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Wooden wind turbines deliver climate-neutral energy

The world's energy needs continue to increase, and an increasing share of Europe's energy comes from wind power. In Gothenburg, there is a company that has the recipe for climate-neutral wind power: Modvion develops tall wind turbine towers built of wood.

Building wooden wind turbines has several advantages, but above all it enables taller towers in more places. Higher towers provide lower costs for energy, it makes wind power more attractive, which contributes to a faster transition to a renewable society.

- Wind power is already today one of the most carbon-neutral sources of electricity available. If you go from a steel tower to a wooden tower, the wind power becomes completely carbon neutral in a single step. It reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent, says Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion.

Transport and weight play an important role

A key to being able to build high is the ability to transport the different parts of the wind turbine. The higher a wind turbine is, the larger the components it is built of. Traditional towers are transported as finished cylinders and when they reach size, they become difficult to transport on roads and bridges, which are often not wide enough. A problem that Modvion's wooden towers get around, when they are transported in modules.

- When we need larger diameters, we can take the tower apart in modules and the cylinder is put together in place, says Otto Lundman. In addition, the towers are light - they weigh a third less than a steel tower. Something that is also an advantage in transport, but which is above all important when building really high.

- When the towers get taller, they also become heavier, and then you have to dimension the walls to support the tower. The heavier the material, the greater the challenge. Therefore, we have an advantage compared to steel towers, for example, says Otto Lundman.

Collaboration with RISE

If Modvion are experts in building high in wood, then RISE has been able to contribute with knowledge of wind power and wood technology. Anders Wickström, project manager at RISE with 30 years of experience in wind power development, has been involved in several projects together with Modvion.

- Wood is generally an interesting material, especially from a wind power perspective. It has good dynamic properties such as good damping, ie tower oscillations are damped out better than for steel towers, he says, and is supported by colleague Pierre Landel, researcher at RISE and doctoral student at Linnaeus University:

- It's an important thing. We do not really know how big the damping is, we are investigating this in parallel with the fact that we are building higher and higher in wood. In addition, fatigue strength of wood components and joints is crucial but not as well known as for steel technology. So the collaboration with Modvion teaches us more about wooden constructions.

RISE has been a partner of Modvion at an early stage, something that has been particularly important in the start-up phase, says Otto Lundman.

- They have been involved in several projects that we have carried out, and helped us to develop the technology. In addition, they helped strengthen our team early on, when few others believed in us.


Wood is generally an interesting material, especially from a wind power perspective.

First commercial tower

Today there is a pilot project in the form of a wooden tower on Björkö outside Gothenburg, but in 2022 Modvion will build its first commercial wind power tower, a 105 meter high tower. It will be Sweden's first and Europe's highest commercial wind power tower in wood. The tallest wooden tower to date is in Germany, and is 100 meters high.

- It will be exciting to build higher than the German tower, and interesting to get a tower that will actually supply people with electricity, rather than one used in research. I am very much looking forward to that, says Pierre Landel.

Earlier this year, Modvion also entered into a partnership with the world-leading turbine manufacturer Vestas, which is now a partner. But even more collaborations are made, the idea is that the wooden towers will be a broad solution that several players in the market use. Otto Lundman is convinced that the wind power tower of the future will be built of wood.

- Definitely, the material offers so many benefits. And we have patented what we see as the most effective solution, so we have a good position.

Photos: Modvion

Anders Wickström

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Anders Wickström

Senior Projektledare

+46 10 516 67 02

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