Net zero-emission aviation is one step closer today following the launch of a new competition to support the development of cutting-edge facilities capable of turning everyday waste into jet fuel.
Image courtesy DfT / gov.uk
The Green Fuel, Green Skies competition, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, will support UK companies as they pioneer new technologies to convert household rubbish, waste wood and excess electricity into sustainable aviation fuel.
Offering emissions savings of more than 70% compared to conventional jet fuel, these trailblazing projects will help put flying onto a more sustainable path while helping to create up to 11,500 jobs over the coming decades.
Companies will be able to bid for a share of £15 million to kickstart the development of first-of-a-kind production plants in the UK to produce these fuels at scale.
This comes as the government’s second Jet Zero Council meeting is attended by new CEO Emma Gilthorpe, chief operating officer at Heathrow Airport. Promoting the vision of the group, Emma will increase its reach with key stakeholders across the sector helping drive forward decarbonisation of aviation.
Joining the distinguished roster of industry and environmental experts, new additions from the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will bring a breadth of knowledge and experience to the council, energising the charge to reduce emissions and deliver clean growth in the sector.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: "As the aviation sector emerges out of the pandemic and looks towards recovery over the coming months, we must put our environmental commitments at the centre of everything we do – so not only do we build back better, we also build back greener.
"That’s why we’re stepping up our work on the Council, recruiting new members and launching pioneering efforts to ensure that we continue to lead the world by example and deliver on our ambitious net-zero targets.
Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: "Today’s meeting of the Jet Zero Council demonstrates the vital collaboration between government and industry that will make zero-emission flights a reality.
"Britain’s aerospace sector is at the centre of our plans to build back greener from the pandemic. We are committed to supporting its recovery and investing in green tech to take us closer to zero carbon take-off."
Through the Future Flight Challenge, the government has committed £125 million of funding over 4 years. This has been matched by £175 million from industry to develop greener ways to fly, such as all-electric aircraft and deliveries by drone, by advancing electric and autonomous flight technologies.
Just this week, Project 2ZERO announced plans to use its share of £2.4 million through this fund to demonstrate flights of 6- and 19-seat hybrid-electric planes.
The project will demonstrate the use of electric and hybrid aircraft on regional routes, showing the potential to decarbonise aviation while supporting regional connectivity.
The government has put in place one of the most comprehensive packages of business support in the world, pledging around £7 billion since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “The UK aerospace industry is putting in place an ambitious action plan to achieve net zero aviation by developing radical new technologies and sustainable aviation fuels.
”Achieving this goal will require Government and industry to work closely together, including through the work of the Jet Zero Council.
“Today’s investment in sustainable aviation fuels is welcome. We hope to see long-term investment continued and raised to make sure the UK plays the greatest possible role in delivering the green aviation of the future.”
Cranfield University’s Director of Aerospace and Jet Zero Council member, Professor Iain Gray has welcomed the positive progress that the Council is making towards a more sustainable aerospace and aviation industry. He said: “The Jet Zero Council is making positive progress towards sustainable aviation and we are delighted to be adding the voice of academia to these important discussions
“I’m pleased to see the RAF being included in the Council’s work. As we know at Cranfield given our links with both sectors, the space between civilian and military aerospace engineering is a blurred one and there is much to gain from increased collaboration between the two.
“As members of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels working groups, we are delighted to see the focus on this area, which is the gamechanger in realising the ambition of net zero flight in the future.
“We also welcome the appointment of Emma Gilthorpe as the Council’s CEO and all of us at Cranfield will continue to support Emma and her team to drive this vital agenda forward.”