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Tue October 20 2020

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Vattenfall trials wooden wind towers

24 Sep Vattenfall is to assess a timber tower design by Modvion for potential use in future onshore wind farms.

The two companies are to collaborate in the venture, which is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing by at least 25%.

In April, Swedish wood technology company Modvion erected its first wooden tower in Björkö outside Gothenburg. The plan is for construction of the 30m-tall tower to be followed in 2022 by the first commercial example.

“During their life cycles, Vattenfall's wind turbines already have very low levels of climate-impacting emissions,” said Daniel Gustafsson, Vattenfall's head of land-based wind power development in Sweden. “We want to drive those levels down even further. We see that wooden towers can be part of our solution for decreasing our carbon dioxide footprint, which can complement the work we are already doing with fossil-free steel as an example.”

Approximately one quarter of the climate impact that arises when manufacturing wind turbines comes from the tower, normally constructed of steel and sometimes concrete. Going forward, steel will continue to be used in many parts of the wind turbines, said Vattenfall, but wooden towers can become an important addition.

By building towers of wood, the carbon dioxide emissions caused by manufacturing can be radically reduced, while the carbon dioxide absorbed by trees as they grow is also stored in the wooden towers. In addition, certified sustainable wood raw material is used, which means, among other things, that new trees are planted.

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The first Modvion wooden wind tower was erected outside Gothenburg in April 2020
The first Modvion wooden wind tower was erected outside Gothenburg in April 2020

“Vattenfall has solid experience of wind energy construction,” said Modvion CEO Otto Lundman. “By working together, we can hasten the development of the next generation of wind farms. With towers made of wood, wind power can potentially become fully climate neutral.”

Modvion and Vattenfall have signed a letter of intent to enter into a business development project for evaluating building technology and commercialisation with the aim of supplying wooden towers to Vattenfall. Vattenfall's portfolio has the potential of approximately 5000MW for projects on land, under development or in the process of being built on its various markets.

“We see great benefits in building wooden towers, not only for the climate, but also in lowering the cost of new, renewable electricity generation. We are determined to make fossil free living happen within one generation and this may be a vital step along the way,” said Gustafsson.                                                                                                                                         

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