£3m Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure competition launched

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Government has launched the first round of £3 million Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) competition, supporting development of infrastructure required to aid electric and hydrogen aircraft, such as charge points for planes.

Delivered by the Connected Places Catapult, the competition will offer grants of up to £50,000 to at least 12 innovative businesses and universities developing technology into the following priority areas:

  • Hydrogen storage, handling, aircraft refuelling/defueling, distribution, and associated technologies
  • Electric charging, storage, handling, batteries, electric distribution, and associated technologies for electric-powered aircraft
  • Research into future demand scenarios for airside use of green hydrogen and electricity at UK airports

Henry Tse, Director of New Mobility Technologies at Connected Places Catapult commented on the announcement: “We are proud to launch this Transport Research and Innovation Grant as part of the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure programme.

“It will provide us with greater understanding of the exciting work currently being undertaken by the UK’s leading innovators to enable sustainable air travel.”

The competition follows on from news that British Airways carried out the world’s first net zero carbon freighter flights powered by a mix of sustainably sourced waste such as cooking oil this week. This is set to be the first of many flights, with the company ordering 1.2 million litres of the fuel.

Offering reported emissions savings of more than 80% compared to conventional jet fuel, this marks a milestone moment.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng commented: “Sourcing sustainable fuels are critical if we are to cut emissions and build a competitive future for Britain’s aviation industry.

“This funding once again shows the Jet Zero Council is driving forward our ambition to make flight cleaner and greener.

“As we build back better from the pandemic, it is so important to see iconic companies like British Airways leading the way and sharing in our belief that decarbonising flight doesn’t just make environmental sense, but also great business sense too.”

More information about the ZEFI competition and how to take part is available on the Connected Places Catapult website.