ABOVE: CAeS aims to deliver the ‘world’s first, zero-emissions passenger aircraft solution by 2026’

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS), developer of a hydrogen-propulsion system initially destined for the Britten-Norman Islander, has joined the UK’s ‘first operationally-based low-carbon aviation test centre’ at Kirkwall Airport on the Scottish island of Orkney. Its involvement will focus on assessing how to safely refuel an aircraft with gaseous hydrogen in a commercial airport environment.

The Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) is part-funded by the UKRI Future Flight Challenge and intends to ‘share insights and best practices with other initiatives focused on zero-emissions aviation infrastructure and regulations across the UK’. Along with a consortium of 13 partners, the project aims to combine emerging technologies with real-world potential scenarios; highlighting the environmental, social and economic contribution sustainable aviation can make.

“It is vital that the regulation and infrastructure evolve hand in hand with the emerging technologies such as CAeS’ hydrogen propulsion system,” said Jenny Kavanagh, chief strategy officer at Cranfield Aerospace. “Our focus is on the Islander operations in Orkney, but the outcome of this collaboration will be of benefit to the whole industry”.

The SATE is led by the Highlands Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) and represents ‘an ideal “living laboratory” for emergent aviation technologies’. CAeS has also announced a strategic partnership with fellow SATE member Loganair to debut the world’s first hydrogen-powered Islander in Orkney by 2027.