Elfly Group is to forge ahead with the production of a full-scale prototype of its all-electric commercial seaplane, the Noemi (No-Emissions), following confirmation of a $8 million-plus grant from Enova SF, Norway's Ministry of Climate and Environment.
The award underlines the Norwegian Government's commitment to transition to a low emission society and its ambition to make domestic flying emission free by 2040. Elfly Group will support this goal when Noemi flies, by reducing CO2 emissions by approximately three million tonnes worldwide by 2050. Having been awarded more than $10 million in soft funding, combined with matched funding from early investors headed by the company's founding CEO Eric Lithun, Elfly can now progress key milestones at its Jarlsberg facility.
“Our team is delighted by the recognition and endorsement of Noemi, our all-electric seaplane,” says Lithun, and he thanks Enova and Espen Barth Eide, Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment, for recognising the business case and aligning with our programme as a viable solution.
Elfly's amphibious Noemi, backed by Norway's Innovation Research Foundation SINTEF, is being designed for flexible regional mobility in the country. With its design inspired by a boat, whose hull will enable the aircraft to take off using little power, the Noemi prototype (non-passenger version) is being readied for first flight in 2025. The seaplane is being designed for 200 km commercial air journeys, flying at up to 250 kmh, from 2030.
Carrying from nine to 13 people, Noemi will be powered by two electric motors with up to one MW combined output and lithium batteries. It will have an unpressurised cabin, large windows and large access door.
Following the selection of Electric Power Systems as battery supplier, Elfly's next priority is to confirm its engine provider.
The Group's vision is to operate 15 Noemi aircraft on its own air operator certificate (AOC), focusing on its home market first and developing its own infrastructure, creating connections between the country's 1,000 plus fjords and 450,000 lakes. Thereafter, it intends to explore opportunities in other short hop markets, given that 80 per cent of the world's population lives by the sea.
“Many Norwegians live by fjords and lakes, but need access to hospitals, big cities and connections to the world. Our fjords can be turned into potential floating airports without destroying nature. While the country is home to 5.5 million people, we consume 10 times more travel, the equivalent of a population of 55 million. First and foremost is the need for sustainable travel, which we believe will also enable many economic opportunities for coastal communities,” says Lithun.