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The wooden windmills of the future

Words by Smiley Team

Sweden is aiming to make wind power even more eco-friendly with a wooden wind turbine prototype.

As brilliant as wind turbines are for generating sustainable energy, there is one flaw: manufacturing the massive amounts of steel it takes to build a wind turbine also produces large amounts of carbon.

Of course, steel has a lot of advantages that more eco-friendly products do not – namely that it can withstand the battering it gets from the wind every minute of every day. So, how can it even be possible to make a wind turbine out of wood?

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The answer is laminated veneer lumber (LVL), a wood construction product, made by Stora Enso – one of the world’s oldest timber companies. To make it, you bond thin sheets of peeled spruce under intense heat. The result is a product that is lighter and more flexible than steel, but stronger than wood, with the added benefit of creating much less carbon during production.

Using this wood alternative to create the wind towers cuts carbon production by a whopping 90%. Modvion, the company behind the innovative designs, saw a number of different benefits to these wooden structures.

“Wood has a higher specific strength which enables a lighter construction," states Modivon. 

"High steel towers need extra enforcement to carry their own weight—which wooden towers don’t need. And finally, modular steel towers demand a vast number of bolts that need regular inspections while our modular wooden towers are joined together with glue."

If wooden wind towers are the future only time can tell, but it’s certainly encouraging that humanity is looking into more eco-friendly ways to be sustainable.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Help combat climate change by donating to charities such as Cool Earth.

SUPPORT: Help make sustainable living possible by supporting charities such as the Renewable Energy Fund.

Image credit: Modvion


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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