Germany's Frankfurt International Airport has opened the first Green Gate to reduce emissions due to ground handling services.
The initiative is being undertaken by the E-PORT AN partnership that includes airport operator Fraport, Lufthansa Group, the State of Hesse and the Rhine-Main model electro-mobility region.
The initiative will receive €8m in funding from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.
Under the initiative, electric vehicles will used for towing, ground support and pallet trucks.
Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Parliamentary State Secretary Norbert Barthle said: "The use of electric vehicles in aircraft servicing and rolling and towing traffic can substantially reduce noise and emissions at airports. This protects the environment and the staff on the ground.
"As part of the Rhine-Main model electro-mobility region, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is funding the E-PORT AN project with a total of €8m. "
Passengers will be informed about numerous electric mobility projects through the use of models, information panels and animations, including solar-powered passenger airstairs, electric conveyor belt vehicles, hybrid aircraft tugs and electric pallet trucks at Frankfurt's Lufthansa Gate A15.
Currently 20 different vehicles are used to service an aircraft. They will, gradually, be replaced with electric vehicles to reduce the emissions.
E-PORT AN will initially consolidate existing electric vehicles and integrate new electrically driven developments into the aircraft servicing process.
The effect of large-scale use of electric vehicles on the airport´s power grid is under consideration by the E-PORT AN partners.
Fraport CEO Stefan Schulte said: "In addition to the energy optimisation of the terminal, the use of electric vehicles at the airport is an essential starting point for us to reduce CO² emissions.
"Electrically powered vehicles are principally ideal for use at airports with, as here is the case, short-haul traffic. This is especially true for special vehicles for aircraft servicing, such as towing vehicles, ground support equipment or pallet trucks. We want the proportion of special electric vehicles used here on-site to further increase."
This week, the airport commenced work on its new €3bn Terminal 3, as part of the first phase of construction under the seven year project to serve up to 14 million passengers annually.
The new project is slated to be completed by 2022.
Image: The electric powered container transporter at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: courtesy of Fraport.