Hydraulic wind turbines: a more cost-effective solution for renewable energy generation

Interdisciplinary Areas: Power, Energy, and the Environment

Project Description

Power generation through renewable wind energy is a well-accepted sustainable technology to meet societal energy demands [1]. 
The proposed research will demonstrate the potentials of hydraulic power transmission for a more cost-effective wind power technology. In particular, the research will identify the best closed loop hydraulic architectures that connects one or more hydraulic pumps installed at the nacelle to one or more hydraulic motors at the base level [2]. This technology will permit to replace current mechanical gearboxes in an arrangement that reduces both weight of the nacelle and maintenance cost. The variable transmission ratio offered by the hydrostatic transmission will also permit to better follow the natural fluctuations of the wind with respect to current fixed ratio mechanical transmissions.
The research will also study the use of hydraulic technology to enable off-grid applications such as sustainable farming as well as production of fresh water through desalination. 
The research will embrace both numerical modeling and experimental activities, and it will be performed at the Maha Fluid Power Research Center, the largest fluid power laboratory in the nation. 

Start Date

Fall 2019

Postdoc Qualifications

Experience with fluid mechanics, fluid power. 


Prof Andrea Vacca, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, https://engineering.purdue.edu/Maha/

Prof Luciano Castillo, Mechanical Engineering, https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME/People/ptProfile?resource_id=173054


1. Castillo L., Gutierrez W., Gore J., 2018. Renewable Energy Saves Water and Creates Jobs, Scientific American, Aug 2018 (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/renewable-energy-saves-water-and-creates-jobs/)

2. Cai M., Wang Y., Jiao Z., Shi Y. 2017, Review of fluid and control technology of hydraulic wind turbines, Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, Sept. 2017, vol. 12, issue 3, pp 312-320.