Renewables

BLOW project – pioneering 5 MW floating offshore wind turbine in Black Sea

BLOW project: pioneering 5 MW floating offshore wind turbine in Black Sea

Photo: Eolink

Published

February 3, 2023

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Published:

February 3, 2023

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Renewable energy company Eolink announced it would install a 5 MW floating offshore wind unit off the Bulgarian coast in the Black Sea. The company kickstarted the BLOW project along with 15 EU partners.

French company Eolink and its 15 European partners kickstarted a project called BLOW (Black sea fLoating Offshore Wind). The group backed by the European Union intends to install a 5 MW floating wind turbine in the Black Sea off the Bulgarian coast, the announcement reads.

BLOW is one of three similar sustainable energy projects selected by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program in 2022. The grant agreement was signed at the end of last year. The budget exceeds EUR 21 million.

The project aims to engineer, manufacture and commission the 5 MW unit by 2025, before rolling out large-scale deployment as part of a wider industrialization process.

More energy in low-wind areas

BLOW will have a unique floating offshore wind turbine design from Eolink. The firm has patented a pyramidal floating foundation that is able to naturally rotate and face the wind, optimizing costs and maximizing its performance.

Eolink developed a pyramidal floating foundation that is able to naturally rotate and face the wind

The concept addresses ongoing industry issues by spreading the turbine’s stresses using four steel masts instead of one, offering a competitive weight-to-energy ratio that makes the overall structure more than 30% lighter, the company noted.

The unit will be designed to operate with maximum efficiency in the Black Sea, including adapting it with a larger rotor so it can generate more energy in low-wind areas, the startup claimed.

“The objective of this specific project is to demonstrate the competitiveness of floating offshore wind in lower-wind areas with the deployment of large rotor diameter,” said Marc Guyot, CEO and founder of Eolink.

Wind energy potential in low-wind Black Sea

The kickoff meeting last month resulted in a development plan layout of the engineering, environmental, and social impact assessment phases before the construction.

The unit will be connected to an existing gas platform operated by Bulgarian company Petroceltic, Eolink said.

Romanian offshore services operating company GSP offshore is tasked with manufacturing the unit at its shipyard in Constanța.

Spain-based IREC and Acciona, the Turkish Offshore Wind Energy Association, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, and the European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland are participating in BLOW.

There is a staggering 166 GW of floating offshore energy potential in the Black Sea alone

“The World Bank 2021 report indicates there is vast technical potential in South East Europe, with a staggering 166 GW of floating offshore energy in the Black Sea alone, which is the equivalent of five times the electricity consumption of Bulgaria and Romania,” said Eolink’s Chief Commercial Officer Alain Morry.

BLOW is the second deployment of Eolink’s patented concept in Europe, following the France Atlantic Project, which should be connected to the grid by 2024.

The first pre-commercial unit is expected to be installed at the SEM-REV test site, off the coast from Le Croisic in 2023. With a height of 150 meters and a 5 MW capacity, Eolink’s floating wind turbine will provide enough electricity to power 3,500 homes, said Acciona Energía. The utility acquired 24% stake in Eolink last year, thus becoming the main shareholder.

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