World first at Groningen Airport Eelde: hydrogen GPU unveiled

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Today, the first hydrogen-powered Ground Power Unit (GPU) was unveiled at Groningen Airport Eelde. A world first! GPUs are generators used to power aircraft on the ground. Currently, mainly diesel GPUs are deployed at airports. At the initiative of Groningen Airport Eelde, one of these diesel generators has been converted to hydrogen technology: a sustainable solution and currently unique in the world.

Initiator Groningen Airport Eelde (GAE) worked closely with New Energy Coalition, Province of Drenthe, KLM Equipment Services, HyTrEc2, the University of Groningen, and Holthausen Clean Technologies to realise the hydrogen-powered GPU. Holthausen has been instrumental in converting the diesel GPU to hydrogen GPU. Now that the GPU has been realised, the certification process will be started so that it can be deployed as soon as possible during ground handling of aircraft at the northern airport. As shown in a study presented today by the University of Groningen, GPUs account for 10% of total aviation emissions. Hydrogen GPUs have a significantly lower environmental impact than diesel GPUs.

The unveiling took place during an event organised by GAE today. The world first brought many interested people to the airport. 140 guests registered for the event, and watched the moment when the GPU was unveiled. Commissioner Tjisse Stelpstra (Province of Drenthe) took charge of the unveiling. He played an important part in the realisation of the GPU, and therefore received the first ‘Hydrogen Valley Airport Ambassador-Award’.

Also present at the airport in the morning was Sven Kockelmann, a Dutch journalist. He presented his live broadcast of radio programme Sven op 1 from GAE, where he questioned CEO Meiltje de Groot about sustainable aviation in the future, and thus about the hydrogen GPU.

The realization of the hydrogen GPU is an important development, and a good step towards GAE’s sustainable future: the ambition is to be Europe’s most sustainable airport in terms of hydrogen by 2030. For more information on the sustainable projects at Groningen Airport Eelde, visit where you can follow progress and future developments.