February 26, 2024

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Sweden builds giant wind turbines using 'Christmas tree wood' and glue |  Technique

Sweden builds giant wind turbines using 'Christmas tree wood' and glue | Technique

A Swedish company – Modvion – has built the tallest wind turbine ever made of wood. It is measured from the ground to the top of the blade and is 150 metres. According to Modvion, about 400 families will benefit from the electricity produced by the turbine.

What is noteworthy is that it is only a pilot project, because according to the company, windmills can be built up to a kilometer and a half in height. But that's still too ambitious for now, so “we'll start with this version,” Modvion says. They offer an alternative to steel wind turbines, which, according to the startup, are too expensive if you want to build really big turbines.

Before you think that wooden wind turbines look completely different, you probably won't even notice the difference from the outside. This is because traditional and wooden turbines have an outer shell that shines white. But on the inside, it is clear that the drum is made of pine wood. The blades are still traditionally made of a composite with fiberglass.

Wind turbine cylinder made of fir wood. © Modview

The tower drum consists of 144 layers of wood glued together. Wood is said to weigh less than steel, and much larger turbines can be built with less material. Another advantage is that wooden turbines can be shipped with more parts than steel turbines. This means you can transport it in smaller pieces on trucks. This is especially useful for road transport equipped with giant turbines.

Negative carbon footprint

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But perhaps what's most surprising: According to the company, wooden wind turbines have a “negative carbon dioxide footprint.” A lot of energy is used to produce steel, which in many cases causes greenhouse gas emissions. This wooden turbine is made from two hundred trees that naturally absorb carbon dioxide during their lifetime. As long as you don't burn it, the gas remains stored in the turbine cylinder, which means you get less carbon dioxide into the air.

You can hardly see any difference with the turbine
You can hardly see any difference with a “traditional” turbine. © Mudvian

Swedes are ambitious. They are looking for a lot of employees to enable mass production of these types of wind turbines as quickly as possible. It would also be interesting from a financial standpoint: the larger the tower, the greater the return compared to the turbine costs. According to the company, wood is ideal for achieving this. Curious if they're right.

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