A PIONEERING net zero aviation project based in Orkney has secured £1.7 million in funding.

The Orkney-based Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) project created the UK’s first low carbon aviation test centre in Kirkwall Airport in 2020.

Now, after winning funding from the Future Flight Challenge – an initiative run by public body UK Research and Innovation – the project will seek to build on that success to find solutions for the future of aviation.

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Aviation technology companies ARC Aero Systems, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), and Cormorant SEAplanes have also joined SATE.

The project will demonstrate the next generation of aviation services and how they can be deployed within regional airports.

Inglis Lyon, the managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, said: “SATE plays a key role in supporting HIAL’s environmental objective to decarbonise our airport operations, as well as our long-term vision to become a net-zero carbon regional airport group.

The National: Cormorant SEAplanes 7-seat aircraft is due to be tested in OrkneyCormorant SEAplanes 7-seat aircraft is due to be tested in Orkney (Image: Cormorant SEAplanes)

“The addition of these new technology partners will help us take a step closer to real solutions for the future of sustainable aviation.“

The technology set to be added to the SATE project includes ARC’s hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) and HAV’s Airlander aircraft, whose lift-off is powered with a combination of helium and aerodynamic lift from air flow.

Tom Grundy, CEO of HAV, said: “We think of Airlander as the world’s most efficient large aircraft. It is a game- changer for regional air transportation.

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“We are excited to demonstrate how our technology can contribute to a greener and more connected future in the Highlands and Islands and, in time, around the world.

“With the support of the SATE project and our fellow technology partners, we are confident that we can make a significant impact in advancing the next generation of air services in this wonderful part of Scotland.”

Since launching in 2020 the SATE project has spearheaded a number of innovative flight technologies, including Scotland’s first hybrid-electric flights.