Odfjell Oceanwind Launches Foundations Production Unit for Floating Wind

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Odfjell Oceanwind and Prodtex have established a joint venture for the manufacturing of foundations for floating wind turbines in an effort to address what is expected to become one of the biggest bottlenecks in scaling the floating offshore wind industry.

The joint venture, named Windsteel Technologies, is created to establish the production capacity necessary to meet the need for hundreds of floating wind foundations per year in Europe alone and is looking to have its first facility operational by 2027.

Recently, the industry veteran Geir Bjørkeli, former CEO of Corvus Energy, has been appointed to head up the venture.

Windsteel Technologies will be tasked with developing large factories tailored to deliver floating foundations at the cost, scale and quality required to commercialize floating offshore wind.

The company will act as a hub for delivering the foundations to the market and work in close collaboration with specialist companies from the local and international supply chain.

The first partners are already in place and more will be added in the coming months and years, preparing for what is expected to be a multibillion-euro market at the end of this decade, according to Odfjell Oceanwind, a Norwegian floating offshore wind specialist.

The joint venture is a result of several years of collaboration between Odfjell Oceanwind and automation and manufacturing expert Prodtex, where the two companies have jointly developed automated production and assembly methods for Odfjell Oceanwind’s Deepsea floating wind foundations.

Windsteel Technologies is currently in active dialogue with land owners, ports and logistic bases to host its first factories. These factories will be located strategically in close vicinity to the markets that are expected to develop first for floating offshore wind, including the North Sea basin which is likely to see the first large scale floating wind parks at the end of this decade.

The ambition is to have the first facility in operation in time for deploying the first Deepsea Star floating wind foundations to the GoliatVIND demonstration project in Norway in 2027.

The capacity from the same facility has been reserved by the 500-750 MW UtsiraVIND project which is competing for seabed lease in the ongoing Norwegian Utsira Nord competition. This reservation is subject to a successful outcome of the competition.

“Production of floating wind foundations of the size and scale needed to develop gigawatt floating wind parks will require factories, and not yards like we are used to see from the oil and gas and ship building industries.

“These factories will be highly specialized with production and assembly lines that are customized to produce foundation designs with relatively similar structural components. Very much like we see in car or airplane factories.

“If floating offshore wind shall become a relevant source of energy in the future, we need to dramatically reduce the costs, but also increase the scale. And we need to do this without sacrificing quality. 

"These offshore structures for wind turbines of 15 MW and larger shall be able to withstand extreme loads for more than 30 years without having to be towed back for repairs. Failures based on poor quality welds or surface treatment are simply not acceptable,” said Per Lund, CEO of Odfjell Oceanwind and chairman of Windsteel Technologies.

Categories: Technology Renewable Energy Engineering Industry News Activity Europe Fabrication Offshore Wind

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