Airbus To Open Hydrogen Tech Development Center in the UK

Photo: Airbus
Photo: Airbus

LONDON – The European company pins hope on hydrogen tech for the future of aviation as the aircraft manufacturer looks to go green in an ever-demanding world for cleaner travel.

Airbus Selects Historic Site For Future Focus

Airbus will open a tech center called a Zero Emission Development Center (ZEDC) in Filton, UK. Airbus will develop new technologies that will produce a new cost-effective cryogenic fuel system for its ZeroE hydrogen-powered commercial planes, which is fortunately in development. Airbus is pinning hopes on this particular energy for the future of aviation. 

The ZEDC will provide positive externalities to the UK government and Britain as a whole. The British government will guarantee at least £685 million of funding to the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). The funding is expected to last over the next three years.  This shows the commitment of the British government to supporting the development of zero-carbon and low-emission aircraft. Airbus’s ZeroE program engineers have begun the development of a narrowbody-class, hydrogen-powered aircraft scheduled for entry into service in 2035.

This elevates Britain as a potential hub for Hydrogen tech. Airbus chief technology officer Sabine Klauke. “Establishing the ZEDC in the UK expands Airbus’s in-house industrial capabilities to design, develop, test, and manufacture cryogenic hydrogen storage tanks and related systems for the ZeroE project across Airbus’s four home countries,”

Discover the three zero-emission concept aircraft known as ZEROe in this infographic. These turbofan, turboprop, and blended-wing-body configurations are all hydrogen hybrid aircraft.

“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.” 

In addition, Airbus also says the development at the UK ZEDC will be at a large industrial scale, and that it will boast one of the best research and development capabilities centers in Europe, which will range from components to whole-system and cryogenic testing. Furthermore, the fuel systems development will be “one of the most complex technologies crucial to the performance of a future hydrogen aircraft.” stated Airbus. 

Potentiol of Expansion as Demmand Rises

There are also rumours to erect a new building parallel to Airbus’s existing fuel test facility. Airbus forecasted that this new facility will plan to hire 50 people in the early phases of opening by 2024. 

The ZEDC will complement Airbus’s capabilities in the research development and technology arena at least in Britain. This new ‘initiative’ will also increase the company’s portfolio and thus making it more competitive. Airbus has ZEDC’s facility in the States, Germany and Madrid (composite structure technologies) and in Nantes, France, and Bremen, Germany (metallic structural technologies). 

The European manufacturer has high expectations of these ZEDC’s facilities, and that the ground testing capability with a fully functional cryogenic hydrogen tank will begin next year. 

The newly launched ZEDC in the UK comes after the opening of the AIRTeC research and testing facilities in Filton , solely dedicated to wings, landing gear, and fuel system and is jointly funded by the ATI and Airbus. The Fulton facility costs £40 million as a whole. 

All in all, it looks like Britain is still a favourite place for the conglomerate to invest in when it comes to new green technology. 

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