Universal Foundation is an offshore foundation company majority owned by Fred. Olsen Ocean, which is indirectly owned wholly by the Norwegian stock listed company Bonheur ASA.
The company is responsible for bringing the Mono Bucket foundation to the offshore wind industry (previously known as the Universal Foundation). The Mono Bucket is a unique concept in offshore wind engineering built on industry experience of more than 2,000 suction bucket installations offshore. It combines the key benefits of a gravity base foundation, a monopile and a suction bucket and can be installed in a wide variety of site conditions, including sand, silt, clay and layered strata.
The Mono Bucket offers a lower cost solution to traditional foundations using less steel and single lift, self-levelling installation, removing the requirement for a separate transition piece and grouting. Installation time is dramatically reduced, with a proven installation cycle of only 7 hours, and there is usually no requirement for seabed preparations or scour prevention. Most importantly, installation is noise free and the foundation is completely removable for re-use or recycling, minimising environmental impact.
As well as the technology, Universal Foundation provides design, project management and engineering expertise as well as offering holistic solutions for their foundation, working alongside fellow Fred. Olsen related companies or third party contractors for fabrication and installation.
The company has offices in Oslo, Norway and Aalborg – Denmark, Hamburg – Germany and Lowestoft – UK.
Universal Foundation has developed from a small innovative engineering company into a specialist foundation engineering and installation service provider for the Mono Bucket foundation (then known as the Universal Foundation). The Mono Bucket concept was started as an entrepreneurial enterprise in Denmark, including the industrial involvement DONG Energy back in 2001. The entrepreneurial outset was to introduce the vast experience with suction technology from oil and gas to offshore wind. The technological advantage is a foundation which is applicable for multi-MW wind turbines and in deeper water offshore sites. The industrial involvement of DONG Energy sought to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy as offshore projects continuously increase in complexity further from shore and growing in size. On the back of a signed framework agreement between DONG Energy and Aalborg University (AAU) in 2008, Universal Foundation secured university as a minority shareholder, providing a strong link to the academic community.
In 2009, the Universal Foundation’s Mono Bucket was chosen as one of seven foundation designs in the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme, in a preliminary round between 109 innovative concepts and was further selected in consecutive rounds, up to a final stage where four different designs were considered. The Carbon Trust continues to support Universal Foundation having recently partnered in the Dogger Bank and Trial Installationprojects.
The company caught the attention of Norwegian businessman, Mr Fred. Olsen, who recognised the vast technological and commercial advantages of the Mono Bucket concept. Building on the company’s 167 years of experience in the marine and shipping heritage and their decision to enter the wind market in the 1990s with Fred. Olsen Renewables, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier was established in 2008, and the company entered the offshore construction market. The company owned by Fred. Olsen Ocean (then First Olsen), a subsidiary of the Norwegian public companies Bonheur ASA, acquired a majority share in Global Wind Service (GWS) before First Olsen acquired a 60% share in Universal Foundation in 2011, which further increased to 82% in 2013.
Along with a board of directors from Fred. Olsen Ocean, Novation and Aalborg University, the company is experiencing even further growth and promising prospects positioning the Mono Bucket foundation in the offshore market.
Supported by the Fred. Olsen related companies Universal Foundation is today positioned to provide our clients with a holistic solution – from design, fabrication, and installation through to operations.
Fred. Olsen companies such as Universal Foundation share the same commitment and drive to lowering cost and raising standards. Our shared values unite us.
- Building on our shipping heritage, oil & gas knowledge and wind expertise.
- Commitment to quality and safety.
- Positive and engaged with a “can do” attitude; think straight – talk straight.
- Ability to inspire, cooperate and make our colleagues and partners better.
- Outgoing with integrity, transparency and with genuine industry focus.
- Driven by innovation and exceeding expectations.
Universal Foundation values its membership and associations with the following organisations:
WindEurope (previously EWEA) is the voice of the wind industry, actively promoting wind power in Europe and worldwide. It has over 600 members, active in over 50 countries, including wind turbine manufacturers with a leading share of the world wind power market, plus component suppliers, research institutes, national wind and renewables associations, developers, contractors, electricity providers, finance and insurance companies, and consultants.
The East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) is the industry association for energy in the East of England, representing over 400 members across the supply chain. EEEGR are a non-profit, business-led group committed to the sustained development of the energy sector in the East of England and the continued success of our members.