Funded by the BMDV, 14 climate-friendly ground current systems enable emission-free power supply of airplanes on the apron of Berlin airport.

On 27 March 2024, the Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Dr. Volker Wissing, visited electric Ground Power Units (eGPUs) at Berlin-Brandenburg airport. Procured by GSE service providers HiSERV, the 14 eGPUs allow emission-free power supply to aircraft on the apron of Berlin airport.

The units were procured with BMDV funding of around one million euros under the ground current guideline. By the end of April 2024, a total of 25 eGPUs will be deployed at Berlin airport in various ground handling services.

Nationwide reduction of emissions at airports with ground current

Planes need power on the ground too – while they wait, are loaded, and refuelled. This power still primarily comes from auxiliary power units in the airplane or is generated by external generators with diesel. With direct current, batteries or hydrogen, planes can be supplied with power in a more efficient, zero-emission, and considerably quieter way.

Under the funding programme for market activation of alternative technologies for the climate- and environmentally-friendly supply of aircraft with ground current at airports (ground current guideline), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport is funding the procurement of 52 climate-friendly ground current systems as well as the associated charging infrastructure in the amount of around 4.1 million euros. This reinforces Germany’s pioneering role with an early partial realisation of the EU AFIR regulations.

The ground current programme was successfully launched last year. The first funding call that had a deadline of 31.08.2023 attracted great interest on the part of applicants and had multiple oversubscriptions. All approvals were completed before the end of the year and the first units are already in use at various locations since March of 2024.

Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff, CEO and spokesperson of NOW GmbH: “With the first funded electric Ground Power Units at seven airports across the country, Germany is taking a great step forward towards climate-friendly airports. The use of these subsidised systems immediately saves up to 42 per cent of CO2 emissions in aircraft handling. In all, approx. 2.6 million kilos of CO2-equivalent emissions will be avoided annually. This is roughly the same as the CO2 caused by 850 combustion engine cars per year.”

As a scientific and technical service provider, NOW GmbH coordinates the ground current guideline, supports implementation with their specialist expertise and also collects data about the funding measure environment. Applications are approved through the Federal Office of Administration.


About NOW GmbH

NOW GmbH has supported the federal government since 2008 in its pursuit of climate and industrial policy goals. The federally-owned company’s tasks include developing, supporting and evaluating funding programmes for climate-neutral mobility and energy supply. NOW GmbH experts supervise projects in the fields of hydrogen, fuel cells, batteries and renewable fuels. They reimagine mobility and fuels for cars, buses, trains, commercial vehicles, ships and planes – and support the establishment and further development of charging infrastructure as well as hydrogen refuelling stations. More information on NOW can be found here.