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1 December, 2020 - 09:42 By Tony Quested

New SATAVIA hires boost aviation CleanTech mission

Cambridge aerospace startup SATAVIA has made significant new hires to accelerate progress towards its NetZero mission of eliminating 60 per cent of aviation-related climate change – or two per cent of human-induced climate change. 

A new technology chief and communications standard bearer have been recruited to add commercial edge to the young business.

2020 has been a glory-fest for SATAVIA, which was picked for the UK Government’s Tech Nation Applied AI 2.0 Programme and SVC2UK Scale Up Club 2020 as well as receiving a Top 50 European Startup Prize for Mobility 2020 and a Solar Impulse Foundation Efficient Solution Label. 

More recently, SATAVIA was highly commended in the 2020 Barclays Entrepreneur Awards – in the Barclays Eagle Labs Innovation Award category – which recognises entrepreneurs transforming their industries; in SATAVIA’s case, the aviation industry.

“We’re now looking to build on our existing achievements to leverage our technology capacities for transformational environmental impact,” said CEO Dr Adam Durant, “and our new team members can help us do that more effectively.”

Daniel Baker is the new chief technology officer with responsibility for managing technology innovation, development, and delivery. As well as BSc degrees in computer science and biological science, Baker has over 12 years’ corporate experience spanning the energy and environment sectors in contexts ranging from startup companies to national government. 

He has particular expertise in emissions trading, a key aspect of climate impact assessment. 

He gained vital experience working as a data analyst at New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Agency with responsibility for managing the country’s $5 billion carbon offset budget. 

Dr Conor Farrington now directs SATAVIA’s communications and marketing operations. Prior to joining SATAVIA, he spent more than 10 years researching and writing on cutting-edge technology at the University of Cambridge, with features in publications ranging from The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal to Science and The Lancet. 

He holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and is a senior member of Hughes Hall, Cambridge, currently in the process of launching a Centre for Climate Change Engagement. 

Dr Farrington also writes and lectures on politics and is keen to broker SATAVIA’s burgeoning involvements with policymakers. “Like all tech companies, SATAVIA’s success depends on clear and effective engagement with key stakeholders, including legislators and regulators,” said Conor. “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to get involved with a company using cutting-edge tech to make aviation more climate-friendly.”

Earlier in 2020, SATAVIA received £1m investment from Cerebrum Tech in addition to embarking on projects with the European Space Agency (€1.9m), EU Horizon 2020 and the Aerospace Technology Institute (£1m). 

SATAVIA is also working closely with Cambridge Spark. Four graduate apprenticeships have been brought onboard from Cambridge Spark’s graduate apprenticeship scheme.

SATAVA’s proprietary software platform, DECISIONX, combines best-in-class technology from software engineering, data science, aerospace engineering, and atmosphere and climate science. 

DECISIONX is hosted by Microsoft Azure, providing scalability, security, and ultra-high-performance cloud compute. 

Dr Durant says: “We can currently generate a digital twin of the atmosphere from ground-level up for 20 per cent of the world’s surface. The next step is to scale this up for the entire globe, enabling a whole suite of applications. We’re focusing on aviation for now but the sky’s the limit!”

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