Science

Google X And Makani Power Make Traditional Wind Energy Obsolete

By Randell Suba , May 23, 2013 08:23 AM EDT
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Google acquired airborne wind turbine maker Makani Power where it previously invested $15 million between 2006 and 2008. The purchase of the Alameda-based company is the first for the Google X, the moonshots lab of the search engine giant that has paved the way for the Google Glass, self-driving cars, and other out-of-this-world projects.

The Makani Powers acquisition was first revealed in a Business Week story about Google X. The price of the acquisition has not been revealed. Google X director Eric "Astro" Teller got the go signal from Google CEO Larry Page to buy the developer of a wind turbine mounted on a fixed-wing aircraft leashed to the ground just like a kite.

"He said we could have the budget and the people to go do this but that we had to make sure to crash at least five of the devices in the near future," shared Teller.

"Makani Power's technology has opened the door to a radical new approach to wind energy.  They've turned a technology that today involves hundreds of tons of steel and precious open space into a problem that can be solved with really intelligent software.  We're looking forward to bringing them into Google[x]," Teller confirmed through a story on Techcrunch.

The green energy startup also confirmed it on its website.

"This formalizes a long and productive relationship between our two companies and will provide Makani with the resources to accelerate our work to make wind energy cost competitive with fossil fuels," the Makani Powers' website announced.

Makani Power has been developing airborne wind turbine for about seven years now that may lead to more efficient energy production that harnesses wind power using an on-wing generation approach. The Makani Power airborne wind turbine can produce as much as twice the power generated by traditional wind turbines of the same size due to its better performance

The green energy firm estimates the cost of wind energy using its airborne wind turbine to be just half of prevailing costs of traditional wind turbines.

Makani Power was founded by Saul Griffith, Don Montague, and Corwin Hardham back in 2006. Its initial funding came from the RE

Google has so far invested more than $1 billion to different solar and wind projects. Google is involved with projects like a large-scale solar project in near Sacramento where it invested around $94 million. It also has poured as much as $75 million for a wind farm in Iowa and another $200 million for a similar project in Texas.

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