University of Sheffield contributes to new net-zero aviation strategy for the defence sector

Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Managing Director of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre, joined representatives from the UK Government and leading aviation companies to sign a new decarbonisation strategy.

prof mohamed pourkashanian with steve gillard from boeing and paul lloyd, vice air marshall. all three stand around a piece of signed paper

Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Managing Director of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre, last week joined representatives from the UK Government and leading aviation companies to sign a new strategy outlining how the aviation defence sector will contribute to net zero targets.

The new strategy launched last week at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), where key contributors to the strategy, including the University of Sheffield, gathered to formally sign the document.

The strategy itself was released on 12th July at the Global Air & Space Chief’s Conference, with a foreword endorsed by Baroness Goldie, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence and spokesperson in the House of Lords on Defence Climate Change & Sustainability.

In signing the strategy, Prof Pourkashanian was joined by Air Vice-Marshal Paul Lloyd and Steven Gillard, Boeing UK and Ireland Sustainability Director, as well as the Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge MP.

The University of Sheffield is a world leader in aviation expertise, and supporting the strategy by providing evidence of aviation decarbonisation practices, including on sustainable aviation fuels.

The current aviation emissions from the aviation defence sector currently represent approximately 60% of the Ministry of Defence’s operational emissions, which the strategy aims to decrease. The strategy breaks down the decarbonisation activity into five distinct areas: rethinking capability and provision, improving efficiency, sustainable aviation fuel, zero emissions propulsion and carbon removal.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has already outlined its commitment to contribute to the net zero in 2050, and has adopted a sectoral approach to achieve this, where the Royal Air Force has been tasked to lead the aviation sector. The RAF has launched an ambitious programme to contribute towards the decarbonisation of the defence sector, as well as other key players.

Speaking about the signing, Prof Mohamed Pourkashanian said: “It is a pleasure to support the activity of the Defence Aviation Net Zero Strategy Charter. The University of Sheffield, along with other partners, supported the DSF committee to ensure the strategy can be robust and achievable in its aims.

“Sustainable aviation is an incredibly important part of the mission to decarbonise, and it’s important that every area of the aviation sector looks at ways to reduce their carbon emissions, for the benefit of us all.”

At the Royal International Air Tattoo, Minister for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge MP also signed the Defence Aviation Net Zero Strategy Charter, saying:

“It is critical that the aviation sector plays its part in delivering the UK’s net zero commitment and the Government is already supporting a variety of technology, fuel, and market-based measures to address aviation emissions.

“For Defence, the need to be ready to fly and fight in the fossil fuel constrained operating environment of 2040 is crucial which is why we are investing in military sustainable aviation interventions.”

Air Vice-Marshal Paul Lloyd, Director Support, has led the development of strategy release. He said:

“The challenge to Defence Aviation is to continue to deliver operational output to defend the UK, our interests, and Allies in increasingly volatile conditions, whilst also making our own significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions. This strategy demonstrates our commitment to meet these challenges on a broad front and in a collegiate way, bringing Defence and Industry together to eliminate our carbon footprint.”

Partner with us

We work with businesses to develop practical low carbon solutions for the energy industry.

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.