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Prince Charles to visit University of Cambridge’s Whittle Laboratory to hear about ambitions for zero carbon flight



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Prince Charles is visiting the Whittle Laboratory in Cambridge today.

The University of Cambridge’s power research laboratory has ambitions to develop the world’s first zero carbon flight.

The Prince of Wales during a visit to Ely in 2018
The Prince of Wales during a visit to Ely in 2018

It is working with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), of which the Prince of Wales is the royal founding patron.

Together they aim to accelerate the innovations required to decarbonise the aviation sector to net zero by 2050.

The prince will hear about plans for the New Whittle Laboratory, which will house the National Centre for Propulsion and Power, due to open in 2022 with funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute.

It aims to revolutionise technology development, making the process at least 10 times faster and cheaper, enabling rapid development for ultra-low emission aircraft and low carbon power generation, and covering around 80 per cent of the UK’s future aerodynamic technology needs.

In pursuing zero carbon flight, it will develop trickle-down technologies that enable decarbonisation across the aviation industry and other sectors.

CISL will support the investment required for the New Whittle Lab, while engaging senior leaders in industry and government to support higher ambition decarbonisation policies.

The opening of the Whittle Lab, with Frank Whittle, centre, John Horlock, far left, and William Hawthorne, to the right of Whittle. Picture: University of Cambridge (27776180)
The opening of the Whittle Lab, with Frank Whittle, centre, John Horlock, far left, and William Hawthorne, to the right of Whittle. Picture: University of Cambridge (27776180)

The Whittle Lab is a research group within the energy division of the Department of Engineering. which focuses on improving the aero-thermal performance of turbomachines, was opened in 1973 by Sir Frank Whittle.

It was his designs that led the development of today’s systems, which power huge aircraft over long distances with minimal maintenance.

The lab, on JJ Thomson Avenue, has since played a key role in shaping the propulsion and power sectors, through industry collaborations with Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Siemens.

CISL, meanwhile, is the university’s globally influential institute developing leadership and solutions for a sustainable economy.

Prince Charles has inspired and supported initiatives including the Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme, The Prince of Wales Business and Sustainability Programme and The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group.

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