By: Daniela Portugal
We will get to know some of the startups that are part of our ecosystem. This time, the protagonist is Principle Power, who sell the WindFloat as a technology solution and act as service provider to developers, utilities and independent power producers. Do you want to discover who is behind this innovative project? We have spoken with Felipe Drukaroff, CFO at Principle Power.
Priniciple Power: “Our solution is a semi-submersible offshore turbine and water depth agnostic. When you think about the Earth’s surface, where there is no land, just water, 80% of it is more profound than 40 meters. And that is where our innovation can operate, in deeper waters”
How has EIT InnoEnergy supported your company? What was the biggest impact of EIT InnoEnergy's support?
EIT InnoEnergy plays a very important role in capital allocation for energy innovation. You might find funding at the beginning and when you are operating well, but in that in-between it is difficult.
That is when, in 2015, we started our partnership with EIT InnoEnergy. At first you helped us with funding, and then you became a shareholder. Besides the economic aid, which is important, you also helped us with the relationships, bringing in different partners within the industry, and talent from interns that are Ph.D. or Master school students, who now work with us. They usually start as interns and tend to stay.
How’s your technology contributing to your area?
Our solution is a semi-submersible offshore turbine and water depth agnostic. When you think about the Earth’s surface, where there is no land, just water, 80% of it is more profound than 40 meters. And that is where our innovation can operate, in deeper waters. Regarding the turbines, we work with any turbine manufacturer and can accommodate any size of the turbine. Our technology allows us to assemble the turbine on top of the structure onshore, so you can use conventional trains and then turn the turbine with a regular boat. In terms of production cost, it is very efficient.
What's the key advantage of your start-up? What needs were you trying to fill when the company was created?
We have patented and proven our technology, the WindFloat, that will enable floating offshore wind at a utility-scale production in a cost-efficient manner. How do we do that? It is a semi-submersible technology - a concept already used in the oil and gas industry– with adaptation to wind energy.
It's water depth agnostic, so you can place it in different geographies, and can put any commercial turbine on top of it. A lot of the manufacturing and installation can be done onshore and that reduces the costs tremendously.
We already have 100 megawatts, which is a start. They are going to be produced by 2022. Some of those are already hooked to the grid. That is a great showcase of the success of the technology. Whether the industry will go with ours or others, we will see. We are well-positioned to be part of this transformation.
Where do you see your company in 5/10 years?
In 5 to 10 years, when you think of renewables, there are very aggressive goals. We hope to make floating offshore win a big element of that. There are some things that need to happen, and one of them is to align the entire supply chain, because this is a massive undertaking. It is not only Principal Power, but it's also turbine manufacturers, engineering companies, shipyards, the government regulations... we hope to be one of the enablers of that change.
What were the latest achievements of your company?
We have three projects under construction in different phases - Portugal, Scotland and France. In December 2019, one of our units was hooked into the grid, deployed to the coast that was hooking to the Portuguese grid. In the first couple of months of 2020, two more units have been completed and they are on their way to the wind farms.
Are you looking for an investment?
Absolutely yes! We are now going through a round of fundraising. We are very interested in attracting a diverse pool of investors to our shareholders' structure to help us execute our business plan but also bringing different perspectives to our management team.