The UK government has announced the winners of a £3 million funding competition designed to bring zero emission flights to the fore.

The 15 successful projects will receive a share of over £700,000 to develop innovative research and technology, which in turn will help support UK airports in handling new types of electric and hydrogen aircraft.

The winning projects include Cranfield University’s initiative to develop wireless charging for electric planes, CDO2 Ltd’s plans to create swappable battery packs to keep flight turnover times to a minimum, and the development of state-of-the-art fuelling tanks to safely and efficiently refuel flights of the future. See the full list of winners here.

Among the winners is ZeroAvia, which will deliver its first hydrogen-electric powertrains into service in 2024.

Val Miftakhov, CEO of ZeroAvia, said:

“We are delighted to have been successful with the zero emission flight infrastructure project and to have the opportunity to show just how these projects are critical to the future of zero emission aviation.

“In the future, we believe there will be a hydrogen-electric engine in every aircraft as this is the only viable way to deliver truly zero emission aircraft and to comprehensively tackle the industry’s growing climate impact. When we deliver our first hydrogen-electric powertrains into service in 2024, operators need to be able to fuel their aircraft with low carbon hydrogen, and today’s announcement is a big step towards that.”

The competition was carried out by the Department for Transport (DfT) under the Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG): Zero Emission Flight programme, which is being delivered by Connected Places Catapult.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commented:

“As the world reopens from the pandemic, it is essential that we are investing in greener aviation as part of our transport decarbonisation agenda.

“Funding these revolutionary projects will help to slash carbon, create jobs and get us closer to our goal of operating zero emission flights.”

Aviation Minister Robert Courts added:

“As an island nation, aviation is essential for our future growth and plans to build back better and greener from the pandemic.

“With COP26 around the corner, we’re ramping up our efforts even further by funding the technology that unlocks the flights of the future.”

The funding is the latest initiative aimed at reducing emissions from flying, and forms part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Earlier this year, the government launched the £15 million Green Fuel, Green Skies competition and published a consultation proposing to mandate sustainable aviation fuel use in the UK from 2025.