Sustainable Aviation Test Environment

Project Consortium

Led by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, the SATE project brings together a consortium of aviation industry specialists, local Orkney and Caithness businesses, public sector bodies and academia:


Consortium Partners

To find out more about the SATE Consortium Partners click on the links below:

HIAL (Lead Partner) - The Consortium is led by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) which manages and operates 11 regional airports across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  HIAL provides lifeline and essential services for island and remote communities in the Highlands and Islands. This includes Kirkwall Airport,where the SATE project is based.

Ampaire (Technology Partner) - Ampaire is a start-up electric airplane company focusing on replacing common turboprop engines in 6- to 19-passenger airplanes with high efficiency electric powertrains. In 2019 Ampaire demonstrated a hybrid-electric retrofit, the Cessna 337 Electric EEL, and tested the technology in Hawaii in 2020. Within this project, Ampaire will test the electric EEL for the first time in the UK in Kirkwall.

Flare Bright (Technology Partner) - Flare Bright manufactures micro-drones with specialist expertise in software, control systems and electronics. Flare Bright is developing true autonomy in drones, developing technology that can fly without needing GPS or remote control. Within the SATE project, Flare Bright will develop and trial a precision air-dropped drone for delivering small items such as medicines, vaccines or critical parts to remote places cheaply and efficiently.

Windracers (Technology Partner) - Windracers have developed and flight-tested their ULTRA UAV and obtained BVLOS permissions from the CAA. In a recent project the aircraft was demonstrated, carrying 45kg of PPE from Solent Airport, Lee-on-Solent to Binstead Airfield, Isle of Wight. The ULTRA UAV will be tested on routes involving Kirkwall airport and will consider the transportation of medical supplies.

ZeroAvia (Technology Partner) - ZeroAvia is a designer and developer of zero-emission hydrogen powertrains designed for commercial air travel. Following successful flight test programme of the hydrogen powered piper M-class in Cranfield within the HyFlyer project, SATE project enables ZeroAvia to extend testing in a harsh environment.

Loganair (Technology Partner) - Loganair is a Scottish regional airline, serving over 40 routes across the UK, Republic of Ireland and Norway. In this project, Loganair’s Britten-Norman Islander and DHC Twin Otter, both of which are aircrafts identified for alternatively-fuelled propulsion, will be tested using Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). 

European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) - Based in Orkney, EMEC provides purpose-built, open-sea testing facilities for marine energy converters, and has developed hydrogen infrastructure and projects in Orkney focused on generating ‘green hydrogen’ from renewable energy. During the project, EMEC will support Kirkwall airport infrastructure development with ground support equipment for the flight trials and will investigate the future energy infrastructure requirements for the airport. As a test site, EMEC provides a template for the type of activity and business model of the project proposed within SATE.  EMEC will investigate viable long-term business models for a sustainable aviation test centre.

CloudNet - CloudNet are an Orkney-based Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) that specialises in the provision of broadband networks and services into difficult, hard to reach areas, where traditional broadband services fail to deliver. CloudNet will investigate the digital connectivity and 5G requirements of the airport.

Denchi Group Ltd - Based in Caithness, Denchi Group Ltd is a leading supplier and manufacturer of batteries and chargers to the defence, security, oil and gas and medical sectors and has interests in renewable hydrogen production, grid-scale battery storage and combined-energy vector management. Denchi will evaluate if industrial battery storage products are suitable for regional airports and suitable for supporting low-carbon airport operations.

Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) - HITRANS is the statutory regional transport partnership covering Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Orkney, Highland, Moray and most of the Argyll and Bute area. It works closely with Councils, the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, HIE, transport operators and other stakeholders to improve transport services and infrastructure in the north of Scotland and on routes to the Highlands and Islands. HITRANS will build on earlier work regarding electricity requirements and low-carbon opportunities at remote airports following completion of a Low Carbon Strategy for Kirkwall Airport in 2018 (Low Carbon Surface Access Strategies for Inverness and Kirkwall Airports, HITRANS, 2018). It will also conduct research on the provision of battery re-charging facilities with a renewable focus, and low-carbon solutions for operational aspects such as passenger and cargo transport to and from, the airport. This would complement previous work HITRANS has supported at remote airports including electric buses, electric taxis, electric bikes, car clubs and installing rapid charge points.

University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) (Academic Partner) - UHI is a distributed, regional university whose reputation is built on its innovative approach to learning. The University covers the largest geographical area of any campus-based university or college in the UK and has the largest student population in Scotland, with nearly 37,000 students studying each year. As a flourishing university for the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire, it aims to retain, attract and nurture talent in our region, reversing population decline and building innovation and socio-economic prosperity. Its distinctive research includes multi-disciplinary and trans-sectoral applications, including aircraft design and the assessment of the socio-economic and public perception assessments of renewable energy solutions. UHI will investigate the socio-economic impacts, policy and skills and training required.

Orkney Islands Council (OIC) (Non-Funded Consortium Partner) - OIC owns and operates 6 licensed airfields on the Orkney archipelago.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) (Non-Funded Consortium Partner) - HIE is the economic and community development agency for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland whose role is to develop sustainable economic growth across the region, aimed at making the region a more competitive and attractive place to live, work, study and grow. They will engage the supply-chain community to inform understand the current capability and identify gaps.