£85m for UK electric aircraft projects

January 29, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
£85m for UK electric aircraft projects
ZeroAvia, GKN Aerospace and Blue Bear are to share £85m (€96m) to develop hydrogen technologies for electric aircraft

Three UK projects developing hydrogen technologies for electric aircraft have been backed with £85m (€96m). Half the funding comes from the UK government’s ATI programme and matched by industry.

GKN Aerospace-led project H2GEAR will receive a £27.2m grant over five years to develop a liquid hydrogen propulsion system for regional air travel, which could be scaled up for larger aircraft and longer journeys.

ZeroAvia’s HyFlyer II will receive a £12.3m grant to scale up its zero-emissions engines for demonstration on a 19-seater aircraft, showcasing its significant technological advances, meaning that customers can expect to fly on zero-emissions aircraft as early as the end of 2023.

“Working with our partners, and made possible by UK government investment, GKN Aerospace will develop and industrialise the breakthrough technology that will enable aircraft to fly with zero CO2 emissions from the mid-2020s. This will not only create thousands of jobs, but it will keep the UK at the forefront of the next generation of cleaner air travel for decades to come.

“The government’s backing for our 19-seat hydrogen-electric powertrain development programme will deliver a market-ready hydrogen powered solution for 2023 that makes passenger-ready zero carbon aviation a reality,” said Val Miftakhov, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ZeroAvia.

InCEPTion, led by Blue Bear Systems Research, is receiving a £2.8 million government grant to develop a fully-electrified zero-emissions propulsion capable of powering a range of electric aircraft including unmanned drones and passenger aircraft. The InCEPTion (Integrated Flight Control, Energy Storage and Propulsion Technologies for Electric Aircraft) project would enable a broad range of new mobility services across the UK, from large cargo delivery to regional commuting.

The project includes Drive System Design, Ricardo, materials specialists, M&I Materials and the University of Cambridge’s Whittle Laboratory as well as the University of Salford’s Acoustics Research Centre.

“We are combining the best from aerospace and automotive sectors to create a next generation product using ‘more digital’ systems

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