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Wind turbines made from engineered wood

Swedish engineering and industrial design company Modvion developed a modular, wooden design for wind turbines, to make transportation easier and the turbines more sustainable.

With climate change breathing down our necks, using renewable sources like solar and wind is one of the best ways to generate energy. Since the 1980s, the size of wind turbine blades has increased dramatically to generate more energy, from an average diameter of 35 metres (115 ft) to a 109 metres (358 ft). Aside from more demand for wind energy, this change has been made possible by using lighter composite materials for the blades.

The tower, however, is conventionally made of steel, a material that costs a lot of energy to produce. For 100+ metre (328+ ft) towers, the tower diameter exceeds 4.3 metres (14 ft), the limit for transport width in most parts of the EU and USA. Additionally, with increased height, the tower walls need to be thicker, leading to increased costs.

Modvion aims to remedy this problem by creating a modular design for wind turbine towers. The patented module technology makes for stackable elements, leading to decreased transportation costs and more efficiency for towers exceeding 120 metres (394 ft).

Moreover, the elements are made of engineered wood, a material much more sustainable than steel. Modvion says that by replacing a single 150 metre-high (492 ft) tower with a wooden one cuts 2000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Photos: Modvion