As a part of a project for a class we were tasked with trying to cut emissions/energy waste of airplanes. Now we've realized that running the apu on the ground at the gate and taxiing is a serious waste of energy and has high emissions. I was wondering if you guys had any other thoughts on inefficiencies on the airplanes and any ideas around backup power for the airplane anytime that is on the ground. This includes taxiing.

Our group was also looking at external batteries that can be attached and detached to the plane but was worried about such batteries existing.

I'm new here, but any information helps!

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    $\begingroup$ There are also already portable carts that have diesel generators attached (Called GPUs). These often have the fuel capacity to power the aircraft on the ground overnight and are most often used at remote bays. (Those bays that you can only assess by bus). Otherwise, you essentially "Plug your airplane into the wall" and use city power to avoid use of the APU $\endgroup$
    – Noah
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 6:13
  • $\begingroup$ You may consider editing the title to be more specific (there are many questions that can be asked about batteries, having a specific title help navigating through this website) and to transform it in a question (this is a Q&A website). It may also help you formulate a less broad question. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 6:28
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget that the electricity to charge those batteries needs to come from somewhere. That's going to involve burning something or damming something or splitting something or killing birds or something that someone is against... $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


At gate aircraft is usually hooked up to an external power source to reduce emission. This can be in the form of ground power cable like your power socket at home or ground power unit.

During taxi APU is not strictly needed as main engines would be already running and provide all the electricity or bleed air needed.

Lugging around a HUGE external batteries create its own problem. How to get the batteries back to gate after the plane take off? You use a vehicle (emission) to get them back? And when the batteries reach end of life you need an environmental friendly eay to dispose of it. Multuply that by number of airports and you can see the problem.

Some interesting questions to read:

What powers an aircraft prior to the APU being switched on?

What is the cable connected to a plane for?

Can airliners operate without an operating APU?


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