National Centre for Propulsion and Power gets boost from the Garfield Weston Foundation

National Centre for Propulsion and Power gets boost from the Garfield Weston Foundation

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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.

Modern aviation and power generation have brought many benefits — connecting people across the world and providing safe, reliable electricity to billions. But rapidly decarbonising these sectors is one of today’s greatest challenges. The Whittle Laboratory at Cambridge believes that a crucial part of the solution lies in re-engineering the technology development process itself — dramatically cutting the time to translate innovative ideas into zero-carbon products and reducing the period required to deliver the UK government’s ambitious net-zero targets.

For 50 years, the Whittle Laboratory has made critical advances in both the aviation and power sectors, making it one of the world’s leading centres for power and propulsion research. Partnering with Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Siemens, and more recently with companies such as Dyson, Reaction Engines and Lilium, the Whittle has led the transformation of both computational and experimental methods, developing and successfully translating hundreds of low emission technologies into practical products.

In 2019 the UK government’s Aerospace Technology Institute, in collaboration with the University and industrial partners Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Siemens and Dyson, decided to establish The National Centre for Propulsion and Power (NCPP) at the Whittle Laboratory. This was based on pioneering trials that saw the timescale required to design, build, test and learn from a concept cut from months to days, a time reduction of a factor between 10 and 100. The National Centre will provide an unparalleled experimental capability, scaling this rapid test capacity to a wide range of decarbonisation challenges, including those described in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

“The strategic goal of the Centre is to combine this new rapid technology development capability with the Whittle Laboratory’s pioneering research and global industrial network. This integration will be central to ensuring that the UK leads the race to decarbonise flight and power generation.”

Professor Rob Miller, Director of the Whittle Laboratory

Garfield Weston Foundation support

Based on the Whittle’s track record of excellence and its compelling vision for the future, the Garfield Weston Foundation has committed its support to the NCPP’s Future Propulsion and Power Halls. The Halls will be the focal point of the Centre’s extraordinary testing capacity, which is critical to the Whittle Laboratory’s accelerated throughput of zero-carbon technologies. Their flexible design will ensure that they link to the existing Whittle facilities and to the expansion planned as part of the broader Whittle Laboratory redevelopment. The Wolfson Foundation also recently committed its support to the NCPP’s Future Propulsion and Power Halls.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope remarked:

“I am delighted that the Garfield Weston Foundation is supporting the new National Centre for Propulsion and Power at the Whittle Laboratory. Accelerating new technology development is critical to the decarbonisation of the aviation and land-based power sectors. The Centre’s vital work demonstrates the University’s leadership in addressing the fundamental challenges of climate change and creating a carbon-neutral future.”

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, commented:

“Our Trustees are delighted to support the National Centre for Propulsion and Power at the University of Cambridge, which will deliver critical research and technology advances to address the decarbonisation challenge. Based at the renowned Whittle Laboratory, this state-of-the-art rapid test facility will enable a dramatic increase in the pace of technology development in the aviation and power sectors, at a crucial moment in our response to climate change.”

Find out more

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

Victoria Thompson

Head of Development — Technology

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