Plans for an 80-metre wooden turbine blade are in the works by a European partnership that claims it can help crack one of the wind industry’s biggest sustainability challenges.
Paper and pulp giant Stora Enso is working with German start-up Voodin Blades to develop blades made from laminated veneer lumber (LVL), a material they claim can deliver high-strength, lightweight components produced “with a minimal carbon footprint”.
The partners are currently preparing to install a 20-metre blade on a 500kW turbine in Germany and laying plans for an 80-metre version that would be suitable for multi-megawatt machines.
They claim LVL has “a high load-bearing capacity that easily supports large-scale rotary blades” and will be lighter and easier to transport to projects than existing components.
Recycling standard blades made using fibrous materials has proved the biggest obstacles to the wind industry as it seeks to make its turbines 100% sustainable, with all major OEMs starting projects designed to address the issue and some recyclable components already deployed.
Stora Enso is already working separately with Vestas-backed start-up Modvion on development of wooden turbine towers.
Joachim Knapp, a mechanical engineer for Voodin Blades, said: “The wind industry as a key driver towards carbon neutrality needs to become 100% sustainable and environmentally friendly.
“With the installation of the 20-metre blade, we are opening a path towards a more sustainable future. In time we will start to develop and manufacture blades for future multi-megawatt turbines.”