Students from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are to build an all-electric aircraft.
A team of undergraduates studying aerospace engineering will develop one of the first fully electric research gliders in the UK.
They will install a lightweight electric motor and a lithium-based battery in a single-seater airframe.
They expect to fly the aircraft in 2017.
Project Leader Kim-Tobias Kohn said: “Every second, 11 tonnes of fuel are burned in aviation and the carbon emissions go where it is most harmful – near the ozone layer – so this is about the sustainability of the planet.
“The technology is now there to start looking at green aviation. You need to start small but you have to show it is actually possible. It is the right time to showcase this technology.”
Earlier this month, students from Durham University showcased their latest solar powered car in London.