- Transport Secretary pledges to deliver the world’s first transatlantic flight powered solely by environmentally friendly aviation fuel by the end of next year
- the pioneering test flight will be supported by funding of up to £1m and will improve understanding of commercial flying using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)
- in a speech to industry leaders in the US, the Transport Secretary challenged the sector to achieve the net zero emissions flight between the UK and America, the SAF industry in broad sense potentially creating over 5,000 jobs in the UK
The world’s first net-zero emissions transatlantic flight could be organized by the UK government and industry as early as next year, ushering in a new era of guilt-free flying for decades to come.
The pioneering flight, on an aircraft powered by 100% sustainable aviation fuel, is scheduled to take off in 2023.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the ambitious challenge to the industry during his visit to the United States.
Meeting airline executives, he called on the international industry to work closely with the UK government to deliver the demonstration flight in 2023, paving the way for flights on the transatlantic route, and many more, fueled only with low-carbon fuel.
Today’s (May 14, 2022) announcement underscores the government’s commitment to advancing the sustainable aviation fuel industry, which has the potential to generate significant carbon savings, improve safety domestic fuel, support thousands of green jobs and put flying on a more sustainable path.
Industry estimates suggest that a sustainable UK aviation fuel industry could directly support up to 5,200 UK jobs, as well as a further 13,600 through global exports, helping to improve the UK. United and stimulate the economy. The industry estimates that its annual turnover could reach £2.3 billion by 2040.
The new initiative stems from the Jet Zero Council, an industry-government partnership that aims to provide new technologies and innovative ways to reduce aviation emissions while supporting the UK economy.
Today’s announcement is an important part of plans to reduce aviation emissions to net zero. Currently one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, aviation is one of our biggest challenges when it comes to making transport green, but investments and innovations such as FAS are here to make guilt-free flight a reality.
The fuel, made from waste materials, such as household rubbish or used cooking oil, offers greenhouse gas emissions savings of more than 70% compared to conventional fossil jet fuel when fully replacing kerosene. Combined with greenhouse gas removals, 100% FAS will allow the delivery of a net zero flight.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
This pioneering net-zero emissions flight, a world first, will demonstrate the vital role that sustainable aviation fuel can play in decarbonizing aviation in line with our ambitious net-zero emissions goals.
This isn’t just great news for the environment, it’s great news for passengers who will be able to visit the Big Apple without increasing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
It is crucial that we put sustainability at the heart of the aviation industry’s recovery from COVID-19 and I look forward to working with them on this challenge, which will reduce the impact of transatlantic flying on the planet.
Current jet fuel specifications do not allow flights to use 100% FASsense FAS use must be complemented with additional decarbonization measures to be fully net zero. The government has pledged to speed up testing and approval by 100% FAS unleash the full decarbonization potential of this technology.
Delivery of the transatlantic flight announced today would help gather the data needed to support ongoing and future work to test and certify sustainable aviation fuel while exploring how engine efficiency improvements, optimization of thefts and greenhouse gas removals can help achieve net zero thefts.
Tim Alderslade, Managing Director of Airlines UK, said:
British airlines strongly support the development of a FAS industry, which will play a vital role in helping our sector achieve net zero emissions by 2050, as we have pledged to do.
This announcement will provide further impetus to achieve this and alongside recent Treasury support of £180m for the development of new FAS factories, demonstrates the government’s commitment to FAS a key element in the decarbonization of aviation.
We now need to ramp up production in order to build the first 3 FAS factories by 2025 and UK airlines have shown real commitment to making it happen through our partnerships with Philipps 66, Velocys and LanzaTech.
We look forward to working with Ministers through the Jet Zero Council to continue to explore mechanisms to attract the required private investment – in addition to an expected mandate – so that we can help provide the Government’s 10% FAS adoption target by 2030.
Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce plc, said:
This is an exciting and ambitious challenge, which Rolls-Royce is ready to take on after successfully testing our large commercial aircraft engines on 100% sustainable aviation fuel over the past year.
We have the technology to help the UK government achieve their goals and we look forward to working closely with them to deliver this landmark transatlantic flight.
Just over 100 years ago Rolls-Royce powered the first-ever transatlantic flight and now we have the innovation and expertise to power the next generation of sustainable aircraft.
Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, said:
Waste-based feedstocks are important because they provide an economical route to much-needed volumes of sustainable aviation fuel.
We salute the leadership of the UK Government in working with industry and setting ambitious targets for the aviation sector. Only by working together will we see the transformative change needed to deliver on the commitments to reach Net Zero.
Indro Mukerjee, CEO from Innovate UK, which is running the competition with the Department for Transport, said:
Innovate UK proudly supports this pioneering initiative. This flight, driven by collaboration and bold ambition, is a perfect example of how innovation can and will shape our future lives.
The speed at which this became a reality is due to the inspiration, ingenuity and investment of everyone involved.
Fuel specifications are not the only obstacle preventing greater fuel consumption. FAS. High fuel production costs, commercial-scale technology risks, and raw material availability are some of the challenges government and industry are working to jointly overcome in order to build a thriving domestic market. FAS sector.
To do this, the government is studying a FAS mandate and supports the UK FAS the industry with £180 million in funding over the next 3 years, aimed at accelerating the commercialization of FAS factories and the creation of a fuel testing clearinghouse in the UK, as announced in the Net Zero strategy.
This support will build on progress made through previous Advanced Fuels grant funding schemes, such as the £15m Green Fuels, Green Skies grant funding competition.
In addition to the £180m funding, £400m funding is being made available through a government partnership with Revolutionary Energy Catalyst stimulate private sector investment in the next generation of green technologies, through which the UK FAS projects can seek additional capital.