Petrobras starts campaign to develop offshore wind in the Northeast and Southeast

(TN) Petrobras started installing LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) measurement devices on six platforms located in shallow waters off the coast of the states of Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará and Espírito Santo. The equipment integrates new wind measurement campaigns, which will be carried out over three years. The collected data will allow the elaboration of a detailed evaluation in different areas of the country with high potential for the development of offshore wind farms. The LIDAR sensors will be powered by solar panels or by the platforms’ own systems.

The LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) optical sensor uses laser beams to measure wind speed and direction, from 30 to 200 meters in height, generating data compatible with the operating environment of wind turbines. The first equipment was installed and is operating on the PAG-2 fixed platform in Rio Grande do Norte. The beginning of the new measurement campaigns takes place 10 years after the validation of the technology on the same platform, with the installation of the first anemometric tower in the Brazilian sea, which allowed the demonstration of the potential use of LiDAR technology for measuring the wind on platforms and the elaboration of the first Atlas of Offshore Wind Potential in the region, which was the objective of the research. The other five sensors will be installed over the next 12 months.

“The installation of LIDAR on PAG-2, a decade ago, shows that Petrobras is an innovative company, which has always sought to overcome the barrier of knowledge. We are focused on the most modern technologies for energy production and invest in research and development, linked to the fair and inclusive energy transition, aiming at the company’s future. The world is moving in this direction and our purpose is to open a new frontier of clean and renewable energy in Brazil, taking advantage of the expressive diversity of energy sources in our country”, said the president of Petrobras, Jean Paul Prates.

Petrobras’ Director of Energy Transition and Sustainability, Maurício Tolmasquim, explains that in addition to being more agile, the installation of equipment on the company’s platforms reduces costs:

“The measurement campaign is the first stage for the development of wind energy projects and the use of equipment installed on fixed platforms brings greater agility and lower costs to the studies, which, in this case, do not require the installation of anemometric towers or buoys. The data obtained from these measurements will make it possible to define the potential for implementing a wind farm and, once there is a process for granting rights over the area for energy generation, the engineering project and choice of the most appropriate technologies”, he says. Tolmasquim.

In addition to the new initiative, on six platforms in shallow waters, at the Autonomous Rebombing Platform (PRA-1), in the Campos Basin, a LiDAR measurement campaign has been ongoing since 2020. The PRA-1 is installed in a location with about 100 m deep, 120 km from the coast. Measurements at PRA-1 will improve knowledge of the long-term characteristics of the wind, in a region with many synergies with the company’s E&P activities.

Petrobras also advances in research and development projects related to offshore wind potential

In 2022, Petrobras began testing Bravo technology (Remote Offshore Wind Assessment Buoy), in Rio Grande do Norte. Buoy measurement is one of the alternatives to fixed measurement towers. The project has been developed with resources from the ANEEL R&D program and in partnership with the SENAI Institute for Innovation in Renewable Energy (ISI-ER), in Rio Grande do Norte and the SENAI Institute for Innovation in Embedded Systems (ISI-SE) , from Santa Catarina. It is expected that the development and use of this technology, unprecedented in the country, will enable cost reductions of up to 40% compared to services available on the market, currently restricted to contracting abroad.

In 2018, Petrobras developed studies for a conceptual engineering project for a first offshore wind energy pilot in Brazil. Partnerships were signed with SENAI in Rio Grande do Norte and the Federal Universities of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Juiz de Fora (UFJF) and Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), for the development of studies on the insertion of offshore wind power in Brazil, which made it possible to evaluate aspects of the value chain, the electrical collection and connection systems to the grid, the foundations suitable for Brazilian conditions and the offshore wind resource. The project used resources from ANEEL’s R&D program.

In 2013, Petrobras installed the country’s first anemometric tower in an offshore environment. The 85-meter tower was initially installed on Platform PAG-02, in Rio Grande do Norte, and later on three other platforms in Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará. In addition to evaluating the wind speed profile, essential for defining the installation height of wind turbines, the field test validated the LiDAR measurement capacity.

All these surveys generated data and information that will support the company’s business decisions regarding offshore wind activities.

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