Jet Zero Council Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group – July 2023 meeting

Posted on: 11/08/2023
The Jet Zero Council Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group ( ZEF DG) with ZeroAvia’s Dornier 228 aircraft, equipped with the prototype ZA600 hydrogen-electric engine.

The Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group (ZEF DG) held its fifth meeting, hosted by ZeroAvia and Vertical Aerospace at Kemble Airport.

A summary of the fourth meeting in April 2023 can be found here and the group’s Terms of Reference are published on GOV.UK.

Ahead of the ZEF DG meeting, attendees were given an in-depth tour of ZeroAvia’s facilities, looking at the ground-breaking work being undertaken to make hydrogen-powered flight a reality. The group also met with Vertical Aerospace to look at the VX-4 platform, a demonstrator of Vertical Aerospace’s eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and land) aircraft currently in development.

The ZEF DG with the Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL prototype aircraft.
The ZEF DG with the Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL prototype aircraft.

Updates on policy developments

Government officials from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), the Department for Transport (DfT), and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) provided updates on several policy developments to progress enablers of zero emissions flight:

  • DESNZ provided updates on work to develop a hydrogen economy in the UK.
  • DfT highlighted the Jet Zero Strategy One Year On report, which outlines progress in delivery of the Government’s strategy to deliver net zero UK aviation by 2050.
  • DfT and DBT’s plans for a research programme on the non-CO2 impacts of aviation.
  • Updates from DBT on the recent Aerospace Growth Partnership Future Aerostructures Industry Day, held at GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol, which engaged the UK supply chain on the future of aerospace manufacturing.

2-Year Delivery Group Plan

The Group discussed the recently agreed Jet Zero Council Two Year Delivery Group Plan, a document bringing together the ambitions, objectives and timelines of the Jet Zero Council’s Delivery Groups and Subgroups. The ZEF DG agreed that work undertaken by the Infrastructure Subgroup may be an area where they could begin to advise Government on more precise priorities and timelines for policy development and investment. It was also noted that the non-CO2 Task Finish Group is now in place and operating with a clear mandate from the wider Jet Zero Council. It was agreed that it will be important for this group to utilise the information that is available to it and operate with an action-orientated mind set.

Regulating zero emission aircraft

The group also received a briefing from the Civil Aviation Authority on their activity to prepare for regulating zero emission aircraft and discussed the barriers, opportunities, and enablers of bringing these aircraft into commercial service. In particular, the group noted the complexity of introducing new technologies, with the associated high costs, into a global market.

Driving innovation

A short update on the Hydrogen Innovation Initiative was also shared. The initiative has been established to drive innovation and supply chain development across the generation, distribution, and consumption of hydrogen in the UK. This cross-sector initiative is working with industry to gather investment to seed new demonstrations, create supply chain accelerators and scale-up programmes, and advance practical considerations such as digital certification for hydrogen and simulation capabilities for potential hydrogen grids.

Staff update

The meeting closed by thanking Mark Aizlewood for his efforts in supporting the ZEF DG over the past nine months as the Secretariat. Mark will now return to his role in the Connected Places Catapult after a successful time supporting the group. Katja Löhnert, Rolls-Royce, will take on the role of part-time Secretariat moving forwards.

The ZEF DG exploring the facilities at Cotswold Airport (Kemble Airfield), home to ZeroAvia and Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 prototype.
The ZEF DG exploring the facilities at Cotswold Airport (Kemble Airfield), home to ZeroAvia and Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 prototype.

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