University of Iowa researchers receive US$99,150 grant to develop simulation tool to predict dynamic interaction between wind turbine gearbox, blade wind loads, will lead to lower-cost wind energy

IOWA CITY, Iowa , November 1, 2010 (press release) – Pablo Carrica, University of Iowa associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and faculty research engineer at IIHR— Hydroscience & Engineering, has been awarded a $99,150 research grant from the Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development (IAWIND).

The research will lead to more reliable turbines which ultimately results in lower-cost electricity from wind energy. Carrica and his research team will develop a simulation tool to predict the dynamic interaction between a wind turbine gearbox and the wind loads on the blades. By modeling the complete interaction between structure (blades, shaft, operating gearbox, tower, alternator, etc.) and fluid, vibrations and dynamic loads on the shaft and gearbox can be predicted more accurately, while simultaneously predicting the effects of mechanical temporary oscillations in the machine on the aerodynamics of the system.

The grant falls under the IAWIND long-term research funding set aside to advance Iowa’s wind industry ( It is intended to prioritize future research needs, develop a plan to address these needs, and to develop proposals aimed at Federal agencies to secure a broader research base.

In 2009, IAWIND received a $3 million, three-year overall grant from the Iowa Power Fund, a part of the Iowa Office of Energy Independence. The $3 million grant was approved to implement research, training and education needs expressed by numerous wind energy companies. Some elements of the grant have an industry match, while all of the elements will serve to further stimulate wind industry development in Iowa. This grant is structured to incentivize faculty researchers and wind energy businesses in Iowa to partner on projects that directly impact the industry. Iowa holds the No. 2 national position in wind energy generation capacity.

IAWIND ( is a virtual alliance among Iowa’s Regents universities, community colleges, industry, and the Iowa Department of Economic Development, designed to support the state of Iowa in its efforts to continue to attract and nurture wind energy and related industries. It is designed to serve as a catalyst for the growth of wind energy, and to support and to facilitate the research and training needs of wind energy companies.

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