GKN Aerospace hosts aviation forum to celebrate opening of UK global technology centre

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Forum focused on a sustainable future of flight, the path to net zero emissions and the workforce of the future

Event brought together the wider UK aerospace ecosystem, including OEMs such as Airbus and Rolls-Royce, as well Government, academia, the High Value CATAPULT network and the UK supply chain

£32M Global Technology Centre, in Bristol, acts as a collaboration hub for sustainable technologyfor the next generation of fuel-efficient aircraft

GKN Aerospace today held an aviation industry forum to celebrate the opening of its new Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Bristol, UK. The event – entitled ‘Shaping a sustainable future of flight’ - brought together the wider UK aerospace ecosystem and helped promote collaboration in the industry.

Speakers during the event included Trevor Higgs, General Manager of Airbus UK, Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Rolls-Royce, as well as GKN Aerospace Chief Executive Officer David Paja and John Pritchard, President of GKN Aerospace’s Civil business.

As well as keynote speeches, two panel discussions were held, the first focused on: ‘Building a more sustainable and better connected future of flight’ and the second on ‘Developing the workforce of the future’.  An academic zone also displayed sustainable aviation solutions of the future proposed by students from Bath, UWE and Bristol Universities, with further academic input from GTC partner institutions including Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle Universities.

GKN Aerospace is fully committed to a more sustainable future and in helping the industry achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050. That work has already started and this Global Technology Centre is at the forefront of it.  We have already delivered major aerostructures for all-electric aircraft and our break-through hydrogen development is laying a clear path to zero emissions flight.

David Paja Chief Executive of GKN Aerospace

“However, no single technology and no one company can tackle this challenge alone.  It will take industry-wide collaboration, technical innovation and strong partnerships to achieve a truly sustainable future of flight.  That is what today’s event, and this centre, is all about – bringing the world-leading UK aerospace ecosystem together and agreeing how we can shape that future, together.”

The 10,000m2 centre focuses on sustainable aviation research and development, including hydrogen propulsion technologies, advanced composite structures for electric aircraft, additive manufacturing, and industry 4.0 processes to enable the high rate production of aircraft structures. The GTC has already delivered the first fully-integrated wings, empennage and EWIS to Eviation for the Alice all-electric aircraft. The centre also serves as the base for GKN Aerospace’s £54M hydrogen-propulsion development programme H2GEAR, as well as leading GKN Aerospace’s technology partnership in Airbus’ ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ technology programme.

The GTC was jointly funded by GKN Aerospace (£17M) and the UK Government (£15M), through the Aerospace Technology Institute.  At full capacity, the collaboration centre will host 300 engineers from GKN Aerospace and its partners.  It also includes a training centre, affiliated to Weston College, to provide technical skills and help develop the next-generation of aerospace engineers.