How can the aviation industry adopt cleaner and greener fuel? Universities-led research network will investigate

The University of Birmingham is leading a new research consortium that will tackle climate change by investigating the barriers and benefits to the UK aviation industry adopting low carbon synthetic fuel.

The NewJet Network+ is one of five new groups announced by the Government looking at ways of removing the obstacles and address the challenges of decarbonising transport in the UK. Supported with £5 million of funding, the networks will bring together expertise from across academia and industry to lay the groundwork for the rolling out of more eco-friendly technologies across road, rail, air and sea transport.

Partnering the University of Birmingham in the NewJet+ Network are Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Sheffield, Aston University, Cardiff University and Heriot-Watt University, along with Air BP, the Department for Transport, and Renovare Fuels Ltd.

Aviation and aerospace contribute more than £22bn a year to the UK economy and adopting low carbon technologies, particularly low carbon synthetic fuel, is recognised as crucial to the future of the industry. The network will explore the barriers to adopting these new fuels, such as stakeholder confidence and infrastructure, as well as the benefits, including reducing CO2 and importantly the non-CO2 emissions performance, which also contribute to the environmental impact of aviation.

The project will also explore the potential for broadening the fuel specification to reduce the environmental impact of producing these fuels, and will study the behaviour and performance of the cleaner, greener fuel in flight.

Simon Blakey, NewJet+ Project Lead at the University of Birmingham, explains: “Many synthetic fuels are produced to mirror closely the properties and performance of traditional petroleum-based fuels and they could offer huge benefits to the industry if this restriction were able to be relaxed. Clearly there are challenges to adopting these new products and we need to understand these before the UK is able to deliver a low carbon future for the industry.”

The NewJet+ Network will begin its activities in November and will run until 2022. Approximately two-thirds of the £1 million funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which is part of UK Research and Innovation, will be used to fund smaller flexible research projects.

Announcing the new networks, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Bringing together some of the brightest minds from all corners of the UK, these transport networks will boost the development of technologies that have the potential to clean up our transport systems – so we can cycle, drive and even fly into a greener future.”

ENDS

For further information please contact Beck Lockwood, Press Office, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772.

Notes to editor:

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

    Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the Arts and Humanities Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Innovate UK; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council; Research England; and Science and Technology Facilities Council.