Offshore wind and carbon reduction will play central roles in realising Danish and EU ambitions to achieve net zero, while strengthening the region’s energy security. Within close proximity to both the North and Baltic Seas, where both future wind power projects and carbon storage projects are planned, the Port of Aalborg is ideally situated as a key wind and green transition hub. Building on the surrounding area’s strengths in R&D, engineering, and manufacturing, the hub is also maximising on the Port of Aalborg’s own strengths in building industrial ecosystems.
Introducing communities for renewables and green transition
The Port of Aalborg founded Aalborg Renewables as a community of businesses in various renewable sectors in the greater Aalborg area, including onshore and offshore wind. Members include Siemens Gamesa, Bladt Industries, testing facility owner, BLAEST, and the University of Aalborg, as well as startups focused on adjacent industries.
“We have the experience and knowledge to support the whole value chain in the green transition where we see wind power as a prerequisite,” says Mette Lilkær, head of secretariat for Aalborg Renewables.
A key focus of the hub is to increase its presence and scope by recruiting more members, whilst gathering the competencies needed for wind, the wider green transition, as well as the whole value chain, to deliver such projects. A new community – Aalborg Fuels and Carbon Capture – is therefore now emerging to support this strong focus on green transition.
– Mette Lilkær, head of secretariat, Aalborg Renewables
Supporting cross collaboration and cooperation
Aalborg Renewables provides a platform for companies to meet and share knowledge and experiences, through its broad and numerous contacts across many companies in the wind and related industries.
Critical to the hub’s approach is facilitating networking among different member companies, creating an environment where members can work together as “colleague companies”.
Aalborg Renewables also organises networking events to create more opportunities for staff and different companies, as well as researchers and other specialists, to meet each other. These include “match-making” between companies that could have potential for working together, as well as between companies and graduates/students. It can also help members connect with industry organisations that can provide insight into EU calls and EU projects.
Access to world-leading wind power and green transition research and ideas
One key draw for companies in the wind and wider renewables industry looking to set up here is Aalborg University – one of Europe’s top universities – with its big focus on renewable energy. It runs multiple programmes and research in areas as diverse as composites and power electronics. It is also highly focused on the commercialisation of research projects and industry collaboration, which Aalborg Renewables supports by acting as a platform for commercial and industrial organisations to connect with the university.
Aalborg is also home to the nation’s largest CO2 emitter, so projects that can use CO2 in PtX processes will benefit from being located here. Lilkær comments: “We believe such projects will greatly support our efforts to find green solutions for this emerging sector – one in which Denmark aims to be a market leader”.
The Aalborg area also benefits from having strong knowledge about symbioses. Indeed, Aalborg has played a central role in a project that is focused on establishing “industrial symbiosis”, as part of the EU-funded GRØN (Green Resource-Ecosystems North Jutland) project. Here, surplus resources, such as materials, energy or by-products, as well as facilities, expertise and logistical solutions, are shared between two or more companies.
Tap into state-of-the-art testing facilities and expertise
Testing facilities are critical for enabling the commercialisation of new technologies and innovations within wind. Located at the Port of Aalborg is one of the world leaders within testing of blades, BLAEST. In their facilities they are testing the world’s largest blades. The test facilities at Aalborg will grow to accommodate future, larger wind turbines.
The Østerild test centre can also be found near Aalborg, which consists of nine outdoor testing sites for the largest offshore wind turbines in the world. Five of these sites have enough capacity to test wind turbines of up to 330 metres from ground to blade tips. Østerild is one of the few centres in the world where offshore wind turbine manufacturers and their supply chain partners can test next-generation turbines.
Centre of Excellence in wind and green transition
Port of Aalborg has lots of space to suit upcoming projects within the green transition and also to suit offshore wind supply chain businesses seeking to expand.
“Companies are looking in our direction, as interest in the hub has grown,” confirms Lilkær. “These include companies looking for sharing facilities in order to optimise utilisation and put industrial symbiosis concepts into practice.”
Port of Aalborg is working with the municipality to extend the industrial area at the hub, which will occur over the next four years. There are already plans to facilitate a competence centre within wind and green transition.
Danish and EU offshore wind targets are targeting many gigawatts of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030 in the seas around Northern Europe by 2030 and there are plans and projects to capture, store and also utilise carbon. For the future development of offshore wind and green transition, Aalborg is very well located and positioned to become a hub where innovation and growth will take place.