X1 Wind has completed the full rotor assembly of the firm’s X30 prototype. Fitted with a specially adapted V29 Vestas turbine, the unique “downwind” system is able to “weathervane” and orient passively with the wind to maximize energy yields.
The tripod-like platform also features greater structural efficiency, with a lighter and more scalable design, while keeping environmental impact on the ocean to a minimum.
“We are thrilled to complete this latest milestone as we move towards deployment,” said X1 Wind CEO Alex Raventos. “The rotor assembly represents a symbolic moment in this project, fitting the blades which will ultimately harness the wind and demonstrate our downwind design. Strong summer trade winds in Gran Canaria brought minor delays after the initial load-out, but this exciting period brings the assembly process to fruition. In the coming weeks, we will engage in cable and anchor installations before the platform is stationed at a 50m water depth for final commissioning. From the outset, X1 Wind has been committed to find a more efficient structural approach for floating wind compared to more traditional systems. We believe we have now developed the technology to take full advantage of the marine environment, while respecting the future sustainability of the ocean. Our system will drive greater structural efficiency, reducing loads, especially the bending moments at the base of the tower, allowing for a lighter design.”
Co-founder Carlos Casanovas said the industry-wide approach for land-based turbines has traditionally focused on upwind rotors to avoid the so-called “tower shadow” effect. However, upwind configurations require specific measures to prevent tower strikes, with the challenge increasing as turbine blades get longer.
“With 100m plus blades becoming more prevalent in offshore environments, significant measures are needed to avoid tower strikes,” said Casanovas. “This typically involves increasing the distance between the blades and tower applying a tilt and cone angle, and designing more costly pre-bent and stiffer blades, which also makes them heavier. However, these measures come with increased manufacturing complexity, cost and potential loss of power generation. Using a downwind configuration reduces the risk of tower strikes, opening up the possibility of using lighter, more flexible and therefore cheaper large-scale wind turbine designs. These are key characteristics which will enable the development of future ‘extreme-scale’ downwind structures with research already being conducted on 200m blades and 50MW power ratings.”
X1 Wind is a floating wind technology developer based in Spain. The firm’s mission is to provide scalable solutions that deliver clean, affordable energy while reducing carbon emissions.