In the wake of multiple airlines promising to offset their carbon emissions, an aerospace firm may be upping the ante.
Cranfield Aerospace Solutions announced this week that it is working on electric-powered aircraft — and could bring commercial flights to the UK as early as 2023.
“This is going to accelerate our green transport revolution,” Paul Hutton, the CEO of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, said in a statement.
The company hopes to convert a nine-seat Britten-Norman into an environmentally-friendly aircraft by putting in a hybrid-electric propulsion system. A spokesman for the company told CNN that it would be able to handle short routes fully electric while a low emission engine recharges the plane’s batteries during flight.
The first flights are expected to be flown between Scotland and the country’s Orkney archipelago, CNN reported.
The program is funded by a £9 million (or about $11.7 million) grant from the UK government, and will use a British plane from Britten-Norman and a Rolls-Royce power management system, according to the company.
“Our aircraft makes an ideal launch platform for this [program] due to its renowned reliability and adaptability,” William Hynett, the chief executive of Britten-Norman said. “We remain highly enthusiastic about the prospects of bringing this important capability to our vitally important short-sector market.”
This is not the first company to work on an electric airplane.
According to CNN, Israeli aviation company Eviation Aircraft has said that U.S. carrier Cape Air, based out of Massachusetts, is going to be the first customer for its electric airplane. And Airbus is working on a hybrid-electric project. Los Angeles-based aviation company Ampaire announced earlier this year it would also start testing planes partly powered by electricity.
As the trend of going carbon net free or vowing to decrease carbon emissions in the air continues, environmentalists ironically aren't on board with the movement, dubbing it a "scam."