industry stakeholders with an approach to calculating, monitoring, and reporting on gate electrification utilization, utilizing commonly available data and considering time and budget restraints of airport personnel. The report helps to identify challenges and solutions to achieving optimal utilization of this equipment in order to maximize environmental benefits.

Read the full report here>>

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