The government has pledged £15 million to support innovations that could drive production of sustainable aviation fuels from everyday waste.
Launched on Tuesday (16 March), its Green Fuel, Green Skies competition will support UK companies’ efforts to convert household rubbish, waste wood and excess electricity into jet fuel.
It claims sustainable aviation fuel offers emissions savings of more than 70% compared to conventional fuels.
Firms will be able to bid for a share of the £15 million pot, which the Department for Transport (DfT) said had been put aside to "kick-start development of first-of-a-kind production plants" capable of producing sustainable fuels "at scale".
The government’s Jet Zero Council, which was set up last June, will convene on Tuesday for its second meeting, which is due to be attended by Heathrow chief operating officer Emma Gilthorpe. The first featured the bosses of easyJet and Virgin Atlantic.
The DfT said Gilthorpe would seek to help the group extend its reach with key stakeholders throughout aviation striving to drive forward decarbonisation of aviation.
Other new additions include representation from the Royal Air Force and Civil Aviation Authority.
"As the aviation sector emerges out of the pandemic and looks towards recovery over the coming months, we must put our environmental commitments at the centre of everything we do – so not only do we build back better, we also build back greener," said transport secretary Grant Shapps.
"That’s why we’re stepping up our work on the Council, recruiting new members and launching pioneering efforts to ensure we continue to lead the world by example and deliver on our ambitious net-zero targets."
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added: "Today’s meeting of the Jet Zero Council demonstrates the vital collaboration between government and industry that will make zero-emission flights a reality.
"Britain’s aerospace sector is at the centre of our plans to build back greener from the pandemic. We are committed to supporting its recovery and investing in green tech to take us closer to zero carbon take-off."
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the trade body for UK registered airlines, said: "Sustainable aviation fuels are proof today that low emission air travel is possible.
"The ’Green Fuels, Green Skies’ competition is a welcome boost to help deliver the innovative plants that will produce sustainable aviation fuel at scale this decade, fuels which alongside exciting new hydrogen and electric technologies will power UK airlines for decades to come and help deliver the UK aviation industry commitment to net zero carbon.
"Put simply, without sustainable aviation fuel, we cannot achieve net zero. This funding support from ministers is hugely important."