Skellefteå strengthens its leading position in electrified aviation

If everything goes according to plan, Skellefteå can make history in terms of electrified aviation. Here is the world's most sustainable pilot academy, a test bed for battery- and hydrogen-powered flights and soon one of Europe's largest droneports. The team at the ELIS program with Henrik Littorin, Magnus Wiklund and Annelie Viksten tell us more about the continued plans for electric flights in Skellefteå.

Skellefteå strengthens its leading position in electrified aviation

The development program for electrified aviation in Skellefteå continues to evolve in response to the increasing demand for sustainable transport solutions. Skellefteå has unique conditions to drive the development of electric aircraft, drones, and mobility. All necessary components are in place, such as proactive actors, research, an active business community, and a supportive municipal leadership. Combined with our cold, harsh climate, green electricity, and growing need for sustainable transport, these factors allow us to take a leading position and be a key player in advancing development.

The presence of the world's most sustainable pilot academy, Green Flight Academy, in Skellefteå is a crucial component. This means that Skellefteå Airport is one of the airports worldwide with the most electric aircraft flights, with access to a 1MW power supply for charging.

The ELIS program is a vital part of this work, and each year, the development program for electrified aviation continues to progress. The focus of the work includes developing the testbed for battery- and hydrogen-powered aircraft at the airport, building and commissioning the drone airport at Hammarängen, and developing projects that lead to the faster commercial implementation of electric aircraft and drones in Skellefteå and other locations.

Work continues to establish a system demonstrator for hydrogen-powered aviation in Skellefteå. The project will demonstrate the entire value chain in real-world conditions, from green hydrogen production, transportation to the airport, handling of hydrogen at the airport, refueling aircraft, and flights to and from Skellefteå with a nine-seat plane. Currently, funding applications necessary for the demonstrator are being planned. If the timeline holds, the first testflights could take place at the end of 2026, potentially among the very first in Europe. The goal is to implement hydrogen-powered regional flights to and from Skellefteå as soon as possible. Battery-electric flight is also being developed, with ongoing research projects involving Luleå University of Technology, Uppsala University, and commercial actors.

After the summer, one of Europe's largest droneports will be completed in Skellefteå. It will provide a unique environment for testing, development, and commercialization of drones and related technology. The droneport will also be able to handle vertical take-off and landing vehicles for passenger transport, known as eVTOL.

The droneport is unique as it is part of the urban environment and can function as a hub for commercial and public utility drone operations as soon as airspace regulations permit. This winter, drone flights will be conducted at the droneport as part of a Vinnova project.
During the summer, Skellefteå Municipality will connect its drones to Telia's 5G network and advanced software to plan and execute drone flights related to property maintenance. The hope is that the droneport will accelerate the commercialization of useful drone services both locally, nationally, and internationally.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us.

//Henrik Littorin, Annelie Viksten, and Magnus Wiklund from the ELIS program

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The ELIS Program is a development program for electric aviation with the ambition to become a leading hub for research, development, and commercialization of electrified aviation in Sweden and beyond. The program is facilitated by Skellefteå Science City and funded by Skellefteå Kraft, Skellefteå Airport, and Skellefteå Municipality.

 

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