Google Wants To Fly A Kite Which Is The Size Of An Aircraft
“True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind raises it higher.” — John Petit-Senn
For many years, in order to generate more power, wind turbines have become taller, heavier, and more expensive. Those turbines require tons of materials, and can only be installed where the winds routinely reaches speeds of 5-8 meters per second (about 16-26 feet per second).
The project was kick-started by California-based wind energy company Makani Power, where they developed energy kites as a new type of wind turbine that uses lightweight electronics, advanced materials, and smart software to generate more energy with less materials — all at a lower cost.
The idea was brilliant. And in May 2013, Google completed its acquisition, making Makani a part of Google X Projects. Since then, the two companies have been working closely in order to revolutionize the wind energy technology. Together, they created energy kites that will generate 50 percent more energy by accessing stronger winds at higher altitudes, while eliminating 90 percent of the materials used in conventional wind turbines.
Each Energy Kite configuration has three parts: the kite, the tether, and the ground station. The kite is launched at the height of 1,500 feet using integrated rotors, which act like helicopter propellers to help it take off from the ground. Once it reaches the proper altitude, the kite generates power by flying in large circles where the wind is strong and consistent. Air moving across rotors mounted on the kite forces them to rotate, driving a generator to produce electricity, which travels down the tether to the grid.
Google will send the energy-generating kite up at Pigeon Point in Pescadero, California for the test flights by this end of March. The new chapter for wind energy is about to open!