Airbus strengthens its research, innovation and development capabilities in the field of hydrogen for aviation

The major global aerospace group based in Europe, Airbus, has announced that it is strengthening both its research capacities concerning the future use of hydrogen in aviation and its innovation infrastructure in Spain. It did so by creating a new entity within its wholly-owned innovation subsidiary Airbus UpNext and establishing a third Zero Emissions Development Center (ZEDC), both located in Spain.

“The establishment of Airbus UpNext and ZEDC in Spain strengthens our research and technology footprint in the country and ensures the involvement, from the outset, of some of the best experts to support our zero emissions ambition,” said the technical director of Airbus. Sabine Klauke. Airbus UpNext serves to accelerate the development of new technologies by rapidly producing and adapting demonstrators. The function of ZEDCs is to develop new technologies to enable the achievement of zero-emission flight.

The Spanish ZEDC (the other two such units are in Bremen in Germany and Nantes in France; both were created in June this year) would focus on three main research areas. These were: power for non-propulsion applications, fuel cell cooling and fiber optic systems, and carbon fiber liquid hydrogen cryogenic tanks.

“The development of the tank is being done in a coordinated approach with other national Airbus entities,” the group noted in its statement. “These technologies are critical to powering a future zero-emission aircraft, supporting the goal of entry into service by 2035.”

The Spanish unit of Airbus UpNext will initially be responsible for both the study and the demonstration of non-propulsive hydrogen energy technologies. It will also manage the improvement of in-flight refueling operations through the application of the latest “vision-based” technologies. It will access and use the operations expertise of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, Airbus Defense and Space and Airbus Helicopters in Spain. It will also source new talents and new suppliers, in order to be able to study, develop and validate potential innovations in both products and services, enabling radical technological advances.