The UK government has announced it will be investing 113 million GBP in hydrogen and all-electric flight technologies in order to, it says, “unlock guilt-free flights”.
The hope is that these technologies, developed in the UK, could enable electric flying taxis and hydrogen-powered aircraft.
Within the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, for example, is a project by Bristol-based electric aircraft manufacturer Vertical Aerospace to develop high-end, lightweight batteries. Another project is led by Rolls-Royce to develop the building blocks of a liquid hydrogen combusting jet engine.
One of the key moments of the ATI Programme to date has been the maiden flight of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered 19-seater aircraft at the start of the year.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is further launching a Call for Evidence to seek views from the aviation sector as to how the net zero target could be reached for airport operations in England by 2040. This target was set as part of the government’s Jet Zero Strategy, launched in July 2022.
In addition, the Department for Transport is launching a call for evidence seeking views from the sector on how to reach the target for airport operations in England to be zero emissions by 2040. The target was set as part of the government’s Jet Zero Strategy, launched in July last year.
“Guilt-free flying is within our reach, and we are backing the world-leading UK firms whose skills and ingenuity are going to make that dream a reality.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said that developing the next generation of aircraft was one aspect, but so too was making the aviation sector greener on the ground, hence the call for evidence.
The investment will be announced at the seventh meeting of the Jet Zero Council, which is a partnership between the government and industry set up to “fast-track ambitions for zero-emission flight by 2050 through investment and focus on advanced technologies and sustainable aviation fuels”.
“The launch of the Jet Zero Strategy last year was a key milestone on the path to decarbonising aviation, and it’s fantastic to see the progress that has been made since then, such as on boosting the UK’s SAF industry and with the International Civil Aviation Organisation aiming to reach net zero by 2050.
“This investment, and the launch of the Call For Evidence on how airports in England can reach zero emissions by 2040, are another vital part of that journey and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners in industry and government to define the future of flying.”
Today’s meeting is taking place at Boeing’s offices in London. As the council’s host, Boeing will demonstrate its data modelling tool, Cascade, designed to allow users to visualise different decarbonisation strategies.
“Today’s Jet Zero Council meeting is an opportunity to highlight progress and assess opportunities on the journey to net zero. Close partnership between government and industry is vital to achieving a zero-carbon future, and we are delighted to showcase some of the innovative tools Boeing has designed to help us collectively reach this goal. Through Cascade, it’s clear that we need sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) under any scenario to reach our 2050 goal while investing in cutting-edge technologies that will inform the future of flight.”
In late 2022, five companies were awarded a portion of the DfT’s 165 million. GBP Advanced Fuels Fund as part of the government’s SAF programme.
Virgin Atlantic will receive government funding to complete the first ‘net zero’ transatlantic flight using only SAF. This flight, from London to New York, is set to take place this year.
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