Safety consultancy ARC has joined a consortium aiming to complete the world’s first zero emissions commercially viable flight.
The Edinburgh firm has been appointed to provide safety assurance expertise to the HyFlyer project which is due to trial a hydrogen-powered aircraft this year with the aim of running services to remote locations such as the Highlands and Islands.
ARC – Abbott Risk Consulting – will provide HAZOP (Hazard and Operability) Studies, risk analyses among other services.
HyFlyer, which is funded by Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), aims to decarbonise medium range small passenger aircraft by replacing conventional turboprop engines with electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells and gas storage.
The hydrogen powertrain technology has been integrated into a Piper M-Class six-seater aircraft with test flights underway in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. On June 22, it successfully completed the first-ever electric powered flight of a commercial scale aircraft in the UK.
The trials are intended to culminate in a 250-300 nautical mile (NM) demonstration flight from Orkney, the equivalent of flying to Edinburgh.
Sergey Kiselev, head of Europe at ZeroAvia, said:“We are pleased to be working with ARC as we seek to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, ensuring a sustainable future for aviation.
“The HyFlyer Project is an important part of that journey and our project goal of 300 NM is equivalent to the distance from London to Edinburgh and will prove that zero emission aviation, powered by hydrogen, can play a key role within the UK and other countries’ transport strategies – enabling net zero targets to be met and improving productivity and regional prosperity across the UK.”
Richard Ainsworth, hydrogen manager at EMEC, said: “With safety paramount, the expertise at ARC is invaluable in guiding the project consortium through the risk identification, assessment and mitigation processes. This is a strong collaboration and we are delighted to be working with ARC on HyFlyer to advance progress towards decarbonising Orkney’s lifeline services and achieve a world first in zero emission aviation.”
ARC is an employee-owned business which was founded in 2002. It has more than 100 consultants on sites throughout the UK and Australia. It provides safety, engineering and risk management support to high-risk industries such as oil & gas, nuclear, defence and rail. It has an annual turnover of around £20 million and has been listed 12th in the Sunday Times Best Companies to work for in the UK (SMEs) list.
ARC’s contribution to Hyflyer is being led by principal consultants Ed Macfarlane and Jim Tough.
Macfarlane said: “The potential for hydrogen cell technologies to enable low-carbon light aircraft to take off is very exciting. We’re pleased to have been asked to apply our expertise in safety assurance of innovative technologies for this ground-breaking project in its prototype phase.
“This technology is of enormous significance in remote locations around the world, like the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, supported by its network of short aviation routes. It also raises interesting possibilities in conjunction with remote power generation and storage concepts.”