Heathrow has launched a prize worth £30,000, to be awarded to a winning idea that will help the airport reduce its carbon emissions.

The £30,000 funding is open to those with entrepreneurial ideas on how to reduce carbon impacts through one of three ways:

  • Sustainable surface transport: Enabling travel to and from the airport with low or zero emissions;
  • Preparing for sustainable flight: Expediting the arrival of a fossil-fuel-free flight, including through the introduction of new hybrid and electric aircraft; and
  • Delivering negative emissions: Finding new, practical ways to capture and use carbon at or near the airport.

Applications for the Innovation Prize will be accepted until May 22.

Living lab

The Innovation Prize is part of the airport’s new Centre of Excellence, a research hub focused on sustainable air travel.  The Centre connects experts – from entrepreneurs to academics – and offers Heathrow as a living laboratory to test and try new ideas to encourage sustainability in aviation.

The Centre is already investigating how to turn waste plastics into pavement materials at the airport.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Director of Sustainability, said: “Climate change is the greatest threat facing our generation and it is imperative we take meaningful steps to address our impacts – and we need to make them quickly. Through the Centre of Excellence, and by partnering with top scientists we will continue to think radically about sustainability, translate ideas into action at Heathrow, and across our industry.”

The Centre of Excellence will bring together Heathrow’s first think-tank of university partners to work with the airport on new coordinated research on sustainable aviation challenges.

Brunel University London, Cranfield University, the University of Essex, the University of Reading and Royal Holloway, University of London will be invited to pitch their ideas for funding starting this summer, before initiating the successful projects later this year.

The think tank will explore topics such as carbon and net-zero air travel alongside other environmental challenges like noise, air quality and waste.

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