Growing up by the water in the Netherlands with a passion for physics, Fons knew he wanted to work in marine technology. After studying naval architecture at Delft University of Technology, he joined GustoMSC designing offshore vessels, jackups, and semi-submersibles and preparing drawings and calculation reports to demonstrate the safety and performance of the designs. Currently, most offshore wind technology is bottom-founded, meaning it can only be built in shallow-water areas like the North Sea at depths up to 50 m. However, Fons and his team of engineers have been designing floating wind turbines for deeper waters, such as those around the US.
As a naval architecture student, Fons never imagined a career in offshore technology. Now, he’s leading a team of engineers at the forefront of offshore wind installation design.
It’s not about oil and gas companies on one end and offshore wind on the other. It’s about these companies changing the direction of the offshore industry together. And that’s why I’m happy to be part of NOV. I hope that I can be part of this energy transition within NOV.
As Fons' work shifts more toward offshore wind technology, he's motivated by the fast-paced expansion of wind energy and the opportunity to be part of a global energy transition that reduces carbon emissions. Just a little more than a decade ago, a client was happy to have five 5-MW wind turbines installed within a few months. Now, vessels designed by GustoMSC can install one 10-MW turbine in a day.
As the global winds blow toward a greener future with less use of carbon-burning fuels and more application of alternative energies, Fons sees this as an opportunity for major oil and gas companies to pave the way. "For the long-term solution, we should invest in technology for renewable energy, because that's where a lot of growth is. It's an opportunity [for NOV] to use our experience from offshore oil and gas in a new area." So, it's not one energy source competing against the other. Rather, oil and gas companies are among the top organizations driving the expansion and innovation of alternative energies.
Like many others, Fons is excited about NOV's decision to take a new direction and invest in companies such as GustoMSC that are active in offshore wind.