Long Beach Airport Electrifies Its Ground Support Equipment

By Chad Elmore28 February 2020

California’s Long Beach Airport (LGB) has installed 15 electric chargers for ground support equipment. The airport said the completion of the $1.4 million project means it has achieved 100% electrification for all 11 of its commercial gates.

The system quickly charges airline-owned ground support equipment, commonly used for repositioning and servicing aircraft, loading and unloading cargo, and transporting passenger checked bags. Machines include the Tug 660E belt-loader which uses an ac electric drive system and an 80v battery with a Curtis Instruments motor controller.

The new equipment is part of the airport’s broader effort to reduce emissions for non-aircraft mobile sources. LGB is one of five commercial airports in the South Coast Air Basin that recently finalized a collaborative agreement with the South Coast Air Quality Management District. In addition to the greening of ground support equipment, the Air Quality Improvement Plan (AQIP) sets voluntary targets for renewable energy, sustainable design, clean construction practices, clean fleet goals for Airport-Owned vehicles and additional electric charging infrastructure for travelers.

“We are excited about the air quality improvements that will result from these new charging stations,” said Airport Director Cynthia Guidry. “This is a team effort with our airline partners, who are making an investment in ground support equipment that is all electric.”

In 2018, the city council unanimously approved an item, sponsored by Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, that requested that the city develop a plan to lead the nation on sustainability for airports and to work with airlines serving LGB and other partners to become an incubator of clean tech in aviation, with the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral facility. The comprehensive AQIP, which includes the new electric charging infrastructure, is a cornerstone of those efforts.

As an airport surrounded by neighborhoods, LGB continues to balance the need for commercial air transportation facilities and their associated economic benefits with a strong commitment to environmentally responsible operations.

With the airlines’ complementary investment in zero emissions equipment, LGB said it expects to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 2000 pounds per year by 2023.

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