Airbus to host Zero Emissions Development Centre in Bristol for hydrogen aircraft vision

Pictured: The third ZEROe concept. Image: Airbus

The ZEDC will be located in Filton, Bristol, and used to design and manufacture components for zero emission flight technologies, with a specific focus on hydrogen. The site will help create hydrogen fuel systems for Airbus’ ZEROe passenger aircraft concept.

Airbus’ chief technical officer Sabine Klauke said: “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 realise the potential of hydrogen technology to support the decarbonization of the aviation industry.”

The facility will be supported by the Government’s £680m Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) funding.

Hydrogen dreams

Earlier this year, Airbus agreed to a new partnership with engine manufacturers to enable the use of hydrogen in combustion engines, with an overall aim of integrating it into a zero-emission aircraft by 2035.

Airbus signed a partnership agreement with CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines. The companies will work on a hydrogen demonstration programme, with an aim of delivering a test flight in the new few years.

Both ground and flight tests will be issued for a direct combustion engine fueled by hydrogen. The demonstration will use an A380 flying testbed equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared at Airbus facilities in France and Germany.

Airbus first unveiled futuristic concept designs for zero-emission aircraft with hydrogen as the primary power source, back in 2020. At the time, the organisation claimed that they could operate commercial flights by 2035.

Airbus said in a statement that it believes hydrogen “holds exceptional promise as a clean aviation fuel” and has been working to design the concepts for several months.

Delta has since signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become the first US-based airline to collaborate with Airbus on the latter’s existing efforts to commercialise the use of hydrogen for aircrafts.


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