After a large-scale test at Brussels Airport with two electric hydrant fuel dispensers, Skytanking has ordered two custom-made electric fuel dispensers. These vehicles are used to dispense aviation fuel from the underground hydrant system into the aircraft. Over 2200 refuellings were performed during the test period in the past months and gave insight into the optimal battery performance, chassis and charging infrastructure. The custom vehicles should be in service early 2024.
The Stargate project, an EU Green Deal project led by Brussels Airport to implement innovative solutions to green the airport industry, is researching new ways to further decarbonize ground handling activities. In 2022, Stargate-partner Skytanking started an intensive test period with two full electric hydrant fuel dispensers at Brussels Airport. These converted diesel to electrical driven, made-to-measure vehicles of Turkish Fuel Services were of Belgian design and were being tested to gain the necessary insights into the energy consumption in function of the aircraft model, average distance per movement at the airport, and weather conditions. The test was also set up to help determine the ideal battery size for each truck and the optimal charging infrastructure.
During the test period from mid-October 2022 until mid-May 2023, over 2200 refuellings were performed with the electric hydrant fuel dispensers to gain the necessary insights and test the vehicles in an operational environment. After this successful test, Skytanking will now order their own custom-made 100% electric hydrant fuel dispensers, built on an original electric chassis to allow for easy reproducibility.
New technologies bring new challenges, which is why Skytanking did an additional study with the vehicle manufacturer to identify and minimize risks related to the electric high voltage technology and the requirements for the lithium batteries, as to lower the footprint of their production process. The chosen type of battery should guarantee a lifespan of at least 10 years and remain at a stable temperature even in hot conditions.
These two custom-built vehicles should be operational at the beginning of 2024. The order of these brand-new vehicles will go hand in hand with the implementation of the necessary infrastructural changes at Brussels Airport adding the necessary loading stations for these vehicles.
The Stargate project is designed to investigate new technologies and implementations that can green the entire European airport and aviation industry. The results of specific projects will allow for replications of the same principles and projects at other airports across Europe, even beyond the scope of the initial programme.
This project has received subsidies within the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme of the European Union in the context of subsidy agreement GA101037053.