The tallest wooden wind turbine in the world is put into operation


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150 meter tower built of wood. Image: Modvion
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Wood and wind. A combination that promises to be the protagonist of the energy of the future. It’s from Modvion, a Swedish company that just launched the first wooden turbine. 150 meters high to the tip of the blade, the innovative tower is made with 144 layers of laminated wood, pressed and inserted into multiple cylinders 16 to 24 meters high, which are stacked on top of each other at the wind turbine installation site. The turbine is located at Gothenburgin western Sweden and already supplies electricity to 400 households.

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The tower is made of cylindrical fragments of wood. Image: Modvion

Today’s world demands higher and higher turbines, able to withstand stronger winds. One of the biggest challenges of this type of generators – in their steel versions – is logistics, i.e. transport, installation and maintenance. Faced with this difficulty, designers emphasize this the wooden model is much easier to move and installbecause towers can be built in smaller modules that are easier to transport.

“Industry wants to build turbines with a blade tip height of 300 meters, which means a tower 200 meters higher. Thanks to modularity, this can be achieved,” Otto Lundman, the company’s managing director, explained to the BBC. The company claims that towers of this type could reach a height of 1,500 meters and that starting at 150 is a good starting step.

“Bridges, tunnels and winding roads are not a problem for us,” says Modvion. Tall steel towers need additional bracing to support their weight, while wooden towers do not. In addition, modular steel towers require a large number of screws that require regular inspection. However, the parts of the modular wooden tower are only connected with glue.

100% clean energy, indeed

as we know wind energy is cleaner than any other. However, the manufacturing process of giant steel towers involves the use of fossil fuels and other dirty processes. The wooden tower eliminates the carbon footprint. It also converts turbines to carbon negative. Because the carbon dioxide contained in wood is only released into the atmosphere when the wood burns or rots. If the wood remains intact, it saves carbon dioxide.

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144 sheets of wood that form the pillars of the tower. Image Modvion

About 200 trees were used in Gothenburg Tower. They are made in Scandinavian fir, a species native to the mountainous regions of Europe, whose light-colored wood is widely used in carpentry. Modvion says that sustainability has also been thought of here, as its reforestation exceeds deforestation.

It also highlights the benefits of wood against threats such as fire or moisture. Pressed wood is difficult to ignite because it is too dense. The side exposed to fire would only burn at a very predictable and controllable rate. It is naturally waterproof to deal with humidity issues.

The company announced that aims to open a plant capable of producing 100 modular wood turbines per year by 2027. “The industry currently installs 20,000 turbines a year,” Lundman said. “Our ambition is that within 10 years, 10% of these turbines will be made of wood,” he added. The project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.


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