November 16, 2022
UL Solutions recently launched a new service for evaluating the compliance of lithium-ion battery-powered aviation ground support equipment (GSE) with UL 5840, the Standard for Electrical Systems of Battery Powered Aviation Ground Support Equipment. The Standard provides requirements that address the risk of fire, electric shock and explosion for the electrical systems of battery-powered airport GSE. The safety service helps airlines and airport operations as they lower environmental impacts and meet the requirements of carbon emissions reduction programs.
Key players across the aviation industry support the development of these safety standards as they work to transform their existing ground support equipment into more energy-efficient electric vehicles. The Standard also addresses retrofitting lithium-ion batteries into more traditional diesel-powered equipment when used to upgrade existing fleets.
Most ground support equipment today is outfitted with gasoline or diesel engines, and some by lead-acid powered batteries. Internal combustion engines contribute emissions that are harmful to the environment as well as ground personnel. Airports worldwide have announced policy commitments to remove all diesel-powered vehicles from the apron and all airside over the next three decades.
As reported by The Business Journals, The Chicago Department of Aviation awarded a $640,000 (USD) grant toward a United Airlines joint-EPA investment of $1.43 million (USD) to purchase 26 new zero-emission GSE vehicles, replacing older, diesel-fueled equipment. United Airlines will save more than 1.4 million gallons of diesel fuel and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary air pollutant in the generation of greenhouse gases, by more than 16,000 tons (as well as other byproducts of fuel emissions).
Although lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles offer many benefits, this new and evolving technology presents some risks. Recognizing the current and increasing need for safety requirements, UL Standards & Engagement published ANSI/CAN/UL 5840, the Standard for Electrical Systems of Battery Powered Aviation Ground Support Equipment, in May 2022. In addition to covering new GSE, the Standard also provides requirements for electrical systems when they are used to convert fueled GSE to battery-powered GSE.
“UL Solutions is tackling a major challenge for the aviation industry by addressing safer installation, usage and maintenance of lithium-ion batteries in aviation ground support equipment,” said Maurice Johnson, product manager at UL Solutions. “Our new service is a key enabler for the aviation industry to speed the adoption of electric ground support equipment, which can significantly contribute to meeting carbon emission reduction goals.”
A widespread agreement among managers of dangerous goods and ground support teams in the aviation industry is that prevention is the most effective method to help increase safety. Testing and certifying GSE to UL 5840 helps the aviation industry mitigate potential issues related to the use, installation and maintenance of lithium-ion batteries in ground support equipment, ultimately supporting the adoption and electrification of such vehicles.
About UL Solutions
UL Solutions is a global leader in applied safety science. The company addresses safety, security and sustainability challenges and develops solutions for customers in more than 100 countries. UL Solutions delivers testing, inspection and certification services, software products and advisory offerings, that support product innovation and business growth.