Monday, 4 October 2021

Winners of £3 million zero emission flight aviation competition announced

Fifteen successful projects have been awarded funding to help support UK airports in handling new types of electric and hydrogen aircraft.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today (29 September 2021) announced the winners of the latest £3 million competition focused on making zero emission flights a reality.

Winning projects include 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 15 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.

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

Today’s funding forms part of the government’s commitment in the Prime Minister’s Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, with a commitment of £3 million funding to research into airport infrastructure for zero emission flights this year.

Aviation Minister Robert Courts said:  "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 sustainable aviation fuel use in the UK from 2025.


Val Miftakhov, CEO of ZeroAvia, 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."

Nicola Yates OBE, CEO of Connected Places Catapult, said:  "Connected Places Catapult is delighted to welcome these 15 innovative projects onto the TRIG: zero emission flight programme. The progress being made in this sector to enable sustainable air travel is exciting and an important step for the UK’s successful transition to net zero."

This funding is the latest in a string of initiatives aimed at reducing emissions from flying and consolidating the UK’s position as leaders in green aviation.

Part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan, the competition supports the early development of trailblazing UK facilities capable of generating over 70% greenhouse gas emissions savings, on a lifecycle basis, by turning materials such as everyday waste into jet fuel.

The winning projects are:

Cranfield University (3 projects) –

  •  Low carbon energy demand scenarios for aviation (LOCESA)
  •  Wireless opportunity charging of electric aircraft
  •  Hydrogen Safety in Aviation: an immersive XR training scenario for airport personnel

University of Warwick (2 projects) –

  • Creation of Full Airport Energy Model to Simulate/Understand Infrastructure Impacts of Electric and Hydrogen Aircraft and Support Vehicles on Airports – A Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) Case Study with Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA)
  • Evaluation of safety zones and mitigation measures for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure at airports

Protium Green Solutions Limited –

  • Developing a digital twin for the fast refuelling process and procedure for gaseous hydrogen aircraft

Hive Composites Limited –

  • Next-Generation Thermoplastic Composite Pipe for Hydrogen Distribution in Airports

Stratospheric Platforms Ltd –

  • Development of a safety zonal tool for the operation of liquid hydrogen powered aircraft at airfields

EGB Engineering Consultants Ltd –

  • Modelling of Electricity and Green Hydrogen Scenarios to meet future Airport Demand (MEHSAD)

ZeroAvia Limited –

  • Liquid Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (LHARE)

University of Strathclyde –

  • Solutions Pathway Evaluation Toolkit for Airside Infrastructure to Power Zero Emissions Flight

Ultima Forma Ltd –

  • Flexible electroformed twin-walled hydrogen fuel hoses

Ampaire Ltd –

  • Modelling demand of electric aviation and airport infrastructure

School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast –

  •  UltraCompHy: Ultra-lightweight composite pressure vessels for safe and cost-effective hydrogen storage

CD02 Ltd –

  • SafeBatt: Swappable aircraft battery packs for safe ground handling and charging

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