New planes could fly on fuel made from rubbish

Airline passengers could fly on planes using fuels made from rubbish under a new Government scheme. Picture by Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Airline passengers could fly on planes using fuels made from rubbish under a new Government scheme. Picture by Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Airline passengers could fly on planes using fuels made from rubbish under a new Government scheme.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is offering £22million of funding for UK projects to develop low-carbon, waste-based fuels for planes and lorries.

The move follows grants to encourage the take-up of ultra-low emission electric vehicles, and plans to ban all new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

DfT figures show that aircraft and lorries powered by waste fuels could use up to 90% less carbon than traditional fossil fuels.

Trials of sustainable jet fuel made from waste materials have already taken place in Europe and North America.

Around 70 groups have expressed an interest in bidding for the DfT funding.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: "We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally friendly fuels that will help us meet that goal.

"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."

It is hoped the Government funding will help develop five new low-carbon fuel plants by 2021.

The money is available to projects producing low-carbon waste-based fuels to be used in planes and lorries where it is not currently viable to switch to electric power because the vehicles are too heavy.

Aviation consultant John Strickland said the announcement was a positive step for airlines.

He told the Press Association: "Airlines are always looking to improve their environmental credentials and improve fuel efficiency.

"This move will be welcomed but widespread adoption would still be some way off in the future."

The DfT claims low-carbon transport fuels made from waste materials could be worth £600million to the British economy by 2030 and support up to 9,800 new jobs.