Airbus opens new research center in Germany for hydrogen aircraft program 


Airbus has announced it is preparing to open a new ZEROe Development Centre (ZEDC) at its facility in the German city of Stade, near Hamburg. 

The new facility will research composite solutions for storing and distributing cryogenic liquid hydrogen. 

The development of a new family of hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2035, the so-called “ZEROe” program, which the European manufacturer announced in September 2020, presents a number of technological difficulties that Airbus aims to solve by stepping up its investment in hydrogen technology. 

One of these key areas is the handling and storage of liquid hydrogen onboard aircraft. 

Hydrogen is stored more efficiently in liquid form, but this requires it to be stored at ultra-low temperatures of –253 degrees Celsius, which presents a rather formidable technological challenge. The ZDEC will focus on the development of composite materials applications to address this particular aspect of hydrogen propulsion. 

Airbus expects some of the findings from this program to be applicable to other aircraft programs. 

The Stade ZDEC, which will receive public funds from the Lower Saxony government and other German public institutions, will join Airbus’ network of ZDECs.  

Other ZEROe research centers have already been set up by the planemaker at its facilities in Bremen (Germany), Nantes (France), Madrid (Spain) and Filton (United Kingdom), with each focusing on a specific aspect of the development of the future hydrogen-powered aircraft family. 

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