Partnership addresses mass production of floating offshore wind foundations

Feb. 29, 2024
Odfjell Oceanwind has formed a joint venture with Prodtex to develop low-cost and high-capacity manufacturing of foundations for floating wind turbines.

Offshore staff

KOKSTAD, NorwayOdfjell Oceanwind has formed a joint venture (JV) with Prodtex to develop low-cost and high-capacity manufacturing of foundations for floating wind turbines.

They aim to put production capacity in place to meet the anticipated demand for hundreds of floating wind foundations each year in Europe, with the first facility potentially operational by 2027. Geir Bjørkeli, former CEO of Corvus Energy, will lead the JV.

Windsteel Technologies will develop large factories designed to deliver floating foundations at the cost, scale and quality needed for commercializing floating offshore wind, Odfjell OceanWind said.

It will serve as a hub for delivering the foundations to the market, working with specialist companies in both local and international supply chains. The first partners are already in place.

Over the past few years, Odfjell Oceanwind and Prodtex have jointly devised automated production and assembly methods for Odfjell Oceanwind’s Deepsea floating wind foundations.

They have established Windsteel Technologies based on the premise that manufacturing floating offshore wind foundations will require a new approach to industrial production that follows practice in the automotive and aerospace industries.

“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 seeing from the oil and gas and shipbuilding industries," said Odfjell OceanWind CEO Per Lund. “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 aeroplane factories.”

He continued, “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.”

Tore Roppen, co-founder of Prodtex and a board member of Windsteel Technologies, added, “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."

Windsteel is talking to land owners, ports and logistic bases on hosting its first factories, which will be strategically located in close vicinity to the first expected markets for floating offshore wind, including the North Sea basin where the first large-scale floating wind parks should be in place by the end of this decade.

The partners aim to have the first facility in operation in time to deploy the first Deepsea Star floating wind foundations to the GoliatVIND demonstration project in the Barents Sea in 2027.



Photo 300075574 © Victoria Chizhevskaya |
Courtesy Odfjell Oceanwind
Illustration of Odfjell Oceanwind’s Deepsea Star foundations

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