Towards a ‘Clean Sky’ for European aviation


It’s hard to image a world without airplanes and air travel. Yet, new technologies are needed to make future aircraft cleaner, quieter and more economical. In a recent funding round, the Clean Aviation partnership is looking for innovations that will help to enable future generations to enjoy the benefits of air travel far into the future. Read more about this call in the article below.

What exactly is Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking?

The ‘Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking’ (CAJU) is an international public-private partnership between the European Commission and the European aeronautics industry. It is also the name of the EU’s leading research and innovation programme for transforming aviation towards a sustainable and climate neutral future. The partnership was established in 2021, as a follow-up to the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking. Its main goal is to develop clean aviation technologies that will enable future aircraft to reduce emissions (cut fuel burn & related CO₂ emissions by 20-30%) and noise levels.

First call for proposals – topics

Recently, on 23 March 2022, Clean Aviation released its very first call for proposals. In this call (coded HORIZON-JU-CLEAN-AVIATION-2022) innovators are invited to come up with ideas for groundbreaking, sustainable technologies that can make clean aviation a reality. Grant applications can be submitted for proposals that address at least one of the 14 technological challenges of this call:

A. Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft (HPA)

  • Direct Combustion of Hydrogen in Aero-engines
  • Multi-MW Fuel Cell Propulsion System for Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft
  • Large Scale Lightweight Liquid Hydrogen Integral Storage Solutions
  • Near Term Disruptive Technologies for Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft

B. Hybrid-electric powered Regional Aircraft (HER)

  • Multi-MW hybrid-electric propulsion system for Regional Aircraft
  • Thermal Management Solutions for Hybrid-Electric Regional Aircraft
  • Electrical Distribution Solutions for Hybrid-Electric Regional Aircraft
  • Innovative Wing Design for Hybrid-Electric Regional Aircraft

C. Short/short-medium range Aircraft (SMR)

  • Ultra Efficient Propulsion Systems for Short and Short-Medium Range Aircraft
  • Ultra Performance Wing for Short and Short-medium Range Aircraft
  • Advanced Low Weight Integrated Fuselage and Empennage for Short Range and Short-Medium Range Aircraft

D. Clean Aviation Transversal activities (TRA)

  • Aircraft architectures & technology integration for aircraft concepts ranging from regional to short-medium range applications
  • Novel Certification Methods and Means of Compliance for Disruptive Technologies

E. Clean Aviation Coordination and Support Actions (CSA)

  • Developing an Integrated European Clean Aviation Regional Ecosystem (ECARE).

Grants – amounts and conditions

All topics -except for the last one- can be categorised as ‘Innovation Actions’ (IA). This means project proposals must not only address the subject of the topic; they must also consist of activities directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services (including activities like prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and market replication).
Only the best proposals will be rewarded with a grant. The EU funding rate for (commercial) Innovation Actions is usually 70%. The available grant budget differs per topic and is between 7 million and 175 million euros. More detailed information on each topic can be found in the official call text (in pdf).

Deadline and support

Proposals that are in line with the topics above can be submitted until 23 June 2022. This quick deadline does not leave too much time to draw up a proposal that meets the programme requirements and satisfies the assessment criteria in the best possible way. EGEN’s experts have a lot of experience in this and will be happy to assist you!

Is your company working on innovations for the aviation sector that match the above topics? EGEN has years of expertise in the field of transport, alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. Our experts were involved with many groundbreaking innovation projects, international partnerships and successful grant applications in these areas. Do you want to find out what they can do for you?

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