TimberTower: a High-Tech Wind Turbine, Made from Trees

Timbertower Our article on industrial windmills appeared on The Oil Drum and, as could be expected, this generated many interesting comments. One in particular was made by a reader named “anyone“, who sent in a link about a high-tech wind turbine placed on a tower made entirely of wood.

So while we suggested to redesign traditional windmills by using modern, high-tech materials, the German company TimberTower proposes the opposite: redesign modern wind turbines by using traditional, low-tech materials.

Large wind turbines are usually made of steel, and while they definitely deliver more energy over their lifetime than it takes to produce them (contrary to small wind turbines), using no energy at all would of course be even better – and cheaper.

Wood is easier to transport (the TimberTower is manufactured out of glued laminated timber panels which are assembled on-site), doesn’t need to be mined, has no corrosion issues (think of offshore turbines), and it captures carbon. And while trees bend in strong winds, they usually don’t break.

Using a timber tower for a 100 metre high wind turbine can save approximately 300 tons of sheet steel, writes the company at their website. One “TimberTower” also ties up approximately 400 tons of CO2. They say they can build them as high as 200 metres. Serial production should start in 2010. More:  TimberTower. Related: wooden pipelines, wooden bridges.