The UK has unveiled a more than £300 million ($368 million) government-industry investment to develop “cleaner, greener” forms of air transport, including electric and autonomous aircraft and sustainable alternative fuels.
The government will provide £125 million in the Future of Flight Challenge, supported by an industry co-investment of £175 million, to fund development of technologies including cargo drones, urban air taxis and larger electric passenger aircraft.
An additional £5 million has been awarded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to five new transport research networks led by the Universities of Birmingham, Durham and Leeds, Cardiff University and University College London. The funds will support work to develop cleaner fuels and other technologies to reduce emissions.
The first competition under the challenge, to create “compelling concept studies,” will open Sept. 30. Innovate UK plans to brief potential bidders by video conference on Sept. 5.
A presentation by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute, from a January workshop on the challenge, said its goal is to “[demonstrate] aviation systems incorporating low environmental impact, electrified, increasingly autonomous air vehicles and airspace management by 2025.”
The document describes four main areas of work under the challenge: new models of airspace management and “anticipatory regulation,” novel air vehicle demonstrators, ground infrastructure demonstrators for cities and “sub-regional airports,” and new operating models for users and commercial operators of air services.
Potential milestones outlined in the January presentation include: unmanned traffic management drone trials in 2021, deployment of initial services on a trial basis in 2022, and autonomous drones operating beyond visual-line-of-sight in UK airspace by 2023. Operation of drones in cities is also planned by 2023.
While it is not clear whether the timescales still hold, the document outlines plans to fly demonstrators of two electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing concepts in 2021, and conduct autonomous flights in 2023. The presentation also calls for demonstrators of two sub-regional, conventional-takeoff electric/hybrid-electric passenger aircraft: a modified existing aircraft in 2021 and an optimized aircraft in 2023.
Graham Warwick Graham.firstname.lastname@example.org
DfT, always trying to make aviation growth look “green”, to pay £434,000 to fund waste-to-jetfuel project
Prototype “Hybrid Air Vehicle” (HAV) – the “Airlander” – may have its first flight this year – government funding
The world’s longest aircraft has been unveiled. It is an experimental hybrid, which looks like a giant (helium filled) airship – which has a pod slung underneath, two small engine rotors and small wings. It is the shape of two rugby-ball shapes linked in the middle with a joining section. It uses little fuel and its advocates say it is “70% greener than a cargo plane.” If the giant models can be made to work, they may be able to carry up to 50 tonnes payload. It can land on a small space, or on water, and so is being promoted as possibly helpful to land aid and equipment to remote disaster areas with no long runways. The machines could also be used for long term surveillance as they can stay aloft for days or weeks, and be remotely operated. The length of the prototype is 302ft (92m) which is some 60ft longer than the Airbus A380 or the massive cargo-carrying Antonov An-225. The company developing it has now received £2.5m of UK government funding for development “of quieter, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly planes.” Business Secretary Vince Cable hopes this will be an “innovative low carbon aircraft which can keep us at the cutting edge of new technology …… to lead the world in its field.” They may be able to “fly over the Amazon at 20ft, over some of the world’s greatest cities and stream the whole thing on the internet.” However, supplies of helium are limited, and non-renewable. Some experts suggest supplies of helium could be depleted by the middle of the century.
UK government recommits to funding support for development of advanced aviation biofuels
Mon 28 Aug 2017 (GreenAir online)
The UK government has recommitted to providing up to £22 million ($28m) towards funding for projects to develop advanced low carbon, waste-based advanced fuels for planes and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The fund, which must be matched by industry, is expected to help deliver up to five new plants in the UK by 2021 that will produce advanced fuels to be used in aircraft and lorries where it is not yet viable to switch to electric power. The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT), in association with engineering and environmental consultancy Ricardo, first launched the ‘Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition’ (F4C) in April to invite applications for the funding …. more at