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16 March, 2021 - 21:39 By Tony Quested

SATAVIA-Dubai alliance to cut aviation’s climate impact by two-thirds

Cambridge aerospace company SATAVIA is to work with leading global aviation players after winning a coveted place in Aviation X Lab, a highly exclusive international incubator for green aviation initiatives.

Aviation X Lab aims to shape the impending era of carbon-negative aviation, impacting one billion people through a sustained programme of funding and collaboration. 

Working with the Dubai Future Foundation and based in the United Arab Emirates, the high-profile incubator brings together five global aviation giants: Emirates, Thales, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation and Airbus.

From an original panel of 107 applicants, SATAVIA was one of only two finalists to be selected for the prestigious scheme. The Cambridge start-up will now collaborate with Aviation X Lab partners on a ground-breaking trial of their contrail prevention technology, targeting aviation’s indirect climate impacts through optimised flight planning.

SATAVIA CEO, Dr Adam Durant said: “Contrails formed by aircraft at cruise account for up to 60 per cent of aviation’s climate impact. Our DECISIONX:NETZERO platform can transform aviation’s green credentials by preventing contrails forming in the first place. We’re excited to begin demonstrating our capability with the Aviation X Lab partners.”

SATAVIA’s contrail prevention capability builds on a ‘digital twin’ of the entire atmosphere, hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform for security and scalability. 

By using weather prediction modelling to quantify atmospheric changes in heat, sunlight, pressure, temperature, cloud-cover, and many other factors, SATAVIA’s DECISIONX:NETZERO platform can generate hyper-resolution global forecasts of contrail risk at multiple altitudes from ground-level to low earth orbit.

“Our unique capacity to forecast contrail risk means we can optimise flight planning for greener aviation, making simple changes to altitude and routing to minimise contrail formation,” said SATAVIA CTO, Dan Baker. “It’s a simple tech fix with incredible potential for climate-friendly aviation.”

In the course of their Aviation X Lab engagement, SATAVIA will receive hands-on support, logistics, research, resources, peer feedback, mentorship, and close collaboration with leading players in the global aerospace ecosystem. 

“While aviation contributes only 3.5 per cent of global climate impact, we know technology and innovation can drive this number down,” said Amna Al Redha, Aviation X Lab Manager. 

“SATAVIA’s solution has gained a level of confidence from the industry that justifies further backing and Aviation X Lab will help them move to the next level, leveraging our world-leading partners to accelerate the path to wider commercial adoption.”

Aviation X Lab comes at a busy time for SATAVIA with large projects for the European Space Agency (€1.9m) and the Aerospace Technology Institute (£1m) alongside Innovate UK Covid-19 work and ongoing contracts with Airbus and French aerospace giant Safran. 

SATAVIA was also chosen for the UK Government’s AI Tech Nation Applied AI 2.0 Programme and SVC2UK Scale Up Club 2020, in addition to being recognised as a Top 50 European Start-up Prize for Mobility 2020 and a Solar Impulse Foundation Efficient Solution Label. 

Last November, SATAVIA was highly commended in the Barclays Entrepreneur Awards, in the Barclays Eagle Labs Innovation Award category, and recently received a cofinitive #21towatch award.

SATAVIA’s green aviation offering extends beyond optimised flight planning to embrace a whole product approach, explained Dr Durant. 

“DECISIONX:NETZERO not only prevents contrails, but also quantifies flight-by-flight climate benefit in a rigorous, scientifically-proven way. That means we can set up an accredited platform and create a new global market in indirect carbon offset trading. 

“As such, our upcoming Aviation X Lab involvement will get us further and faster down the road towards smarter, greener aviation!”

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