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Odfjell Oceanwind addresses floating wind bottleneck

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
By: Chloe Emanuel 29/02/2024 Odfjell Oceanwind

Odfjell Oceanwind, a player in the offshore wind sector, and Prodtex, an automation and manufacturing expert, have formed a joint venture, Windsteel Technologies, aimed at addressing critical challenges in scaling the floating offshore wind industry. The focus is on achieving low-cost, high-capacity manufacturing of foundations for floating wind turbines, a key bottleneck in industry expansion.

The joint venture aims to establish production capabilities to meet the demand for hundreds of floating wind foundations annually in Europe alone. The first operational facility is anticipated by 2027, with industry veteran Geir Bjørkeli, former CEO of Corvus Energy, appointed to spearhead the venture.

Windsteel Technologies specializes in developing large factories tailored for delivering floating foundations at the cost, scale, and quality required to commercialize floating offshore wind. Acting as a hub for foundation delivery to the market, the company collaborates closely with local and international specialist companies. Initial partnerships are already in place, with further additions expected in the coming months and years to prepare for the anticipated multibillion-euro market by the end of the decade.

The joint venture is the result of years of collaboration between Odfjell Oceanwind and Prodtex, focusing on automated production and assembly methods for Odfjell Oceanwind's market-leading Deepsea floating wind foundations. Windsteel Technologies acknowledges the need for an industrial production approach distinct from traditional shipbuilding and offshore yards.

Per Lund, CEO of Odfjell Oceanwind and chairman of Windsteel Technologies, emphasizes the necessity for highly specialized factories tailored to produce foundation designs with similar structural components, akin to automotive and aerospace manufacturing. He states, "If floating offshore wind is to become a relevant source of energy, we need to dramatically reduce costs, increase scale, and maintain exceptional quality."

Tore Roppen, co-founder of Prodtex AS and board member in Windsteel Technologies, underscores the immense challenge of mass-producing large structures efficiently, requiring innovative approaches in welding technologies and digital twin implementation.

Geir Bjørkeli, newly appointed CEO of Windsteel Technologies, expresses enthusiasm for the venture, drawing parallels with the success of Corvus Energy in establishing mass production in the battery industry. Windsteel Technologies aims to re-establish large-scale steel production in Europe, mirroring Corvus Energy's achievements in maritime batteries.

Currently engaged in discussions with landowners, ports, and logistic bases, Windsteel Technologies plans to strategically locate its first factories in close proximity to emerging markets for floating offshore wind, including the North Sea basin. The ambition is to have the first facility operational by 2027 for the GoliatVIND demonstration project in Norway.

Windsteel Technologies has also secured capacity reservations from the 500-750 MW UtsiraVIND project, pending a successful outcome in the Norwegian Utsira Nord competition for seabed lease.

For more information about offshore wind farm projects across the globe, click here.


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