Danish wind energy giant Vestas has boosted its investment in Swedish wood technology company Modvion, which specialises in making wooden wind turbine towers that it claims are “stronger than steel”.
Modvion uses laminated veneer lumber (LVL), a bio-composite material, to build turbine towers that can be taller than existing towers because, according to Modvion CEO Otto Lundman, they are “stronger than steel at the same weight” and can be built in modules.
Modvion says its towers present the opportunity of reducing carbon emissions through the turbine tower’s value chain by as much as 80%. Because LVL towers are stronger than steel but lighter, that also means there are cost reductions to be found in wind turbine builds.
“To tackle the climate crisis, we need more renewable energy and increased use of sustainable, wooden constructions, and Modvion’s technology enables both,” Lundman said.
In April 2020, Modvion successfully erected Sweden’s first wooden wind tower, a 30-metre wooden wind tower that the company is using for research purposes ahead of plans to build their wooden turbine towers at a commercial scale starting in 2022.
And in February of this year, Vestas Ventures made its first official investment, as a step towards “cultivating cutting-edge technologies”.
“Our collaboration with Modvion holds significant potential to help accelerate the energy transition and further increase sustainability within the wind energy industry,” said Bo Svoldgaard, Senior Vice President and Head of Innovation and Concepts at Vestas.
Vestas isn’t the only wind energy or renewable energy company interested in its wooden towers. Modvion already has an ongoing collaboration with Italian renewable energy company Enel Green Power and has also signed letters of intent for its wooden wind turbine towers with Sweden’s Vattenfall, as well as with Rabbalshede Kraft and Varberg Energi.