£22m from DfT to develop future fuels for flight and freight

Posted on: 22/06/2017

A new competition launched by Department for Transport (DfT) is open to support the development of low carbon fuels for aviation and freight.


The competition will run in two phases:

Stage 1. Up to £2 million for Project Development.

Stage 2. Up to £20 million for Capital Grant.


Stage one of the competition is open for applications until Friday 8th December 2017 at 12pm.


The key objectives of the competition are:

  • To increase domestic production of advanced low carbon fuels capable of tackling emissions from the hard-to-decarbonise aviation and HGV sectors in pursuit of long-term UK decarbonisation targets.
  • To stimulate investment and create jobs through the development of a prosperous domestic industry.

Objectives for projects within the competition are:

  • Technology demonstration: deliver meaningful technical, route to market, and/or supply chain innovation.
  • Fuel production: produce a sufficient quantity of fuel for testing or sale at a scale appropriate for the fuel type.
  • Commercial potential: have a clear strategy for commercialising the technology and the products, demonstrating the potential for significant value to the UK.
  • Emissions reduction: demonstration of significant greenhouse gas reduction vs fossil fuel, and the highest standards of sustainability.
  • Project execution: bring together a team with the necessary expertise and experience to deliver the project according to its objectives.

Technology scope

The main output(s) from the project must be fuel that is capable of being used in aviation or HGVs.

  • Ideally, this would involve fuel that can be used immediately without engine modifications, meeting the relevant diesel or jet fuel specifications whether unblended or blended with fossil fuels.
  • However, bids involving fuels that do not meet current fuel specifications will also be considered, provided that there is clear evidence of the fuel‚Äôs future commercial potential and a credible pathway to decarbonising aviation or HGVs sectors.

The technology involved must be at the appropriate Technology Readiness Level5 (TRL):

  • The technology must already be at least TRL 5 (pilot plant), and must successfully attain at least TRL 6 (small demonstration scale) by the end of the project.
  • The technology must not already be at TRL 8 or 9, i.e. already commercialised6. Feedstocks and sustainability

Feedstocks and sustainability

Feedstocks used must be wastes or residues, or intermediate fuels derived from wastes and residues7, and have a regard to the waste hierarchy, i.e. not taking feedstock supplies from existing more environmentally beneficial uses.

The advanced low carbon fuel supply chain (from feedstock to vehicle) must have a clear path to achieving a GHG reduction of at least 70%8 in comparison to a reference fossil fuel, once the technology is scaled-up and commercialised.

It is not a requirement that the demonstration plants (TRL6-7) funded under F4C achieve >70% GHG savings, because of the likely sub-optimal sizing or lack of process integration within such plants9. However, if a first commercial plant (TRL 8) is proposed for F4C funding, this project must satisfy the >70% GHG savings threshold.

Further reading: Future fuels for flight and freight competition: feasibility study


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