The aeronautics giant Airbus announced it was going to create zero-emission development centres at its sites in Bremen (Germany) and in Nantes (Atlantic France). They will be dedicated to the aircraft of the future, and in particular to accelerate the development of hydrogen technologies.
Atlantic France is home to the 2nd largest Airbus industrial hub in France. The factory in Bouguenais, near Nantes, manufactures centre wing boxes for all Airbus aircraft models.
The centre wing box usually contains the tank, a safety-critical component that will have to be adapted for future aircrafts powered by liquid hydrogen. “LH2 is more challenging than kerosene because it needs to be stored at -250 °C to liquefy”, explains Airbus in its press release.
Cutting-edge R&D center for aircraft cryogenic tanks
The site in Nantes has been selected by Airbus to work alongside the one in Bremen (Germany) to host complementary zero-emission development centres (ZEDC) by 2023.
“The goal of the ZEDC is to achieve cost-competitive cryogenic tank manufacturing to support the successful future market launch of ZEROe and to accelerate the development of hydrogen-propulsion technologies”, states the aircraft manufacturer.
The site in Nantes was chosen for “its extensive knowledge in metallic structural technologies related to the centre wing box” and “will bring its ability to manage equally a wide range of metallic, composite technologies and integration as well as its experience in codesign activities on nacelle inlets, radomes and centre fuselage complex work packages.”
Atlantic France, an ecosystem conducive to innovation
Atlantic France offers a wide range of key assets to support innovative industrial projects. This made a difference for Airbus, which specified that Nantes was also chosen for its “innovative local ecosystem”, mentioning the technological research institute Jules Verne in particular.