Airbus builds low energy, low emission paint facility

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

Airbus has designed and built an innovative paint booth for its new-generation A350 XWB jetliner that is claimed to use less energy than standard facilities, while also minimising CO2 emissions.

The company’s livery painting process requires a constant temperature of 21 to 26°C, as well as a humidity rate between 45 and 70% – which presents a challenge during summer and winter months, when more energy is needed to overcome hot or cold outside temperatures and maintain the necessary conditions for painting.

Now in service at Airbus’ Saint-Nazaire plant in France, the new paint booth recovers heat from the paint shop using a rotary heat exchanger called an Enthalpic wheel. To complete the system, the project team replaced gas-heated boilers with a CO2 heat pump – heating water to 85°C and furnishing 21°C inside the booth, eliminating the CO2 emissions from gas combustion.

Project leader, Pascal Danthony said: “This project is giving a 67% saving in energy use and an 86% reduction in CO2 emissions, with the remaining 14% CO2 emissions coming from the electrical power required for fans and the heat pump.”

He added: “The huge advantage of this project is that it can be applied across all our paint shops on other sites. With a return on investment of four years, this project is really leading the way for future energy reductions and achieving zero CO2 emissions from our industrial processes.”

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