Major developer picks Modvion's wooden turbine towers for future onshore wind farms

German power giant RWE Renewables is partnering with Swedish start-up Modvion to explore the use of wooden towers for turbines at future wind farms.

Modvion plans to install its first commercial wooden turbine tower later this year
Modvion plans to install its first commercial wooden turbine tower later this year

The pair plan to “verify the wooden tower technology and prepare for RWE to equip future wind farms with wooden towers, once the towers are available in the market”. 

Modvion plans to install its first commercial turbine tower made of laminated wood later this year. The tower will accommodate a Vestas V90 2MW wind turbine. The entire model including the blades is expected to be 150 metres tall. 

RES and Vattenfall have also signed similar deals to potentially use Modvion's towers, while Vestas' venture capital arm has bought into the company.

Lars Borisson, head of onshore origination and development for the Nordics at RWE Renewables, said: “We see that modular towers in laminated wood have significant market potential and can contribute to lowering the cost of new renewable electricity production by replacing steel and concrete with environmentally friendly and climate-smart wood.”

Wood is being explored as a more sustainable material with which to build some wind turbines that are typically made using large amounts of steel and other metals that need to be mined. 

One study by Swedish research institute Rise suggested that wooden turbine towers reduce the carbon emissions associated with wind conventional steel towers on a similar height by up to 90%, while their wood can also absorb carbon. 

Modvion — which builds its towers in modules that are placed on top of one another —  meanwhile claims laminated wood is stronger than steel proportionate to its weight, meaning lighter towers with less expensive reinforcements can be built.

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