WindTech: Wood for turbine towers

Wednesday 9 Oct 2019

A Swedish company has come up with a novel design to make wind turbine towers more cost-effective to manufacture, transport and install while reducing lifecycle LCoE. And it is made almost entirely out of wood.

Engineering and industrial-design company Modvion is the driving force behind the reintroduction of wood as a structural material for turbine towers. Set up in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2016, the firm specialises in developing a novel, modular, segmented "full-wood" tower concept.

Modvion claims its patented technology for modular high towers delivers enhanced yields and a lower levelised cost of energy at less favourable wind sites, while potentially making wind power carbon-neutral.

The tower is produced in close collaboration with Moelven, a leading Nordic manufacturer that recently completed what is currently the world’s tallest timber building in Norway.

The current main design focus is at a structure with 150-metre hub height for the 4-4.5MW volume class. However, a first step is to install a 1:5-scale prototype tower with a 30-metre hub height on an island near Gothenburg this year, according to CEO Otto Lundman.

"We are about to finish all five tower sections for the prototype with them. We also work closely with Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg for developing the towers, site construction and a joint testing programme," Lundman explains. Chalmers University and the Swedish Wind Technology Test Centre are the prototype customers. The university supplied a research turbine with a 16-metre rotor, which, according to Lundman, is well suited to study how the tower performs. The downsized structure should become a stepping stone towards building the much larger 150-metre commercial tower. It is also expected to become a landmark for advanced tower designs using wood construction, once the concept has proved itself.

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Source: Wind Power Monthly

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