The grant has been awarded as part of the UK Government’s Future Flight program, funded by UK Research and Innovation as part of the Government’s modern industrial strategy, which invites businesses and innovators to take part in or source partners for revolutionizing aviation as part of a £125 million challenge. The project commenced in December 2020 and will take 12-14 months to be completed.
Protium will use the funds to determine the optimal methods for safely and commercially producing, storing, and distributing green hydrogen for aviation activities, with support from its consortium partners.
The consortium will examine the potential of a hydrogen powered 19-seater, 500-mile range aircraft. Blue Bear will also work with Britten-Norman and Loganair to develop automated flight solutions with the use of ‘digital co-pilots’ and to consider the potential to increase the automation of ground vehicles in the chosen airports.
The project will finish in Q1 2022, with the consortium partners looking to a potential follow-on bid for the Phase III of Future Flight, which would result in the construction and operation of the world’s first operating zero emission 19-seater commercial aircraft, with dedicated green hydrogen infrastructure.
ZeroAvia, the leading innovator in decarbonizing commercial aviation, has previously been involved with similar projects, having received a £2.7 million grant last year to support in the project’s development and principal technology to enable practical, zero emission aviation in commercial aircraft.
The grant represents another landmark milestone for Protium and follows shortly after receiving a £70,000 grant from the Department of Business, Energy, Industrial Strategy this month. The grant was provided for the HyLaddie project, which will determine how to incorporate innovative hydrogen combustion technology for Islay-based Bruichladdich Distillery. In Q4 last year, Protium also signed a green hydrogen fuel switching feasibility assessment with a renowned UK manufacturer, as well as a Heads of Terms agreement with horticultural engineering firm, CambridgeHOK. Furthermore, in Q3 last year Protium and ZeroAvia signed a Heads of Terms agreement, allowing the companies to join forces to work closely with aviation organisation to develop and expand green hydrogen infrastructure across the UK.
Commenting on the announcement, Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium, said, “This could lead to a significant breakthrough for not only the aviation sector but also the fuel cell and renewable energy industry. This is a brilliant example of industries working collaboratively to achieve net zero targets and together, with the consortium, we have a real opportunity to pave the way for sustainable, emission-free air travel. We’re delighted to be working on this ground-breaking project.”