Project to develop hydrogen-powered plane gains funding


GKN Aerospace is leading H2GEAR, a UK collaboration programme, which will see the company’s first hydrogen propulsion system for sub-regional aircraft developed.

On 27 January, it was announced that H2GEAR will receive a £27.2mn government grant – matched by industry – to develop an innovative liquid hydrogen propulsion system that could then be scaled up for larger aircraft and longer journeys. Its initial focus will be on significantly improving sub-regional aircraft hydrogen powered performance, though longer-term it will have the potential to create a “new generation” of clean air travel.

The programme will see GKN Aerospace collaborate with Intelligent Energy, Aeristech, Newcastle University, the University of Manchester and University of Birmingham. It is also aiming to create more than 3,000 jobs in the next decade.

H2GEAR was one of three projects to receive investment through the ATI Programme, which is supporting research into advanced technologies that will enable zero emission flight to become a reality. ZeroAvia’s HyFlyer II is to receive a £12.3mn government grant as it looks to scale up its zero emission engines for demonstration on a 19-seat aircraft while InCEPTion, led by Blue Bear Systems Research, will receive £2.8mn to develop a fully electrified zero emissions propulsion system for aircraft. Both grants have also been matched by industry, taking the total investment to £84.6mn.