Norway’s Elfly Group has secured a grant from Enova SF to develop a full-scale prototype all-electric seaplane.
Enova SF is Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment and has pledged an USD$8 Million plus grant for the prototype.
CEO of Elfly Eric Lithun comments:
“This is going to be a kind of battery-powered flying boat.”
“The goal is for us to be able to offer flexible mobility in Norway, have zero emissions, significantly less noise pollution and develop new sustainable business models,”
No Emissions seaplane
Elfly have been working on their commercial seaplane, Noemi – which stands for No-Emissions, for several years.
To date they have secured over USD$10 Million in funding, but this is the first time a full scale production has been financially committed to.
Designed to carry between 9 and 13 people the Noemi is a commercial aircraft designed with Norway in mind.
“Many Norwegians live by fjords and lakes, but need access to hospitals, big cities, and connections to the world.”
“Our fjords can be turned into potential (floating) airports without destroying nature. While the country is home to 5.5 million people, we consume 10 times more travel – the equivalent of a population of 55 million.”
“First and foremost is the need for sustainable travel, which we believe will also enable many economic opportunities for coastal communities,” highlighted Eric Lithun.
Power supplier confirmed
The Noemi will be powered by two electric motors and up to 1MW of combined output. Electric Power Systems (EPS) of the USA were confirmed as the battery supplier during the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show in July.
It’s expected that the next step for the project will focus on confirming the engine supplier. In the meantime further work goes on, building on the fuselage tests being held in Trondheim
“It is especially important to develop the fuselage so that the aircraft can take off with the least possible force. The challenge will be to find the ultimate combination of aero- and hydrodynamics,” says SINTEF researcher Kourosh Koushan.
“Here we are talking zero emissions and an electric motor that only makes a small “bzz” sound,” says Lithun about the seaplane, which should both take off and land in water, but which also has wheels so that it can land and take off from airstrips.
“It must be able to fly 200 kilometers at about 250 kilometers per hour. Then the travel time on a flight from Bergen to Stavanger will be 40 minutes compared to four to five hours by car” says Lithun.
“As the battery development gets two to three percent better every year, it is not long until we can fly longer.”
“We envisage eventually being able to fly from Bergen to Trondheim via a stopover in Molde. This will be noticeable from center to center. It will beat all other options even with a stopover.”
Elfly are going to build on the home market first and will initially operate 15 Noemi’s on their own AOC. Once an infrastructure is developed in Norway then other short hop markets will be explored.