The Jet Zero Council has been awarded £3m Government funding to keep up the momentum on developing an emission-free flight infrastructure as the UK pioneers the first ever net zero carbon freighter flights.

The first round of £3m Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) competition will support development of the infrastructure needed to aid electric and hydrogen aircraft such as charge points for planes. The government will award businesses and universities around the UK up to £50,000 each within the first round to pioneer critical research into infrastructure, such as charge points and hydrogen fuelling tanks enabling the mass uptake of electric and hydrogen aircraft.

The funding announcement comes as the Jet Zero Council meet for a third time today (June 30) to set out a plan which the government has said will put aviation at the heart of “building back better and greener” from the pandemic. The UK is to continue its track to deliver the world’s first zero emission flight across the Atlantic within a generation following two announcements by the Transport Secretary today.

World first net zero freight flight by British Airways

The fund is part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point plan to accelerate development of sustainable flying, supporting aviation to reach net zero by 2050. The announcement follows on from news that Jet Zero Council member, British Airways has carried out the world’s first net zero carbon freighter flight this week. The flight was powered by a mix of sustainably sourced waste such as cooking oil with BA ordering another 1.2 million litres of the fuel which offers emissions savings of more than 80 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel.

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 we have provided to harness the economic and environmental benefits building back better and greener has to offer.”

Delegates to fly to COP26 in SAF-powered jets

The Jet Zero council has been awarded £18 million of new funding, as well as the £3m designated to ZEFI. Jet Zero is leading on the uptake and development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and hopes to showcase its progress by encouraging delegates to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, which takes place in Glasgow from October 31- November 12, to fly on planes fuelled by SAF.

* IAG Cargo, the cargo division of the International Airlines Group, completed the first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) charter chain of 16 flights from Stuttgart to Atlanta last week.

Working with their partner Kuehne+Nagel, IAG Cargo sourced 1.2 million litres of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel from Neste, made from sustainably sourced, renewable waste and residue raw materials. The collaboration is believed to mark the first time that passenger-freighter charter flights were operated with net-zero carbon emissions.

The last of the British Airways B787-900 flights left Stuttgart on June 26, collecting on average 45 tonnes of automotive spares and other industrial goods destined for Atlanta via London Heathrow.

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