UK’s Jet Zero Council continues efforts to deliver zero emission flight

The UK government’s Jet Zero Council is set to meet to outline plans for building back better and greener through the uptake of SAF and the development of zero emission aircraft and infrastructure.

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The UK continues its efforts to deliver the world’s first zero emission flight across the Atlantic within a generation following two progressive announcements by the UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, on 30 June 2021.

Launching the first round of the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) competition – delivered by Connected Places Catapult – the UK government will award businesses and universities around the UK up to £50,000 each to pioneer critical research into infrastructure, such as charge points and hydrogen fuelling tanks, that will enable the mass uptake of electric and hydrogen aircraft. As part of the UK Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, the £3 million fund will ramp-up the move towards sustainable flying to support aviation in reaching net zero by 2050.

This follows on from news that British Airways (BA) – members of the Jet Zero Council – carried out the world’s first net zero carbon freighter flights in June 2021, powered by a mix of sustainably sourced waste, such as cooking oil. This is set to be the first of many net zero carbon flights, with BA ordering 1.2 million litres of the fuel.

Offering emissions savings of more than 80 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel, this marks a milestone moment, putting UK aviation at the forefront of global decarbonisation efforts and forging the pathway to sustainable commercial flying in the future.

The UK’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “As the first major economy to commit to net zero by 2050, we’ve gone further than any country in the world to slash our aviation emissions – providing leadership, funding and the framework needed to lead the charge. Now is the time for organisations and companies to take advantage of the opportunities that we have provided to harness the economic and environmental benefits that building back better and greener has to offer.”

This comes as the Jet Zero Council meets for the third time on 30 June 2021, setting out plans to put UK aviation at the heart of the UK’s pandemic recovery – building back better and greener through the uptake of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and the development of zero emission aircraft and infrastructure. Through the work of its dedicated delivery groups and £18 million of new funding, the Council has led the global charge on the uptake and development of trailblazing SAFs.

With the United Nations’ (UN) 2021 Climate Change Conference (COP26) on the horizon, the UK hopes to showcase the progress made by encouraging delegates to fly on planes fuelled by SAF, showing just how far the collaboration between government and industry has come.

This funding, taken together with the £3 million of ZEFI funding announced on 30 June 2021, means that the government has provided over £20 million of new funding for the decarbonisation of the sector since the Council formed in 2020.

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