Google has acquired a Bay Area technology company that generates power through wind turbines attached to robotic kites. The news comes just a couple weeks after the company, Makani Power, completed the first fully autonomous flight of a kite power system.
How flying generators work: the kite flies in a circle, off nothing more than lift and wind, and uses that motion to push air over its propellers, which in turn generate electricity. The energy is then transmitted down a tether attached to a landing station, dubbed the "spar buoy." Makani claims that the system generates more energy than conventional turbines and costs less to build.
Why is Google interested? Google uses a tremendous amount of electricity, and has copped to being a little embarrased by how much fossil fuel it uses. Google actively seeks out renewable energy, and has invested in wind farms before. Efficient, futuristic renewable energy harvested by flying robots? Ideal.
Almost thought it was going to crash. Seems to me like you couldn't have too many in an area or they would tangle. Also quite a hazard for pilots (and other future drones).
WARNING: Not for use in Oklahoma!
Kites are cool no doubt, but why not just build more nuclear power plants? Small ones and big ones. It's by far the safest, most efficient method invented so far for generating electricity. Its only emission is water vapor and a surprisingly small amount of radioactive waste...which can be reprocessed and reused.
This concept is nonsense. Anyone with a fundamental grasp of the economic and engineering principles behind commercial wind turbines would tell you there is no way this concept makes sense.
While it's true that the wind conditions at 2000ft are better than those at 150ft, they are nowhere near enough of an improvement to offset the increased capital and operating costs of the Makani concept. The commercial wind business has extremely slim profit margins, and even a small difference in factors like turbine capital cost or maintenance costs can mean the difference between profit or loss.
Makani's kite system will be very expensive on a $/MW basis, and it will likely have high maintenance costs.
ok, it appears this gets its power from the reeling in and slacking of flying in circles. This - to me - seems like a silly idea, a novelty.
Surely wouldn't it be a better idea to mount more conventional turbines on the kite and send the power down the tether? that way you wouldn't have to constantly be steering it- just adjusting for altitude.
never mind, I got this confused with another kite-based wind power system lol.
still, I wonder what benefit continuously looping would bring over just leaving it in high-altitude winds
What the negative commenters are missing is the very efficient structural loading of the Makani device. Conventional horizontal axis turbines engender very large moment loads at the root of the blade/hub connection, a result of the long lever arm of the blade and the high loads from the wind/lift of the blades. This is the bane of the HAWT designers and very difficult to manage, compelling the use of massive elements and high strength materials. The Makani device anchors the lift element in place with a tension-loaded cable, rather than a moment-loaded root/hub connection, which is an order of magnitude moment efficient structurally. (This is why very long bridge spans are done with tension-loaded suspension cables, not moment-loaded girders). This means the Makani devices can be much lighter and made from less expensive materials. Commercial wind turbines cost about $5.50 per pound (about the same as baloney, by the way), so the reduction in weight is a big advantage. Wind turbines produce a commodity (electricity), so the cost of production is all-important. Since the fuel (wind) is free, the main factor that affects cost of production is the amount of capital deployed. Makani has an interesting approach to optimizing this.
til I saw the draft 4 $4235, I didn't believe that...my... neighbours mother was like they say really bringing home money in there spare time on their laptop.. there dads buddy has done this for under nineteen months and resantly repaid the mortgage on their apartment and got a gorgeous Fiat Panda. we looked here, Go to site and open Home for details
“Kites are cool no doubt, but why not just build more nuclear power plants? Small ones and big ones.”
Left alone to solve the problem of green house gasses and power generation this is probably what scientists and engineers would do. The concept of small nuclear reactors has been extensively developed and proven over and over again through the application of powering aircraft carriers and submarines.
Technologie like the Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)
And also the Gen4 Energy model that is smaller
are not laboratory devices that “perhaps in the future” can be utilized.
However, under “business as usual” conditions, it is very rare that scientists and engineers are actually included in the decision making process that involves anything to do with the national policy towards anything that is scientific.
Politicians make these decisions regardless if they actually have any technical knowledge of the subject in question or not.
It's a neat concept it's just not at all new. I mean good ole' Ben Franklin came up with this idea first. hehe
"..... This means the Makani devices can be much lighter and made from less expensive materials. Commercial wind turbines cost about $5.50 per pound (about the same as baloney, by the way), so the reduction in weight is a big advantage....."
Your comment regarding the weight/cost metric of this Makani concept is entirely backward. It's a well established fact that structural weight is inversely proportional to cost. Makani's kite structure and turbine/generator systems are made from lightweight materials (like carbon composites and rare earths) that are extremely expensive. Commercial HAWTs are made from steel, cast iron and polyester/fiberglass, with an average material cost of less than $0.75/lb.