Iron Flow Battery almost ready for testing

January 2024

In January 2023, a year ago now, Europe’s first sustainable Iron Flow Battery was on its way to Schiphol by boat. After a long run-up, the final tests are currently being carried out on the large battery so that we can start testing it in combination with a number of electric ground power units (e-GPUs) in the operation at Schiphol in early February. We asked Schiphol’s Innovation Manager Oscar Maan why you would want to use a battery at an airport and how the preparations are progressing. 

For platform without an electricity network 

“On the AB platform, where KLM Cityhopper aircraft are handled, we would also like to use emission-free e-GPUs,” explains Oscar Maan. “At the moment, the current 30 diesel GPUs are still being used there. Unfortunately, the AB platform lacks the necessary power capacity to charge those e-GPUs.” 

Smart charging

To solve that problem, we have come up with an innovative solution: the new iron flow battery. Oscar: “The idea is that this large battery will be charged from the grid as soon as power is available. For example, if the platform lighting is not on during the day. From this large battery, we can then charge the e-GPUs with enough power. In this way, we are able to charge heavy ground support equipment such as the e-GPUs without having to strengthen the local electricity network.” 

Smart charging 

Final preparations are currently being made for testing. Oscar: “In the meantime, the permit has also been completed. We will actually start the pilot at the beginning of February 2024. We will test five e-GPUs together with the Iron Flow Battery on the AB platform.”