A new heating installation at Brussels Airport – the largest net-zero-carbon installation in Belgium – will reduce carbon emissions by 70%.

Brussels Airport Company plans to replace its central heating installation by early 2027 with a net-zero-carbon installation, which will heat the terminal buildings without emitting carbon dioxide. Currently, a gas-fired boiler plant is used to heat the airport buildings. The boiler plant was optimised several times over the years. Replacing it with an innovative alternative that does not use gas is an essential step in the journey towards net-zero-carbon emissions as it will reduce Brussels Airport Company’s total carbon emissions by around 70% (based on figures 2021).  

The company has been carbon neutral in terms of its own emissions as airport operator since 2018. Green energy is already used for all buildings and infrastructure managed by Brussels Airport Company, its own activities as a company and its fleet of operational vehicles. Any remaining emissions are offset. The ambition of Brussels Airport Company is to achieve net zero carbon emissions for its own activities by no later than 2050. 

The airport buildings in the area around the terminal are currently heated centrally by a gas-fired boiler plant. This heating plant provides energy for, among other things, the passenger terminal and piers and for various buildings in the vicinity of the terminal. This central heating plant has already been upgraded several times to make it more environmentally friendly. For example, two large cogeneration systems have been installed, which are far more efficient and also produce electricity alongside heat. Despite these upgrades, the boiler plant continues to emit carbon dioxide – hence the company’s decision to install a zero-emission heating system.

“This gas-free installation will allow us to cut our carbon emissions by about 70%. This investment is a first in Belgium – an installation on this scale (with a total power of 21Mw) has never before been built in our country,” said Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.  

A tendering process is underway, inviting candidates to submit a bid for the development of the new heating installation.  The aim is to begin construction in 2025 and to have the heating installation operational by early 2027. Other initiatives to reduce the remaining 30% of carbon emissions are being examined. 

Image: Brussels Airport Company