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NEWS Last modified on August 28, 2017

UK announces funding for projects to develop waste-based aviation fuel

Planes could take off from British airports using fuels made from rubbish that gets sent to landfill, under a new scheme by the UK government.

As part of plans to promote clean alternative fuels, the UK government is offering funding for projects in the UK to develop low carbon waste-based fuels for planes and lorries, with matching funding from industry.

The government claims that it is already planning to revolutionise the motor industry with ultra-low emission electric cars, and now plans "going further and investing in a new generation of fuels" which will power aircraft and lorries.
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The Department for Transport (DfT) states that trials of sustainable jet fuel, made from waste materials, have taken place in Europe and North America, and now the launch of a UK competition will see British experts conduct pioneering research in this sector.

Indeed, it notes that it has already had interest from more than 70 groups in bidding for the funding.

According to the DfT, Tthe new fuels are chemically very similar to conventional fuels, so can be used in existing aircraft without the need for any engine modifications.

And it argues that low carbon transport fuels made from waste materials could be worth £600m a year to the British economy by 2030, and could also support up to 9,800 new jobs.

UK Transport Minister, Jesse Norman, says: “We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally-friendly fuels that will help us meet that goal.
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“We are making funding available to innovative businesses which will lead the way in developing alternative fuels that are efficient, sustainable and clean.

“We want every new car and van in the UK to be zero emission by 2040, but we know lorries and aeroplanes will rely on more traditional fuels for years to come so we must promote environmentally friendly alternatives.”

The DfT believes that £22m fund could help the UK deliver up to five new low carbon fuel plants by 2021.

It says that the money is available to projects that will produce low carbon waste-based fuels, to be used in planes and lorries where it is not viable today to switch to electric power, because of the large weight of the vehicles.

Planes and lorries powered by waste fuels could use up to 90 % less carbon than traditional fossil fuels.

The Future Fuels for Flight and Freight competition is part of the UK government’s Modern Industrial Strategy, which sets out to support evolving industries with the potential to boost the economy.

The government claims that it is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and recognises that transport emissions must be slashed if the UK is meet that target.

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