Vestas has acquired shares in Swedish company Modvion, a specialist in bio-composites for wind turbine construction. The Swedish start-up’s wooden wind turbine construction model has won over the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer. The Danish company hopes that this technology will help it reduce its carbon emissions by 45% per MW delivered to the market by 2030.
Vestas invests to reduce carbon emissions
Vestas is looking to invest more and more in new technologies for its turbines. The investment in Modvion marks the first official investment by the new corporate venture capital arm Vestas Ventures. The company hopes the acquisition will help it reduce its carbon emissions by 45% per MW delivered to the market by 2030. Its vice president also hopes that the company, which manages 132 GW of wind turbines in 82 countries, will become less dependent on steel prices.
Steel is a carbon footprint killer for wind power
ADEME has calculated that a wind turbine emits between 12.7 and 14.8 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour. These values are low compared to the French electricity mix, estimated at 79 grams. However, they could still be greatly improved by reducing the amount of steel required for their design.
Reduce carbon emissions from a wind tower by 80%.
Modvion designs wind turbine towers in laminated veneer lumber (LVL). This bio-composite material comes from suppliers committed to sustainable forestry. The light weight of the material and the modular design of the towers allow for more efficient transportation of the elements to the construction site. LVL ultimately reduces the carbon emissions of a wind tower by 80%.
In sum, reducing the use of steel in turbine manufacturing does two things. First, to reduce the carbon impact of wind turbines by acting directly at the level of their construction. Secondly, to enable Vestas to reduce its dependence on steel, while reducing its carbon impact. It remains to be seen whether this new technology will be viable for all, or at least some, of the Danish leader’s applications.