Barcelona-based floating wind technology developer X1 Wind is gearing up to deploy its PivotBuoy floating wind technology in the Canary Islands after completing the assembly and load-out of a fully functional prototype. The aim of the tech is to "dramatically" reduce the cost of floating wind projects.
The prototype has been developed through the €4million PivotBuoy Project awarded by the European Commission H2020 Program. It will be installed at the PLOCAN [The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands] test site with full exposure to open ocean conditions in a bid to demonstrate the efficiency of the innovative structural design and mooring system, X1 Wind said.
The pan-European Pivotbuoy consortium includes EDP NEW, DNV, INTECSEA, ESM and DEGIMA and research centers WavEC, PLOCAN, and DTU.
According to X1 Wind, the Pivotbuoy project's aim is to substantially reduce the current Levelized Cost Of Electricity (LCOE) of floating wind by demonstrating the advantages of the PivotBuoy system, namely a reduced floater weight, a faster and cheaper installation process, and a more reliable operation.
Fitted with a Vestas V29 turbine, the 1:3 scale prototype (X30) will be stationed at a 50m water depth through a single point mooring system in a downwind configuration – creating a ‘weathervaning’ solution that maximizes the use of passive systems.
While the main focus of the project is on demonstrating the innovative PivotBuoy single point mooring system, it will also enable the test of the Vestas V29 turbine adapted in a downwind configuration in real floating conditions at PLOCAN test site in the Canary Islands.
X1 Wind CTO and Co-Founder Carlos Casanovas said: “We are immensely grateful to our project partners who have all played an instrumental role, with careful planning and preparation to ensure the X30 prototype’s successful assembly and load-out.
“Portside testing of all subsystems will be performed over the coming weeks, before PivotBuoy is installed in the PLOCAN test site and connected via a dynamic 20kV cable, later progressing to the commissioning phase – the 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 onshore at Hidramar Shipyard, Las Palmas, using regular LTM mobile cranes and local equipment.
Casanovas said: "Throughout the process, we were able to mobilize 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 support 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 15MW mega-turbines operating at depths of 500m plus."”
J.W. Timmermans, Engineering manager (INTECSEA), said: "INTECSEA is very pleased to have been able to contribute to the realization of this PivotBuoy prototype, which offers exciting opportunities for cost-effective development of offshore wind resources. We appreciate the professionalism with which X1Wind has led the project to this major milestone and we look forward to a successful offshore trial period.”
Claudio Bittencourt, Business Development Director (DNV) said: “As a partner in the H2020 project, DNV has contributed to the development and improvement of this project so that it is positioned for the technical challenges that come with its future commercialization. The project provides an excellent opportunity to implement and rigorously test the technology and accelerate the much-needed energy transition where floating wind is expected to play a major role.”
The PivotBuoy concept was initially developed by Casanovas in 2012 while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), before progressing the patented technology for almost a decade.
Talking about the imminent deployment of the PivotBuoy, X1 Wind CEO & 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 in the short term through the pre-commercial phase. X1 Wind is a progressive company, driven by talented individuals with a passion for the environment and a mission to re-direct the future energy transition. Our technology can play a crucial role to reduce harmful climate change and reenergize global efforts to limit temperature rises to 1.5C, in line with the UN’s Paris Climate Agreement and EU’s 2050 Climate Neutrality target.”