Nexans spearheads technological advancement with next generation high-voltage cable for aerospace decarbonization
09 June 2023
4 min
  • Nexans launches a new high-voltage cable range for aircraft that aligns with aerospace industry requirements to be carbon neutral by 2050.
  • The new cable range has a higher power density, with partial discharge free operation over a wide range of voltages and altitudes.
  • As part of the “Clean Aviation” partnership, Nexans will play a significant role in reaching the program’s energy efficiency and emissions goals, leading to a potential reduction of up 90% in emissions varying by the type of aircraft.

Nexans, a leader in the design and manufacturing of cable systems and services, has launched a new high-voltage cable range for aircraft. With an efficiency higher than the previous generation, this cable family is a decisive step to reaching the carbon neutral objective in the aerospace industry by 2050.

The need to consume less fuel is rapidly growing, driving the aerospace industry to change mobility technologies to alternative hybrid-electric aircraft. To support the next generation of aircraft, Nexans new high-voltage cables allow for a higher level of power without increasing the conductor’s diameter and weight.

Previewed at the Paris Air Show, Nexans new high-voltage cables for electrical and hybrid aircraft, and E-VTOL (Electrical Vertical Take-Off and Landing Vehicules) fit the requests from the Aerospace industry to reduce its carbon footprint, and the agenda of the French governement and the European commission to develop an innovative solution to integrate electrical and hybrid engines in aircraft.

Nexans high-voltage cables are 20 times more efficient than standard aircraft cables. They can be used from 600V to 6,000V (AC, DC, PWM) when the standard aircraft voltages are ranging from 28V DC to 115V or 230 AC. They have higher power density (power/mass), using a patented design with semi-conductive and high resistivity layers which are extruded as sandwich layers. This guarantees a partial discharge free operation over a wide range of voltages and altitudes. A partial discharge is an electrical discharge that partially bridges a gap between a high-voltage conductor and a low-voltage conductor. Partial discharge causes degradation and can lead to system breakdown.

This new step represents a major advancement for power transmission systems and the development of innovative and sustainable cable solutions in the aerospace sector. Nexans is applying its expertise to the development of multiple new-generation electrical technologies that are an integral part of sustainable flight. We are developing high-voltage cables to pave the way for the reduction of carbon emissions across the sector.

Thomas Hähner

Aerospace Technical Director, Nexans

As part of the “Clean Aviation” partnership, Nexans will play a significant role in reaching the program’s energy efficiency and emissions goals, leading to a potential reduction of up 90% in emissions varying by the type of aircraft.

Nexans’ high voltage cables will be produced at its Draveil site in France, which employs 260 people.

Nexans launches the first low-carbon power grid cable offering in France
02 May 2023
5 min
  • The first range of low-carbon power grid cables available on the French market guarantees a minimum 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to standard cables.
  • This offer is built on the guaranteed use of low-carbon aluminium and recycled plastic, as well as the use of renewable or decarbonised energies in manufacturing the cables. Products are 100% manufactured in France.
  • Access to the CO2 data of these cables is guaranteed so that all the players in the chain can monitor and optimise their carbon emissions.

Nexans is launching a new range of low-carbon distribution grid cables, the first on the French market. By adopting a holistic approach all along the value chain and throughout the cable life cycle, the Group has succeeded in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of its low- and medium-voltage cables from 35% to 50%, depending on the products.

This unprecedented offer represents a new stage, fully illustrating the Group’s commitment to decarbonised electrification. We are proud to introduce it in France: this illustrates the commitment of our teams to sustainable development, from our global Ampacity R&D center in Lyon to our factories, via the marketing and purchasing teams.

Yvan Duperray

Executive Vice-President of the Power Distribution Cables & Accessories business, Nexans

The Group’s ambition: to reduce the cable industry’s carbon footprint…

The manufacturing of one kilometer of energy network cable currently generates a volume of CO2 representing two to three times the average annual emissions per inhabitant in France. These emissions come mainly from the aluminium conductor, which alone accounts for between 70% and 90% of the total footprint, followed by plastics, transport and the manufacturing process.

In order to reduce the carbon footprint of its products by more than one-third, Nexans acts-on:

  • The guaranteed use of 100% low-carbon aluminium (produced during the electrolysis phase, using decarbonised electricity), in line with the objectives of the Aluminium Forward 2030 coalition of which the Group is part, and which is aimed at speeding up the sector’s decarbonisation;
  • The use of up to 50% recycled plastic in the insulation and/or sheathing;
  • Targeted actions on the manufacturing process and transport;
  • Increased selectivity in the choice of suppliers based on their environmental performance;
  • 100% French production at its plants in Jeumont and Bourg-en-Bresse.

A further advantage lies in the fact that Nexans provides all the environmental data for its products (PEP Ecopassport®) to enable power distribution operators, installers and distributors to manage their carbon emissions. On request, the Group also performs a carbon assessment per project or per customer.

… and over the entire life cycle of a cable

The environmental footprint of a cable is also measured beyond its manufacturing. Approximately 90% of the total emissions from grid cables are generated after they are put into service, due to the energy loss, known as the “Joule effect”, which accumulates over decades of use.

In line with its E3 ambition (Economy, Environment, Engagement), Nexans offers a range of solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of the cable over its entire life cycle:

  • Engineering studies to determine the optimal cable type and cross-sections over the entire life cycle depending on the application;
  • Innovative cable solutions, such as the EDRMAX® medium voltage cable, which can be buried as is, with no need for a sand bed, thanks to its reinforced sheath – thus reducing the CO2 emissions stemming from its installation by 10%;
  • Digital solutions to increase our customers’ productivity: the ULTRACKER® range;
  • Innovative technology via RecyCâbles (joint venture between Nexans and SUEZ) for the recycling copper and aluminum cables, promoting the circular economy.

Nexans’ new low-carbon power network cable offering illustrates Nexans’ capacity for innovation and its strong commitment to sustainable development, as the Group is recognized as a global leader in climate action by several extra-financial assessment bodies. This first offer is part of an ambitious Nexans carbon trajectory, validated by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), aimed at reducing emissions by 4.2% per year between 2019 and 2030.