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Smooth sailing for new floating wind farm platform

An innovative offshore wind platform passes successful first test off the Canary Islands, creating promises for more sustainable and environmentally friendly floating wind farms.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment
Energy icon Energy

Since X1 Wind installed its anchoring system and completed a 20kV dynamic cable lay earlier this year in the Canary Islands, the renewable energy sector has been celebrating a big success. Now, the Barcelona-based company and partners on the EU-funded PivotBuoy project have successfully connected these to their X30 prototype. This latest development marks progress in the goal to deliver power to the PLOCAN Smart Grid off the north-east coast of Gran Canaria, Spain. PivotBuoy’s primary innovation has been the cost reduction in the mooring of floating platforms, achieved by using smaller vessels. It also enables radical weight reduction in floating wind systems, meaning that installation, removal for maintenance and re-installation become much less burdensome tasks.

Breakthrough design ensures resilience

The prototype is revolutionary in other ways, too. With a reconfigured turbine design, the tower has been removed, and the turbine rests on a tripod-looking set of towers, making it more resilient and stable in its movement. It has also reconceptualised the traditional upwind configuration, replacing it with technology that channels the air in a downward motion. This has allowed designers to make the blades lighter, shorter and more flexible. Finally, its pioneering tethering system involves a cluster of tensioned cables (rather than trailing cables) from the taller of the three base towers that go straight down to a single point on the seabed. This allows the platform to tap into large wind resources located in deep waters.

Growth on the horizon – with sustainable impact and respect for the sea

In a company press release, X1 Wind Operations Manager Jorge Casanovas says valuable data will soon start to be collected in order to validate performance in open ocean conditions. “As installation work comes to a close another exciting chapter begins for X1 Wind as we prepare for operations to deliver first power to the PLOCAN smartgrid,” he adds. The installation and smooth running of the platform at the PLOCAN test site is a major milestone in the floating wind sector. The knowledge gathered by the implementation of PivotBuoy is also slated to pave the way for larger commercial growth worldwide. “Data obtained from the X30 will contribute to 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 worldwide,” states Alex Raventos, X1 Wind Co-founder and CEO. Real-time testing and monitoring of the platform will continue until March 2023, coinciding with the completion of the PivotBuoy (PivotBuoy - An Advanced System for Cost-effective and Reliable Mooring, Connection, Installation & Operation of Floating Wind) project. For more information, please see: PivotBuoy website

Keywords

PivotBuoy, energy, wind farm, floating wind, PLOCAN, sustainability, ocean

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