(TN) Petrobras started testing the Bravo technology (Remote Buoy for Offshore Wind Assessment). The equipment, capable of measuring wind speed and direction, is essential for measurements aimed at implementing offshore wind generation projects. The total investment is BRL 9 million and there is a forecast that the use of this technology, unprecedented in the country, will bring a 40% reduction in the cost in relation to hiring it abroad. Buoy measurement is one of the alternatives currently adopted in the world to fixed measurement towers, which have a higher installation cost. The project was developed through a cooperation agreement with Petrobras, with resources from the R&D program of the electricity sector of ANEEL and in partnership with the SENAI Institute of Innovation in Renewable Energies (ISI-ER) of Rio Grande do Norte and the SENAI Institute for Innovation in Embedded Systems (ISI-SE) in Santa Catarina.
“Petrobras is a company experienced in projects that are intensive in technological content. Studying projects and innovations like this is foreseen in the recently launched Strategic Plan 2023-27, which explains the deepening of studies and evaluation of opportunities in hydrogen, offshore wind and carbon capture”, says Rafael Chaves, director of Institutional Relations and Sustainability from Petrobras.
In addition to measuring wind speed and direction, Bravo is capable of processing meteorological variables, such as atmospheric pressure, air temperature and relative humidity, and oceanographic variables, such as waves and sea currents. The project started in 2021 and lasts for two years.
Over the next seven months, Bravo’s communication system will allow access to data collected on the coast of Rio Grande do Norte (where it was installed) at short distance, via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, or via satellite. They will be sent to a cloud server accessed by SENAI and Petrobras. The information collected by Bravo will be compared with the data collected by a fixed LiDAR, installed at the Areia Branca salt terminal. LiDAR is an optical sensor that allows measuring wind speed and direction, between 10 and 200 meters in height, generating data compatible with the operating height of offshore wind turbines.
The buoy was launched into the sea for testing in the relevant environment. The wind data captured by a fixed reference LiDAR will be compared with the data captured by the existing LiDAR on the buoy and, after the validation stage, it will be possible to determine the degree of readiness of the technology.
At the end of the project, Petrobras expects to have developed equipment for measuring the offshore wind resource validated in accordance with internationally required acceptance criteria. This, in addition to providing technological competitiveness to the Brazilian offshore wind industry, will qualify a national institution, in this case SENAI, to provide measurement services for the offshore wind resource.
When it is in the commercial stage, Bravo will also contribute to increasing the supply of services and reducing the cost of implementing offshore wind projects in the country. The buoy is about 2.5 m in diameter and 3.5 m high and is powered by photovoltaic modules and wind turbines so that it can operate in remote regions and independently of external energy sources.
In the country, there is still no supplier with its own validated equipment and no measurement campaign has yet been carried out with a national buoy equipped with LiDAR. In the world there are some floating LiDARs in some regions of the North Sea and countries like Canada, USA, Taiwan, France, United Kingdom, Norway and Portugal among others.
One of the necessary steps for the development of offshore wind projects is to carry out an Offshore Energy Potential Study, which requires a measurement campaign. The data obtained allow defining the feasibility of implementing a wind farm and, once the potential of the area is proven, the engineering project and choice of the most appropriate technologies.