Photo: Odfjell Oceanwind
With the green shift underway, Greater Bergen – and Norway – have pledged a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Aiming to contribute to this endeavour, Odfjell Oceanwind looks to decarbonise the offshore oil and gas industry.
Odfjell Oceanwind is a Bergen-based Norwegian start-up that designs and operates giant floating wind turbines.
Originally founded as Oceanwind, the start-up was co-invested by the Odfjell family. This eventually led to the design of their proprietary Mobile Offshore Wind Units (MOWU), which are scheduled for future deployment.
The overall vision of the firm is to provide zero-emissions solutions for the offshore oil & gas sector by piggybacking off of the collective expertise of the other Odfjell companies - Odfjell Drilling and Odfjell Technology.
“Their experience from 50 years of operating rigs in harsh environments is indeed very important for designing solutions for floating offshore wind,” said Kenneth Fossøy, VP of Business Development for Odfjell Oceanwind.
For decades, Greater Bergen has been a critical hub for Norway’s offshore oil and gas industry. This has cultivated a highly capable labour force, a well-developed knowledge base and complete value chains for the industry.
According to Fossøy, all of this has been beneficial for Odfjell Oceanwind.
Kenneth Fossøy, VP of Business Development
(Photo: Odfjell Oceanwind)
“Being part of Bergen is key for a company like ours. We’re dependent on access to good, qualified people and a supply chain of relevance to the floating offshore wind journey that we’ve embarked on”.
Mobile Offshore Wind Unit
The Mobile Offshore Wind Unit (MOWU) is a unique solution for the emerging offshore wind sector.
The MOWU incorporates a “deep-sea semi-floating wind foundation”, allowing it to be anchored at depths of up to 1,300 metres, making it ideal for the Norwegian continental shelf. Also, these units are capable of producing 11 megawatts of electricity, with plans to increase their output to 15 megawatts.
A critical component of the MOWU is its mobility. Unlike traditional bottom-fixed and floating wind turbines, the MOWU can be moved between locations.
“Our solution is moveable, so we can, for example, stay at an oil and gas field for 6-10 years, then disconnect and move to the next location,” explained Fossøy.
The MOWU offers a number of benefits for the offshore oil and gas sector
(Photo: Odfjell Oceanwind)
By leveraging the Odfjell expertise and industrial approach, the MOWU is designed to be both long-lasting and recyclable. This makes these units circular and sustainable. This, according to Fossøy, is core to their “design and operational philosophies”.
Another key feature of the MOWU is its patented WindGrid™ hybrid system. Currently, most oil and gas installations are powered by gas turbine generators, which emit greenhouse gases. The WindGrid™ hybrid system enables an oil and gas installation to efficiently use both wind power generated by the MOWU during high-wind periods, and power from the on-site gas turbine generators during “no-wind” periods. This provides an uninterrupted power supply for the installation and a 60-70% reduction in emissions.
“The key benefit of the WindGrid™ hybrid system is that the gas turbine generators on the host installation can be stopped during periods of wind power production,” added Fossøy.
Contributing to decarbonisation
Odfjell Oceanwind is currently targeting the offshore oil and gas sector for their MOWU, citing the need for decarbonisation.
Additionally, these units can be used for other offshore locations and industries. Fossøy listed subsea installations, desalination projects and offshore fish farming units as potential applications. This is because these are power-intensive projects that don’t have easy access to an abundant energy source.
“The key shared feature is that these are in “island-mode” or off-grid and have challenges and/or high costs in connecting to a grid,” he added.
The emerging offshore wind industry has shown the potential to not only reduce Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions but also to make a sizeable, note-worthy contribution to its economy. According to a report published by Menon Economics, the floating offshore wind sector can potentially create over 50,000 new jobs and NOK 96 billion in turnover by 2050.
Not only is offshore wind a viable energy alternative, but it also has the potential to be a lucrative, exportable industry. With its wealth of offshore knowledge, manpower and assets, Greater Bergen is sure to contribute to this emerging industry.
“There is significant potential for offshore wind in Norway long-term. It is possible to develop a new industry and value chain in Norway, not only to serve this potential but also to export competence and knowledge,” stated Fossøy.
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