The rapid advancement of electric vehicle technology has sparked great interest in various industries, including electric aircraft refueling vehicles. As fleet owners increasingly prioritize maintenance and availability concerns, they are faced with the challenge of choosing the most suitable powertrain technology for their operations.

The ever-evolving landscape of electric vehicles presents fleet owners with multiple options, such as battery electric, fuel cell, or other powertrains, leaving them perplexed about the optimal choice. To address this confusion and support fleet owners in making informed decisions, several initiatives are being undertaken.

These include grants that facilitate education, convenings to foster knowledge exchange, analysis of technology availability and cost of ownership, as well as sharing examples of successful training programs. By prioritizing a just transition to electric vehicles in the aircraft refueling industry, stakeholders aim to ensure that fleet owners receive comprehensive support throughout the adoption process.

In this article, we will delve into the challenges faced by fleet owners, explore the available technologies, and highlight the various initiatives aimed at facilitating a smooth transition to electric vehicles. And now, let’s explore the available electric refueling vehicle technologies.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions are a major factor in the context of climate change and environmental sustainability. These emissions occur when gases are released into the atmosphere, trapping heat and contributing to the greenhouse effect, which causes global warming.

The main greenhouse gases are:

  • carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • Fluorinated gases

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) can achieve significant emissions reductions of up to 80% over a vehicle’s life cycle compared to conventional vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. The adoption of renewable energy sources, the optimization of vehicle efficiency, and the transition to zero-emission vehicles are key strategies to achieve this goal and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

These strategies can help to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, which is crucial for the long-term sustainability of our planet.

Electric Aircraft Refueling Vehicles

Electric Aircraft Refueling Vehicles

Electric vehicles are transforming the aviation industry as companies increasingly adopt sustainable solutions to reduce carbon emissions and improve operational efficiency. Recent advancements in battery technology and charging infrastructure have led to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and research institutions and companies are exploring the potential of electric vehicles in aircraft refueling.

Despite the benefits of zero-emission trucks, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are slow to supply these vehicles, and there is a limited variety of models available. This presents a challenge to fleet owners and operators who want to transition to zero-emission trucks. Additionally, zero-emission trucks often have a higher upfront cost compared to diesel trucks, and the infrastructure for charging or refueling zero-emission trucks is still developing and may not be widely available or accessible.

To overcome these challenges, a combination of efforts is required, including financial incentives, knowledge sharing, capacity building, strategic communications, and collaboration among stakeholders. The Stargate project, an EU Green Deal project focused on implementing innovative solutions to green the airport industry, is researching new ways to further decarbonize ground handling activities at airports.

The project involves testing converted diesel to electric vehicles to gain insights into energy consumption based on factors such as aircraft model, average distance per movement at the airport, and weather conditions. The research aims to determine the ideal battery size for each truck and optimize the charging infrastructure.

By optimizing battery performance and charging infrastructure, airports can reduce their carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable aviation industry.

Improved Productivity BUT Limited Range

The aviation, transportation, and energy sectors are at the forefront of transitioning towards green sustainable practices to mitigate climate change and promote environmental sustainability. This transition involves the implementation of various initiatives and strategies aimed at reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency, and promoting the use of renewable energy sources.

Collaboration, strategic communication, and knowledge sharing are critical components for a successful transition. Incentives, penalties, and financing options can help speed up the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. Regulations on safety, certification, and standardization are crucial to ensuring the dependability and safety of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

In the aviation sector, research is being conducted to develop cleaner planes, sustainable aviation fuels, and other clean technologies. The goal is to increase public awareness of the environmental impacts of the aviation industry and drive innovation towards more sustainable practices.

In the aircraft refueling sector, the focus is on transitioning to zero-emission vehicles, such as electric trucks. Electric vehicles have lower fuel and maintenance costs compared to conventional vehicles, making them an attractive option. However, some challenges need to be addressed, such as high upfront costs, limited vehicle models, and infrastructure requirements.

Overall, a comprehensive and integrated approach is required to transition towards green and sustainable practices in the aviation, transportation, and energy sectors. It involves technological advancements, policy support, financial incentives, and collaboration among stakeholders to achieve a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

The Aircraft Refueling

In the future, the focus will be on reducing emissions from traditional refuellers and dispensers that are based on commercially available truck chassis. To achieve this, zero-emission powertrains such as battery-electric or hydrogen-fueled systems will be adopted, driven by government policies such as the EU’s requirement to cut CO2 emissions from trucks by 30% by 2030.

In this section, we will explore various options and technologies that can be used to reduce carbon footprint in refueling operations. One of the options is the use of electrically powered pumps for fuel transfer from refuellers and electrically powered hydrant dispensers. These options are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making refueling operations more eco-friendly.

Why Electric Fuel Dispensers?

Electric Fuel Dispensers

Hydrant dispensers are vehicles that provide fuel through an underground pipe network, known as a hydrant system, at each stand or gate to refuel aircraft. These dispensers regulate the pressure and flow rate of the fuel into the aircraft tanks, typically using under-wing dry break connections.

Battery-electric powertrains are considered a promising technology for hydrant dispenser vehicles. Electric dispenser vehicles eliminate the emissions from diesel engines and offer the benefits of zero local pollutant emissions, reduced maintenance, and quieter operation.

However, the high purchase cost of electric vehicles and the need for charging infrastructure are challenges that need to be addressed.

Electric Refueling Vehicles: Technical Details & Benefits

In the aviation industry, refuellers, also known as bowsers, play a critical role in carrying aviation fuel and pumping it into aircraft. Refuellers come in various sizes, ranging from 5,000 to 80,000 liters of fuel, depending on the aircraft’s tank capacity. Refuelers usually incorporate a pump to transfer fuel from the refueller tank to the aircraft tanks. The pump can be driven either by the refueler’s engine or electric power.

To reduce emissions and achieve decarbonization in refueling operations, several options are being explored. One such option is the implementation of electrically powered pumping for fuel transfer. This option can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another option is retrofitting existing refuellers with engine-off refueling capability, which allows the engine to be turned off during refueling, resulting in savings in fuel and a reduction in emissions.

Vehicle weight limitations are critical considerations in the design, operation, and performance of refuellers and their components. Such limitations can affect vehicle efficiency, payload capacity, and overall performance.

Apart from the environmental benefits, electric aircraft refuelers offer various technical advantages. These electric aircraft refueling vehicles have faster refueling times, which reduces aircraft turnaround times and enables more efficient operations.

Electric aircraft refueling vehicles require fewer maintenance checks and have fewer mechanical parts to replace, which results in lower maintenance costs over time.

Future Scope & Electric Aviation

Ground handling activities at airports, such as refueling, baggage handling, and aircraft servicing, are important contributors to carbon emissions and air pollution. Decarbonizing these activities is crucial for airports to transition to sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

To achieve this, airports need to adopt zero-emission vehicles, optimize energy consumption, and implement efficient charging infrastructure. Research projects, like the Stargate project, focus on finding innovative solutions to further decarbonize ground-handling activities. These projects study energy consumption patterns, determine optimal battery sizes, and develop charging infrastructure that supports the transition to green technologies.

By decarbonizing ground handling activities, airports can reduce their environmental impact and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change. This is a crucial step in achieving sustainability goals in the aviation industry and creating a greener and more sustainable future.


Electric vehicles have lower fuel and maintenance costs in comparison to diesel trucks, reduced emissions leading to improved air quality, quieter operation, and the potential for long-term cost savings are some of the benefits of electric trucks.

Furthermore, electric trucks are more energy-efficient, which results in lower energy consumption per kilometer. They can also help in reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and contribute to transitioning towards a greener and more sustainable transportation sector. Although there are benefits, there are also challenges in adopting zero-emission aircraft refueling applications.

These challenges include a limited number of vehicle models and slow supply from truck Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), low awareness of zero-emission trucks, limited service, and support networks, and confusion about preferred technology (battery electric, fuel cell, or other powertrains).

The document acknowledges that battery prices are decreasing, and technology is rapidly evolving. This implies that there is a time constraint to make investment decisions and take advantage of the decreasing costs and advancing technologies in the electric refueling vehicle sector.


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