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X1 Wind's X30 delivers first power

4C Offshore | Kaitlin Walsh
By: Kaitlin Walsh 07/03/2023 X1 Wind

X1 Wind has announced that its
X30 floating wind prototype, installed in the Canary Islands, successfully produced its first kWh.

The 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.

First power was fed into PLOCAN's (Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands) offshore platform smartgrid via a 1.4 km underwater cable. Local teams will now enter the last phase of a rigorous test and verification programme which started with the platform installation in November 2022, in preparation of technology scale-up and certification for commercial scale projects currently under development.

Carlos Casanovas, X1 Wind CTO and co-founder, said: “First power represents a huge milestone for X1 Wind, and the ‘lift-off’ moment we’ve been building towards for many years. The first kWh is always a symbolic moment for any new energy generation project, and for our team, partners and supporters, it crystalises the immense journey we’ve been on and the exciting path which lies ahead.

"Floating wind is set to play a vital role supporting the future energy transition, global decarbonisation 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.”

The novel X30 platform is equipped with a specially adapted V29 Vestas turbine and ABB power converter. Another key design feature, developed through the PivotBuoy project, combines advantages of single point mooring (SPM) and tension leg platform (TLP) mooring systems.

The proprietary SPM design enables the floater to 'weathervane' passively and maximise 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, minimising environmental impacts while maximising compatibility with other sea uses, in addition to its ability to move into deeper waters.

X1 Wind's Electrical Engineering Manager, Adrian Oliva, said: “Our first kWh follows a particularly intense period of activity after the dynamic cable lay, platform load-out and installation. Once installed we carried out the first round of testing without power. Now generating power, we’ve commenced a second phase to assess the floater behaviour during operation. This all forms part of X1 Wind’s extensive testing verification programme to fully validate the platform in real world operational conditions and de-risk our technology.

"The novel X30 platform is equipped with all the electrical systems that the commercial platforms will contain, including a commercial turbine, power converter, transformer, slip-ring and dynamic cable as well as our in-house SCADA system with multiple sensors to control and monitor the platform’s behaviour in real-time. All this data is being fed into our commercial scale design which is advancing fast working closely with certification body DNV.”

PivotBuoy Project aims to substantially reduce the current Levelised Cost Of Electricity (LCOE) of floating wind. The project is supported by €4 million from the Euroopean Commission H2020 Program, with a consortium coordinated by X1 Wind inclusing leading companies EDP NEW, DNV, INTECSEA, ESM and DEGIMA, as well as world-class research centres WavEC, DTU and PLOCAN. Key advantages of the PivotBuoy system include a reduced water floater weight, faster and cheaper installation processes and the ability to reach deeper waters with minimal seabed footprint thanks to the TLP mooring system.

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