The New Whittle Laboratory

Accelerating the development of decarbonisation technologies in aviation and beyond.

The New Whittle Laboratory

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Modern aviation and power generation have brought many benefits — connecting people across the world and providing safe, reliable electricity to billions — but decarbonisation of these sectors is now one of society’s greatest challenges. While there is a strong public desire to combat climate change, there is also an increasing demand for air travel and energy. 

At the Whittle Laboratory, we believe the only way to resolve this conflict is to accelerate technology development — the transformation of inspiration into industry application — to enable the urgent delivery of novel technological solutions for a carbon-neutral future.

The impressive work undertaken by the Whittle Laboratory, through the National Centre for Propulsion and Power project, demonstrates the University’s leadership in addressing the fundamental challenges of climate change. The development of new technologies, allowing us to decarbonise air travel and power generation, will be central to our efforts to create a carbon-neutral future.

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge

The New Whittle Laboratory

The New Whittle Laboratory, housing the National Centre for Propulsion and Power, is designed to revolutionise technology development, making the process at least 10 times faster and cheaper.

The state-of-the-art facility will allow for the scale-up of recent pioneering trials undertaken at the Whittle Laboratory. This will enable rapid technology development for ultra-low emission aircraft and low carbon power generation, ensuring that the UK remains a world leader as these sectors enter a period of unprecedented disruption.

The New Whittle will be vital in helping the UK to maximise the economic opportunities of becoming a greener economy and in meeting its commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In the past, technical innovations from the Whittle Laboratory made mass air travel a possibility. In the future, its unparalleled academic prestige and strong industrial links will give it a unique role in decarbonising mass air travel and power generation and enabling new forms of flexible air transport.

Professor Richard Prager, Head of the Department of Engineering

The New Whittle and West Cambridge

The New Whittle Laboratory will be situated in West Cambridge, close to the new Department of Engineering, the new Cavendish Physics Laboratory and the Department of Computer Science and Technology. The West Cambridge development brings together the University’s world-class science and technology expertise and is designed to support collaborations with commercial partners, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Just 50 years ago, at the opening of the current Whittle Laboratory, Cambridge and its industrial partners faced the challenge of making mass air travel a reality. Now the New Whittle Laboratory will enable us to lead the way in making it carbon neutral. We must do what Cambridge has always done, and step up to the challenge.

Professor Rob Miller, Chair in Aerothermal Technology and Whittle Lab Director

How to get involved

Our vision is to build a cutting-edge laboratory, transforming propulsion and power research and education in the 21st century. We will also create a space for industry leaders and academics to come together to develop cleaner, more sustainable, and more flexible aerospace and power sectors.

In order to realise this vision, we are seeking to partner with individuals or organisations interested in supporting the New Whittle Laboratory project. A range of high-profile naming opportunities will be available in the new laboratory and opportunities for donors to be involved at all levels.

Find out more

To learn more about supporting the Whittle Laboratory and to explore opportunities for philanthropic partnership, please contact:

Victoria Thompson

Senior Associate Director — School of Technology

+44 (0)1223 330947

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Related content

Global Cambridge: Achieving zero-carbon flight and land-based power

In this webinar Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Neely OBE, moderated a conversation between Professor Robert Miller, Director of the new Whittle Laboratory, and Cambridge alumna Dr Masha Folk, now working at Rolls-Royce. Together they discussed the ways The new Whittle Laboratory (and the National Centre for Propulsion and Power) will scale world-leading capability in rapid technology deployment to around 80 per cent of the technologies required to decarbonise aviation and power generation.

Global Cambridge: Achieving zero-carbon flight and land-based power

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The Centre, based at Cambridge’s Whittle Laboratory, will play a key role in accelerating the decarbonisation of flight and power generation.
Professor Rob Miller and researchers at the Whittle Laboratory
Gift announcement
The Centre, based at Cambridge’s Whittle Laboratory, will play a key role in accelerating the decarbonisation of flight and power generation