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Innovate UK awards COVID-19 Continuity Grant to Hybrid Air Vehicles

The award, meant to support live Innovate UK programs, will ensure HAV can continue its E-HAV1 project path to meet its zero-carbon aviation milestone for 2025.

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Hybrid Air Vehicles helium aircraft rendition

Photo Credit: Hybrid Air Vehicles

Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV, Bedford, U.K.) received an Innovate UK COVID-19 Continuity Grant to ensure that Project E-HAV1 is supported throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants, says HAV, are designed to support live Innovate UK programs that are making the best progress in innovation and show the best potential for the future.

Project E-HAV1, launched in April 2019 with partners Collins Aerospace (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S.) and University of Nottingham (U.K.), will deliver a full-size prototype 500-kilowatt (kW) electric propulsor for ground testing. This technology, ready for future production, will then replace Airlander’s fuel-burning forward engines as the first step to an all-electric Airlander by 2030. The project is currently planning to use Airlander 10, a helium-filled hybrid aircraft model unveiled in January as an initial platform. 

According to HAV, the development of this propulsor forms a key part in the electrification journey for Airlander 10. With four fuel-burning engines, Airlander 10 produces 75% fewer emissions than other aircraft in comparable roles. Replacing the two front engines with electric motors will further reduce emissions — the hybrid-electric Airlander 10 will reportedly produce 90% fewer emissions from 2025.

Project E-HAV1 addresses key goals of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy: strengthening the U.K.’s aerospace capabilities, position the U.K. for developing future generations of civil aircraft and advancing a new generation of efficient propulsion technologies. 

“The need to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment has never been clearer,” comments CEO Tom Grundy. “E-HAV1 is central to our vision of making zero-emissions aviation at scale possible, quickly. We’re delighted to continue with that important work with this additional support to the program from Innovate UK.”