Tuesday, March 5, 2024

X1 Wind’s floating wind prototype generates first power offshore

The X30 floating wind prototype has kickstarted its operation with the production of its first kilowatt-hours (kWh). Developed by the Spanish company X1 Wind, the platform was installed in the Canary Islands, which is situated near Spain, in November 2022.

This milestone marks the world’s only floating wind platform currently installed with a TLP mooring system, which dramatically reduces the environmental footprint and improves compatibility with other sea uses. It further heralds Spain’s first floating wind prototype to export electricity via a subsea cable.

The first power produced was fed into PLOCAN’s offshore platform smart-grid via a 1.4km underwater cable. The team will now move on to the final testing and verification program, which started with the platform installation. The process is being done as a part of its preparation to scale up the technology and certification for commercial-scale projects currently under development.

“Floating wind is set to play a vital role in supporting the future energy transition, global decarbonization, and ambitious net-zero targets. Today’s announcement marks another significant stride forward for X1 Wind accelerating towards certification and commercial scale ambitions to deliver 15MW platforms and beyond in deepwater sites around the globe,” said Carlos Casanovas, X1 Wind CTO, and Co-founder.

The novel X30 platform is equipped with a specially adapted Vestas V29 turbine and an ABB power converter. One of the project’s key features combines the advantages of SPM and TLP mooring systems. The proprietary SPM design enables the floater to ‘weathervane’ passively and maximizes energy yields, with an electrical swivel ensuring electricity transfer without cable twisting.

The TLP mooring system also dramatically reduces the seabed footprint, compared to traditional designs proposing catenary mooring lines, minimizing environmental impact while maximizing compatibility with other sea uses, in addition to its suitability to move into deeper waters.

The X30 platform is part of the PivotBuoy project, funded by the European Commission. It brings together companies and research centers in the field of floating wind farms with the aim of reducing the levelized cost of energy production (LCOE), i.e., the ratio of production costs to performance.

Among the advantages of the PivotBuoy system are a reduction in the weight of floating platforms, a faster and cheaper installation process, and the possibility of application at greater depths, it was announced.