Rolls-Royce Plc launched a joint-research program into "zero-emissions aviation" with Norwegian airline Widerøe, as part of the airline’s objective to replace and electrify its regional fleet of 30+ aircraft by 2030.
The research program has support from Innovation Norway, the governmental innovation support fund and is expected to last for two years.
Rolls-Royce stated it plans to use its electrical and systems design expertise to advise on all elements of the project. The initial phase of the research is already underway and involves operational studies and concept proofing.
The Norwegian government has set a goal of achieving emission-free domestic aviation by 2040. Widerøe’s research is being supported by the government.
Currently, Widerøe operates a fleet of 43 aircraft, mainly DeHavilland Dash 8 models, but recently it has inaugurated service on four Embraer E2-190 regional jets.
Widerøe is described as the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, carrying more than 3 million passengers annually to 46 destinations in Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the U.K.
“This project will further build on our global electrical capability, which was recently boosted by the acquisition of Siemens eAircraft business and complements the electrical work we are principally doing in the UK and Germany, whilst building on the knowledge gained through the ATI supported E-Fan X program,” according to Alan Newby, Rolls’ director of Aerospace Technology & Future Programmes.