Munich Airport Launches Electric “Elephant” to De-Ice Aircraft

As part of its efforts to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint, Bavaria’s most prominent aviation hub, Munich Airport, has begun using an all-electric de-icing vehicle to de-ice aircraft prior to flight departure. The mastermind behind the vehicle, Danish manufacturing company Vestergaard, says the “Elephant e-BETA” is first of its kind.

No noise

Whilst the de-icing machine runs on diesel to drive to the aircraft de-icing area, it is important to note that the de-icing process is fully electric. The vehicle can perform the de-icing quietly and efficiently. An electric motor powers the spray arms and nozzles of the vehicle, and it has a lithium-ion powered battery, with a life of two to three hours (before a recharge is required), thereby enabling the possibility to de-ice up to 15 aircraft in one cycle.

Aircraft de-icing
The Electric Elephant De-Icer At Work | © Real Leaders

The future is sustainable

Vestergaard’s portfolio of Elephant products continues to live up to expectations of being energy efficient in relation to the technological advancements, producing machines that will contribute towards bringing the aviation industry closer to carbon neutral goal by 2050.

Vestergaard has been producing one man deicing trucks since the early 1980s. This One-Man Drive option available for MY Lite customers continues to show our commitment and deep understanding of our customer needs, and supporting their continued success, especially in our current and challenging economic environment.

Brock Crocker, Business Manager at Vestergaard

Initially, the Elephant e-BETA will be trialled on more sensitive aircraft at Munich Airport. Overall, it is expected the machine will reduce CO2 emissions by 87% when compared with more conventional vehicles. This can only help realise Munich Airport’s intentions to be carbon neutral by 2030. The airport is planning to reduce its attributable CO2 emissions by 60% and says it will compensate for the remaining 40%.

Munich Airport says it is planning to invest around 150 million euros between now and 2030 to achieve this ambitious goal.

Do you think Munich Airport’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 is achievable? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ranjit Shergill
Ranjit Shergill
Aviation Reporter - Based in London, UK, Ranjit has a love for opinions and analysis, and so got into writing as it presented a golden opportunity for him to share his views across a large landscape of readers. Ranjit is addicted to travelling, whether it be the dangerously exciting backroads of Central America or a cycling journey across the River Danube. He loves to embrace cultural hotspots and feels that travelling combines exciting adventures with humbling life experiences. Outside of travel, Ranjit enjoys public speaking, darts and loves a bargain!


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