Skip to main content

Modular wood-made wind turbine towers

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Modvion (Modular wood-made wind turbine towers)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2019-11-30

In 2018, wind power generated 11%, 16,4, of the electricity in Sweden. According to reports from the Swedish Energy Agency, it's feasible to generate 60-90TWh/year by mid-2040. In other words, continued strong growth is to be expected in the industry.

To build 60TWh of wind power you can build 150m tall power plants, then you need 12000 power plants and the estimated cost of energy is 0.7 SEK/kWh. Or you can build 200m tall power plants, then you need 4600 power plants and the estimated cost of energy is 0.34 SEK/kWh. In other words, taller power plants gives great economic benefits, but there are challenges.

Increased height comes with increased tower base diameter. Limitations in the road network, e.g. bridges and tunnels, makes it difficult to transport object larger than 4.5m in width/height. A wind power tower with a base diameter of 4.5m is suitable for 100m tall towers that fit a 150 m tall power plant. To build taller towers, innovations are needed.

Modvion builds a modular wind power tower which makes it easy to transport and the modules are assembled at the installation site. Also, the tower is made of laminated wood which cut costs and minimizes the environmental impact. Modvion's innovative tower enable us to make better use of the wind energy resources at lower cost.
The project had 5 objectives, work performed and results per objective is described below.

1. Conceptual Design Analysis
The conceptual design for the 150 m tower has been developed and analyzed regarding its efficiency.
The overall strategy for the conceptual design analysis has been done by developing a 150m tower to concept level, then use that design to identify critical points and its loads which provides a basis for a 30 m prototype tower. Laboratory testing of static and cyclic loads has been carried out on the critical elements of a 150m tower structure.
The 30 m prototype tower structure has been developed in a 1/5 scaling of the 150m tower as a starting point. The conclusions and lessons learned will be brought and adopted into the Phase 2 project.
The 30 m has been manufactured and will be installed early 2020.

2. Technical Feasibility Analysis
Design for Manufacturing (DFM) has been used to determine the easiest way to develop our 150 meters tower.
The first step towards full Component Certification has been taken through “Design Basis Evaluation” by a notified body. The certificate has been received from the notified body.
The environmental impact has been assessed using LCA methodology. The conclusions of the report state that the environmental impact through greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by about 90 percent if a tower is built in wood instead of steel under the given conditions. Furthermore, approximately 30 percent less primary energy is used in the production of the wooden tower compared to a conventional steel tower. At meantime, about 60 percent of the primary energy used to produce the wooden tower is bio-based, mainly from the production of refined wood materials such as LVL and glulam.
Construction of the 30m protype tower was initiated in beginning of 2019 in the facilities of Moelven AB, Töreboda Sweden, where Modvion spends more than 100 manhours a week for manufacturing. The construction is planned to be completed in Q1 of 2020. Conclusions drawing and lessons learned during the construction of the 30 m prototype tower constitutes the basis for further design development and evaluation of the 150 m tower.

3. Commercial Feasibility Assessment
Modvion has had meetings and interviews with several wind farm developers, operators, owners and wind turbine manufacturers.
The conclusions drawn from the commercial feasibility assessment is that there is a growing interest and acceptance for Modvion’s tower. Modvion brings an innovation to the market that eventually will be a game changer for the wind industry. Many people have preconceptions regarding wood construction that are not based on scientific facts. Therefore, Modvion has a pedagogic task to teach the industry and physical demonstrators are the ultimate proof. Conclusions from the meetings held during the project are that Modvion is gaining increased market acceptance.

4. Risk Assessment
A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) have been conducted for the construction and manufacturing of the tower. Mitigation actions and measures have been adopted and already applied into the design and construction of the 30m protype tower.

5. Business Plan
The business plan has been updated based on the results from Objectives 1-4.
During the project, Modvion has reached two major sales milestones. The first one is a signed LOI from Varberg Energi with the intention to buy the first commercial scale power plant using Modvion’s tower. The tower will be 110m tall giving the power plant a total height of 150m, a re-powered wind turbine will be used (i.e. second hand turbine that has been thoroughly maintained to extend the service life with at least 20 years). To reduce costs and risks, a site with installation permits already granted will be purchased, Modvion and Varberg Energi are together locating such a site. Modvion and Varberg Energi target installation in 2022.

The second one is the LOI from Rabbalshede Kraft where they express the intention to purchase 10 Modvion towers for their Fägremo project. The wind turbines will have a total height of 240m. The planned wind farm is located in Töreboda municipality, close to Modvion’s manufacturing partner Moelven Töreboda. The LOI’s have generated international media attention, e.g. Windpower Monthly, Renews, Material District, and many Swedish newspapers and television.

Following the great customer interest and the successful manufacturing of the 30 m tower, Modvion are confident in the conclusion that the project shall continue.
News article in Wind power Monthly
Summary of the benefits with Modvion's technology.
Picture from the manufacturing at Moelven Töreboda.