General Aviation Hybrid-Electric Britten-Norman Islander gets funding grant

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) has received the backing of the UK Government for a project to develop a hybrid-electric Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.

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CAeS received an investment grant of £9 million from the UK Government. The company will primarily develop electric aircraft. The project, which is named Fresson, has received the money to design, manufacture and integrate a hybrid-electric propulsion system into a Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.

The grant was provided through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) programme, which is a partnership that seeks to promote Business, Energy & Industry Strategy and Innovations in the UK. The investment grows the UK´s competitive position in civil aerospace.

Mark Scully, Head of Technology for Advanced Systems & Propulsion at the ATI, said: “Project Fresson brings together a great partnership to develop innovative technology for a sustainable all-electric air transport solution for isolated islands. The partners’ ultimate goal of delivering the first commercial passenger-carrying all-electric aircraft service in the UK will mark a significant breakthrough for all-electric propulsion.”

Paul Hutton CAeS CEO, added: “The results of this exciting electric aircraft demonstrator project can be rapidly developed into an EASA/CAA (European Aviation Safety Agency/Civil Aviation Authority) certified modification kit, enabling the UK to lead the way with the first passenger-carrying sub-regional aircraft capable of all-electric flight. The strength of the industrial partners involved in this project, are underpinned by the world-class aerospace/manufacturing research capabilities of Cranfield University. This is going to accelerate our green transport revolution.”

The Fresson project includes several UK businesses like Rolls-Royce, who will be supplying the power management system, the Denis Ferranti Group, Delta Motorsport and Britten-Norman, the aircraft OEM.

Rolls-Royce has invented its own commitment to making aviation more sustainable and The Fresson project supports this vision.

At first, the team will develop a demonstrator and following this aircraft, CAeS will go on to certify the modification through EASA to receive a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). If granted, Britten-Norman Islander operators can implement the hybrid-electric system into existing aircraft and that globally. Currently, over 400 Islanders are operating worldwide. The system will help to reduce the carbon footprint and will lower overall operating costs.

Source © cranfield.ac.uk

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