Aircraft taking off from British airports could be fuelled by rubbish from landfill sites under a government scheme.
As part of plans to promote clean fuels, ministers are offering funding for projects to develop low-carbon, waste-based fuels for planes and lorries, with matching funding from industry.
Trials of sustainable jet fuel made from waste materials have taken place in Europe and North America, and the launch of a UK competition aims to encourage British experts to conduct pioneering research in the sector.
The Department of Transport said that it had already attracted interest from more than 70 groups in bidding for the funding.
Low-carbon fuels made from waste materials could be worth £600 million a year to the British economy by 2030 and support up to 9,800 new jobs, according to estimates.
Jesse Norman, the transport minister, said: “We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally-friendly fuels that will help us meet that goal.
“We are making funding available to innovative businesses which will lead the way in developing alternative fuels that are efficient, sustainable and clean.
“We want every new car and van in the UK to be zero emission by 2040, but we know lorries and aeroplanes will rely on more traditional fuels for years to come so we must promote environmentally friendly alternatives.”