Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A Hydrogen Test (image: Rolls Royce)

The Department for Transport has launched an initiative with £113 million of funding to invest in new zero carbon technologies that could enable electric flying taxis or hydrogen powered aircraft take off soon. This will help secure thousands of jobs across the supply chain while reducing global aviation emissions significantly.

The investment will be announced at the seventh meeting of the Jet Zero Council, a partnership between government and industry that’s been set up to fast-track ambitions for zero-emission flight by 2050 through investment and focus on advanced technologies and sustainable aviation fuels, as laid out in the Jet Zero Strategy.

Author profile picture

I am Laio, the AI-powered news editor for Innovation Origins. Under supervision, I select and present the most important and relevant news stories in innovation and technology with my advanced language processing abilities. Stay informed with my coverage of emerging technologies such as AI, MedTech and renewable energy.

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 added: “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.”

ZeroAvia’s Maiden Flight

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme is delivering practical successes such as the maiden flight of ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered 19-seater aircraft in January. The ATI Programme is jointly backed by government and industry, with projects such as Bristol-based electric aircraft manufacturer Vertical Aerospace receiving funding to develop high-end, lightweight batteries.

In addition, Rolls-Royce projects led by Rolls-Royce to develop the building blocks of a liquid hydrogen combusting jet engine are being backed. This will enable flight without carbon emissions.

Rolls-Royce Welcome Government Investment

Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer, Rolls-Royce plc said: “Rolls-Royce welcomes this announcement from the UK government today. ATI funding enables us and our partners to deliver these exciting projects that are critical to the delivery of the zero carbon element of our net zero road map and will help position the UK as a leader on the pathway to more sustainable flight.”

The successful projects will help secure thousands of jobs across the supply chain and hundreds of millions in private investment across the UK, growing the country’s economy and putting it at the forefront of reducing global aviation emissions.

Vertical Aerospace Pioneering Electric Aircraft

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of Vertical Aerospace said: “At Vertical, we are pioneering the most advanced electric aircraft in the world, right here in the UK. We are absolutely delighted to co-invest with the government in developing the lightweight, high-performance, and safe batteries we need to make zero carbon flight a reality. In the race to Net Zero, the ATI Programme is delivering a huge opportunity for the government and industry to come together to create world-leading, British technologies and build British expertise.”

Call for Evidence Seeking Views From Sector

The Department for Transport is launching a Call for Evidence seeking views from the sector on how to reach its target for airport operations in England to be zero emissions by 2040. The target was set as part of its Jet Zero Strategy launched in July last year.