Japan Airlines Pioneers Electric Ground Power Units at Matsuyama Airport

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Japan Airlines Introduces World's First Electric Ground Power Units

In a groundbreaking development for the aviation industry, Japan Airlines has launched the world's first electric ground power units (eGPUs) at Matsuyama Airport. Developed by Tokyo-based Tamagawa Aero, these eGPUs utilize lithium-ion batteries, significantly reducing CO2 emissions and noise pollution compared to traditional fossil fuel-powered generators.

Revolutionizing Ground Power

Ground power units (GPUs) and auxiliary power units (APUs) provide essential power to aircraft on the ground when their engines are off. They supply energy for air conditioning, lighting, and other systems while the aircraft is parked. Tamagawa Aero's new eGPU technology offers an eco-friendly alternative by eliminating diesel and other fossil fuels.

Japan Airlines reports that the eGPUs reduce CO2 emissions to zero and cut noise levels by approximately 30%, bringing the noise level down to less than 65 dB. These improvements not only benefit the environment but also enhance working conditions for ground staff and reduce noise pollution for airport neighbors.

Performance and Adoption

The eGPUs can continuously power a Boeing 737-800-sized aircraft for approximately 14 cycles on a full charge. With over 400 units ordered globally, the technology is gaining significant traction and trust within the industry.

Within the JAL Group, regional subsidiary Japan Air Commuter has implemented eGPUs at seven airports, including Tanegashima, Yakushima, Kikaijima, Amami Oshima, Tokunoshima, Okinoerabujima, and Yoron. Another subsidiary, Hokkaido Air, began using the eGPUs at Sapporo Okadama, Rishiri, and Okushiri airports in March 2024.

Overcoming Challenges

The implementation of eGPU technology requires suitable charging infrastructure and reliable AC power sources. At Matsuyama Airport, this challenge was addressed by retrofitting existing power outlets, originally used for snowplow vehicle heaters, to accommodate the eGPUs. This solution now serves as a model for future installations at other airports.

Japan Airlines plans to leverage the insights gained from these initial deployments to expand the use of eGPUs at additional airports across Japan and potentially worldwide. This initiative aligns with the airline's commitment to reducing carbon emissions from its operations. The project is supported by the Civil Aviation Office of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

A Step Towards Sustainable Aviation

The introduction of eGPUs marks a significant stride towards a more sustainable aviation industry. This innovation demonstrates how technology can minimize the environmental impact of air travel while improving operational efficiency.

Japan Airlines' adoption of electric ground power generators sends a powerful message about sustainability and environmental responsibility in aviation. This initiative could set a precedent for other airlines and airports globally, accelerating the adoption of eco-friendly technologies within the industry.

 

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