Brussels Airport launches Stargate project to green aviation
On Thursday, November 25th, Brussels Airport has officially launched Stargate. In the next five years, Stargate, a consortium of 22 partners, will work out several projects aiming at greener aviation and making European airports more sustainable.
The Stargate project will receive €24,8 million subsidies within the European Green Deal. The partners of the consortium will add another €10 million.
Exchange knowledge and expertise
Brussels Airport will have a leading role in the consortium. This means that pilot projects will first be tested in Zaventem. Then they can be rolled out in other European airports, like Toulouse Blagnac Airport (France), Athens International Airport (Greece), and Budapest Airport (Hungary).
These airports are already CO2-neutral for their own operations, as is Brussels Airport, and each has its own accents in the area of sustainability. The airports will be able to exchange their knowledge and expertise within Stargate, and what proves successful at Brussels Airport will also be rolled out and deployed at these fellow airports.
Biofuel blending installation
One of the first projects is the construction of a biofuel blending installation at the airport, where kerosene will be mixed with biofuel. Brussels Airport will be the first airport worldwide to have such facilities, and Brussels Airlines, TUI, and DHL will be the first airline companies to fly on biofuel.
In May of this year, an Airbus A350 from Air France-KLM made its first long-distance flight from Paris to Montreal (Canada) on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), made from waste like cooking oil and residue. The Sustainable Aviation Fuel in a 16% blend with conventional aviation kerosine avoided 20 tons of CO2 or 15% less on this flight.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Air France-KLM and Total were the first to test sustainable aviation fuels and proved that biofuel has no impact on the reliability of airline operations. KLM made its first SAF-powered flight in 2009. Since then, the Group has multiplied the number of innovative programs. Between 2014 and 2016, for example, it carried out 78 Air France flights powered by a 10% SAF blend in collaboration with a Total affiliate.
Stargate also includes the electrification of all transport on the tarmac. The buses to transport passengers to and from the airport already are electric. During the Stargate kickoff, parcel delivery company DHL presented two electric vehicles that will be tested now. One of them will be used to transport packages to and from airplanes.
Quieter test runs
All ground handling material should become electric too because the airport intends to make test runs much quieter in the future. Concerning energy, Brussels Airport will also consider the installation of additional solar panels, and analyze the feasibility of a fermenter installation to process organic waste.
Arnaud Feist, CEO van Brussels Airport: “Together with our partners, we will show that sustainable aviation is feasible. Through the Stargate project, we will develop biofuels for airplanes on the site of the airport, make ground handling operations more sustainable, and transform airports into intermodal hubs, making alternatives for the car easily accessible.”
Dr. Yiannis N. Paraschis, CEO, Athens International Airport: “The need to respond to the climate emergency has never been more evident […] Through Stargate we aim to accelerate the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel, zero-emission vehicles, green hydrogen, and other solutions while contributing from our own expertise gained from over a decade of carbon reduction.”
Chris Dinsdale, CEO of Budapest Airport: “Budapest Airport has taken numerous real steps to continuously reduce the airport’s carbon footprint, and we plan to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035, a goal to which the Stargate project and the involved sharing or experiences and knowledge will contribute greatly.”
Philippe Crébassa, CEO of Aèroport de Toulouse-Blagnac: “With three major European airports, we will collaborate on very concrete initiatives to accelerate the energy transition and, more broadly, to ensure the sustainable development of our business. Stargate will also support our efforts to seamlessly integrate our airport into its territory and local environment.”