Modvion Wind Turbine: sustainable wind energy thanks to wood
15 September 2023 Sustainable construction
Wind power and PEFC-certified timber are combining to provide a new direction in energy production and sustainable construction with a 105-metre wind turbine tower made of responsibly sourced laminated veneer lumber (LVL) from Metsä Wood.
Swedish wood technology company Modvion are currently installing a ‘timber wind turbine tower’ that will be the tallest of its kind using LVL supplied by the Finnish wood product company Metsä Wood. Modvion is developing innovative solutions for wind turbine towers and replacing carbon emission-heavy materials such as steel and concrete with PEFC-certified birch and spruce plywood.
The tower will be the company’s first commercial installation and is being built for the energy company Varberg Energi, in the municipality of Skara in Sweden. Metsä Wood is a key supplier to Modvion for Kerto® LVL, which has a huge strength-to-weight ratio resulting in lighter towers with less need for expensive reinforcements.
Kerto® LVL’s high material efficiency makes it ideal for sustainable construction and is highly versatile. Alongside the technical benefits of LVL, it also creates a reduction in carbon emissions. According to a lifecycle analysis conducted by the Swedish research institute RISE, a wooden wind turbine tower radically reduces emissions when compared to a steel tower of the same height and load.
While the tower is the component that usually emits the most carbon, Modvion’s timber tower is carbon negative, storing more CO2 in the wood than is emitted during production. To ensure carbon storage even further and add to the circularity of the project, Modvion plans to reuse the wood after the wind turbine tower is decommissioned.
“Building renewable energy with renewable materials can enable net-zero energy production from wind,” said Pär Hallgren, Head of Procurement at Modvion.
“Metsä Wood is an important partner in our journey to become a leading supplier of the next generation of sustainable wind turbine towers, which will also make us potentially one of the largest buyers of LVL. The volumes of wood needed for a Modvion tower is between 300 – 1200 m³ depending on the height and load. That means an LVL carbon storage capacity between 240 – 950 tonnes CO2eq per tower.”
A two-megawatt turbine will be mounted on the tower, produced by the leading Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas. Including the blades, the total height of the wind turbine will be 150 metres.
“Wood enables building higher towers at a lower cost, which makes wind power more efficient since winds are stronger and more stable higher up. That gives you more electricity from each permit to build wind turbines,” says Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion.
“This is the start of a new green industry. By using Nordic raw materials and Swedish technology, we can enable climate-neutral wind power for a growing global market.”