Swedish engineering and Industrial design company Modvion AB has recently erected Sweden's first wooden wind power tower. The 30-metre high wooden tower is as strong as steel and was raised on the island of Björkö outside Gothenburg and will be used for research purposes. But already in 2022, the first wooden towers will be built on a commercial scale.
Based in Gothenburg, Modvion develops demanding designs using glue-laminated (glulam) wood, nature’s carbon fibre for large-scale construction. Wooden structures enable radical emission reductions by replacing emission-intensive materials such as steel and concrete.
This is a major breakthrough that paves the way for the next generation of wind turbines. Laminated wood is stronger than steel at the same weight and by building in modules, the wind turbines can be taller. By building in wood, we also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing and instead store carbon dioxide in the design, said Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion.
The wind power tower now erected on Björkö is 30 metres high and will be used for research purposes. The activities are financed by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Västra Götaland Region and the EU programme Horizon 2020 SME Instruments Phase 1.
But already in 2022, the first wooden towers will be built on a commercial scale. Modvion has signed Letters of Intent with municipal energy company Varberg Energi AB for a 110-metre high tower and with power utility Rabbalshede Kraft AB for 10 towers, at least 150 metres high.
The 30-metre tall tower was built together with glulam manufacturer Moelven Töreboda AB, a Swedish subsidiary of Norwegian wood products major Moelven Industrier ASA. The lower weight of the wood and the modular concept make it possible to build taller towers, the sections of which can be transported on public roads.
Wood has fantastic properties and we need to build much more in wood if we are to meet the climate goals. For us, it is hugely inspiring to participate in this pilot project where we have been able to use renewable wood in a design for the production of renewable energy, said Johan Åhlén, CEO of Moelven Töreboda.
According to Modvion, the wind towers in wood can be built at a significantly lower cost than steel, which lowers the production cost of the wind power generated electricity. The carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbed by trees as they grow is stored in the wooden towers, which means that the wind turbines are climate-neutral right from the start.
The Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre at Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers) in Gothenburg is the client for the wooden tower on Björkö.
Wind power is expected to be the EU’s largest power source as early as 2027. With wind towers in wood, we get even more climate-smarter renewable electricity to face the climate crisis,” says Ola Carlson, Director of the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre and Assistant Professor of Renewable Power Generation.