Google’s airborne wind turbines all set to fly in April

By Editor


From next month onwards, Google will start flying 84 foot-long airborne wind turbines able to produce 660 KW of energy, said, Astro Teller, head, Google X, the wing conducting experiments.

The Project Makani consists of the energy kite, the tether, the ground station, and the computer system.

The string of the kite is made of conductive wires and the tether carries the energy from the kite to the grid, and connects the kite to the ground station.

Google has been testing 28-feet long test models since buying a company in 2013. The new kite turbines set to be introduced next month will be full scale models.

Wind speed is faster and more consistent at higher altitudes, but it’s impractical to build taller ground-based wind turbines due to their weight, Teller said.

That’s why Google is focusing on airborne turbines instead. “There’s an enormous benefit to going up higher,” said Teller.

astro teller image from

“If this works as designed it would meaningfully speed up the global move to renewable energy,” said Teller, whose title is “captain of moonshots.”

The Project Makani kites look like the wingspan of a large airplane minus the cabin in the middle.

Each kite has eight propellers and at an altitude around 450 meters in the air the plane begins making large circles in the sky, which rotate the propellers.

After the kite ascends to the limit of the tether, which is more than 1,400 feet, the propellers stop climbing, serving as flying wind turbines with the kite doing large circles in the sky.

Google has been flying its 28-foot models in Pescadero, California, where wind speed and direction drastically change in a matter of seconds.

Despite the harsh conditions, Google failed to crash a Makani kite after more than 100 hours of flying.

Sabeena Wahid
[email protected]

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