GKN’s UK Global Technology Centre (GTC) opened its doors this autumn. 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 was jointly funded by GKN Aerospace (£17m) and the UK Government (£15m), through the Aerospace Technology Institute.

The facility 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.

Centre will host 300 engineers at full capacity

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.

Emma Gilthorpe, CEO of the Jet Zero Council, said there was no single solution towards Jet Zero and the GTC would help develop different solutions. She said: “Two key pathways – one is zero emission flight so technology and changing the way we fly using electric hydrogen and other methods and then really critically sustainable aviation fuels

“No one business has the answer to how we’re going to get to net zero by 2050 in the aviation sector and I think the fact that GKN with ATI has invested in this amazing facility is testament to how much they understand the need for collaboration.”

Russ Dunn, CTO of GKN Aerospace, added: “The most exciting thing is actually just the people.
We have already got some really, really talented young people coming to join us.”

“We’ve been recruiting people from across the aerospace industry in a set of skills that we’ve never had before. We’re creating a Centre which, culturally, is very inclusive, that values the different knowledge and skills and capabilities different people bring to the party and it’s all about the culture that allows those people to thrive and do their best every day.”