Wooden wind turbines gain traction in Europe, could come to U.S.
February 18, 2021 | 11:04 am CST
SWEDEN - Demand is increasing for wind power in Europe, forcing turbines to produce more and more power. They're getting bigger as a result. This is creating logistical problems.
Now enter Modvion, a small Swedish start-up specializing in turbines made from laminated-veneer lumber (LVL). The company's towers feature a patented modular system, enabling them to be easily transported and set up on site. They also feature many of the same advantages of cross-laminated timber.
"Laminated wood is stronger than steel at the same weight and by building in modules, the wind turbines can be taller," says Modvion CEO Otto Lundman. "By building in wood, we also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing and instead store carbon dioxide in the design."
The company just received an investment from Vestas, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.
“The reduced weight of Modvion’s towers could allow for increased ease of transportation in logistically challenged markets,” Bo Svoldgaard, Vestas’ head of innovation and concepts, said in a statement.
Modvion installed its first turbine - a 100-foot tower for research purposes - on a Swedish island last April. It plans to build its first commercial tower in 2022.
The company hopes to expand into the U.S., saying its material builds upon the established laminated wood veneers already used in the construction industry.
Wind power has grown in the U.S. over the last few years. In 2019, wind power made up 7.3 percent of all generated electrical energy - surpassing hydroelectric power for the first time.
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