Airbus launches Spanish lab to study hydrogen fuel cells and tanks

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Airbus is to open another research facility developing composite hydrogen fuel cells and storage tanks in Spain as it moves closer to testing the first tanks in 2023.

The Spanish Zero Emission Development Centres (ZEDC), which will be run by an Airbus UpNext subsidiary, joins similar ZEDC in Nantes, France, and Bremen, in northern Germany. Unlike the Nantes and Bremen facilities, the Spanish ZEDC will develop composite tanks, a lighter but longer term option for hydrogen fuel storage on board aircraft.

The Nantes and Bremen ZEDCs were opened in June this year and are developing metallic hydrogen storage tanks.

The Spanish ZEDC will work closely with Airbus’ existing composite materials researchers based in Stade, Germany and Airbus Commercial Aircraft, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defence and Space in Spain.

The Spanish Airbus UpNext subsidiary will also develop hydrogen fuel cells to demonstration stage,  cooling systems and fiber optics as well as  “future tanking operations applying advancements in vision-based technology”, said Airbus.

“Establishing Airbus UpNext and the ZEDC in Spain strengthens our Research & Technology footprint in the country and ensures the involvement, from the start, of some of the best experts to support our zero-emission ambition,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer.

Airbus is targeting an entry-into-service of a zero-emission aircraft by 2035.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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