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How four EU projects are making the airports of tomorrow more sustainable

Four key European projects gathered on 5 May 2022, in Brussels, at the Airport Regions Council’s event on ReFuel EU Aviation to present how their activities will boost the supply of sustainable aviation fuels in Europe and reduce the environmental impact of aviation: OLGA, STARGATE, TULIPS and ALIGHT.

Over 150 participants joined the Airport Regions Council (ARC) premises for a live conference on sustainable aviation fuel as well as related challenges and opportunities for airlines, industry and regions, with the ReFuel EU Aviation initiative as a central topic. The initiative was addressed from different perspectives through panel discussions formed by EU policymakers, airports, airlines, regions and providers. After the introduction on ReFuel EU Aviation made by Filip Cornelis, Aviation Director at DG MOVE, European Commission, several inputs were provided by members of the European Parliament, such as Søren Gade Jensen (rapporteur TRAN, Renew Europe Group), Nicolas Gonzales (opinion rapporteur ENVI, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats), and Jutta Paulus (opinion rapporteur ITRE, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance). A Panel Discussion was also dedicated to the Voice of the Airports.

Four EU projects to accelerate the environmental transition of operations at airports

The panel discussion, moderated by ARC’s Senior Project Officer, Alexandra Covrig, was formed of the following airports: Copenhagen (leader of ALIGHT project), Paris Charles de Gaulle (leader of OLGA project), Brussels (leader of STARGATE project) and Schiphol (leader of TULIPS project). ALIGHT, a EU project funded under the H2020 Smart Airports call, is paving the way towards sustainable aviation fuel and renewable energy, while OLGA, STARGATE and TULIPS, all three EU projects funded under the H2020 Green Deal call, are further contributing to decarbonisation through unique environmental innovations.

The ALIGHT project started at the end of 2020 and focuses on how to introduce more sustainable and fossil-free fuels into airport operations. Jesper Jacobsen, Head of Sustainability Development at Copenhagen Airport and project coordinator explains that

ALIGHT delivers best practice recommendations for sustainable energy fuel handling and logistics as well as an innovative concept for a cost-effective fuel supply chain, which will be demonstrated at Copenhagen Airport.”

The three EU Green Deal sister projects started at the end of 2021 (OLGA, STARGATE) and early 2022 (TULIPS) with an ambitious mission to provide solutions for the climate change challenges. Yannael Billard, ADP Senior Manager Environment & Energy division and project sponsor, highlights that

OLGA performs substantial work on traceability and sustainability of SAF. In fact, Air France, also a project partner, will use advanced SAF for one flight between two of the OLGA airports, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Milan Malpensa, to reach the maximum carbon-neutral roundtrip possible”.

Representing STARGATE, Elke Bossaert, Strategic Accessibility Manager at Brussels Airport, adds that

STARGATE works on the production and promotion of SAF, with one biofuel blending installation being planned at Brussels Airport, making it the first airport in the world where kerosene is blended with biofuel on-site.

As for TULIPS project, Fokko Kroesen, Senior Advisor on Sustainability at Royal Schiphol Group and project coordinator, states that

the project enables airports to support the scale-up of advanced SAF. TULIPS demonstrates large scale SAF supply and provides incentives for airports to increase SAF usage”.

EU projects continue collaboration for a more sustainable future

The four EU projects expressed interest to keep exchanging best practices, tools and learnings to help achieve the EU’s climate targets. The EU Green Deal sister projects, OLGA, STARGATE and TULIPS, will join forces again on 15 June for a panel discussion titled Three H2020 green airport projects towards a more sustainable future. The panel will be held in Paris at the Passenger Terminal EXPO 2022.


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