Green aviation plea as UK ramps up net zero efforts

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today said the global aviation sector has to go green if it is to prosper.

Shapps was speaking as he announced the winners of the latest £3 million competition focused on making zero emission flights a reality.

Winning projects included wireless charging for electric planes, swappable battery packs to keep flight turnover times to a minimum and state-of-the-art fuelling tanks to safely and efficiently refuel flights of the future.

The fifteen successful projects have been awarded a share of over £700,000 to help bring forward innovative research and technology which can support UK airports in handling new types of electric and hydrogen aircraft.

“As the world reopens from the pandemic, it is essential that we are investing in greener aviation as part of our transport decarbonisation agenda,” said Shapps. “Funding these revolutionary projects will help to slash carbon, create jobs and get us closer to our goal of operating zero emission flights.”

Aviation Minister, Robert Courts added: “As an island nation, aviation is essential for our future growth and plans to build back better and greener from the pandemic.

“With COP26 around the corner, we’re ramping up our efforts even further by funding the technology that unlocks the flights of the future.”

Earlier this year, the UK Government set out its ambition to become world-leaders in sustainable aviation fuel production, launching the £15 million Green Fuel, Green Skies competition and publishing a consultation proposing to mandate SAF use in the UK from 2025.

Val Miftakhov, CEO, ZeroAvia, one of the winning firms and creator of a hydrogen fuelled aircraft said: “We are delighted to have been successful with the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure project and to have the opportunity to show just how these projects are critical to the future of zero emission aviation.

“In the future, we believe there will be a hydrogen-electric engine in every aircraft as this is the only viable way to deliver truly zero emission aircraft and to comprehensively tackle the industry’s growing climate impact. When we deliver our first hydrogen-electric powertrains into service in 2024, operators need to be able to fuel their aircraft with low carbon hydrogen, and today’s announcement is a big step towards that.”

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