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NATO Pipeline Supplying Brussels Airport To Be Used To Transport SAF

Brussels aircraft (Photo: Brussels Airlines)

As of Jan. 1, Brussels Airport became the first Belgian airport to be fully supplied with kerosene through the NATO pipeline. The NATO Pipeline System (NPS or CEPS – Central Europe Pipeline System) was created during the Cold War to supply NATO forces with fuel and to meet the needs demanded by the Western security environment. The NPS consists of ten separate fuel and lubricant storage and distribution systems. In total, it is about 10,000 kilometers long, runs through 12 NATO countries, and has a storage capacity of 4.1 million cubic meters.

From now on, sustainable aviation fuels can also be supplied quickly and ecologically through this system to the Belgian airport. This is an important step to increase the use of sustainable fuels in the coming years and reduce CO2 emissions.

The first batch of sustainable aviation fuel transported through the NPS was transported by Brussels Airlines to Brussels Airport, and loaded into the first symbolic SAF flight from Brussels to Malaga on the first day of 2023. Thanks to NATO’s cooperation, Brussels Airlines is the first airline to fly with SAF transported through the pipeline system.

“To meet our climate goals, we will need to dramatically increase the use of alternatives to fossil fuels in the coming years. In addition to fleet renewal, sustainable aviation fuel is the most effective tool currently available to reduce aviation emissions. Together with the Lufthansa Group, we have been investing in the production and use of SAF for several years now. The fact that we can now transport sustainable aviation fuel from the blending plant to our aircraft at Brussels Airport quickly and in an environmentally friendly way is an important step toward increasing its use in the near future,” said Peter Gerber, CEO of Brussels Airlines.

The use of SAF reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent (when used in pure, unblended form) compared to using fossil aviation fuel. The Neste MY sustainable aviation fuel used by Brussels Airlines is produced from waste and residual feedstock from 100% sustainable and renewable sources, including used cooking oil and animal fat waste. Brussels Airlines purchased 2,000 barrels of 1,000 liters each with a 38% SAF blend for this pilot project. The sustainable aviation fuel was transported by Brussels Airlines from Neste blending facilities in Ghent via the CEPS pipeline to the fuel storage facility at Brussels Airport on January 1 just after midnight, allowing Brussels Airlines to operate its first flights with SAF on January 1.

The European Commission is working on imposing an SAF use requirement of 2 percent from 2025 and 5 percent from 2030. Brussels Airport is aiming for a target of 5 percent SAF by 2026 as part of the Stargate project. To promote the collection of raw materials for SAF, an awareness campaign will also be carried out to inform and sensitize the public to collect more used frying oil for SAF production.

Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
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  • Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo

    Vincenzo graduated in 2019 in Mechanical Engineering with an aeronautical curriculum, focusing his thesis on Human Factors in aircraft maintenance. In 2022 he pursued his master's degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Palermo, Italy. He combines his journalistic activities with his work as a Reliability Engineer at Zetalab.

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