Europe invites bids for first tranche of green air transport research funds

A euros 1.6bn European research initiative aimed at making air travel more sustainable has published its first call for projects seeking funding.

Clean Sky’s budget makes it one of the region’s largest research programmes, with membership drawn from 120 organisations from 16 countries, 86 industrial partners, including 20 SMEs, 15 research centres and 17 universities.

Issuing its initial call for proposals, which will be worth euros 35.4 m, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research said the objective is to demonstrate and validate technology needed to reach Europe's key environmental goals for air transport for 2020. These are a 50 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions through reduction of fuel consumption; 80 per cent reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions and a halving of external noise.

The call covers 72 individual research topics in five major areas: green regional aircraft, green rotorcraft, sustainable and green engines, SMART fixed-wing air, and systems for green operations. The focus will be on developing full-scale demonstrators while enlisting technical capabilities of additional partners.

“Although today air transport only produces 2 per cent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, speeding up and bringing to market new, greener design and technologies is essential to protect our environment,” a European Commission statement said.

The sector currently represents around 2.5 per cent of EU GDP and accounts for more than 3 million jobs. Based on projected growth over the next 20 years, the Commission believes it could contribute an additional 1.8 per cent of GDP, equivalent to euros 200bn a year.

Deadline for proposals is 31 August. Detailed descriptions of the work topics and information on how to submit proposals can be found at the clean sky website.

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