The ideas that seem the most “out there” in terms of practicality are many times the ones that end up disrupting an industry or market, and if a certain tech giant’s recent investment is any indication, airborne wind power is an up and coming industry.
Soon after the first fully autonomous flight of their airborne kite power prototype, Makani Power was acquired by Google, which may give a huge boost to wind energy technology and eventually help to drive the costs of wind energy down to compete with fossil fuels.
Makani Power spend just over a year building out their prototype 30 kW airborne wind turbine, complete with a ground station capable of allowing for autonomous flight through all of the flight modes, and the below video demonstrates the system in operation.
“The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) is a tethered wing outfitted with turbines. It flies between 250 and 600 meters (800 and 1,950 feet), where the wind is stronger and more consistent. Makani is developing a 600 kW AWT, for utility scale generation at a cost below conventional solar and wind.
The Makani AWT operates like a wind turbine. Air moving across the turbine blades forces them to rotate, driving a generator to produce electricity.” – Makani
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