European Commission

The EU Green Deal Airport projects, OLGA, STARGATE, and TULIPS, supported by the European Commission, organised a seminar on the transition to green airports on 22 June as a side event of the 54th Paris Air Show.

The 54th International Paris Air Show was held in Le Bourget from 19 to 25 June 2023, bringing together all players in the global aviation industry to showcase the latest technological innovations. Taking place every two years, the air show attracts more than 300,000 visitors and around 2,500 exhibitors

This was therefore a landmark opportunity for the CINEA-implemented EU Green Deal Airport project cluster (OLGASTARGATE and TULIPS) to show how they are reducing the environmental footprint of passengers and airlines, and developing innovative solutions to make airport ecosystems more sustainable. The projects are supported under the EU's large-scale funding programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020. 

The three project coordinators presented a number of the cutting-edge solutions they are developing for the greening and decarbonisation of airports and the aviation sector:

OLGA - Yannael Billard, Groupe ADP

  • Green hydrogen demonstrator at Milan Malpensa Airport, which will pave the way for EU airports becoming green-H2 production hubs. Milan Malpensa green-H2 hub will be operated for at least two years, providing green-H2 for local purposes (e.g. buses, operating vehicles and ground support equipment, etc.).
  • “H2 airport masterplan”, a Paris Case Study covering (i) H2 regulation for aviation; (ii) H2 airside and landside infrastructures for aviation; (iii) H2 operations, and; (iv) hydrogen-powered aircraft-airport compatibility, while also addressing the whole value chain (production, transportation, liquefaction, storage, distribution, refuelling).
  • Proof of concept for the traceability and sustainability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a tracking approach guaranteeing correct data acquisition and security throughout the whole value chain.

STARGATE - Charlotte Verreydt, Brussels Airport 

  • Sustainable Airport Mobility Plan (SAMP), which translates existing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) methodologies to an airport-specific context. The main goal of the SAMP is to guarantee optimal, sustainable, and multimodal accessibility of the airport.
  • Proof of concept for a small-scale, modular, and transportable SAF blending installation, which can easily be deployed at other (remote) airports where, for example, there is no pipeline supply, or to be used for targeted fuel supply for certain flights (e.g. business aviation) that wish to fly on high ratio blends.

TULIPS - Fokko Kroesen, Royal Schiphol Group

  • Feasibility demonstrations for airports to handle energy supply for future aircraft, with its first results pointing to an electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2050, while also giving information on the number of flights and energy requirements.
  • Framework for the development of e-SAF facilities, presenting the main building blocks and success factors for e-SAF supply chains, as well as promising EU regions, to incentivise production.

During the panel discussion that followed with the project coordinators and field experts - Margaux Thoyer-Rozat, SAF Manager in Air France, Robert Malina, Professor of Environmental Economics in Hasselt University, and Floor Vogels, SAF Policy Expert in SkyNRG - and moderated by the Deputy Head of CINEA's Transport Research Unit, Pablo Perez-Illana, panellists highlighted the long-term potential of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in boosting the green transition.

All underlined the key role that airports play in the uptake of SAF. While SAF uptake can contribute to solving regional challenges such as waste management, energy security, local air quality, and economic resilience, panellists agreed that the main challenge is generating sufficient supply with constrained feedstocks. Hydrogen and e-fuels were deemed paramount in reaching the decarbonisation targets.

With more innovations in the pipeline for each of the three projects, all designed to set the EU’s airports and aviation sector on the path to green transition, the future is not only bright, but also green!

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