Cranfield Aerospace secures first customer for Islander hydrogen conversion

Cranfield Aerospace secures first customer for Islander hydrogen conversion.
Cranfield Aerospace secures first customer for Islander hydrogen conversion. Credit: Cranfield Aerospace Solutions

A UK-based company Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS), and Evia Aero – a company focusing on providing zero emissions sub-regional air services within Europe – in connection with a strategic collaboration, have signed a letter of intent for ten hydrogen fuel cell propelled conversion kits for Britten Norman BN2 Islander aircraft as part of the Evia Aero strategy to bring hydrogen-air services to Northern Europe.

Last month, Evia Aero launched its plans to convert its nine-seat Islander aircraft to employ a hydrogen propulsion system and to begin subregional flights with the modified aircraft in Northern Europe. CAeS agreed to work with the company to convert the aircraft to hydrogen power. The two partners expect to have the converted aircraft approved for commercial service in 2025.

Cranfield’s conversion kit includes tanks that can store gaseous hydrogen at 700 bar, a 240 kW fuel cell system located in the nacelle, and 220 kW electric propulsion units comprised of a high energy density motor and an inverter controller. An advanced thermal management system will provide integrated liquid cooling. In addition, the human-machine interface will be ergonomically designed for the pilot’s interaction with the hydrogen system. The company claims that its conversion will lead to zero-emission operations and also to an impressive 40% cut in operational costs.

“These aircraft will support Evia Aero’s plans to develop sustainable aviation around the northern coasts of Germany, The Netherlands, and Denmark and will contribute to the environmental concerns and goals of the region,” said Florian Kruse EVIA AERO Founder & CEO. “By working closely with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and their quickly evolving hydrogen aircraft solution, combined with EVIA AERO’S commercial knowledge of the markets in Europe, EVIA AERO is excited about the future and the application of this aircraft to fulfill the emerging need.”

“CAeS is delighted to be signing this LoI with EVIA AERO. In a world desperate to reduce its carbon emissions and with the reduced operational costs promised by this new technology, zero-emissions flight on small aircraft such as the Islander offers another solution for sub-regional travel. One that could be part of an interconnected transportation system; a complimentary service to existing ground networks, serving those routes that are either poorly served by road or rail or are highly congested,” said Paul Hutton, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions CEO. “EVIA AERO’S plans represent a shining example of how sub-regional travel will change with the advent of zero-emissions aviation.”