Norway’s Ugland family is backing a new company to revolutionise floating offshore wind and shipping operations.
Ocean Ventus is promising to mass-produce a lighter type of foundation for the turbines and has designed a new type of ship for easier maintenance.
Knut Ugland’s JJ Ugland is the majority owner through its Nymo offshore shipyard.
The plan is for large-scale production offering “cost-competitive power”.
Ocean Ventus argues that floating wind is moving from the North Sea to global markets to serve the growing demand for renewable energy in areas with waters deeper than 60 metres.
“However, foundations remain a bottleneck for the build-out of large-scale floating wind farms. Existing floating wind foundations are heavy, complicated, difficult to produce and challenged by constrained supply chain capacity,” the company said.
Ocean Ventus’ design is claimed to save up to 40% on steel costs and CO2 emissions.
It has received approval in principle from class society DNV.
The Ocean Ventus floater can be mass-manufactured using similar methods employed for monopile production, while modular construction allows for simplified transport on low-cost vessels.
Assembly will use two purpose-built barges that can complete 50 floating units per location annually.
And a patent-pending service ship will enable turbine maintenance offshore.
Clarksons drumming up support
Clarksons Securities has been hired to help find financing and seek strategic partners. The plan is to build a factory in Norway and talks are underway on a site.
The factory will target production of up to 50 structures per year and ramp up in 2028 for delivery.
The company’s designer and founder, Arne Smedal, has previously sold maritime technology companies for significant sums.
His APL was sold to National Oilwell Varco for $575m, and he also founded Sevan Marine, which was later offloaded to Teekay and Sembcorp.
“Foundations are a key challenge to making floating wind cost competitive, and we believe that Ocean Ventus is uniquely positioned to address this challenge,” said Halvor Ribe, chair of Ocean Ventus.
“Our simple design, modular components and industrialised process allow for serial production and significant cost savings. We are excited to bring this technology to market and support the growth of offshore wind in Norway and worldwide.”
JJ Ugland is a bulker and offshore support vessel owner.