“With all our measures aimed at protecting the climate and the environment, we are making a key contribution towards Hamburg’s efforts to be an exemplary European Green Capital 2011. And in 2011 we will also be able to use the additional title of European Green Capital Airport 2011,” said Claus-Dieter Wehr, managing director of Hamburg Airport.
This terminal has already reduced ground-level CO2 emissions by 12,000 tons a year. This is the equivalent annual output of around 5,800 medium-sized vehicles. Part of the saving has been achieved by natural gas vehicles. “Motor vehicle traffic on the airport ramp is responsible for a significant portion of the air pollution emissions. Low-emission natural gas vehicles improve the situation and are also economical to run,” explains Wehr. At the start of the year we purchased two new low-floor buses which “conceal” six natural gas cylinders with a total fuel capacity of nearly 1,300 litres in a “rucksack” on the roof.
A total of four natural gas buses are in use on the ramp to bring passengers safely to their holiday plane. Natural gas vehicles can also be found elsewhere on the airport grounds: they are used by airport security, maintenance, the fire service and, of course, the environmental department. The airport is particularly proud of its natural gas tractors. They ensure that passenger baggage reaches the plane on time – and with minimum pollution.
New development: CNG-powered baggage tugs
Hamburg Airport began replacing its diesel-hybrid tow tractors with modern technology back in 2005. This was done to reduce exhaust fumes and particulate emissions and allow towing vehicles with internal combustion engines to drive straight into the baggage basement for the first time ever. Previously, only electric vehicles could be used in this area. Natural gas seemed to be a good alternative and so the development of a prototype was commissioned. It didn’t take long for the entire line to be convinced that natural gas vehicles offered significant economic benefits over the previously-used diesel-hybrid tractors.
For each hour in operation the baggage tractor consumes about 2.5 kilograms of natural gas. Savings are also made in acquisition, maintenance and repair costs. Furthermore, TÜV gave the green light for them to be used in the baggage basement on account of their low pollution emissions. The natural gas engine has also proven itself in day to day use. All vehicles used on the ramp have to operate in tough conditions. A baggage tug, for example, travels more than 2,700 hours every year – in sun, wind and rain. In the meantime, Hamburg is no longer the only place where the natural gas baggage trucks can be found. Zurich Airport has also opted for the green tugs.
Into the environment of the future with 100 percent biogas
One thing is already certain at Hamburg Airport: five more natural gas buses are planned for this year. Priority will also be given to natural gas when purchasing light vehicles. However, in early 2010 the airport took a further step in the direction of environmental protection. “We decided to switch to 100 percent biogas, which is produced entirely from renewable sources and has been certified by TÜV Nord,” said Claus-Dieter Wehr. Compared to conventional petrol-fuelled vehicles, the CO2 emissions of a vehicle using 100 % biogas are about 65 % lower.
The vehicles are refuelled at the airport’s own CNG filling station on the ramp. There are also natural gas pumps in the public area of the airport, though these are hardly used by the 12-metre long buses and baggage tractors. This is because they would have to go through a security check each time they entered the public area.
From a technical point of view, there is no difference between the two stations. The advantage of the airport’s own fuel pumps is that they have a nozzle for both cars and trucks. The tugs, for example, are refuelled once a day. It takes about 8 minutes to fill the CNG tanks of the distinctive red vehicles. With the current 32 tractors, four buses and numerous natural gas light vehicles, there is often quite a lot activity at the gas pump. This is why there is already talk of upgrading capacity by installing a second pump.
You will find the complete article in the August edition of The GVR. You can subscribe to the hard copy magazine through firstname.lastname@example.org or download it for free here.
Source: Erdgas Mobil