With higher altitudes come stronger and more stable winds. But to harness this energy to generate electricity, steel wind turbines are becoming larger, heavier, and more costly. Swedish construction company Modvion has found the answer to these constraints, and is receiving two million crowns from government innovation agency Vinnnova to advance its solution.
“As wind power towers have grown in size, our roads have not,” says Otto Lundman, the company’s CEO. “Hence, modular systems are a must for further advancements towards greater heights and lower cost of energy.”
To reach beyond one hundred meters into the sky, steel wind turbines require ever thicker walls, making their construction increasingly costly. Moreover, the need for a larger base diameter to support all that weight is encountering over-the-road transport limits.
Modvion has designed a new system that tackles these constraints. Made of laminated timber, Modvion’s 150 meter tower system is a third less heavy, fifty-five percent stronger, and forty percent cheaper than its steel counterpart.
The fact that the tower is almost entirely of wood makes the construction climate-friendly. “A Modvion tower has a carbon sequestration large enough to make wind power carbon-neutral from the start,” Lundman states.
Its modular design facilitates the transport of turbine components, which can be stacked in a much more efficient way than conventional turbines. In addition, the tower is fully recyclable and insensitive to temperature changes.
The government grant is meant to further advance the tower’s development. Swedish energy companies Varberg Energi and Rabbelshede Kraft have expressed their intent to order modular towers.