The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus bundles the developments in the field of metallic hydrogen tanks at the Bremen and Nantes locations. To this end, two new zero-emission development centers have been set up.
The aim of the ZEDC is to achieve a cost-efficient production of cryogenic tanks in order to support the successful future market launch of the ZEROe concept and to accelerate the development of hydrogen propulsion technologies. The design and integration of tank structures is critical to the performance of a future hydrogen aircraft.
The technology developments will cover the entire product and industrial capabilities of individual parts, assembly, system integration and cryogenic tests of the liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank system. Both ZEDCs will be fully operational by 2023 to build LH2 tanks, with an initial flight test planned for 2025.
Airbus chose the Bremen location because of its diverse setup and decades of LH2 experience within Defense and Space and the ArianeGroup. The ZEDC in Bremen will initially concentrate on the system installation and on the entire cryogenic tests of the tanks. In addition, the ZEDC will benefit from the broad research environment at the Bremen location on the subject of hydrogen such as the Research and Technology Center (ECOMAT) and from other synergies from the aerospace industry.
Airbus chose the Nantes site in order to benefit from its extensive knowledge of metallic structural technologies in connection with the wing center box, including the safety-related center tank for commercial aircraft. The ZEDC in Nantes will bring its ability to equally coordinate a wide range of metal and composite technologies and integration, as well as its experience in co-design activities on engine nacelle inlets, radomes and complex work packages on the mid-fuselage. The ZEDC will also benefit from the skills and abilities of the “Technocenter Nantes”, supported by an innovative research environment such as the IRT Jules Verne.