July 6, 2022
Airbus Opens Cryogenic Fuel Systems Research Facility
Airbus Innovation

Airbus Opens Cryogenic Fuel Systems Research Facility

DALLAS – On March 25, Airbus launched its latest Zero Emission Development Center (ZDEC) for hydrogen technologies, based in Felton, UK.

The facility’s main goal will be the research and development of a cost-competitive cryogenic fuel system. Airbus considers this system crucial for the successful entry-into-service of Airbus’ ZEROe passenger aircraft by 2035.

The UK ZDEC will complement similar complexes already operating across Europe: in Spain (Madrid), France (Nantes), and Germany (Stade for composite structure technologies and Bremen for metallic structural technologies). Airbus states that all ZEDCs are expected to be fully operational and ready for ground testing in 2023, with flight testing starting in 2026.

The latest expansion of Airbus’ hydrogen testing capabilities remarks the commitment of the European manufacturer to make the aviation industry greener. Commitment highlighted by the CEO Guillaume Faury, who in an interview with CNBC earlier this year stressed,” [aviation would] potentially face significant hurdles if we don’t manage to decarbonize at the right pace.”

Photo: Airbus

Airbus Investing Smart in the UK

The launch of the UK ZEDC highlights the willingness of the European planemaker to invest in research facilities in the UK. Indeed, it follows the opening of the $50m (£40m) AIRTeC research and testing facility in Filton in June 2021. The facility was funded by the ATI and Airbus, to deliver the next generation of aircraft wings, landing-gear systems, and fuel system designs.

Both the ZDEC and AIRTec will benefit from the recent commitment by the UK Government to guarantee $863m (£685m) funding to the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) over the next three years to support the development of zero-carbon and ultra-low-emission aircraft technologies. This envisions the goal of the government to support green jobs and meet its ambitious net-zero targets. 

Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer, commented, “Establishing the ZEDC in the UK expands Airbus’ in-house industrial capabilities to design, develop, test, and manufacture cryogenic hydrogen storage tanks and related systems for the ZEROe project across Airbus’ four home countries. This, coupled with our partnership with ATI, will allow us to leverage our respective expertise to realize the potential of hydrogen technology to support the decarbonization of the aviation industry.”

Featured imagE: AirbusZEROe Blended-Wing Body. Photo: Airbus

A Milan, Italy-based commercial aviation enthusiast since discovering the world behind flying an aircraft. Always wondering what the latest airlines' strategy will be.

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