Sustainable Aviation Test Environment

Project Overview

The SATE project project will create the UK’s first operationally-based, low-carbon aviation test centre at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL)’s Kirkwall Airport in the Orkney Islands.

The project will trial a host of exciting aviation technologies including low-carbon aircraft that utilise electric, hydrogen or synthetic fuel to replace conventional fossil fuels.
It will also trial UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), e.g. drones, and demonstrate how they can be used to meet the needs of real-life use cases e.g. on-demand medical supplies directly to hospitals and health centres.

SATE will also look at how to implement zero-carbon airport infrastructure using green energy sources, as well as digital networking and the development of resilient communications. The socio-economic impact of new technologies and services in the region, and the skills and training needed to support them, will be assessed.

SATE provides the blueprint for net zero regional aviation, placing the UK at the forefront of the transition to low carbon aviation. The project will provide an important step towards delivering HIAL’s ambitions to decarbonise operations by 2040.

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