Passengers could one day fly to the other side of the world in aeroplanes that create zero carbon emissions and need just one refuelling stop, thanks to Government-funded technology.
A concept aircraft was unveiled earlier today by the wAerospace Technology Institute
(ATI) ahead of the fourth meeting of the Jet Zero Council
, which is chaired by the Transport Secretary.
The FlyZero project, led by the ATI and funded by the Government, has developed a concept for a mid-size aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen. It is capable of flying 279 passengers non-stop halfway around the world or anywhere in the world with just one refuelling stop.
This means that a zero-carbon, non-stop flight could be operated between London and San Francisco, or that passengers could fly around the world from London to Auckland, New Zealand with just one stop, at the same speed and comfort as today’s aircraft.
The project showcases the huge potential of liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft as the UK drives for a ‘cleaner and greener’ air travel future and builds on progress already achieved by the Jet Zero Council, a partnership between industry and Government with the aim of delivering zero-emission transatlantic flights within a generation.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As we ‘build back greener’, it is crucial that we place sustainability at the heart of the aviation industry’s recovery from Covid-19. This pioneering design for a liquid-hydrogen-powered aircraft, led by a British organisation, brings us one step closer to a future where people can continue to travel and connect but without the carbon footprint.
“I will continue to work closely with the Jet Zero Council to support the UK’s world-leading research in this sector, which will create green jobs, help us meet our ambitious ‘net zero’ targets and lead the global transition to ‘net zero’ aviation.”
Jet Zero Council CEO Emma Gilthorpe said: “The ATI’s pioneering research highlights the potential for hydrogen in realising zero-carbon global connectivity. This ground-breaking green technology looks set to play a critical role in decarbonising flight and through the work of the Jet Zero Council, the UK aviation sector is exploring all avenues to ensure we protect the benefits of flying for future generations while cutting the carbon cost.”
FlyZero project director Chris Gear said: “At a time of global focus on tackling climate change, our midsize concept sets out a truly revolutionary vision for the future of global air travel keeping families, businesses and nations connected without the carbon footprint.
“This new dawn for aviation brings with it real opportunities for the UK aerospace sector to secure market share, highly skilled jobs and inward investment while helping to meet the UK’s commitments to fight climate change.”
Another technology with the potential to decarbonise flying is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a low-carbon fuel made from waste materials.
Earlier this year, the UK Government set out its ambition to become a world leader in the production of SAF, launching the £15 million Green Fuel, Green Skies competition to support the early development of trailblazing UK facilities working to turn everyday waste into jet fuel.
The shortlisted winners, eight industry-led projects that will receive a share of the £15 million in funding, have now had their final funding agreements confirmed by the Department for Transport.
Today’s announcement follows in the footsteps of the recent COP26
climate conference in Glasgow, which saw ambitious new international pledges to decarbonise transport, including the agreement by 24 countries — representing around half of global aviation emissions — to work together to achieve a new aviation decarbonisation goal.