The EU-funded Black Sea Floating Offshore Wind (BLOW) project brings together 16 European partners to pioneer the installation of a 5MW floating wind turbine in the Black Sea off the Bulgarian coast.

The project was one of three to be awarded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme last year, with a grant agreement signed at the end of 2022. It was officially kicked off in Brussels on 18 January.

BLOW will use French engineering company Eolink’s patented floating offshore wind turbine design. The goal is to build and deploy the 5MW turbine by 2025.

“The objective of this specific project is to demonstrate the competitiveness of floating offshore wind in lower-wind areas,” Eolink’s CEO and founder Marc Guyot said in a statement.

BLOW’s 16 European partners include Spanish energy company Acciona, the Turkish Offshore Wind Energy Association, German research organisation the Fraunhofer Institute and the European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland.

The turbine will be connected to an existing gas platform operated by Petroceltic, a London-based oil and gas company with assets in Bulgaria, and manufactured by GSP offshore, a Romanian offshore services company, in Romania.

According to a World Bank 2021 report, the Black Sea has 166GW of floating offshore wind potential, equivalent to five times the electricity consumption of Bulgaria and Romania. “The [BLOW project] hopes to catalyse offshore development across the region, which already has ongoing fixed-bottom offshore wind projects in Romania,” said Eolink’s chief commercial officer Alain Morry.

The BLOW turbine will be designed for maximum efficiency in the Black Sea, including a larger rotor so it can generate more energy in the low-wind area. The project marks Eolink’s second deployment of its patented turbine in Europe after the France Atlantic Project, which is set to be connected to the French grid by 2024.