New floating wind platform, credit: X1 Wind

X1 Wind is preparing to deploy its PivotBuoy floating wind technology in the Canary Islands after successfully completing the assembly and load-out of a fully-functional prototype.

The prototype has been developed through the €4 million ($4.8 million) PivotBuoy Project awarded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme.

The project aims to reduce the current Levelized Cost Of Electricity (LCOE) of floating wind by demonstrating a reduced floater weight, a faster and cheaper installation process and a more reliable operation.

X1 Wind CTO and co-Founder Carlos Casanovas said: “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 entirely onshore at Hidramar Shipyard, Las Palmas, using regular LTM mobile cranes and local equipment.”

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The Pivotbuoy Project will be installed at the PLOCAN test site (The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands) with full exposure to open ocean conditions to test the structural design and mooring system. 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 which maximises use of passive systems.

The PLOCAN site is a 23km2 offshore test site with a unique ecosystem optimal to test a wide range of marine technologies. The test site is equipped with an electrical and communications infrastructure, consisting of two medium-voltage (5MW each) submarine cables, for connecting technologies that use natural resources to generate electricity. These cables supply the generated energy to the island’s power grid.

PivotBuoy being deployed, credit X1 Wind

Casanovas emphasised that their floating wind technology offers a lighter design requiring less steel – which also reduces carbon emissions during fabrication and the scalability of the technology enables an easy transition up to 15MW mega-turbines operating at depths of 500m plus.

The PivotBuoy concept was initially developed by Casanovas in 2012 while studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). X1 Wind, established in 2017, has advanced from concept design to demonstration in less than four years. According to the company, this was achievable because of support from institutions including EIT Innoenergy, EIC Accelerator, CDTI, ENISA and ACCIO, in addition to the H2020 funding for this specific project.