UK competition launched for sustainable aviation fuels

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A new competition has been launched by the UK Government challenging companies to turn materials, such as waste, into sustainable aviation fuels (SAF)

The “Green Fuel, Green Skies” competition, which is part of the UK prime minister’s Ten Point Plan, says hat it will support UK companies as they pioneer new technologies to convert household rubbish, waste wood, flue gases and even excess electricity into sustainable aviation fuel.

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Offering emissions savings of over 70 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel, its hoped that these projects will help put flying onto a more sustainable path while helping to create up to 11,500 jobs over the coming decades.

Companies will be able to bid for a share of £15 million to kick start the development of first-of-a-kind production plants in the UK to produce these fuels at scale.

UK Transport secretary, Grant Shapps (pictured above) said:     “As the aviation sector emerges out of the pandemic and looks towards recovery over the coming months, we must put our environmental commitments at the centre of everything we do – so not only do we build back better, we also build back greener.

“That’s why we’re stepping up our work on the Council, recruiting new members and launching pioneering efforts to ensure that we continue to lead the world by example and deliver on our ambitious net zero targets.”

Through the Future Flight Challenge, the Government has committed £125 million of funding over four years matched by £175m from industry to develop greener ways to fly, such as all-electric aircraft and deliveries by drone, by advancing electric and autonomous flight technologies.

Earlier this week, project 2ZERO announced plans to use their share of £2.4 million through this fund to demonstrate flights of six and nineteen seat hybrid-electric planes.    

The project will demonstrate the use of electric and hybrid aircraft on regional routes showing the potential to decarbonise aviation whilst supporting regional connectivity.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added:  “Today’s meeting of the Jet Zero Council demonstrates the vital collaboration between government and industry that will make zero-emission flights a reality.

“Britain’s aerospace sector is at the centre of our plans to build back greener from the pandemic. We are committed to supporting its recovery and investing in green tech to take us closer to zero carbon take off.”

Responding to the launch of the competition,  chair of Sustainable Aviation Adam Morton welcomed the news but said more support was needed.

“This funding is a positive step closer to getting a British sustainable aviation fuel industry off the ground. SAF technology is available now, can cut aviation carbon emissions by at least 70 per cent compared with fossil fuels and requires no modifications to existing aircraft or refuelling infrastructure. These new fuels can also be produced throughout the UK, creating tens of thousands of green jobs and generating billions of pounds for our economy in our industrial heartlands.

“But if the UK is serious about becoming a world leader in SAF production and supply, the Government must accelerate its support for this nascent industry by complementing this funding with the right policies to support the commercialisation of SAF at scale, as Sustainable Aviation has set out. With a world leading SAF industry, and innovations in electric and hydrogen aircraft, Britain can become a Jet Zero pioneer.”

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