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08 March 2010
08. March 2010 Commercial Aircraft

Promoting greener thinking in heat and power generation


As part of its commitment to reduce air transport’s impact on the environment, Airbus is minimising its carbon footprint and conserving energy with eco-efficient new techniques at production sites in France and Germany.

Airbus has initiated a trio of innovative programs at manufacturing sites in France and Germany that underscore the company’s commitment to eco-efficiency across its operations.

A new agreement will supply 22,000 tonnes of wood annually to heat two key Airbus facilities in Toulouse, France: the Clement-Ader Hall, which houses the A330/A340 production facility; and the future A350 XWB final assembly line. A locally-sourced mix of plantation and waste wood will be used to fuel two steam-generating burners that are expected to begin operating during mid-2012.

Switching from gas to wood as an energy source will cut more than 18,000 tonnes of CO2 output yearly and earn Airbus 10,000 carbon credits for emissions trading.

Next year, Airbus will introduce another eco-efficient method at Toulouse’s A350 XWB systems testing facility, which will save some 140 tonnes of CO2 annually. A system based on sun-tracking Fresnel reflecting mirrors – which eliminate the need for an electrical compressor – will use solar power to cool water and pre-heat incoming air at the site. If successful, these mirrors could be installed at other Airbus facilities to further reduce carbon production companywide.

Finally, Airbus employees in Stade, Germany have developed a way to use waste gas from power generation to produce inert gases, which are needed to operate this facility’s autoclave for curing of composite parts. In just 12 months, Airbus was able to save enough energy to cover the cost of the project, which garnered the Stade team a company award for excellence.

These programs demonstrate Airbus’ progress toward the goals of its EADS parent company, which is committed to lowering group energy consumption by 30 per cent and halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to figures achieved in 2006.

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