Ministers and aviation chiefs have revealed an action plan for the next two years in the race to decarbonise the UK aviation industry faster than any other G7 nation – with the goal of achieving Jet Zero by 2050.
The Jet Zero Council – made up of industry, academic and government leaders – met earlier this week at England’s Farnborough Airport to unveil the Two-Year Plan, which sets out how the Council will help to accelerate the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), by continuing to invest millions of pounds in first-of-a-kind SAF plants, supporting crucial scientific research on a larger scale, and helping to drive down production costs.
Farnborough Airport also played host to the Sustainable Skies World Summit, which gathered experts and leaders from the worlds of aviation, government, energy and engineering. UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper delivered the global summit’s keynote speech, where he stressed the importance of the partnership between government, industry and academia in the international challenge to reaching Jet Zero.
“This Government is a determined partner to the aviation industry – helping accelerate new technology and fuels, modernise their operations, and work internationally to remove barriers to progress,” said Harper. “Together, we can set aviation up for success, continue harnessing its huge social and economic benefits, and ensure it remains a core part of the UK’s sustainable economic future.”
“It’s fantastic for the Jet Zero Council to be meeting today at Sustainable Skies, maintaining the momentum built by government and industry on our vital journey to decarbonising aviation,” added Emma Gilthorpe, CEO of the Jet Zero Council. “The Two-Year Plan, building on recent government commitments to secure demand for SAF in the UK, will ensure we continue to accelerate progress and achieve the Jet Zero Council’s objectives of delivering 10% SAF in the UK fuel mix by 2030, and zero-emission transatlantic flight within a generation.”
Through this programme, the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) has committed to fund the ‘UK Hydrogen Capability Network – Phase 0 Project’. Led by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) this 12-month study will work closely with industry to define the operating model for a group of open access research and development facilities designed to accelerate the development of liquid hydrogen propulsion aircraft technologies, capabilities and skills in the UK. It will also explore options for the supply of green liquid hydrogen.
The study was inspired by the BEIS-funded Fly Zero project, which published its conclusion in March 2022.
This study brought together experts from across the UK to explore the design, technical and commercial challenges in realising zero-carbon emission commercial aviation by 2030. The project concluded that green liquid hydrogen offers the greatest potential to power a new generation of zero-carbon emission aircraft and recommended further work to explore collaborative R&D facilities.