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Odfjell Oceanwind addresses floating wind bottleneck and creates Windsteel Technologies

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Odfjell Oceanwind, together with the leading automation and manufacturing expert Prodtex, have established a joint venture to address what is expected to become one of the biggest bottlenecks in scaling the floating offshore wind industry: low cost and high-capacity manufacturing of foundations for floating wind turbines. The joint venture is created to establish the production capacity necessary to meet the need for hundreds of floating wind foundations per year in Europa 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 develops large factories tailored to deliver floating foundations at the cost, scale and quality required to commercialise 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.

The joint venture is a result of several years of collaboration between Odfjell Oceanwind and Prodtex, where the two companies have jointly developed automated production and assembly methods for Odfjell Oceanwind’s market leading Deepsea floating wind foundations. Windsteel Technologies is established based on a realisation that manufacturing of floating offshore wind foundations will require an approach to industrial production which is different from what exists in the existing supply chain and will therefore require a mindset from automotive and aerospace manufacturing rather than traditional ship building and offshore yards.

“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 specialised with production and assembly lines that are customised to produce foundation designs with relatively similar structural components. Very much like we see in car or aeroplane factories”, Per Lund, CEO of Odfjell Oceanwind and chairman of Windsteel Technologies explains. “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 15MW 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.”

Automated production handling, Prodtex.

“In Windsteel Technologies we combine everything Prodtex has learned from many years in developing automated welding and manufacturing solutions for automotive and aerospace industries, as well from having developed technologies for mass production of large steel structures for infrastructure projects. The challenge of mass producing these large structures in a highly effective manner is immense and will require new and innovative approaches to everything from the basic welding technologies to wide implementation of digital twins in the manufacturing process”, says Tore Roppen, cofounder of Prodtex AS and board member in Windsteel Technologies.

Geir Bjørkeli, CEO Windsteel Technologies.

Geir Bjørkeli, former CEO of Corvus Energy, has recently been appointed CEO in Windsteel Technologies. Coming from the industry leading supplier of industrial batteries, Geir is well known to the challenge. “I am excited to start on this venture”, Geir Bjørkeli says. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to re-establishing the large-scale steel production industry in Europe. In many ways Windsteel Technologies will do for floating wind foundations what Corvus Energy did on the maritime batteries a decade ago. Despite much scepticism, Corvus successfully set up mass production of batteries in countries like Norway and Canada and the company is now a world leader within its niche.”

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. 

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Odfjell Oceanwind (www.odfjelloceanwind.com) is a Norwegian floating offshore wind specialist that combines Odfjell’s 50 years of maritime legacy and experience in designing, building and operating floating units in harsh environments with Oceanwind’s 20 years of experience in developing floating offshore wind solutions. OOW provides floating wind designs, EPCI services, and develops own wind park projects based on its technologies. The company has offices in Bergen, Stavanger and Oslo.

Prodtex (www.prodtex.com / www.prodtex.no) is a leading European technology house within digital and automated manufacturing technologies. The company has experience from a wide range of sectors including automotive, aerospace, AEC, defence and space and infrastructure. Prodtex has offices in Sweden, Norway and UK.

 

Media contact:

Per Lund
CEO of Odfjell Oceanwind AS and Chairman of Windsteel Technologies AS
Tel.: +47 918 74 363
E-mail: plu@odfjelloceanwind.com

Geir Bjørkeli
CEO of Windsteel Technologies AS
Tel: +47 95273398
E-mail: gebj@windsteeltechnologies.com

Tore Roppen
Director Business Development of Prodtex AS and board member of Windsteel Technologies AS
Tel: +47 91599925
E-mail: tore.roppen@prodtex.com

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