Lift off: Bid for zero emission air travel compared with moon shot

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Researchers say it is only a matter of time before zero emission flights become a reality.

Engineers at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire are already helping to develop an electric powered aircraft designed for short haul travel.

Now one of the university's leading academics, Professor Iain Gray, has joined the Government's Jet Zero Council.

The successful test flight Credit:

The new body met for the first time this week. It is a joint initiative between the Department for Transport and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

It hopes to help push forward developments to make flight more sustainable. The eventual goal is to have a transatlantic zero carbon flight within a generation.

Professor Gray said the industry was determined to make aviation as environmentally friendly as possible.

The university is already involved in a number of projects aimed at eventually achieving 'green' flights.

One project is called Project Fresson, it involves the University's aviation firm - Cranfield Aerospace Solutions - working with industrial partners hopes to launch short-haul electric flight to the Highlands and Islands by 2025.

The aircraft in flight Credit: ZeroAvia

Just last month, ZeroAvia, which is based at Cranfield Airport, completed the UK's first electric flight from Cranfield Airport.

The company plans to convert the plane to hydrogen in the next few months, with the goal of creating a longer range zero emission flight.

The university is also leading the EU-funded, EnableH2 project that aims to develop a blueprint for a hydrogen-powered demonstrator aircraft by 2030.