Wind turbines are becoming greener. Swedish startup Modvion has shared its ambitious plans to build a 60-metre wind turbine made entirely of wood, which will then be sold to a utility that supplies clean energy to local homes and factories.
The project will be realised outside Skara, Sweden, a country with a long history of using wood for different projects (such as windmills, churches, and skyscrapers).
The wind turbine’s main component is Finnish spruce, laminated for strength and protection against the natural elements. The modules are stacked on trucks at a factory in Gothenburg, Southern Sweden, and then glued together on site.
The construction process is both automated and manual. Each module is slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle by robots that sew notches into the ends of the modules. However, each piece is perfected by hand by the companies’ carpenters.
Once the construction is complete, it will be the world’s tallest wooden turbine ever made.
Greener Wind Turbines: The Sustainability of Wood
Wind power is a clean and renewable source of energy. However, its construction materials and processes can hinder its environmental benefits. The startup aims to increase the positive effects without undermining the planet.
Steelmaking is responsible for about 8% of the energy industry’s CO2 emissions, while wood is renewable. With the whole construction made of wood, Modvion’s tower will reduce the construction carbon footprint by more than 90%.
“The world is facing a climate crisis, and we need to switch energy sources,” Chief Executive Officer Otto Lundman said after watching the lift. “Wind power is one of the most efficient and attractive that we have. We increase that value further.”
At the same weight, laminated wood is also stronger than steel, which means that wooden turbines can support bigger blades and generate more electricity with less reinforcement — and at a lower price.
The cost reduction is considerable if we look at future maintenance, too: A typical steel tower requires manual checks by workers; a wooden tower can be inspected by a drone instead.
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The Italian Enel Green Power SpA, which signed a cooperation agreement with Modvion, has considered the cost reductions. “We are currently monitoring their development so that we are ready to use the technology once it is available for large-scale applications,’’ said Nicola Rossi, head of innovation at Enel Green Power.
“We expect our collaboration to increase,” said Todd O’Neill, chief executive officer of Vestas Ventures. “Many of our customers have proactively inquired to learn how they can be a part of Modvion’s journey.”
🇪🇺: The @EU_Commission's Wind Power Package Action Plan is an important step in the right direction to deliver clean, affordable, and secure energy for Europe. Read more about our stance on it: https://t.co/R5FXtvu7GK@vonderleyen @MarosSefcovic #EUGreenDeal #EnergyTransition
— Vestas Wind Systems (@Vestas) October 24, 2023
“We are not really stressed about the heights,” said David Olivegren, the inventor of the wooden wind turbine. “We are going to have more advantages as the industry goes higher.”
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Module lift. Featured Photo Credit: Modvion.