Vestas Ventures invests in wood technology start-up Modvion

Source: press release, 18 February 2021

Modvion specialises in the development and manufacturing of wind turbine towers made from laminated veneer lumber
Modvion specialises in the development and manufacturing of wind turbine towers made from laminated veneer lumber (photo: Modvion)

Vestas, global provider of sustainable energy solutions, has invested in Swedish wood technology company Modvion, in a move towards creating fully sustainable products and solutions, and reducing carbon emissions from its value chain. The investment sees Vestas becoming a minority investor in the bio-composite specialist and marks the first official investment from newly established corporate venture capital arm, Vestas Ventures.

Modvion specialises in the development and manufacturing of wind turbine towers made from laminated veneer lumber (LVL), a bio-composite material sourced sustainably from a supplier network and validated to uphold robust reforestation strategies. When compared directly with the value chain of a conventional steel tower, Modvion towers are expected to reduce carbon emissions by 80% for the wind turbine tower. The reduced weight of an LVL tower and lower COintensity of the materials contribute to the overall reduction in CO2 emissions.

“Vestas Ventures was established to nurture innovation that can help accelerate the energy transition, and our collaboration with Modvion has the potential to support this journey. The modular nature of Modvion’s design approach, and the possibilities for increased hub heights could contribute to a reduction in cost of energy for Vestas customers, along with increased ease of transportation in logistically challenged markets. Introducing an LVL tower variant could lead Vestas to become less reliant on steel prices, supporting our ongoing growth journey,” says Bo Svoldgaard, Senior Vice President and Head of Innovation and Concepts at Vestas.

As part of Vestas’ commitment to reduce carbon emissions across our supply chain by 45% per MWh delivered to the market by 2030, Vestas will be leveraging our position as an investor to support Modvion’s scale-up strategy, with a long-term goal of integrating LVL towers into its design and manufacturing processes, to enable a more sustainable solution offering. Modvion’s tower design has the potential to align with Vestas’ modular approach to product architecture and plans for offering a “green” tower variant are already in development, whereby Vestas will aim to strengthen our ability to support customers in their sustainability journey, while continuing to offer cost-competitive solutions.

“At Vestas, our vision is to spearhead the sustainable growth of the renewables industry and elevate the industry standard around sustainability performance. Cultivating cutting-edge technologies, such as Modvion’s LVL towers, can pave the way for building scale sustainably, particularly as the towers can integrate with our modularisation strategy. Evaluating our supplier network against our sustainability ambitions, which include reducing carbon emissions from our supply chain, is also an integral part of fulfilling our vision. Our collaboration with Modvion signals a strong benchmark for the way we intend to nurture supplier relationships going forward,” says Lisa Ekstrand, Senior Director and Head of Sustainability at Vestas.

“We are excited to have Vestas onboard and for the chance to support the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer in reaching its ambitious sustainability targets. To tackle the climate crisis, we need more renewable energy and increased use of sustainable, wooden constructions, and Modvion’s technology enables both,” says Otto Lundman, CEO of Modvion AB.

Vestas’ investment was finalised on January 29th, 2021. Vestas Ventures was established in late 2020 as a corporate venture capital arm, with a vision to accelerate the deployment of sustainable energy, the electrification of societies and unlock new growth opportunities through relevant investment programs.