Firms to produce wooden turbine blades to give wind industry ‘sustainable future’

Renewable materials firm Stora Enso and Voodin Blades have signed an agreement to produce turbine blades made from wood as an alternative to carbon fibre and fibreglass.

Stora Enso's sawmill in Austria (Pic credit: Stora Enso)

Under the partnership, German start-up company Voodin and Swedish firm Stora Enso will begin producing blades made from laminated veneer lumber (LVL).

They are currently producing a 20m blade for a 0.5MW turbine near Warburg in Germany by the end of the year and they also have plans to produce an 80m blade made from the material.

Sustainable future

Stora Enso said the partnership was devised to provide an innovative solution to replace “less environmentally-friendly materials” with renewable products made from wood.

Blades for wind turbines are typically produced with fibreglass and carbon fibre, as well as “energy-intensive” plastics that cannot easily be recycled and the firms said “tens of thousands” of them end up in landfills.

The firms said that developing blades made from sustainable wood made them lighter and would reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Joachim Knapp, mechanical engineer at Voodin Blades, said: “The wind industry as a key driver towards carbon neutrality needs to become 100% sustainable and environmentally friendly… we are opening a path towards a more sustainable future.”

Some turbine firms, such as Siemens Gamesa and GE Renewable Energy subsidiary LM Wind Power, have already produced sustainable blades made from the traditional materials.

Vestas is also working on a three-year project to develop recyclable blades which can be broken down into carbon fibre and epoxy resin so the materials can be used again.

Easy transportation

Stora Enso and Voodin Blades said that - in addition to the high load-bearing capacity and low carbon footprint of wooden blades - another advantage was that LVL is relatively easy to transport to the site of wind farms without heavy equipment.

Earlier this year, Stora Enso announced a partnership with wood technology company Modvion to produce wooden turbine towers. Last month, Modvion signed an agreement with RES Nordics to supply its wind farms with 20 wooden towers per year from 2026 to 2036.