HonuWorx, a subsea firm which plans to “radically upend” the multi-billion-dollar underwater economy, has committed its long-term future to Aberdeen.
The engineering company has chosen to locate its headquarters within the wind campus of the city’s Energy Transition Zone as it eyes major growth.
Over the next 2-3 years it plans to treble its current headcount of 12 and is targeting upwards of £30m of inward investment to build technologies to drive down the cost and environmental impact of subsea robots.
Those include development of a fleet of all-electric “motherships” to replace large diesel-powered support vessels, and a cloud-based software platform to control robotic systems from its onshore hubs.
Founded in 2020, HonuWorx is currently based in Aberdeen’s Queen’s Terrace and has team members in the US and the UK, including former US Navy Commodore Ben Wachendorf.
It has decided to anchor its business in Aberdeen for the long-term, citing the region’s pioneering subsea heritage and the “flagship ecosystem” provided by the Energy Transition Zone.
It follows EV charging firm Trojan Energy in taking up residency of the W-Zero-1 building, within the ETZ Wind Campus in the Altens portion of the ETZ, which was formally opened on Monday.
The building is planned, in collaboration with ORE-Catapult, to become home of the National Floating Wind Innovation Centre as a “catalyst for attracting high-value manufacturing and energy transition supply chain companies”, said ETZ.
HonuWorx co-founder and CEO Lee Wilson, formerly of Subsea 7 and Rovop, said: “Today marks another incredible milestone for HonuWorx and I’m delighted to commit our long-term future and headquarters in the city.
“The North-east of Scotland has a globally recognised reputation for pioneering subsea engineering and we plan to further cement that legacy with the next generation of talent in software and robotics.
“The flagship location and ecosystem provided by W-Zero-1 and the wider Energy Transition Zone allows us to benefit hugely from first class facilities and join a cluster of game-changing companies. The Wind Campus is the ideal location for our company to grow and attract talented people and we look forward to supercharging headcount here in the next two years. I’m grateful for the ongoing support of the team at ETZ Ltd. HonuWorx is now well and truly ready to scale.”
HonuWorx move is ‘vote of confidence’
Maggie McGinlay, CEO of ETZ Ltd, said her firm is in the process of confirming more companies to the wind campus, and said she is confident W-Zero-1 “will reach capacity in the coming months”.
“Today’s opening and announcement is a real vote of confidence in the region’s ability to effectively transition to becoming a globally recognised energy cluster focussed on the delivery of net zero.”
ETZ is a non-profit, backed by Sir Ian Wood, with funding from his Opportunity North East (ONE) economic development body (£5.7m) and funding from the Scottish (£26million) and UK Governments (£27million).
Operational since April 2021, ETZ aims to create an energy cluster focused on delivery of net zero.
Aberdeen city council co-leader Christian Allard, who sits on the ONE board, said: “It was an honour to mark the opening of the fully refurbished W-Zero-1 and to welcome HonuWorx as the newest tenants in this excellent facility.
“Along with Trojan Energy and ORE-Catapult, it is clear this building will be a hive of activity and it is hugely encouraging to learn of plans from all three organisations that they seek to increase the number of employees at the site in the coming years.”