Makani Power kites: flying higher than classic wind turbines

Futuristic kite turbines will be flying high above the oceans to generate eco-friendly energy to power cities. Corwin Hardham, a kitesurfer, has developed Makani Power, an airborne wind turbine company supported by Google and the US Department of Energy that promises a revolution in the production of green energy.

The Makani concept takes kites up to 400 meters above the ground, in order to get consistent winds at high altitudes. The electricity that is generated is transmitted to the ground along a tether.

The new low cost source of power can be installed onshore and offshore and get the most out of virtually untouched high-altitude winds. Hardham's idea came up while kitesurfing in San Francisco and soon designed a working prototype.

The kite wings are light, carry several sensors and a GPS unit that helps managing the entire system, from flight optimization to data transmission. Watch them in action.

The current prototype produces 20 kilowatts of power, but in the next years Makani Power plans to have a kite that produces 1200 kilowatts. In 10 years, the future of sustainable energy might be seen, up in the sky, along the thousands of miles of the US coastline.

We've already seen the towing-kite wind propulsion for large vessels and how huge kites may produce energy to 9000 homes. The new Makani Power is another step towards an efficient joint-venture between kiteboarding and renewable energy.

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