Swedish company is building wind turbine towers out of wood

And its not Ikea! 

When researching the carbon footprint of steel production, you may come across the sentence “it takes 200 tons of steel to make a wind turbine” . So how sustainable are those steel turbines?

“A two-megawatt windmill contains 260 tonnes of steel requiring 170 tonnes of coking coal and 300 tonnes of iron ore, all mined, transported and produced by hydrocarbons. A windmill could spin until it falls apart and never generate as much energy as was invested in building it.”

The steel industry is still pushing the idea that they are essential to a green future. To which Swedish company Modvion says, Oh yeah? We can build a wind turbine tower out of wood!

Windturbines from woodThere are actually many advantages to this. Not only does it avoid the carbon footprint of making all that steel, but because it is transported in sections rather than as complete tubes, it is not limited in diameter for transport like steel tubes are.

In Wind Power Monthly, Chief Technical Officer Erik Dölerud explains how they used Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) to get the strength they needed. “LVL is a loadbearing plywood structure created through laminating many very thin wood-veneer layers, making the Modvion towers 250% stronger than CLT-based equivalents.” (Learn more about the different types of mass timber here.)

CEO Otto Lundman explains how it differs from steel towers.

“Our calculations indicate that the 150-metre tower will reduce mass by about 30% and cut manufacturing costs by roughly 40% compared with an equivalent tubular steel tower with a 6-7-metre base diameter. And wood is a natural product that can often be sourced locally, creating local jobs and other added benefits.”


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