Representatives from the University, the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Rolls-Royce, Charnwood Borough Council and Leicestershire County Council got construction work underway by turning the first turf.
The National Centre will put Loughborough at the heart of UK aerospace engineering and technology development. It will focus on the development of future low emission aerospace combustion systems that will reduce the environmental impact of aircraft.
Rolls-Royce will be a lead partner in the project, building on the existing relationship between Loughborough University and Rolls-Royce.
The Centre will allow industrial problem-owners to visit and work closely with academic researchers to ensure that new technologies are translated from theory to practice as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
It will also become a training ground for current and future aerospace engineers in a critical skill area for the UK.
The new building will include laboratory and office space, which will sit alongside the existing Unsteady Fluid Mechanics Laboratory – part of the Loughborough-based Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) – on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park. The facilities will be available to a range of users from a variety of industrial sectors.
Professor Robert Allison, Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University, said: “We were delighted to welcome our partners to campus to mark the commencement of work on the new building. The National Centre of Excellence will be a significant addition to Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park and reinforces our commitment to provide a world-class research and development base, skilled graduate supply and innovation partnership opportunities.”
Dr Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer at the ATI, said: “The aerospace industry has a vision to reduce the environmental impact of aircraft, and the Aerospace Technology Institute is fully supportive of programmes that support the development of technologies that will achieve this aim. We are proud to support Loughborough University’s National Centre in Combustion and Aerothermal Technology. The facility will be key to the UK’s development of future low-emission aerospace combustion systems, which will reduce the environmental impact of aircraft, and it will also provide supply chain opportunities and spill-over benefits into other sectors.”
Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer, Rolls-Royce, added: “I was delighted to attend the ceremony marking the beginning of work on the new National Centre in Combustion and Aerothermal Technology. This new Centre will strengthen the existing strategic partnership between Rolls-Royce and Loughborough University. The new Centre will also help develop the next generation of highly skilled engineers and scientists who will play an important role in developing the advanced technologies needed by Rolls-Royce and the aerospace industry to meet international environmental performance targets.”
Last year the Government awarded £10.8 million of funding towards the new facility. The funding is being delivered through a partnership of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the ATI and Innovate UK. Additional financial support is being provided by Rolls-Royce and Loughborough University.
It is expected that the Centre will be operational in 2019.