£85m boost ‘aims to develop local air taxis’

Posted on January 28, 2021 by Jonathan Symcox

Air taxi

Three pioneering R&D green aerospace projects have been backed by a total of £85 million funding. 

Half of the investment is from the government, delivered through its ATI Programme, and has been matched by industry. 

Business Minister Paul Scully claims nearly 5,000 jobs could be secured across the entire UK as a result of the projects in Bedford, Bristol, and Cranfield. 

Each of the projects will use British innovation and expertise in green technology to power zero-emissions flights, using alternative energy sources of hydrogen or electricity to reduce the industry’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels. 

The aim is to enable the skies to be used for travelling much shorter journeys, similar to a local taxi service, reducing congestion on road networks, and allowing passengers to travel more quickly and locally. 

Innovative aerospace technology is rapidly developing, meaning that there is the potential for zero-emissions flights to be a reality as early as the end of 2023. 

GKN Aerospace-led project H2GEAR will receive a £27.2m government grant to develop an innovative liquid hydrogen propulsion system  a component that propels the aircraft forward – for regional air travel, which could be scaled up for larger aircraft and longer journeys. 

ZeroAvia’s HyFlyer II will receive a £12.3m government grant to scale up its zero-emissions engines for demonstration on a 19-seater aircraft, showcasing its significant technological advances, meaning that customers can expect to fly on zero-emissions aircraft as early as the end of 2023. 

InCEPTion, led by Blue Bear Systems Research, is receiving a £2.8m government grant to develop a fully-electrified zero-emissions propulsion system for aircraft, that is powerful, quiet and efficient and could be used for smaller aircraft travelling short distances – even within the same city. 

“These trailblazing projects are broadening the horizons of future air travel, towards a greener future where we may be able to hail taxis from the sky rather than on our streets,” Scully said. 

“This multi-million-pound boost will help to secure up to 4,750 jobs in these projects spanning the UK, and could pave the way to technological advances that will allow the industry to build back better and greener following the COVID-19 pandemic – and help tackle climate change.”

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