AmpCart H2 Aims to Make Hydrogen a Reality for GSE

Feb. 23, 2024
On track for operational deployment by the end of 2024, the towable charging station uses modular fueling technology,

A towable charging station prototype that uses hydrogen technology was successfully demonstrated this week at Hawthorne Airport. The AmpCart H2 was developed by Oshkosh AeroTech (formerly JBT AeroTech) in collaboration with Universal Hydrogen Co. 

Oshkosh unveiled its original version of the AmpCart, a charging station that allows ground support equipment (GSE) to be charged anywhere on the ramp, during the International GSE Expo in September 2023. The electric AmpCart uses a single grid input power.

The AmpCart H2, on track for operational deployment by the end of 2024, uses modular hydrogen fueling technology. There’s no need for purpose-built hydrogen fueling infrastructure, enabling every airport to be hydrogen-ready.

“In the last 10 years or so, there has been a major push among airlines, airports and ground services providers to electrify airport ground support equipment (GSE), but unfortunately the charging infrastructure is significantly lagging, leading to adoption of diesel generators for charging of electric GSE. We aim to change that by providing a clean, hydrogen-powered mobile charging solution for airports,” Arnaud Namer, chief operating officer, Universal Hydrogen, said in a Feb. 21 news release.

The operational demonstration involved the charging of two DHL electrified tractors using the AmpCart H2 prototype and portable hydrogen storage modules. 

 “Hydrogen modules are fueled with green hydrogen off-airport (typically near the point of hydrogen production) and transferred to the airport landside with existing intermodal freight,” Universal Hydrogen officials said. “From there, the modules are loaded onto a trailer for safe and efficient transportation to any location airside of the airport, facilitating flexible and opportunistic charging of electric GSE between operations. This approach optimizes GSE operations, minimizes equipment downtime, and is scalable from small regional airports to major hubs.”

“Since Universal Hydrogen’s inception we have captured the attention of the industry and partnered with numerous regional airlines to deliver a zero-emissions solution in the mid-2020s. For operators of larger aircraft, however, a hydrogen airplane solution won’t enter the market until the mid-2030s, yet they still have a clear and urgent need to decarbonize their operations. As these airlines shifted their focus to non-aviation emissions produced by the operation of GSE, we identified the ways in which our unique modular technology could be adapted to meet this need,” said Rod Williams, chief commercial officer, Universal Hydrogen.

Universal Hydrogen sees modular delivery of hydrogen solving the infrastructure problem for hydrogen adoption in a multitude of different applications, said Paul Eremenko, chief executive officer, Universal Hydrogen.

“Doing so for charging of electric GSE is an important early step in the decarbonization of the overall aviation ecosystem, while also reducing risk and serving as an important proof point several years ahead of our regional aviation product,” Eremenko said.

The recent demonstration was witnessed by airline and leasing representatives from DHL, Mercury GSE, Fortbrand, Xcēd and American Airlines.

Mercury GSE deployed a Textron GSE TUG UV2 electric baggage tractor during the demonstration. Officials from Mercury GSE applauded the occasion with a post on the company’s LinkedIn page.

“The collaboration between Universal Hydrogen Company and Oshkosh AeroTech marks a significant milestone in decarbonizing airport ground operations. With a targeted deployment by the end of 2024, the AmpCart H2 addresses the pressing need for charging infrastructure for electric ground support equipment (GSE) at airports, thanks to Universal Hydrogen's innovative modular fueling technology. This solution eliminates the requirement for purpose-built hydrogen fueling infrastructure, making every airport hydrogen-ready and optimizing GSE operations from small regional hubs to major airports,” Mercury GSE officials said.

Xcēd GSE  officials expressed their excitement on LinkedIn as well.

“We saw the future unfold… Collaborations like these underscore the innovative spirit driving us towards a more sustainable future in GSE,” they said.