Frazer-Nash Consultancy has supported the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) with its Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) project, which aims to prepare UK airports for zero emission aircraft.
The project, funded by the Department for Transport, has seen CPC working to better understand the actions needed to prepare UK airport infrastructure for the transition to decarbonised aviation, in particular for new hydrogen and battery-electric aircraft.
As decarbonisation will be a phased transition, the project has considered the intermediate technologies – for example, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) derived from food or agricultural waste – which it will be necessary to implement now to reach the Net Zero targets set out in the UK Government’s industrial strategy.
Jack Geldard, who supported the project for Frazer-Nash, said:
“The current climate crisis and sustainability challenges that the UK aviation and aerospace industry is facing are significant, particularly considering the increasing demand for air traffic and strict emissions targets. A system-of-systems approach will be needed to address these challenges and to decarbonise the future of mobility.
“But decarbonisation is highly complex; no straightforward solution exists. We’re working with Connected Places Catapult to help untangle this complexity for airports, and to give the aviation and aerospace sector a clearer view on the actions necessary to reach zero emissions while managing rising air traffic demands.”
“We have supported CPC in reaching its aims by exploring the requirements for introducing hydrogen and electric-powered aircraft into commercial airport infrastructure and general aviation, including identifying the key risks and opportunities of adopting zero emission aircraft into airport environments. We have supported the development of technology roadmaps for the integration of these new systems and their associated infrastructure into existing airport environments.
“The focus of the study was hydrogen and electric (battery) aircraft, although interoperability with kerosene and sustainable aviation fuels has also been considered, given the necessary phased transition towards decarbonised, zero emission flight.
“We’ve looked at a range of use cases, from general aviation airfields to major commercial airports, considering their existing infrastructure, and adaption requirements for new forms of zero emission aircraft. In parallel to working on the ZEFI programme, our engineers are providing systems engineering and assurance support to hydrogen and electric aircraft manufacturers and critical infrastructure organisations, giving us a unique insight into the challenges facing the aerospace and aviation sectors presently.”
Mark Aizlewood, Aviation Sustainability Team Lead at Connected Places Catapult, said:
“There’s a lot to be considered and developed for the UK’s aviation industry to hit its net zero targets. Connected Places Catapult worked with Frazer-Nash Consultancy as part of the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure programme to create a roadmap for airfields, airports, and service providers. The roadmap highlights the different approaches and timelines for hydrogen and electric infrastructure, alongside the expected entry into service dates of Zero Emission aircraft that need hydrogen fuel or electrical charge.”
Connected Places Catapult (CPC) is the UK’s Catapult Centre focused on promoting innovation in mobility services and the built environment to enable new levels of physical, digital, and social connectedness. Details of the Connected Places Catapult ZEFI project can be found at https://cp.catapult.org.uk/project/zero-emission-flight-infrastructure-preparing-uk-airports-for-zero-emission-aircraft/; while the Roadmap to Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure can be downloaded here.