Jeroen Peeters, Senior Design Researcher at RISE, started the seminar with describing what the FAIR project is and providing examples of how the future of aviation could look like.
– Electric aviation is in fact not that far off in the future, small electric airplanes for 9–19 passengers are full on in development right now and will be on the market soon, Peeters says.
First, Peeters showed how the Volta booking app for regional electric voyages could look like. Then he provided an example of a soundscape that consists of how a trip from Lycksele to Vaasa on an electric flight could sound like in the future.
Lars Westin, Professor in Regional Economics at Umeå University, was next in line with a presentation of the rise and fall of regional aviation. He talked about aviation from a historical perspective. He explained that regional aviation has been ongoing in the Kvarken region since the 1960s. Due to increased centralization from the 1990s onwards, air traffic has been concentrated to larger hubs, and smaller aircrafts for regional aviation has almost disappeared.
Isak Brändström, Strategy consultant, and Andreas Forsgren, Head of department at Tyréns, presented why electric aviation is suitable for the Kvarken region. Forsgren explained that good connections are needed when considering the growing battery collaborations.
– This cross-border region has at least two natural barriers – the sea between Sweden and Finland, and the mountain ranges between Sweden and Norway. The infrastructure system is focused on north-south transportation and the east-west links in this region are much less developed which gives us weak east-west communications and the travel times follow thereafter, Forsgren explains.
The low environmental impact is one of the main arguments for electric aviation.
– Electric aircrafts have zero operational emissions, however there are emissions related to producing the energy and the aircraft itself, as well as maintenance of the aircraft. With the Nordic energy mix, we have a low climate impact from the whole life cycle of an electric aircraft. It is close to the climate impact of a train, Brändström explains.
– The more efficient motors and the lower need for maintenance for electric aircrafts means that the costs for operating electric aircrafts will be lower compared to conventional aircrafts of the same size. That will also mean that the costs for passengers will be lower and that means that we could have more competitive ticket prices, Brändström continues.
Arne Smedberg, CEO of BioFuel Region, presented some of the technical aspects needed to support electric aviation at airports in the future, for example charging infrastructure.
Antti Mäenpää, Assistant Professor at the University of Vaasa, talked about electric aviation as a new industry in the Kvarken region. According to him it could become a local industry in the future, consisting of components and travelling opportunities. Anna Måtts-Fransén, from Vaasa Region Development Company (VASEK), acted as the moderator of the seminar.
Watch the live stream recording HERE.
If you’re interested in hearing more about electric aviation, you’re welcome to participate in Transportforum in Linköping on the 16th–17th of June 2022, and the FAIR final conference on the 20th–21st of September 2022 in Skellefteå.
”FAIR is an Interreg Botnia-Atlantica financed project developing a methodology to support an early and efficient commercialization of electric-powered regional flights in the Kvarken region.”