Ricardo and LMS International Launch North American Wind Energy Innovation Center

Two leading Michigan-based design, engineering and testing companies – Ricardo, Inc. and LMS International – will jointly market their wind energy expertise in North America through the new North American Wind Energy Innovation and Development Center. The companies made the announcement at the American Wind Energy Association’s Windpower 2010 Conference and Exhibition.

The North American Wind Energy Innovation and Development Center is an umbrella organization through which equipment suppliers, government agencies, utilities and other renewable-energy stakeholders can draw on the deep technical expertise and facilities available at Ricardo’s Detroit Engineering Center in Van Buren Township and LMS North America’s engineering offices in Troy. Services will include individual component and systems-level design, development and integration, as well as software-based modelling and simulation, and physical testing of both new and legacy systems in the lab or in the field.

"The United States has evaluated what it would take to generate 20 percent of its power needs from wind energy by 2030, and it will require hundreds of new installations, more efficient and reliable turbines, significant cost reductions and upgrades to the transmission infrastructure," said Kent Niederhofer, president of Ricardo. "These are all areas where Ricardo and LMS have individual experience. Collectively, and with other experienced companies in southeast Michigan, we represent a complete ‘center of excellence’ that can help accelerate the growth of the wind energy market."

"Developing more energy from sustainable sources like wind is a national priority, and Michigan is one of the few places in the world with the concentration of design, engineering and manufacturing expertise to make it happen," said Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. "The North America Wind Energy Innovation and Development Center will be a catalyst for the kinds of innovation that are critical for job creation and necessary to meet our environmental and energy independence goals."

According to U.S. Department of Energy estimates, the U.S. wind energy sector will need to generate nearly 1.16 billion megawatts of electricity in 2030 to meet a 20 percent scenario, up from 35,000 megawatts today.

The incremental investment in wind power generation required to meet that target is $43 billion, or two percent more than the cost of meeting future energy demand with no new investment in wind power. Currently, 36 states have utility-scale wind projects, according to AWEA.

Ricardo and LMS have extensive global experience in the global wind energy market.

* Ricardo is engaged in designing new wind turbine gearbox, drivetrain and nacelle test facilities, and is participating in a number of industry- and government-funded wind programs in the United States and Europe. In early 2010, the company announced its leading role in a project to extend wind turbine bearing service life by up to 500 percent using Ricardo-patented technology.
* Ricardo is collaborating with HORIBA Automotive Test Systems, which has offices in Troy and Ann Arbor, to design and engineer a new 15-megawatt drivetrain test system for offshore wind generation.
* LMS has worked extensively with wind turbine manufacturers and suppliers to help them resolve issues, research future advancements and improve their engineering processes. LMS is a trusted supplier of engineering software, test systems and engineering services to optimize designs for quality, durability, noise and vibration reduction, and multi-domain system simulation.

"By combining our highly complementary skills and expertise, we are creating a team capable of addressing the current issues and transforming the future of wind energy in North America," said Dave Young, general manager, LMS North America.

Added Marc Wiseman, Ricardo vice president, clean energy, "Global companies like Ricardo and LMS have amassed an incredible reserve of hardware and software engineering talent, equipment and program management expertise in Michigan that we can deploy together in a seamless and integrated way anywhere in North America to support renewable-energy projects. There’s nothing like it anywhere else."

Ricardo is a leading independent technology provider and strategic consultant to the world’s transportation sector industries. The company’s engineering expertise ranges from vehicle systems integration, controls, electronics and software development to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel cell powertrain technologies. Its customers include the world’s major vehicle, engine and transmission manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers and leading motorsport teams.

LMS is an engineering innovation partner for companies in the automotive, aerospace and other advanced manufacturing industries. With a unique combination of 1D and 3D simulation software, testing systems and engineering services, LMS tunes into mission-critical engineering attributes, ranging from system dynamics, structural integrity and sound quality to durability, safety and power consumption. With multi-domain solutions for thermal, fluid dynamics, electrical and mechanical system behavior, LMS can address the complex engineering challenges associated with intelligent system design.