chemtrails flying plane

UK to invest £113m in zero-carbon flight technologies

Image credit: Dreamstime

The government has announced £113m in funding for projects developing technologies to enable flights with net-zero carbon emissions.

Electric flying taxis and hydrogen-powered aircraft are just some of the projects that will receive a share of the funding, which was announced by the business and transport secretaries.

While aviation is only responsible for around 2 per cent of anthropogenic carbon emissions, this is expected to rise as the number of passengers is expected to double by 2037. The sector is also more difficult to decarbonise than ground-based transport or electricity networks.

The UK was one of the first countries to include curbing aviation emissions in their climate targets in 2021.

Among the projects to receive some of the funding is Bristol-based electric aircraft manufacturer Vertical Aerospace, which will develop high-end, lightweight batteries, as well as projects led by Rolls-Royce to develop the building blocks of a liquid-hydrogen combusting jet engine.

The projects should also help to secure thousands of jobs across the supply chain and provide a catalyst for private investment across the UK.

The Department for Transport is also 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.

Business secretary Grant Shapps said: “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.

“As the whole world moves to greener forms of aviation, there is a massive opportunity for the UK’s aerospace industry to secure clean, green jobs and growth for decades to come. Together with the companies that share our ambitions, we are determined to seize this moment.”

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “The Jet Zero Council is helping to define the future of flying – one that’s more optimistic about the sector’s environmental impact while putting UK innovation at the forefront of international aviation.

“As well as developing the next generation of aircraft, it’s also crucial we make the sector greener on the ground, and the call for evidence we’re launching today will help us gather evidence on how airports can reach zero emissions by 2040.”

The investment will be announced at the seventh meeting of the Jet Zero Council, a partnership between government and industry that’s been set up to fast-track ambitions for zero-emission flight by 2050 through investment, a focus on advanced technologies and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

Virgin Atlantic will also receive government funding to complete the first ever net-zero transatlantic flight on 100 per cent SAF. The flight from London to New York will take off from the UK this year.

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