X1 Wind and its partners in the EU-backed PivotBuoy project have successfully installed a floating platform in the PLOCAN test site. The fully functional floating wind prototype was connected to the mooring system and the dynamic cable pre-installed last June.
X1 Wind operations manager Jorge Casanovas said that operations will soon commence to collect valuable data to validate performance in open ocean conditions for the first time.
“As installation work draws to a close, another exciting chapter begins for X1 Wind as we prepare for operations to deliver power for the first time to the PLOCAN power grid,” he said. “This is the result of a huge team effort, and we would like to extend our gratitude to all the project partners and local suppliers who have been so supportive throughout the construction and installation process. We are especially thankful to the partners and suppliers who have been instrumental in the final installation phase, in the development of a ground-breaking mooring, connection and installation solution for our X30 prototype. Now it has been successfully installed, we will begin monitoring the platform in real time with multiple sensors built into our in-house SCADA system.”
The X30 platform has been developed with several key design features to streamline the installation process, including a lightweight and stable floating structure that can be easily towed by local vessels. The main focus of the PivotBuoy project is to demonstrate an innovative mooring system configuration that combines the advantages of single-point mooring (SPM) with a small tension-leg platform (TLP), enabling it to be deployed in deeper waters and minimising its footprint and environmental impact on the seabed.
Fitted with a Vestas V29 turbine, the 1:3 scale prototype has been moored at a depth of 50m in a downwind configuration, creating a passive wind vane effect that eliminates the need for an active yaw system. The scalability of X1 Wind’s technology will enable the firm to supply platforms for turbines rated at 15 MW and above and to deploy them in very deep water.
X1 Wind CEO and co-founder Alex Raventos said that commercial-scale plans are gathering pace and will build on the learnings from the PivotBuoy prototype: “This is a key milestone for our company and for the floating wind energy sector in general, as we prove our ability to install a floating wind platform with a TLP mooring system using only small local vessels. This reduces not only costs, but also the impact on the seabed. The data obtained with the X30 will help de-risk the technology, improve the design and obtain the certification of our commercial-scale platforms in preparation for upcoming tenders in Spain and other countries around the world,” he said. The Barcelona-based company was recently selected by the European Commission to deliver the NextFloat project – an ambitious programme to accelerate industrial-scale floating wind energy that aims to install its first commercial-scale platform in the south of France.
Once installation is completed, the PivotBuoy project will be tested under fully operational conditions until March 2023. The electricity produced once it is operational will be fed into PLOCAN’s smartgrid.
The PivotBuoy project has received funding of €4 million from the European Commission’s H2020 Programme. Led by X1 Wind, the consortium includes industry leaders EDP NEW, DNV, INTECSEA, ESM and DEGIMA and world-class research centres WavEC, DTU and PLOCAN.