First Full-Height Timber Wind Turbine Opens in Sweden

In a pioneering move towards sustainable energy infrastructure, Sweden has become the site of the world’s first full-scale timber wind turbine. Standing at an impressive height of 105 meters, the tower was constructed by Modvion, a wood technology company. While the rotor blades and generator hub adhere to conventional materials, the tower itself is made of laminated veneer lumber (LVL), an engineered wood comprised of thin veneer strips bonded together. This innovative approach not only withstands the forces exerted by a turning turbine but also represents a significant environmental shift from traditional steel towers. Modvion asserts that using LVL reduces carbon emissions from wind turbine construction by over 100%, owing to a less emissions-intensive production process and the carbon storage capacity provided by trees.

The advantages of Modvion’s wooden towers extend beyond environmental benefits. Chief Financial Officer Maria-Lina Hedlund emphasizes the towers’ significant reduction in carbon emissions during production, claiming that they emit 90% less than their steel counterparts. Additionally, the lightweight nature of LVL translates to a more efficient design, reducing the overall material requirements. Hedlund describes LVL as having a construction similar to carbon fiber, emphasizing its high strength-to-weight ratio. The modular construction of LVL also addresses logistical challenges associated with transporting ever-growing steel towers, signaling a potential shift towards modular construction methods in the wind power industry. Modvion’s innovative approach not only sets a new standard for sustainable wind energy but also showcases the versatility of timber technology in broader construction applications.

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