What’s the next step in improving efficiency and performance in the wind-power industry? A public-private partnership in Ohio is aiming to find out, breaking ground on the country’s first Wind Energy Research and Development Center.
The center, a partnership between Stark State College, the Stark County Port Authority and the Timken Company, is positioning itself to provide new solutions for the renewable energy sector by focusing on improving the mechanical systems of wind turbines and the key components used in providing wind energy. At the new center, Timken said it will develop ultra-large bearings and seals that replicate those used by large wind turbines, while Stark State students will be able to research, test and design new wind-turbine bearing systems.
Canton, Ohio-based Timkin is one of those very large companies you don’t hear much about because its products don’t have a sexy public face. But it calls itself a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered bearings, alloy steels and related components and assemblies, and had sales over $4 billion in 2010.
The 18,000 square-foot center will anchor Stark State’s new Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres of property adjacent to the Akron-Canton Airport. The center will bring 65 new jobs to the area, and will be a training ground for new technicians, the Timkin announcement said. The $11.8 million facility was created with joint funding from the partners involved, inlucing $6 million from Timken; $2.1 million from Ohio’s Third Frontier Commission; and $1.5 million in loans from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority’s Advanced Energy Jobs Stimulus Program.