The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

On The Radar

UK Offers Funding to Strengthen Supply Chain for Power Electronics, Motors, and Drive Technology

The UK government is offering £4.5 million ($6 million) in funding to strengthen the supply chain for power electronics, machines, and drive (PEMD) technology to be used in aviation applications. Grants of between £50,000 and £1 million are being offered by Innovate UK through the agency’s Building Talent for the Future 2 competition for which entries open on January 12.

According to Professor Will Drury, challenge director for Innovate UK’s Driving the Electric Revolution initiative, there is a need to ensure that new and existing PEMD capabilities are available to companies working on new electric aircraft and propulsion systems. He told FutureFlight that advanced systems such as power electronics units to convert electricity to be used in motors or other devices like pumps are already being applied in other sectors, such as manufacturing, offshore wind turbines, and agricultural robotics.

The latest tranche of Innovate UK grants follows on from earlier government investment commitments of £80 million for the country’s PEMD sector. It is part of the wider UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) initiative to support efforts to achieve net-zero emissions from the country’s aviation sector by 2050. For instance, £33 million has been awarded to Newcastle University to support PEMD industrialization processes through open access equipment installed in multiple facilities across the UK.

“There is already funding [through UKRI and the Aerospace Research Insitute] to develop new technology and products, but we don’t just want to be having the ideas; we need to build supply chains that are resilient and robust and have the right software and access to the necessary materials,” explained Drury, who is a fellow with the Institution of Engineering and Technology. “This is about how we can prosper from these opportunities, rather than just take part. It’s about catalyzing growth and not having the capability pigeonholed in just one sector.”

The competition opens on January 10 and on January 12, Innovate UK will hold an online briefing for organizations wishing to apply for funding. The deadline for submitting applications is March 2.