On The Radar
The UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) this week threw down a new gauntlet to challenge the aerospace industry to seize what it characterized as a massive commercial opportunity to make progress toward aviation’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions. The government-backed group’s 2022 technology strategy, published on April 26 under the title Destination Zero, exhorts companies to seize the moment, be more ambitious, and accept greater risk in their technology portfolios.
For the planet, says ATI, the prize is that adopting its multi-tier approach to green aviation could see global carbon emissions from flying reduced by nearly 2 gigatons by 2050. In the process, UK companies stand to grow their share of the market for net-zero aerospace technology to nearly 18 percent, with ATI estimating that demand for new energy-efficient commercial aircraft could be worth £4.3 trillion ($5.6 trillion).
The 30-page strategy document is more specifically aspirational than the 2019 Accelerating Ambition report it supersedes and spells out what ATI sees as the main drivers of change and investment priorities. In short, pretty much everything is on the table, from sustainable aviation fuel to hydrogen propulsion and groundbreaking advances in aerodynamic aircraft designs.
In late March, the UK government confirmed that ATI will receive £685 million in contributions towards net-zero aerospace research and development projects covering the current financial year through to 2024-25. This represents an increase of £235 million over earlier funding levels. ATI’s message to the industry in its new strategy document is essentially that now is the time for the private sector to put its money where its mouth is in fulfilling the country’s potential to be a green aviation leader.