X1 Wind is preparing to deploy its PivotBuoy floating wind technology in the Canary Islands after completing assembly and load-out of a fully functional prototype
The prototype was developed through the €4.0M (US$4.8M) project awarded by the European Commission H2020 programme.
It will be installed at the PLOCAN test site to demonstrate the efficiency of the innovative structural design and mooring system.
The pan-European PivotBuoy consortium includes EDP NEW, DNV, INTECSEA, ESM and DEGIMA and the research centres WavEC, PLOCAN and DTU.
The aim of the PivotBuoy Project is to significantly reduce the current levelised cost of energy of floating wind by demonstrating the advantages of the PivotBuoy system, a floater that is lighter than some other concept and faster and less expensive to install.
Fitted with a Vestas V29 turbine, the 1:3 scale prototype (X30) will be installed in a water depth of 50 m and uses a single point mooring system in a downwind configuration – creating a ‘weathervaning’ solution which maximises use of passive systems.
X1 Wind chief technology officer and co-founder Carlos Casanovas said all subsystems will be tested over the coming weeks, before PivotBuoy is installed at PLOCAN and connected via a dynamic 20-kV cable, later progressing to the commissioning phase, the exact timing of which will be determined by environmental conditions.
Construction of the X30 platform was completed last November by DEGIMA in Santander, before being shipped in different segments to Gran Canaria. Structural assembly was managed entirely onshore at Hidramar Shipyard, Las Palmas, using regular LTM mobile cranes and local equipment.
Mr Casanovas said, “Throughout the process we were able to mobilise and engage local supply chains, which is a key feature of our future fabrication and deployment plan for full-scale units.
“Local manufacturing, assembly and load out supports the development of local economies and job creation in the offshore wind sector, while also avoiding long transit times and saving costs and carbon emissions for future projects.
“Importantly, our floating wind technology offers a lighter design requiring less steel – which also reduces carbon emissions during fabrication – and requires a significantly smaller footprint on the ocean floor when compared to catenary systems. The scalability of our technology further enables us to transition easily up to 15-MW turbines operating in water depths of more than 500 m.”
X1 Wind was set up in 2017. Its technology has advanced from concept design to demonstration in less than four years. This has been achieved through strong backing from private investment and public sector funding, with further recognition from leading institutions including EIT Innoenergy, EIC Accelerator, CDTI, ENISA and ACCIO, in addition to the H2020 funding.
X1 Wind chief executive and co-founder Alex Raventos said, “This is a significant step forward for X1 Wind, preparing the way to demonstrate how our innovative technology can deliver dramatic cost savings and firmly position floating wind as a competitive green energy resource.
“We have a clear trajectory with funding secured to design and certify our technology at full-scale. This will allow us to move swiftly through the pre-commercial phase.”
The PivotBuoy concept was initially developed by Mr Casanovas in 2012 while studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), before progressing the patented technology for almost a decade.
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