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£400m ‘go green’ funding for UK aerospace sector

The UK Government and industry has confirmed new aerospace research and development projects, supported by £400 million public and private sector funding projects. These include developing high-performance engines, new wing designs and ultra-lightweight materials to reduce fuel consumption. A new FlyZero initiative will bring together 100 experts to kick start work into zero-emission aircraft technology, with the aim of securing future manufacturing in the UK.

“Government grants totalling £200 million, delivered through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) programme, will be matched by industry to create the total investment of £400 million in new research and technology, enabling ambitious projects to lift off and support the sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” said a UK government spokesman.

The funding will also secure highly skilled jobs in the UK’s aerospace sector. Higher education institutions will also be a part of the projects, including the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham. The successful projects that will receive a share of the government’s £200 million grant funding through the ATI programme, and match it with their own investment, include:

  • Wings: The UK is the home of Airbus wing design and manufacturing. Airbus-led projects (Broughton, Filton) will drive forward more efficient wing assembly, systems installation, digital design processes and a range of innovative wing concepts including folding wing tips.
  • Engines: Rolls-Royce-led projects will support the development of UltraFan engine technology, which will make a step change in the efficiency and environmental performance of aircraft power systems. The AEPEC project, led by Safran Electrical & Power UK, will research how new electrical power systems can lead to more efficient energy usage.
  • Cabin systems: An Oxford-based project, led by Williams Advanced Engineering, will develop ultra-lightweight seat structures for air travel, reducing the weight of aircraft.

The FlyZero study will receive government funding and bring together around 100 experts to tackle issues involved in designing and building a commercially successful zero-emission aircraft. The study will create a strong basis for further research and development into a wide of technologies necessary for future flight, with the aim of securing future manufacturing in the UK. This follows the launch of the Jet Zero Council, which brings industry and government together to make net zero emissions possible for future flights. The FlyZero study will feed into the work of the Council in defining and delivering this ambition.

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) is at the heart of UK aerospace R&T. Working collaboratively across the UK aerospace sector and beyond, the Institute sets the national technology strategy to reflect the sector’s vision and ambition. The ATI Programme is a joint government and industry commitment to invest £3.9 billion in research to 2026. In addition to the ATI Programme and FlyZero, the Institute also supports the supply chain through NATEP and aerospace start-ups through to the ATI Boeing Accelerator.

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