The quest to electrify aviation could prompt a revival of the seaplane industry.
The adoption of new propulsion technologies has opened opportunities for new players to explore new use cases for the tried and tested seaplane concept.
The latest project to be unveiled in this sphere is NoEmi (which is short for “No Emissions”), an all-electric seaplane developed in Norway by startup Elfly. The project has been designed with the air mobility needs of that country and its long and mountainous coastline in mind.
Fitted with two electric motors, with a combined 1MW of power, NoEmi Elfly is expected to be able to cover 200km at a speed of up to 250 km/h.
The projected entry into service date is 2030, although Elfly plans to fly a prototype as soon as 2025.
Interestingly, unlike other manufacturers Elfly aims to become an operator as well. Plans are afoot to get its own air operator certificate (AOC) and to deploy the first 15 airframes on domestic services in the Norwegian fjords. The NoEmi seaplane will be available in different cabin configurations for between six and 13 passengers.
Funding for this project comes from a mix of private and public sources, including the support of the Research Council of Norway (RCN).
While Elfly’s CEO, Eric Lithun, has a background in the IT and technology industries, its CTO, Tomas Brødreskift, has several years of experience in experimental seaplane design, including several prototypes designed for private use and air racing.