Solar energy for the airport ground support equipment – a quantitative study

YILDIZ M., Mutlu S., Nagy A., Kale U.

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, vol.95, no.5, pp.831-837, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 95 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/aeat-08-2022-0211
  • Journal Name: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ABI/INFORM, Aerospace Database, Compendex, INSPEC
  • Page Numbers: pp.831-837
  • Keywords: Airport emissions, Solar energy, Sustainable aviation services, Renewable energy
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: This paper aims to evaluate the hypothetical situation in a resembling airport to Esenboga Airport and analyzes the condition of all ground support equipment (GSE) equipment to be supplied by electricity produced by solar panels mounted on the rooftop of the terminal building. The case is discussed using environmental emissions and economic feasibility. The results of the resembling case can be generalized to all airports for the reduction of emissions caused by ground operations of aviation. Design/methodology/approach: GSE fleet data which has been prepared by TGS operated in the Esenboğa Airport have been used to calculate emissions, and equivalent electricity consumption. A hypothetical solar panel construction on the rooftop of the terminal building and also the electricity production case was analyzed. Based on the calculations, both fuel and electricity use cases are compared by means of emissions and production costs using real data. Findings: The electricity production and transmission pose a high value of emissions. Thus, electrification of GSE in the airport need a new approach such as producing the electric energy in the site. This research analyzes the case that the electricity is produced on the rooftop of terminal building and consumed by the GSE fleet. The authors discussed that it is both feasible and possible to electrify all the GSE except a shortage of two cold months with high fuel demand by using electric storage options. Practical implications: Ground handling is performed by using GSE which is historically powered by diesel and such internal combustion engines which are well known for their high emission rates. As most of the airports reside in populated areas, GSE emissions need to be evaluated for reduction. However the electric energy could be an alternative for GSE emissions reduction Originality/value: Aviation is a system of many subsystems in which the performance of each unit plays a crucial role in the final success of the system. Concerns on environmental protection make the aviation industry focus on reducing emissions produced during operations. Although aircraft emissions are widely discussed in the literature, ground handling systems which are an integral part of the whole aviation system, also need to be studied regarding the environmental issues. Besides, the European Union has set out targets of reducing emissions at the airports during ground operations to zero. This paper discusses the possibility of the target by comparing various scenarios.