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PivotBuoy floating wind platform prepares the start of production tests

Friday 21, May 2021
Renewable energy

EDP participates in a European consortium that is promoting an innovative project for the production of clean energy. Platform will be tested on the high seas, off the Canary Islands.

The PivotBuoy floating wind platform has already arrived in the Canaries, after having successfully completed the assembly phase, and is now preparing to leave for the high seas, where it will start testing energy production. EDP is one of the partner companies of the European consortium that is developing this pilot project, led by X1 Wind, and which also has the participation of DNV, INTECSEA, ESM and DEGIMA and with the involvement of the research centers WavEC, PLOCAN and DTU.

With the main objectives of testing and dimensioning, in a real environment, an innovative floating structure for the offshore production of wind power, PivotBuoy intends to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce the energy production cost by up to 50%. To this purpose, a system was created on a 1: 3 scale, to be tested in the Atlantic Ocean, in the offshore testing center of PLOCAN, the Canary Ocean Platform.

Like WindFloat, the floating wind farm off the coast of Viana do Castelo (which came into operation last year), PivotBuoy aims to develop a technology that enables offshore wind production in deep waters, using a floating solution. In these two cases, the systems are substantially different, but both rely on semi-submersible technology on their platform. On the other hand, this new solution has the peculiarity of being totally passive, running around a single mooring point (the so-called single-point mooring system) and positioning itself in the direction of the strongest wind direction. 

The PivotBuoy project also seeks to simplify the logistics chain associated with the transport and installation of devices at sea, using smaller and less expensive vessels and betting on maximizing the number of operations on land. This innovative solution also aims to substantially reduce the quantities of materials to be used on these platforms, reinforcing the environmental advantages of these solutions for the production of clean energy. In addition, by reducing the weight per installed capacity (tons per MW), it reinforces the cost reduction potential of this technology. 

The NEW vision for future technology

EDP, through NEW, the research and development center of the EDP group, focuses its participation in the project, leading the work package related to the evaluation of the cost of energy production of this technology, the socio-economic impact and the exploitation plan. Applying the perspective of a possible end user to the project as a whole, NEW seeks to assess the technical and economic viability of PivotBuoy, on a commercial scale, in the emerging floating wind power market. This work contributes to reinforcing the company's commitment as a leader in the energy transition, investing in renewable generation technologies, contributing to achieving the carbon neutrality goals and fulfilling the ambition of being a 100% green company by 2030.

The choice of the Canary Islands Ocean Platform to test this technology, is mainly due to the characteristics of the ocean floor that are the most appropriate for the type of anchorage that will be made in this demonstration project (anchoring by gravity). The platform is also equipped with infrastructures that allow for the energy transport cable to be directly connected here, which is another factor that contributed to this choice.

The PivotBuoy concept, developed by X1 Wind, was tested in the laboratory - When testing in a real environment, the project will also validate more critical issues related to assembly, installation, operation and maintenance techniques.

PivotBuoy is an innovation project financed at four million euros by the European Commission's H2020 Program.

Visit the PivotBuoy website (www.pivotbuoy.eu) or the EDP page