The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

UK Government Releases New Funding for Hydrogen and Electric Aviation Technology

The UK government has announced a new round of funding for hydrogen- and electric-powered aircraft technology through the public-private Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) program. All of the £113.6 million ($136 million) grant allocation is going to eVTOL aircraft developer Vertical Aerospace and aircraft engines group Rolls-Royce.

The funding was jointly announced by the government’s business and transport departments during a February 7 meeting in London of the Jet Zero Council, which was set up to help oversee the Jet Zero strategy for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its air transport industry by 2050. On the same day, the transport department launched a “call for evidence” consultation over plans to achieve zero emissions operations for airports in England by 2040, with submissions being taken through May 2, 2023.

Rolls-Royce is receiving the lion’s share of the new ATI funding, with £82.8 million to be split between three projects led by the Derby-based group as follows: £36.6 million will go to the Robustly Achievable Combustion of Hydrogen Engine Layout program; £31.4 million is allocated to work to deliver a liquid hydrogen gas turbine engine; and £14.8 million is being spent  to develop technologies and subsystem architecture for the combustor element of a liquid hydrogen gas turbine.

Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace is receiving £30.8 million to create a prototype propulsion battery system for the four-passenger VX4 eVTOL vehicle it is developing. Rolls-Royce is providing the electric propulsion system for this aircraft, which is expected to achieve type certification in 2025.

During this week’s Jet Zero Council meeting, which is the seventh since the government-industry group was convened in 2020, Boeing demonstrate its new Cascade data-modeling tool, which helps companies to visualize decarbonization strategies. It is intended to support airlines, policymakers, and their industry partners.