Ground services equipment company JBT AeroTech has partnered with fuel provider Universal Hydrogen on the development of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered mobile battery charger to aid electrified ground support equipment (GSE) at airports.

The H2AmpCart is being jointly designed and developed by the two companies with the aim of showcasing a demonstration unit by the end of the year and bringing it into service by the end of 2024.

The partnership said that the product was being developed to meet demand from airlines and airports, which were finding infrastructural challenges in moving towards the use of electric GSE to aid their net zero ambitions, including the limited availability of renewable electricity on the grid.

Universal Hydrogen chief operating officer Arnaud Namer said: “Our modular hydrogen fueling solution, requiring no new hydrogen infrastructure to be built, will ensure that the H2AmpCart is a turnkey electric GSE charging solution for airlines and airports that cannot afford to wait years or have the investment capability for clean electric charging infrastructure to de-deployed.”

As part of the product’s quick development, it is expected to be showcased with the use of fuel cell manufacturer Ballard’s FCmove-HD+ hydrogen fuel cell.

The technology will bring together Universal Hydrogen’s modular hydrogen delivery system, originally designed for use in aircraft and expand on JBT AeroTech’s existing AmpCart charging equipment.

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Chuck Durst, president of GSE at JBT AeroTech, said: “With this partnership, we’re excited to quickly advance our customers’ electrification journeys with the power of hydrogen.

“Collaborating with Universal Hydrogen to rapidly bring this modular hydrogen fuel cell-powered charger to market enables us to help our customers accelerate their conversion to electric power GSE.”

Universal Hydrogen is one of the many companies pushing to help hydrogen emerge as a key part of the industry’s net zero emissions efforts. It also recently took a step forward in its work to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval for its hydrogen power conversion of the ATR 72 regional aircraft.