GREENAIR NEWSLETTER 20 OCTOBER 2020
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NATS’ annual survey of public attitudes to aviation shows increasing demand for industry climate action
Fri 16 Oct 2020 – An annual independent survey carried out for UK air navigation services provider NATS has found a strengthening of public attitudes towards climate change action and a demand for the aviation industry to treat it as a top priority. The vast majority (70%) of those interviewed across the UK – an 18-percentage point rise in just two years – agreed that emissions reduction was the highest priority for improvement by the industry, almost double the number who think it should prioritise noise (36%). By a margin of 12:1, the public believe the industry should be prioritising investment in greener technology, such as fully-electric commercial aircraft. Just 39% supported airport expansion, down from 57% in 2019. The survey was carried out by Ipsos MORI in early March, just before Covid-19 brought air travel to a virtual halt.
As well as a decline in backing for airport expansion, the NATS’ Aviation Index 2020 survey revealed a significant increase in the proportion who disagreed with the statement ‘I don’t think people should be discouraged from flying if they want to, even if this might have a negative impact on the environment’, rising to 32% from 22% in 2019.
The survey shows that although three in five say they have personally acted to reduce the environmental impact of the flights that have taken, such as finding alternative arrangements for domestic travel, people are far more likely to say they will do more in future than to have actually done something already to reduce their impact. When choosing which airline and airport, price is still the number one factor, particularly with younger travellers, but has become slightly less important over time.
A large majority (78%) believe the environmental responsibility lies with industry and government rather than individuals (6%). When asked to make predictions about the most likely developments to aviation in the long term, only a quarter expect the industry to be carbon neutral by 2050, although a half believe electric aircraft will have overtaken conventional equivalents by then.
Unsurprisingly, the survey found older people are far less tolerant of noise than the younger generation and less likely to agree to experiencing more aircraft noise if it meant reducing it for others living under a flight path.
The research was conducted online between 4-6 March 2020 through the Ipsos MORI Online Panel, with 1,000 members of the panel taking part and the data weighted to be representative of the UK population.
“Aviation is an intrinsic force for good in the world and the pandemic has shown us how much we all rely on making human connections. Flying unites people, cultures and businesses while also employing 80 million people around the world, and yet the results of the Aviation Index are sending us a very clear message – we must urgently address climate change,” said Ian Jopson, Head of Sustainable Operations at NATS.
“It is up to us as an industry to demonstrate that we can do that without sacrificing the enormous benefits that flying brings to us all.”
NATS said with traffic levels at record lows as a result of the pandemic, there was an historic opportunity to look at how UK airspace could be redesigned to take advantage of the navigation capabilities of modern aircraft and cut emissions and fuel burn.
“Navigating the Covid crisis is an enormous challenge for our industry right now but we cannot afford to ignore climate change,” said Jopson. “In fact, it may be an opportunity to put in place lasting benefits so we can continue to enjoy flying in the years and decades to come. It’s up to us as an industry to rise to the occasion.”
ZeroAvia and Protium sign agreement to develop green hydrogen infrastructure at UK airports
Wed 14 Oct 2020 – Zero emissions flight pioneer ZeroAvia has signed a Heads of Terms collaboration with Protium to develop and expand green hydrogen infrastructure for decarbonising aviation in the UK. Project developer Protium has long-term ambitions to eventually own and operate green hydrogen infrastructure across UK airports. The UK and US based ZeroAvia recently operated a first zero-emission flight from Cranfield, with a six-seater aircraft using hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen in a fuel cell system to create electricity and propel the aircraft whilst only emitting water vapour. It is initialling targeting commercial operations in 2023 with a 10-20 seat aircraft for passenger transport and package delivery. Meanwhile, research commissioned by cross-industry group Sustainable Aviation has identified seven industrial clusters in the UK that could be home to up to 14 sustainable aviation fuel facilities.
Following its flight from Cranfield University’s airfield, ZeroAvia is now planning the next and final stage of its six-seat development programme with a 250-mile zero-emission flight out of an airfield in Orkney, Scotland before the end of this year.
The programme in the UK is part-funded through the UK government’s Aerospace Technology Institute, which is supporting the HyFlyer project that aims to decarbonise medium-range small passenger aircraft by demonstrating powertrain technology to replace conventional piston engine in propeller aircraft. Other partners in the project include the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and Intelligent Energy. The latter is optimising its high-power fuel cell technology for application in aviation while EMEC, producers of green hydrogen from renewable energy, is supplying the hydrogen required for flight testing and developing a mobile refuelling platform compatible with the plane.
ZeroAvia has joined the UK’s Jet Zero Council, a government and industry partnership launched by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this summer to drive net-zero ambitions for the UK aviation and aerospace sector. Along with government ministers, the Council is made up of representatives from the aviation industry, investor groups and an NGO, and will be chaired by the UK’s Transport Secretary and Business Secretary. The full list of Council members has now been published by the government.
The principal aims of the body are to:
- Develop and industrialise zero-emission aviation and aerospace technologies;
- Establish UK production facilities for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and commercialising the industry by driving down production costs; and
- Develop a coordinated approach to the policy and regulatory framework needed to deliver net zero aviation by 2050.
“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges faced by modern society, and we know we need to go further and faster if we are to make businesses sustainable long into the future,” said Aviation Minister Robert Courts. “That’s why we’re bringing together government, business and investors to reduce emissions in the aviation sector. Through innovative technologies such as sustainable fuels, hybrid and eventually electric planes, we will build a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for all.”
Sustainable Aviation (SA), which committed in February to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, believes a UK SAF industry could add £2.9 billion ($3.7bn) annually to the economy, create 20,000 jobs in SAF production and export services, and deliver savings of 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2038. The industry group is calling for £500 million ($640m) in government funding, made up of £429 million in government-backed loan guarantees for the initial first-of-its-kind SAF production facilities, £50 million in grants and development support for new SAF technologies, and £21 million to establish a UK clearing house to enable SAF testing and approval.
The SA-commissioned research undertaken by energy consultancy E4tech showed 14 SAF production facilities could be built in seven industrial clusters situated in Teesside, Humberside, North West England, South Wales, Southampton, St Fergus and Grangemouth, Scotland. Humberside is the intended location for the Altalto waste-to-jet-fuel facility proposed by Velocys and backed by British Airways and Shell, which is expected to be the first in the UK to produce SAF.
“The research shows that it is possible to deliver on the government’s Jet Zero ambition and transform aviation using readily available feedstocks, innovative technology and existing aircraft,” commented Henrik Wareborn, CEO of Velocys. “With Altalto, the Humber could fuel this transformation, cutting carbon and creating jobs in the process. As a key cluster for the development of this new domestic industry, the region has a fantastic opportunity to establish itself as the global hub for fuelling future air travel.”
Added Adam Morton, Chair of Sustainable Aviation: “Sustainable aviation fuels will be essential for the global aviation industry in a net zero world and the UK has a golden opportunity to become a world-leader by commercialising this technology at an early stage.
“There are enormous benefits in terms of jobs and growth across these clusters. By backing SAF in this way, the government can kickstart a green recovery and create high-quality and futureproof jobs for thousands of people. All of this can be delivered at the same time as slashing carbon emissions.”
Speaking at a cross-party parliamentary debate he called to discuss the work of the Jet Zero Council, Andrew Selous MP said: “We should harness our huge strength in aviation technology and engineering to find new solutions to allow us to fly without wrecking the planet.
“We also need to ensure that the United Kingdom is at the forefront of sustainable aviation, so that the high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future are provided here. We cannot leave this to chance, as has unfortunately happened with other technologies in the past.”
Responded Aviation Minister Robert Courts: “Britain has always led the way on aviation, and we will continue to do so. There is a huge prize in sight: developing the sector that meets the challenges of the future, and we will be front and centre, capturing those first mover advantages.”
Commenting after the debate, Morton said: “The support from a broad range of MPs from right across the political landscape is testament to this crucial issue. It’s so important to see this coalition come together to back early stage sustainable aviation fuel facilities.”
The next meeting of the Jet Zero Council is due to take place at the end of this month, which Sustainable Aviation said would be an opportunity for government and industry to discuss and make progress on accelerating the development of early-stage SAF facilities.
The only environmental group represented on the Council is the Aviation Environment Federation. Its Director, Tim Johnson, said: “Some government support and incentive for sustainable aviation fuel R&D is reasonable, and happens already, but that helps to accelerate bringing a product to market. But once at market, the question is scaling up and getting it into the fleet. The quid pro quo must therefore be that industry accepts it can't rely on voluntary approaches and market forces, which hasn't really worked to date for SAF because it doesn't create certainty for investors – and that governments must regulate and introduce effective carbon pricing that ensures uptake.”
CAE becomes first Canadian aerospace company to commit to carbon neutrality
Mon 12 Oct 2020 – Aviation training and flight simulator giant CAE has announced it will be the first Canadian aerospace company to become carbon neutral. CAE intends to offset live training fuel emissions, employee’s business air travel and energy other than electricity by funding greenhouse gas reduction projects. Electricity consumption, which amounted to 190,000 MWh in fiscal 2019, will be compensated by buying renewable energy certificates (RECs) that support renewable electricity development. The company says carbon offsetting and RECs are interim measures while new technologies and solutions are being developed to reduce emissions, and will continue to invest in making its full-flight simulators more energy efficient, so allowing its customers worldwide to reduce their own footprint.
CAE first revealed its carbon neutral ambitions late last year. “We wanted to honour our pre-pandemic commitment and up our contribution now – a testament to CAE’s environmental leadership and engagement towards future generations,” said the company’s CEO, Marc Parent.
“This is a bold achievement and we hope that CAE’s commitment in the fight against climate change will inspire other companies to take tangible actions today. We are also working with the industry towards the development of electric aircraft and undertaking other measures to reduce our overall emissions.”
Parent announced the carbon neutral decision in a live virtual Q&A discussion on the environment with employees and their children.
CAE said it would offset emissions by buying RECs in the countries where it operates and funding greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction projects such as wind energy in India and forest preservation in Canada.
According to CAE’s latest CSR report, direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions by the company amounted to 25,213 tCO2e in 2019, with Scope 1 and 2 location-based emissions totalling 87,825 tCO2e and Scope 1 and 2 market-based emissions totalling 80,550 tCO2e.
The Quebec-headquartered company had revenues of $3.3 billion in 2019 and employs 10,000 people at 160 sites and training locations in 35 countries. It trains 220,000 civil and defence crewmembers each year, including 135,000 pilots, and has over 300 airline and major business aircraft customers.
“This is a step in the right direction to ensure a green economic recovery in Quebec,” commented Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation. “This achievement demonstrates the real dynamism of our aerospace industry while confirming that Quebec remains a good place to make major investments in the environment and in innovation projects.”
Added Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Bains: “I am pleased to see Canadian companies demonstrating their leadership in the fight against climate change by working towards the green recovery of our aerospace industry.”
A fifth of global aviation CO2 emissions can be attributed to premium passenger seating, finds ICCT study
Fri 9 Oct 2020 – In its first analysis of the carbon impact of premium (first and business) class seating, the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates nearly 20% of emissions from commercial aviation were attributable to premium passengers in 2019, higher than the 15% coming from air freight transport. Premium seating was estimated to be up to 4.3 times more CO2 intensive than economy seating. The ICCT study for the years 2013, 2018 and 2019 also found global commercial air traffic increased nearly four times faster than fuel efficiency improvement between 2013 and 2019, with passenger aircraft CO2 emissions increasing by a third during the period. The three largest aviation markets – the United States, the European Union and China – were together responsible for 55% cent of CO2 emissions in 2019.
Merging data from ICAO, OAG and individual airlines using Lissys’ Piano 5 software, ICCT’s Global Aviation Carbon Assessment model calculated commercial aviation (passenger and cargo) CO2 emissions rose from 706 million tonnes (Mt) in 2013 to 920 Mt in 2019, figures close to the industry’s own estimates. Passenger transport accounted for 785 Mt, or 85%, of commercial aviation CO2 emissions in 2019, with the remaining 15% (135 Mt) from freight carriage that was divided between belly freight on passenger aircraft (8%) and dedicated freighter operations (7%).
The top five departure countries for passenger aviation-related carbon emissions in 2019 were the United States (with a 23% share), China (13%), the United Kingdom (4.1%), Japan (3.3%) and Germany (2.9%). While still the largest, the US market is growing more slowly over time than the rest of the world and is the most carbon intensive of the major markets, emitting 12 per cent more CO2 per RPK than the global average.
Globally, two-thirds of all flights in 2019 were domestic but only accounted for around one-third of global RPKs and 40% of global passenger transport-related CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions from international flights increased by 35% between 2013 and 2019, outpacing the 30% increase in emissions from domestic flights.
Between 2013 and 2019, the total number of flight departures worldwide increased by 23%, RPKs increased 50% and passenger transport-related emissions by 33%. ICCT’s analysts found that RPKs correlate well with CO2 emissions after accounting for improvements in fuel efficiency. That RPKs increased faster than emissions during this period suggests that fuel efficiency improved, resulting in a 12% decrease in carbon intensity.
On average, global commercial aircraft operations emitted 90 grams of CO2 per RPK in 2019, which was 2% lower than in 2018 and 12% lower than in 2013. While domestic operations are included, the change is in line with ICAO’s aspirational goal of 2% fuel efficiency improvement annually for international aviation.
Flights within the regions of Asia/Pacific and Europe saw the largest intra-region increase in passenger CO2 emissions since 2013, at 50% and 35% respectively. Emissions in several regions grew slower than the global average: Middle East, 27%; Africa, 21%; and Latin America/Caribbean, 19%. The smallest growth in passenger emissions for a major market, 16%, was observed for flights within North America.
The least efficient route groups between 2013 and 2019 were flights within Africa and within the Middle East, emitting more than 30% more CO2 to transport one passenger one kilometre than the global average. This was primarily due to the use of older, fuel-inefficient aircraft and low passenger load factors. However, there were improvements in fuel efficiency of 4-5% for these route groups from 2018 to 2019, higher than the global average yearly increase in fuel efficiency between 2013 and 2019.
The largest gains in fuel efficiency between 2013 and 2019 were for flights between the Asia/Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean regions, which can be credited to the replacement of Airbus A340 and Boeing 767 aircraft with more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Flights departing a US airport had an average CO2 intensity 6% higher than the global average.
Around 61% of passenger transport emissions in 2019 came from international aviation, although domestic flights made up two-thirds of all departures. Together, the United States and China were responsible for 185 Mt of CO2 from domestic flights, or over 60% of emissions from global domestic operations in 2019, which was an increase of 31% since 2013.
Responsible for 39% of global passenger CO2 emissions, domestic aviation falls outside the jurisdiction of ICAO and the report’s authors suggest national and regional measures and policies are needed to curb emissions from this important part of the air transport sector.
They say the study highlights the significant differences in the carbon intensity of flights at all levels: market, aircraft class, aircraft type and seating class.
“Better emissions disclosure, for example requiring airlines to disclose the carbon intensity of each itinerary to consumers at the time of purchase, would help consumers steer their business to lower emitting carriers,” they recommend.
Additionally, they suggest carbon pricing for aviation could be improved and made more equitable by properly reflecting the emissions due to premium travel, with fees graduated based upon seating class so that premium travellers pay more and help generate revenue for climate mitigation in a progressive way.
Decarbonising global aviation is feasible but will be a significant challenge, finds major industry report
Tue 6 Oct 2020 – The main focus of this year’s Global Sustainable Aviation Forum, organised by the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), was the publication of Waypoint 2050, an analysis of pathways towards the sector’s long-term climate goal. Set over a decade ago, the target calls for a 50% net reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 from what they were in 2005. This would mean a reduction from around 914 million tonnes (Mt) in global commercial airline carbon emissions in pre-Covid 2019 to 325 Mt in 2050. At the global level, the industry does not foresee reaching net-zero emissions before 2060/2065 although recognises a number of airlines will reach this by 2050, in response to national or regional goals. Given current traffic forecasts, which have been downgraded due to Covid-19, emissions could rise to 1,800 Mt by 2050 on a business-as-usual trajectory and reaching the reduction target will be a significant challenge, says ATAG, with the next 10 years being a crucial period.
“We should be under no illusion that the decarbonisation path for aviation is an easy one,” ATAG’s Executive Director, Michael Gill, told the virtual conference. “But our Waypoint 2050 analysis shows that decarbonisation is possible, and in a number of different ways. We now need the commitment from governments, the energy industry, researchers and from the aviation sector itself to make it happen.”
In its ‘Vision for 2050’, the Waypoint report expects the aviation sector to be transporting around 10 billion passengers a year, more than twice 2019 levels but 16% less than previous forecasts due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 3% from 2019 to 2050. Much of the growth will take place in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, although significant growth will remain in North America and Europe. The industry sees three possible limits to growth: environmental concerns from consumers, governments moving to reduce growth, or a shift to other modes of transport, such as rail. However, it expects these to have limited impact. Covid-19 will have a major impact though on the sector’s carbon emissions in the short term and IATA expects this year they will be around 60% lower than in 2019.
New energy sources in 2050 will enable electric and hybrid-electric aircraft – with virtually no CO2 emissions at all – on short- and medium-haul routes, connecting secondary cities and small communities with larger hubs for onward long-haul flights. Most long-haul operations will use aircraft a generation beyond those that are flying today, with nearly all completely powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from a variety of sources, including power-to-liquid (PtL) fuels that are made by combining low-carbon electricity with CO2 removed from the air.
Although aircraft technology innovations and improvements in operations and infrastructure will continue to bring fuel and carbon reductions, the Waypoint report says the single largest opportunity to meet and go beyond the industry’s 2050 goal is the rapid and worldwide scaling up of SAF and new energy sources. A nearly complete shift to SAF, with a requirement of up to 450-500 million tonnes, will be needed, it says. This is achievable without impacting food or water use through using a range of available feedstocks, from non-food crops to waste sources and eventually a shift to PtL fuels and hydrogen. However, it will require support from government and the energy sector, with policies to ensure feedstocks are channelled towards aviation and not to other transport sectors where alternative energy sources are available.
The report explores three consolidated scenarios for how air transport can meet its long-term goal. Which of these scenarios plays out over time will likely be determined by how investment is prioritised in both SAF deployment and radical new aircraft technologies; whether energy providers can massively scale up SAF and hydrogen production at the same time; and if governments, finance institutions and consumers play the required role to accelerate the energy transition. There is a good case for current fossil fuel consumption subsidies around the world – worth $4.4 trillion over the last decade – to be re-directed towards low-carbon energy, it argues.
“For sustainable aviation fuel in particular, we need support from governments in the next decade to help set the stage for the future of low carbon connectivity,” said Gill. “These new fuels are already flying today – over 270,000 commercial flights have taken off so far – but are still a tiny part of our overall fuel mix. We know that we can begin the energy transition away from fossil fuels in earnest, but we need support to do so.”
Reaching the 2050 goal comes with a significant price tag for the sector, points out the report.
“If airlines are investing in new aircraft, they may have less ability to also invest heavily in SAF scale-up. Likewise, some significant decisions need to be made: does it make more sense to have a singular focus on traditional liquid SAF or wait a decade for electric or hydrogen aircraft to be available,” it questions.
“The reality is the sector will need to investigate all options and pursue those that make the most sense, but there is unlikely to be bandwidth, financing or resources to push all levers at once.”
The report acknowledges that in the event the contribution from technology, operations and infrastructure improvements, plus emissions reduction from SAF, are not sufficient to meet the 2050 goal, there could be a need for the industry to compensate remaining emissions through offsetting beyond the intended ending of ICAO’s global carbon offsetting scheme CORSIA in 2035.
Sources of offsets could change significantly in the future, it says, and as well as forestry and natural climate solutions, technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and direct air carbon capture and sequestration (DACCS) could form the basis for viable offsets. However, it warns there is likely to be a large amount of residual CO2 emissions still being generated across the economy in 2050 and beyond, and there could be competition to secure remaining offsets, which could result in scarcity and high prices.
The report argues the aviation sector’s 2050 goal to halve net CO2 emissions on a 2005 baseline is compatible with the Paris Agreement goal to limit global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels”. To meet a 1.5 degree C goal will require a peaking of emissions across the economy between 2020 and 2030 and a rapid reduction in emissions towards net-zero emissions by mid-century.
“For hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as air transport, meeting the 1.5 degree C goal and keeping a small percentage of overall human emissions will be a major challenge,” it says. “For aviation to play a role in helping to achieve the 1.5 degree C pathway, it is likely that global aviation would need to reach net-zero emissions in the middle years of the century (2050 to 2070). This is in line with the projected post-2050 situation outlined in this report, finding that aviation could reach net-zero emissions by 2060/65, but assumes all other sectors also make aggressive cuts in CO2 emissions in line with their technical ability to do so.
“Governments are now taking action and setting ambitious climate targets. It is recognised that some regions may be able to transition their aviation industry to net-zero carbon emissions earlier than others.”
The industry report calls on all governments to set a long-term CO2 goal for international aviation at ICAO’s next Assembly in 2022 that was compatible with the most recent scientific evidence from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In an address to the ATAG conference, ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano said the Covid-19 crisis provided an opportunity to build back the commercial aviation sector greener and more sustainably, including its role in the social and climate impacts of international travel and tourism. He welcomed the recent announcement of the commitment by the oneworld airline alliance to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, adding green aviation innovations would feed into ICAO’s exploration of the feasibility for a long-term goal.
Rolls-Royce on course for all-electric aircraft speed record and joins sustainability accelerator programme
Wed 30 Sept 2020 – Rolls-Royce has completed ground testing of an aircraft that will aim to break the world speed record for all-electric flight early next year. The technology has been tested on a full-scale replica of the plane’s core, called an ‘ionBird’, that includes a 500hp electric powertrain and a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes. The plane is part of an initiative called ACCEL – short for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’ – with half the funding for the project being provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK. Rolls-Royce has also agreed to partner with ATI and Boeing on a three-month accelerator programme to support and back start-ups creating sustainability-enabling technologies to help the UK aerospace industry innovate and recover from the Covid pandemic.
“Rolls-Royce is committed to playing a leading role in reaching net zero carbon by 2050,” said Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical. “The completion of ground testing for the ACCEL project is a great achievement for the team and is another important step towards a world record attempt. This project is also helping to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we remain a leader in delivering the electrification of flight, an important part of our sustainability strategy.”
The testing involved running the propeller up to full speed of approximately 2,400 rpm using what Rolls-Royce claims is the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for aircraft propulsion. Over 6,000 cells are packaged in the battery for maximum safety, minimum weight and full thermal protection, it said. Other companies involved in the project are YASA, a manufacturer of axial-flux electric motors and controllers for automotive and aerospace applications, and Electroflight, a technology and engineering services business that supplies bespoke battery systems for the aerospace sector.
The first flight is planned for later this year, with an attempt on beating the current all-electric flight world speed record expected to follow next year. The project is also the first at Rolls-Royce to use offsetting to make the whole programme carbon neutral.
“The ACCEL team is pioneering the integration of high-performance batteries, motors and drives to deliver an electric propulsion system in an ambitious flight test programme. These technologies and the systems integration needed to utilise them hold great potential for future sustainable aviation, which is why the ATI is proud to support the project,” said the ATI’s Mark Scully, Head of Technology for Advanced Systems & Propulsion.
Added UK Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi: “The completion of ground testing for the government-backed ACCEL project is not only a step towards an exciting world record attempt, but a leap towards developing all-electric and hybrid-electric planes that one day could ferry large numbers of passengers around the world.”
Created by the ATI and Boeing, and run by leading European accelerator Ignite, Rolls-Royce is joining the accelerator programme’s second cohort, which has opened applications to invest into sustainability-enabling start-ups that will benefit the UK aerospace industry across three key areas of focus: Industry 4.0, Lifecycle and Resilience, and Energy. This includes innovative energy and energy storage solutions such as battery lifecycle optimisation, alternatives for rare earth materials, hydrogen management solutions and sustainable aviation fuels.
Selected companies may receive £100,000 ($128,000) equity investment from Boeing HorizonX Global Ventures, together with first-hand access to strategists and technical experts from the programme’s partners and corporate sponsor GKN Aerospace. In light of the new Rolls-Royce partnership, applications for cohort two have been extended and will close on October 4. The programme will be running two cohorts a year, with each cohort made up of 8-10 start-ups, and is open to companies domiciled outside the UK.
“Having worked alongside the ATI, Boeing and GKN Aerospace, we’ve seen how much start-ups appreciate the access to top-class resources that these companies offer and we are incredibly excited about the opportunities that our next cohort will receive through our partnership with Rolls-Royce,” said Gabi Matic, Programme Director at ATI Boeing Accelerator.
In July, the ATI launched the government-backed FlyZero project with the aim of accelerating the adoption of more sustainable technology solutions and achieve zero-carbon commercial flight by the end of the decade. It plans to identify the zero-carbon technology solutions that could bring the largest impact to reducing overall aviation emissions in support of the UK government’s 2050 net-zero objective. An overview of the project was presented in a webinar held in August.