Wooden towers set to cut carbon footprint from future wind turbines
In Sweden, power utility major Vattenfall AB and laminated wood engineers Modvion AB have entered into collaboration on using wooden towers for onshore wind turbines, a venture expected to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the manufacturing of wind power by at least 25 percent. Vattenfall will be assessing Modvion's wooden tower for potential use in future wind farms.
Earlier this year Modvion 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 is being used for research purposes.
During their life cycles, Vattenfall’s wind turbines already have very low levels of climate-impacting emissions. We want to drive those levels down even further. We see that wooden towers can be part of our solution for decreasing our carbon dioxide footprint, which can complement the work we are already doing with fossil-free steel as an example, said Daniel Gustafsson, Vattenfall’s head of land-based wind power development in Sweden.
Emissions reduction and carbon storage
Approximately one-quarter of the climate impact that arises when manufacturing wind turbines comes from the tower, normally constructed of steel and sometimes concrete. Going forward, steel will continue to be used in many parts of the wind turbines, but wooden towers can become an important addition.
By building towers of wood, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by manufacturing can be radically reduced, while the CO2 absorbed by trees as they grow is also stored in the wooden towers. In addition, certified sustainable wood raw material is used, which means, among other things, that new trees are planted.
Vattenfall has solid experience in wind energy construction. By working together, we can hasten the development of the next generation of wind farms. With towers made of wood, wind power can potentially become fully climate neutral, said Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion AB.
Modvion and Vattenfall have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to enter into a business development project for evaluating building technology and commercialization with the aim of supplying wooden towers to Vattenfall.
Vattenfall’s portfolio has the potential of approximately 5 GW for projects on land, under development, or in the process of being built on its various markets.
We see great benefits in building wooden towers, not only for the climate but also in lowering the cost of new, renewable electricity generation. We are determined to make fossil-free living happen within one generation and this may be a vital step along the way, said Daniel Gustafsson.