Sweden is building the world’s biggest wind turbine made of wood. The project, created by a wood technology company and a Danish wind turbine manufacturer, is predicted to be operational before the end of the year.
Modvion is the wood company from the project, which will design a tower that is 105 meters in height, or 150 meters including the height of the blades. By comparison, most wind turbines built in the US measure about 80 meters on average, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
This is the first commercial installation for Modvion, and the project is being built for the energy company Varberg Energi, which based in the municipality of Skara in Sweden.
The Modvion team said that height matters when it comes to catching wind. The company claims that wood towers more efficiently reach the sky than other materials, reducing costs. Part of the reasons is that they don’t need as much reinforcement to support their own weight. The lighter materials also make for easier transport.
Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer, is producing a 2 MW turbine that will be mounted on the tower. Vestas has been a shareholder of Modvion since 2021, though this is the first time Modvion’s tower technology will be paired with turbines from Vestas.
The partnership comes at a time when the world is suffering from record heat, which is putting pressure on electric grids, increasing the urgency for renewable energy, and reducing carbon emissions. Countries around the world are ramping up their wind and solar technology, with the UK recently declaring that it set a new record for wind power generation in 2020.
Wooden towers produce far less carbon during manufacturing, and the material also stores carbon. According to Modvion, towers within wind technology typically emit the most carbon, and switching to wood creates a negative carbon component, storing more CO2 than is produced during production.
Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion, said in a statement, “This is the start of a new green industry. By using Nordic raw materials and Swedish technology, we can enable climate-neutral wind power for a growing global market.”
The wooden tower is made from laminated veneer lumber (LVL). Modvion manufactures the wooden modules at its new factory in Gothenburg. The structure is created and assembled at the construction site into seven sections. The company started the work by laying the foundation earlier this year and transported the modules to the site where section assembly has already begun.
The result is a wooden tower that is lighter than the steel used in most wind turbines, and the design allows for transportation on standard roads without the need for permit procedures. Modvion said the project as also being more cost-effective compared to steel wind towers.