The Ohio Third Frontier Commission Wright Projects Program has recommended awarding a $3 million grant to Case Western Reserve University's Case School of Engineering and its Great Lakes Energy Institute.
The funds, combined with contributions from industry partners, will support a $6 million research center dedicated to wind turbine development and education.
Through the Ohio Wind Energy Research and Commercialization Center (Ohio-WERC Center), Case Western Reserve plans to install three wind turbines on or near campus, possibly the largest university facility of its kind in the country dedicated to innovation and commercialization. The turbines will offer opportunities for local companies to create, test and commercialize wind energy-related technologies.
“Having a small, medium and large turbine will allow companies the opportunity to ‘right size’ their market focus into the wind industry and, combined with the expertise of Case’s engineering faculty, will accelerate their market entry,” said David Matthiesen, project leader and associate professor of materials science and engineering at Case Western Reserve.
Through the Ohio-WERC Center, the university will work with local companies to advance the design and manufacture of the more than 8,000 critical components in a wind turbine. Corporate collaborators include Cleveland Electric Laboratories, Lubrizol Corporation, Parker Hannifin, Philips Group, Rockwell Automation, Wm. Sopko & Sons Co. and Swiger Coil Systems.
"Parker Hannifin decided to partner with Case Western Reserve on this project, because we needed world-class research.” said Joseph A. Kovach, Ph.D., vice president of technology and innovation for the hydraulics group at Parker Hannifin Corp. “To get that, you partner with a world-class institution.”
He continued, “We’ve been impressed by how Case is aggressively going after its stake in the energy sector with the creation of the Great Lakes Energy Institution. We were impressed with the leadership of Dave Matthiesen.”
The university also will develop educational programs around the turbines to provide hands-on educational experiences for students.
The Ohio-WERC Center will come under the umbrella of Case Western Reserve’s Great Lakes Energy Institute. The institute is working closely with the Cuyahoga County Energy Task Force, chaired by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, to develop a pilot project and applied research center for offshore wind turbines in Lake Erie. It is also part of the university’s efforts to advance energy research and education as part of its strategic plan, Forward Thinking.
Norman C. Tien, dean and Nord Professor of Engineering at the Case School of Engineering, said, “I would like to thank the Third Frontier led by Eric Fingerhut, chancellor, Ohio Board of Regents; Dr. Mark Shanahan, energy adviser to Governor Ted Strickland' and Lisa Patt-McDaniel, interim director of the Ohio Department of Development , for their leadership and support of this exciting project.”
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