Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Mar 08

Meet the Makani Energy Kite

Posted in Energy Inventions | Wind Power | Wind Turbines

Makani Energy Kite
Back in 2013 Google purchased a company called Makani, creators of the Energy Kite. Their goal is to make wind energy pricing competitive with fossil fuels, and they believe a new approach is needed. The Energy Kite is a new type of wind turbine, designed to generate more energy using 90% less materials. “Makani’s energy kite uses the same aerodynamic principles as a conventional wind turbine, but replaces tons of steel with lightweight electronics, advanced materials, and smart software.”

How does it work?


The kite is launched from a ground station using the rotors as helicopter blades until it reaches 800ft above ground. Once airborne, the system generates power by flying in large circles up high where the wind is stronger and more consistent. Rotors mounted on the kite wings drive generators that produce electricity. A strong conductive tether acts like the string of a kite and also carries energy back to the grid. The kite’s flight path is guided by a flight computer, which uses GPS and sensors to make thousands of calculations and adjustments in strong and steady winds.

Advantages over conventional wind turbines

  • Generates 50% more power from 90% less materials.
  • Able to reach stronger, more consistent winds.
  • Can be used in areas not suitable for conventional turbines.
  • Safer and easier to maintain on the ground; no need for cranes or helicopters.

What do you think?

  • Sam

    Fantastic! Good to see corporations doing positive things, they have the money and power, if they want to be for the people this is the way!

  • Dipak Jairath

    great idea – in fact it’s the concept that’s so good and one wishes the team good luck for this.

  • Dr_StrangeKill

    Saw this coming from a mile away. Back in 2011, I attempted to patent a similar machine. My concept was a blimp rather than a kite, which could potentially minimize the power input required to get the machine at an appropriate altitude. By using leak-proof materials: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2008/09/cu-physicists-create-worlds-thinnest-balloon, it’s conceivable that with only a single input of sufficient helium, a blimp holding an electric generator could remain airborne for months or even years on end with minimal effort. At an altitude of only a few hundred feet above sea level, there are CONSTANT windspeeds that match or exceed our greatest recorded values for conventional wind turbines (which only work when the wind is actually blowing at slightly above sea level). Also, because both of our concepts are airborne, and because windspeeds only a few hundred feet up are exceptionally high worldwide, these machines could potentially generate electricity in remote areas inaccessible to conventional power sources, or even in the middle of the ocean!

  • Manojb Gowda

    A great idea developers!
    I want to add more to your idea, Can you add a radio control circuit for your kite? so that you can have a better control over it.
    Good luck for your project.


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