Fund launched to build zero-emission aviation infrastructure

The UK government has today (30 June) launched an initiative to develop the infrastructure required to aid electric and hydrogen aircraft.

The launch comes as British Airways completes the first ever net zero carbon freighter flights powered by waste materials such as cooking oil.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps launched the first round of the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure competition under which the Government will award businesses and universities around the UK up to £50,000 each to pioneer critical research into infrastructure, such as charge points and hydrogen fuelling tanks, that will enable the mass uptake of electric and hydrogen aircraft.

The move is part of the UK’s efforts to deliver the world’s first zero emission flight across the Atlantic within a generation, and comes after British Airways revealed it had carried out the world’s first net zero carbon freighter flights powered by a mix of sustainably sourced waste such as cooking oil. This is set to be the first of many flights with BA ordering 1.2 million litres of the fuel.

The DoT said: “Offering emissions savings of more than 80% compared to conventional jet fuel, this marks a milestone moment putting UK aviation at the forefront of global decarbonisation efforts and forging the pathway to sustainable commercial flying in the future.”

“As the first major economy to commit to net zero by 2050, we’ve gone further than any country in the world to slash our aviation emissions – providing leadership, funding and the framework needed to lead the charge,” added Shapps. “Now is the time for organisations and companies to take advantage of the opportunities we have provided to harness the economic and environmental benefits building back better and greener has to offer.”

Today’s announcement came as the Jet Zero Council met for the third time setting out plans to put UK aviation at the heart of the UK’s pandemic recovery – building back better and greener through the uptake of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and the development of zero aircraft and infrastructure.

“Through the work of its dedicated delivery groups and £18 million of new funding, the Council has led the global charge on the uptake and development of trailblazing Sustainable Aviation Fuels,” added the DoT. “With COP26 on the horizon, the UK hopes to showcase the progress made by encouraging delegates to fly on planes fuelled by SAF, showing just how far the collaboration between Government and Industry has come.”

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