£113m investment in ‘guilt-free flying’ innovations

Deniz Huseyin
23 February 2023
The maiden flight of the ZeroAvia 19-seat Dornier 228 testbed aircraft, retrofitted with a hydrogen-electric engine
The maiden flight of the ZeroAvia 19-seat Dornier 228 testbed aircraft, retrofitted with a hydrogen-electric engine

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Investment totalling £113m in hydrogen powered aircraft and electric flying taxis has been announced by the Government and industry which, it says, will pave the way for “guilt-free flying” and support green jobs.

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme includes a project by Bristol-based electric aircraft manufacturer Vertical Aerospace to develop lightweight batteries, as well as projects led by Rolls-Royce to develop a liquid hydrogen combusting jet engine.

Another project saw the maiden flight of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered 19-seater aircraft in January.

The investment was announced at the seventh meeting of the Jet Zero Council, a partnership between the Government and industry that seeks to introduce zero-emission flights by 2050, as laid out in the Jet Zero Strategy. 

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 DfT is 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. 

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