Airbus has established zero-emission development centres (ZEDC) at two European locations to focus its efforts on metallic hydrogen tanks.

The ZEDCs are set up in Bremen, Germany, and Nantes, France. They will develop liquid hydrogen (LH2) tanks once operational by 2023. The initial flight test is planned for 2025.

When compared with kerosene, an LH2 tank requires specific systems engineering. It is liquified by cooling it to under -250°C and then stored in that state in tanks for increased density benefit.

The ZEDC centre in Bremen will concentrate on system installation and cryogenic testing of the tanks.

It will benefit from years of LH2 experience within Airbus Defence and Space and ArianeGroup, as well as hydrogen research ecosystem such as the Centre for Eco-Efficient Materials and Technologies (ECOMAT).

The Nantes site was selected due to its expertise in metallic structural technologies associated with the centre wing box. The Nantes Technocentre skills and capabilities and support of the local ecosystem such as the IRT Jules Verne will benefit the centre.

The Nantes ZEDC will also be able to handle metallic, composite technologies and integration, experience in co-design activities on nacelle inlets, radomes and centre fuselage complex work packages.

Airbus will also promote cross-industry collaboration to support the move to hydrogen-propulsion technologies and related ground-based infrastructure in the region.

Recently, Airbus Helicopters invited all major stakeholders in the industry to join its newly created Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) User Group.