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Makani Power's Kite Generating 1MW of Electricity in High Altitude Winds

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Makani Power, a CA-based company, wants to harvest high-altitude winds by using large-wing kites. The company says that high-altitude wind currents have the highest level of energy per square foot.

They have raised $20 million in funding to build their large-wind kites which are much superior to classic wind turbines, because these can only harvest winds at low altitudes. The firm also says that if we captured just a fraction of the high altitude wind energy worldwide, this would be enough to power the entire planet.

The first prototype has been a kite the size of a piano, at 600 meters altitude, in Maui. The kite had been kept aloft for a longer period of time through the usage of specialized electro-mechanical devices. One such kite could generate enough power for five US households having average electricity consumption.

A year an a half is the term Makani Power gives for the construction of their first 1 MW kite, following up with another year and a half of testing before finally producing it commercially. Corwin Hardham, CEO, says these kites are best for use offshore, where high altitude winds have higher speeds.

Of course, several issues involving the impact of these kites on flying birds will surely arise through the time, like it happened to all wind-based energy harvesting approaches.

[via Business Green]

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1 COMMENT

  1. Wind continues to see considerable advancement among the renewable energy forms. The traditional wind turbines (horizontal axis) have gotten bigger and more powerful. But as land decreases and demand increases, the industry has to search for greater means for generation. This kite design is very intriguing. I just wonder how effective they stand up when facing sheering winds. Obviously time will tell. This is a good step for wind and it is exciting seeing people looking at different designs.

    -Consumer Energy Alliance
    “A balanced approach towards America’s energy future”

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