Two Bedford Borough aerospace businesses handed £30 million for “ambitious projects”

Image: ZeroAvia

Two Bedford Borough businesses have been handed £30.2 million by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to support ambitious aerospace projects.

The funding is part of a wider £84.6 million government-industry investment which will focus on developing green technology to power zero-emissions flights while helping to secure thousands of jobs across the UK.

“As a former home of British airships, Bedfordshire already has a proud aerospace heritage,” said Minister for Business, Paul Scully.

“Today, we’re investing in the skills and expertise the county has to offer by backing these projects led by ZeroAvia and Blue Bear Systems Research.

“These exciting proposals could help revolutionise the future of flight, create welcome jobs and help us build back greener.”

Zero-emissions engine

The HyFlyer II project, led by ZeroAvia in Cranfield, will receive £24.6m over two years – £12.3m government grant, matched by industry.

The project, which has already been awarded an ATI Programme grant, will produce a zero-carbon engine.

This has recently been used on a successful test flight for a six-seater aircraft, which is the world’s largest hydrogen-electric aircraft worldwide.

This funding will help the team to create an engine that could be used on a 19-seater aircraft.

They hope to demonstrate this larger engine in a long-distance zero-emission flight in January 2023.

ZeroAvia will also be able to enter the formal certification process at the end of the project, meaning commercial zero-emission flights on smaller aircraft could be available by the end of 2023.

The funding will also help secure 300 design jobs and 400 manufacturing jobs in Cranfield, Warwick and Orkney.

Fully-electric propulsion

Oakley’s Blue Bear Systems Research, who is leading on the InCEPTion project, will receive £5.6m over two years – £2.8m government grant, matched with industry.

They aim to develop a fully-electric propulsion system for aircraft, which would be capable of powering a range of aircraft including unmanned drones and passenger aircraft.

Blue Bear Systems Research
Image: Blue Bear Systems Research

This will enable a broad range of new zero-emissions services across the UK, from large cargo delivery to regional commuting.

The project could secure up to 30 new engineer jobs during the early certification and pre-production phases in Oakley and Derby.

A further 600-900 manufacturing jobs across the UK could also be created during production.

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