The world’s first wooden wind turbine tower factory will open in Sweden after the EU backed a pioneer in the sector seeking to replace steel with a green alternative it claims can be stronger and cheaper.

Modvion will build a development factory in Gothenburg and build a commercial-scale wooden tower of more than 100-metres after winning €6.5m ($7.3m) of funding from the European Commission’s EIC Accelerator programme.

The Swedish group had already demonstrated a 30-metre prototype wooden tower made of ‘modules’ of cross-laminated spruce, which it claims can beat steel on strength and come in at significantly lower cost than metallic towers.

“EU support is a clear acknowledgment of the enormous potential for wood wind power towers and helps us to develop the company at an even faster rate,” said CEO Otto Lundman.

“Now we can focus on hiring more employees, building a new development factory and on building the first full-scale wind power tower in wood,

Modvion is already slated to provide 150-metre versions of the wooden towers to a developer in Scandinavia, it said.

The company told Recharge earlier this year it is in “ongoing discussions for cooperation with two major utilities, and with some wind turbine manufacturers”, without giving further details.