An innovative single-point mooring system that could significantly reduce the cost of floating offshore wind is to receive €4M of EU Commission Horizon 2020 funding.
X1 Wind’s PivotBuoy is to be tested by a consortium of nine partners, led by X1 Wind, who will deploy a prototype at a test site at the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN).
X1 Wind said the technology could reduce platform weight by as much as 80% compared with other floating foundations and could reduce costs by 50%.
The project aims to validate the benefits of the PivotBuoy system and other innovations to reduce installation, operation and maintenance costs, paving the path to achieve €50/MWh (US$56/MWh) in commercial-scale floating windfarms.
First backed by EIT InnoEnergy, Europe’s sustainable energy innovation engine, the platform is said to be capable of operating at an increased water depth compared to other floating solutions, opening up sites that might otherwise be technically or commercially inaccessible.
The system combines advantages of single point mooring systems (SPM) with those of tension-leg platforms and a more efficient downwind structural design, enabling a significant weight reduction compared to spar and semi-submersible systems.
X1 Wind chief executive Alex Raventos said, “In the last decade, a number of prototypes have successfully proven floating wind is technically feasible, but costs need to be reduced by at least 50%.
“Technology disruption is required to achieve large-scale competitive floating offshore wind. Together with a consortium of nine R&D institutions and industry partners we plan to demonstrate the advantages of the PivotBuoy system.”
The consortium will integrate a part-scale prototype of the PivotBuoy into a downwind floating wind platform designed by X1 Wind at PLOCAN’s test site. The system will be installed by 2020, where other innovations related to assembly and installation will be validated.
The project consortium combines experienced industry partners and R&D organisations from the offshore wind, naval and oil and gas sectors, and is formed by nine partners from six different countries: X1 Wind, ESM, WavEC, PLOCAN, EDP, INTECSEA, DTU, DNV GL and DEGIMA. The project will start on 1 April and will last for 36 months.
X1 Wind, the project co-ordinator, is a technology developer dedicated to developing innovative floating solutions such as the PivotBuoy. In addition to co-ordinating the project, X1 Wind will lead the design and development of the PivotBuoy and play an important role in designing, manufacturing and installing the prototype.