The Timken Company, Stark State College and the Stark County Port Authority officially broke ground on a Wind Energy Research and Development Center today, the first of its kind in America. At the facility, Timken will develop ultra-large bearings and seals on sophisticated equipment that replicates the operating environment of large multi-megawatt wind turbines.
The $11.8m research and development center represents a collaborative effort between Timken, Stark State College, the Stark County Port Authority and Stark Development Board. The center will anchor Stark State’s new Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres of property adjacent to the Akron-Canton Airport, on the borders of the City of Green in Summit County and Jackson Township in Stark County, Ohio.
“We are very pleased to launch such an important project for the wind energy industry,” said Douglas Smith, Timken’s senior vice president of technology and quality. “The groundbreaking was the first step toward improving the performance and efficiency of the mechanical power transmission systems used in the wind energy industry. Being able to simulate real-world conditions at full-scale puts us in a unique position to rapidly assess and qualify new solutions for the industry.”
The 18,000ft² center will secure 65 jobs directly, while creating a unique research practicum and technical certification program for Stark State College students, offering them critical experience conducting research, developing new designs and testing large wind-turbine bearing systems. It also will provide critical training for current and future technicians across the spectrum of operating services required by today’s wind turbine manufacturers and operators.
“Stark State College is delighted to partner with The Timken Company in creating this new Wind Energy Research and Development Center,” said John O’Donnell, of Stark State College. “The groundbreaking is an exciting first step to develop industry-leading clean energy academic programs and provide future job opportunities for students.”
Joint funding for the project combines more than $6m invested by Timken; $2.1m from Ohio’s Third Frontier Commission; and $1.5m in loans from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority’s Advanced Energy Jobs Stimulus Program.