Makani Prototype Jpg

March 3, 2014 — Kite-based wind generation was first proposed in the 1940s, the seminal power potential paper was published in 1980 and it was first demonstrated in 1986. So why isn’t there a single production system or even an a quarter-scale production prototype in existence today?

Kibboamjplhggkje Jpg

With the exception of FloDesign/Ogin, shrouded turbines have fallen out of favor with inventors as well as the media. The buzz in 2013 was all about kites or as their promoters prefer to call them Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES). Likewise, seed capital for new wind energy inventions has shifted from DOE to Silicon Valley with Google’s investment in Makani’s flying wind turbine.

The world record for the longest ‘kite fly’ is 180 hours.

Rtemagicc Afoajoecjanlacgj Jpg Jpg

Ron Swenson, an old hand at solar and electric vehicles reached out to me after I mentioned Sky Sails when I railed against a thoughtless article in the Guardian about a bladeless wind turbine. Turns out Swenson is also an old hand at competitive sailing too.

Makani Prototype Jpg

This week, a 13-year experiment in harnessing wind power using kites and modified gliders finally closes down for good.

Googles Makani Tethered Powered Kite In Towing Jpg

Makani Airborne Wind Energy Turbine (AWT) hasn’t been in the news lately. They arrived in a flurry of press in 2013 as the next big thing from Google. The device is a powered kite tethered to the ground or in this new application to a ship. The device is a powered kite tethered to the ground or in this new application to a ship.

I am an advocate of the rapid development of massive amounts of renewable energy. I don’t see kites in that anytime soon. . .

I haven’t paid much attention to Makani, just as I haven’t paid much attention to other kite designs. And yes, there are quite a few “kite wind turbines” besides Makani, either in the press, under development, seeking financing, or already bust.