The Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development (IAWIND) has awarded a $300,000 research grant to Christoph Beckerman, a University of Iowa professor of mechanical and industrial engineering.
IAWIND says the grant – to be matched by Clipper Windpower and North American Ductile Iron Co. – will be used by Beckermann and his staff to study more reliable and higher-quality casings that are less prone to failure in the field.
The goal of the research is to develop methodology for advanced casting of wind turbine components that result in reduced weight, greater reliability, and longer life, thus providing lower cost of electricity.
One utility-scale wind turbine alone requires 15 tons to 20 tons of iron castings per megawatt. Wind turbines installed in the U.S. have resulted in an annual $3 billion industry for steel or cast iron components.
The U.S Department of Energy has identified manufacturing improvements as critical to growth of the wind industry, according to IAWIND.