Transport Research and Innovation Grants: Zero Emission Flight


The Government committed in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution to invest in R&D into the infrastructure upgrades required at UK airports to incorporate battery and hydrogen-powered aircraft into their day-to-day operations. Funding will be available to support cutting edge research and development work to help build the UK airports and airfields of the future, ensuring they are equipped to support the UK’s ambition to deliver a first zero emission commercial flight later this decade, and provide a lasting, sustainable, future airport and airfield infrastructure for hydrogen and electric-powered aircraft. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned the Connected Places Catapult to undertake the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) programme. Through collaborative work with aviation stakeholders, the programme will;  

  • Explore the requirements for introducing hydrogen and electric-powered aircraft into general aviation and commercial airports 
  • Identify the opportunities and challenges of adopting zero emission aircraft within airport environments 
  • Develop technology and regulatory roadmaps for the integration of these new fuels within airports 
  • Identify actions and investments airports and airfields may need to take to incorporate hydrogen and electric technology into their daily operations 
  • Perform demonstrations in representative environments of new technologies, procedures and operational concepts for the introduction of hydrogen and electric aircraft. 

The programme will run within the 2021/22 financial year with a range of opportunities for industry and academia to participate in grant funding, workshop and demonstration activity. The programme’s findings will be published to benefit the whole of the UK aviation sector.  

Transport Research and Innovation Grant

As part of the programme, we are pleased to launch a new Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG) competition, TRIG: Zero Emission Flight. Under this competition, grants of up to £50,000 will be available for organisations developing technology that could help the aviation industry transition to zero carbon emission flight.    

Eligibility and Scope

Under TRIG: Zero Emission Flight, organisations will be awarded funding of up to £50,000 for projects with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) between 2 and 5. This means that we are interested in projects that involve research/feasibility as well as those involving prototyping or operational testing. We anticipate awarding a minimum of 12 grants under this competition. Projects should address at least one of the following priority areas: 

  • Hydrogen storage, handling, aircraft refuelling/defueling, distribution, and associated technologies. 
  • Electric charging, storage, handling, batteries, electric distribution, and associated technologies. 
  • Research into future demand scenarios for airside use of green hydrogen and electricity at UK airports. 

For more information on the scope of this competition, please refer to the Grant Specification document below. 

In order to apply to this scheme, you must be: 

  • Based in the UK or have a UK registered office; and 
  • A business or university of any size 

Projects supported through this funding call must deliver a robust assessment of the carbon emission reduction benefits that research would facilitate. Proposals will also need to clearly demonstrate the following: 

  • The zero emission flight challenge(s) the innovation is aiming to solve 
  • Evidence of state-of-the-art innovation being carried out in practice 
  • The team has the skills and expertise to deliver the project plan 
  • Potential for delivery of tangible sustainable and/or commercial opportunities for the UK. 
Why Apply?

TRIG competitions are designed to de-risk the development of novel technology and will support the most promising and beneficial products as they launch within their intended markets. 

Key features of TRIG: Zero Emission Flight 

  • 100% funded 
  • Technical and commercial oversight from DfT, Connected Places Catapult and their partners 
  • Participation in workshopping activity with other projects and Government   
  • Follow on support from the Connected Places Catapult including the chance for SMEs participating to enter an SME development programme 
  • The opportunity to take part in an event showcasing work undertaken in the wider ZEFI programme in early 2022.  
How to apply

Please download the application form below and submit it to zefi@cp.catapult.org.uk by midnight on the 1st August. If you would like assistance in completing the application form, please let us know and we will be pleased to help.

You can find all the relevant guidance in the following documents which are all available to download by clicking on the links:

Microsoft Word Application Form

Application Guidance

Grant Specification

Grant Funding Agreement – terms & conditions

Privacy Notice 

Equality and Diversity

Promoting equality of access to our competitions and supporting a diverse portfolio of companies is integral to both the Department for Transport and the Connected Places Catapult. We seek to ensure that the organisations we work with are also committed to demonstrating equality, diversity and inclusion practices in both current and future projects and operations. 


On 12th July we hosted an Application Support & Information webinar. If you missed it you can watch below:

Contact Us

If you are interested in finding out more information about the Transport Research and Innovation Grants: Zero Emission Flight or have any queries, please contact us by emailing zefi@cp.catapult.org.uk.