European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has established a research facility in the province of Kiangsu on China’s east coast. The facility will be located in the city of Sucou in the Yangzi River delta, where Airbus will focus on research in the areas of hydrogen and alternative fuels.
The company stated that the facility will benefit from the advanced hydrogen infrastructure and aviation sector supply chain in the region. Airbus’ Technical Affairs Coordinator, Sabine Klauke, announced that the company plans to work with its partners in China to develop new technologies and create a hydrogen ecosystem for a more sustainable aviation sector.
Airbus confirmed its commitment to expanding its investments and activities in China and becoming a trusted partner of the country. The establishment of the research facility demonstrates the company’s efforts to develop its footprint in the region and confirms its commitment to investing in China. Airbus also announced plans to double its production capacity by adding a new assembly line to its factory in the city of Tianjin.
The aviation sector is one of the most significant contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the aviation sector accounted for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions in 2019, and this is expected to rise significantly in the coming decades. In response, Airbus has been exploring hydrogen and alternative fuels to reduce emissions and create a more sustainable aviation industry.
The establishment of the research facility in China highlights Airbus’ recognition of China’s technological advantages in different areas, including hydrogen and alternative fuels, as well as the country’s growing aviation market. The facility’s location in the Yangzi River Delta provides access to a highly developed hydrogen infrastructure and aviation sector supply chain.
However, there are potential challenges and controversies surrounding the use of hydrogen in aviation. Hydrogen fuel cells are heavier and bulkier than traditional jet engines and require significant changes to aircraft design. Additionally, hydrogen production and storage require a significant investment in infrastructure, and the production process can produce greenhouse gases if not done sustainably.
Airbus’ commitment to researching hydrogen and alternative fuels is part of a broader trend towards developing sustainable aviation technologies. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that the aviation industry can reduce its emissions and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.