Energy Kites - Google Wind Power

Google's X, Moonshot Factory's Wind Power Technology - Inspired by Flying a Kite

Source:  Alphabet's Makani


The Makani Energy Kite Update
Google's parent company Alphabet is behind this brilliant innovation incubator.  The X Factory's mission is to develop moonshots that deliver a factor of 10 times positive impact on pressing world problems rather than just 10%.  They have a big focus on developing renewable energy, particularly game-changing wind power technology.  Here's an update on their project Makani, the world's first commercial scale, energy kite that can generate electricity from wind with 8 onboard rotors.

Power of the Wind thru a Flying Wing
X has done at least 8 generations of prototypes on Makani, increasing its size and technical sophistication.  They now have a high performance carbon-fiber kite with the wingspan of a small jet.  It can produce 600 kilowatts of electricity to power 300 homes.  This technology is under development  to further build it out.

Air, Energy Dynamics & GPS
Here's how it works.  The propellers on the wing act like rotors on a helicopter to take off.  It takes off perpendicular to the wind.  When it reaches 1000 feet, it begins looping around, like a kite in high winds, without consuming any energy.  The air forces the rotors to rotate driving a generator to produce electricity.  The electricity travels to the ground on a tether.  The kite is guided by GPS and other sensors including bringing it in for a landing.

New Heights for Flying a Kite
The key for the X team is building this tech out and reaching new altitudes where the winds are stronger and more reliable for sustainable sources of wind power.  X is focused on soaring with the wind which is something that land based turbines can't do. Have to love this because it's inspired by just flying a kite.  Now with a lot more purpose.