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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

PivotBuoy Offshore Wind Demonstration Yields Positive Results

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 18, 2023

Source: X1 Wind

Source: X1 Wind

The PivotBuoy Project, developed by X1 Wind, finalized its offshore demonstration with partners reporting excellent results.

The PivotBuoy Consortium partners are X1 Wind, ESM, WavEC, PLOCAN, INTECSEA, EDP, DTU, DNV GL, and DEGIMA. The project aimed to demonstrate the PivotBuoy mooring system configuration which combines the advantages of a single point mooring with a small tension-leg platform (TLP) mooring system, allowing the platform to reach deeper waters and minimizing the footprint and impact on the seabed.

The Spanish firm’s X30 platform was tested in full operational conditions at the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) from October 2022 to May 2023. During the seven-month demonstration, the device became the world’s first fully functional floating wind TLP. The unit fed its electricity to PLOCAN’s Platform via a 1.4-kilometer 20kV subsea cable.

The data gathered indicates that the platform showed very good alignment with the wind using its passive orientation system. The platform showed better alignment than publicly available data for traditional active yaw systems for strong winds (over 7.5m/s) and similar alignment for lower wind speeds (under 7.5m/s).

In terms of power production, energy generated by the modified Vestas V29 – which operates in a downwind configuration – was well aligned with theoretical models, with no sign of power loss or increased 3P vibration due to the tripod shadow. The results confirm that X1 Wind’s streamlined tripod arrangement eliminates the known drawbacks typically associated with downwind operation.

In addition, the platform overcame several harsh storms, with maximum wave heights reaching 6.7 meters, equivalent to more than 20 meters in full-scale. During these extreme events, the unit behaved well with motions and accelerations matching the predictions in simulation models.

X1 Wind CEO Alex Raventos said that the recently published results illustrate excellent performance across a broad range of parameters including platform stability, passive alignment, structural behavior and power production: “The PivotBuoy Project marked an important phase in the development of our innovative technology,” he said. “It allowed us to retrieve large amounts of data for a sustained period of time in full operational conditions. This data was collected from multiple sensors installed across the platform through a dedicated and proprietary SCADA called Floating Management System. These findings have provided crucial insights which are now being incorporated into X1 Wind’s ongoing commercial-scale projects, including the NextFloat Project.”

Raventos added that the decommissioning process, which was a requirement after the end of the EU funded project in March 2023, also proved the ease of disconnection of its innovative single point mooring system, successfully completing the disconnection, unhook and towing in less than one working day.

“This is another milestone for the industry, especially taking into account that we use a TLP mooring (which provides many advantages but historically was very difficult to hook and un-hook). By proving that our PivotBuoy mooring system can be easily hooked and unhooked we’ve shown that TLPs can easily be installed, decommissioned or maintained at port in case a tow-to-port maintenance operation is needed. The X30 platform was towed to Araniaga Port for its full decommissioning, removing the key elements for further analysis and offering some parts to the Instituto Técnológico de Canarias (ITC) for educational purposes at its facilities in Pozo Izquierdo. All this learning is key in the development of the commercial scale units.”