Sustainable wooden wind turbine blades being developed
November 21, 2022 | 1:25 pm CST

Stora Enso and  Voodin Blades are working to develop new all-wood turbine blades. The first 20 m blade will be developed using Stora Enso’s LVL, a mass timber product that has a high load-bearing capacity that easily supports largescale rotary blades.

Photo By Stora Enso

Stora Enso and Voodin Blade Technology GmbH have signed a partnership agreement to develop sustainable wind turbine blades from wood.

Under the agreement, the two companies are committed to developing sustainable alternatives for wind turbine blades and creating a competitive and reliable supply chain. They are currently producing and installing a 20 m blade for a 0.5 MW turbine and have plans for an 80 m blade.

Voodin Blades is a German-based start-up company developing sustainable rotor blades for wind turbines. Stora Enso is a leading global supplier of mass timber products, including LVL (laminated veneer lumber), a construction material suitable for wind power construction. The partnership supports Stora Enso’s strategic offering of innovative solutions to replace less environmental-friendly materials with renewable ones made from wood.

“With the current energy crisis and ambitious carbonization goals, wind energy has never been more in demand. Through this partnership with Voodin Blades we further accelerate our ability to develop a sustainable and competitive supply chain for the growing market of wind turbine blades,” said Lars Völkel, Executive Vice President, Wood Products Division, Stora Enso.

Wind power blades are typically produced with fiberglass and carbon fiber, energy-intensive non-renewable plastics made from petrochemicals that cannot be easily recycled. Tens of thousands of aging blades today end up in landfills. By developing blades with sustainable wood, Stora Enso and Voodin Blades can make the blades lighter and reduce the overall dependency on fossil fuel extraction.

“The wind industry as a key driver towards carbon neutrality needs to become 100% sustainable and environmentally friendly. With the installation of the 20 m blade, we are opening a path toward a more sustainable future. In time we will start to develop and manufacture blades for future multi-megawatt turbines,” said Joachim Knapp, mechanical engineer and automation expert with Voodin Blades.

Stora Enso is providing 100% sustainable wood for the new blades. The first 20 m blade will be developed using Stora Enso’s LVL, a mass timber product that has a high load-bearing capacity that easily supports largescale rotary blades. Unlike steel and concrete, LVL is relatively lightweight to transport on-site without heavy-duty equipment. Furthermore, LVL is a renewable material with a minimal carbon footprint. The 20 m blade will be installed on a 0.5-megawatt turbine near Warburg, Germany by the end of 2022.

In addition to its collaboration with Voodin Blades, Stora Enso recently announced a partnership with wood technology company Modvion to establish wood as the material of choice for wind turbine towers. 

 

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).