UK Government to aid hydrogen aircraft development with £3m ZEFI fund

UK Government to aid hydrogen aircraft development with £3m ZEFI fund

The UK Government has today (June 30) unveiled the launch of a first round £3m ($4m) Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) competition that will aid development of electric and hydrogen aircraft.

As part of the first round, the government will award businesses and universities around the UK up to £50,000 ($69,000) each to pioneer critical research into infrastructure, such as charge points and hydrogen refuelling tanks.

As part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, the £3m ($4m) fund will ramp-up the move towards sustainable aviation to reach net zero by 2050.

Read more: UK project aiming to deliver hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2022

Read more: British Airways sees ‘significant’ role for hydrogen in decarbonising aviation

This comes as the Jet Zero Council meets for the third time, setting out plans to put UK aviation at the heart of the UK’s pandemic recovery – building back better and greener.

This can be achieved 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 £18m ($24m) of new funding, the Council has led the global charge on the uptake and development of SAFs.

With COP26 on the horizon later this year, the UK hopes to showcase the progress made by encouraging delegates to fly in planes fuelled by SAF, showing just how far the collaboration between government and industry has come.

This funding, taken together with the £3m ($4m) of ZEFI funding announced today means the government has provided over £20m of new funding for the decarbonisation of the sector since the Council formed last year.

Grant Shapps, UK Transport Secretary, 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 we have provided to harness the economic and environmental benefits building back better and greener has to offer.”

Hydrogen planes, trains and automobiles: Fuel Cell Systems Ltd talks to H2 View about recent projects

In the absence of a viable hydrogen refuelling network in the UK, Fuel Cell Systems Ltd (FCSL) has responded by developing lower cost, mobile refuelling solutions that are easy to transport and commission, and are enabling manufacturers and operators alike to roll out hydrogen fuel cell products.

To name but a few of the Berkshire-based company’s recent projects, FCSL has delivered solutions to refuel scooters, cars and trains with hydrogen; after implementing a hydrogen refuelling solution for a prototype AA breakdown recovery vehicle, the company has spent the past 12 months supporting a University of Birmingham project to deliver the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train, HydroFlex; and FCSL is currently completing the development of a solution for the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) that will fuel the first hydrogen-powered aircraft, HyFlyer.

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