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17 July 2018 - Reinhard Wirtz

Major project on the key technology of lightweight construction is taking shape

Investing in Bremen
Topping-out ceremony for the EcoMaT research and technology centre

The construction of the complex new EcoMaT research and technology centre at Airport-Stadt Bremen is at an advanced stage. Prospective tenants include Airbus and Testia, as well as a number of leading medium-sized businesses and scientific institutions. After the topping-out ceremony, work will get under way on the interior of the building.

“We can already see laboratories, offices and warehouses. There’s a lot of space … for innovation!” These are words from the speech that was given at the topping-out ceremony for the newly constructed Center for Eco-efficient Materials & Technologies (EcoMaT) at Airport-Stadt Bremen on 25 May. From 2019, this site of approximately 22,000 square metres will house around 500 specialists from science and industry, who will work on new developments in the key technology of lightweight construction.

“The EcoMaT is the central economic policy initiative for the state of Bremen and is of great importance for the local region, not only for aviation but for other industries as well,” explained Martin Günthner, Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports, at the topping-out ceremony, adding that lightweight construction – the central focus at the EcoMaT – is a fundamental key technology for Germany in many industries, including the aerospace, automotive, wind energy and shipbuilding sectors. “As a result of their joint policy document, the federal states of northern Germany, under Bremen’s leadership, have successfully made the subject a part of the federal government’s coalition agreement.” In this leading role, Bremen will “make lightweight construction a central topic at next year’s conference for economics ministers from the federal and state governments.”

Technology network in the north

“The Airbus site in Bremen has been the centre for material and process research at Airbus for many years. The EcoMaT will allow us to build on our technology network in northern Germany and develop new technologies and solutions that will further improve the performance of our aircraft. Bremen has traditionally fostered a close collaboration between science and industry, and with great success. This facility will provide even more opportunities to learn from each other,” says André Walter, head of the Bremen site at Airbus Commercial.

Richtfest EcoMaT Bremen
Michael Göbel (left), Administrative services division Director of bremeninvest, Martin Günthner (middle), Minister for Economics, Labour and Ports and Dr. André Walter (right), Airbus district manager at the EcoMaT topping-out ceremony in May 2018. © WFB / Frank Pusch

Project grant from the European Regional Development Fund for the programme content

The EcoMaT project is run by the Federal State of Bremen in collaboration with Airbus and other partners. The building is owned by H.A.G.E. Grundstücksverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, a subsidiary of Bremeninvest. The planned investment of around €58 million is to be funded through leasing. Airbus will be the main tenant at the facility. Other main tenants will include TESTIA GmbH and the Faserinstitut Bremen. A number of medium-sized businesses and scientific institutions are also leasing space here, such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). The EcoMaT is supported by Bremen’s aerospace research programme, through which existing projects at the centre can be financed. Through the programme, more than €11 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will be available to Bremen businesses until 2020.

More than 85 per cent of the space already leased

“According to the current schedule, the facility is set to open in spring 2019. For that, we must thank all those who have worked hard to make this project a success,” says Michael Göbel, managing director of Bremeninvest. A project of this kind requires close collaboration with many different partners – policy makers, prospective tenants and those directly involved in the build. The occupancy rate is also encouraging: over 85 per cent of the space is already leased and Bremeninvest is in negotiations with other prospective clients. The EcoMaT offers its tenants many advantages. Everything is within close proximity and the site offers partners the potential to share laboratories or test stands, conclude long-term usage agreements with one another or join together to increase their purchasing power.

Starting in 2019, new technologies in lightweight construction will be jointly developed at the EcoMaT
The time has come in 2019: EcoMaT will offer around 500 experts a place for their research on an area of approx. 22,000 square metres. © WFB / Frank Pusch

Synergies between science and industry

The EcoMaT at Airport-Stadt Bremen is an ambitious venture that aims to create synergies between science and industry in the fields of innovative materials and surface technology. It is currently the largest project owned by Bremeninvest. Driving the project forward on schedule will be quite a challenge: the EcoMaT is anything but a run-of-the-mill build with its many user-specific and specialist installations, and the boom in the house-building industry has led to a shortage of available skilled workers. That said, the facility is expected to go into operation in spring 2019. 

“We are currently on track with the implementation,” says Bernd Haustein, head of department for real estate, land development and high-rise construction at Bremeninvest. His department is where all the planning and coordination for this huge project comes together. The recruitment of site managers and consultant engineers has been stepped up considerably to meet the requirements of the prospective EcoMaT users and to ensure that the work is done on time. Airbus is expected to complete the first fit out towards the end of the year. But even that is no small feat: after the topping-out ceremony, a number of prospective tenants will be drafted in to assist with the interior building work as it involves complex and high-tech structures. As Bernd Haustein says with a smile: “It’s not every day that we install specialist facilities for material research or the testing of wing components.”


Bastian Müller, EcoMaT Project Manager, P +49 (0) 421 361-32292, bastian.mueller@wah.bremen.de, provides basic information about EcoMaT.

Do you have any questions about the Airport Stadt Bremen or are you interested in commercial space or real estate? Then Andreas Zimmermann, Project Manager Region Bremen South, P +49 (0)421 9600-124, andreas.zimmermann@wfb-bremen.de, will be pleased to help you.

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