Makani (company)

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Makani Technologies LLC
IndustryWind power
Key people
Saul Griffith, Corwin Hardham, Donald Montague, Damon Vander Lind
Number of employees
ParentAlphabet Inc.

Makani Technologies LLC is an Alameda, California-based company that develops airborne wind turbines. Makani is a leader in the development of airborne wind power extraction systems.[1] The company is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.


Makani was founded in 2006 by Saul Griffith, Don Montague, and Corwin Hardham.[2] It received funding as part of's Renewable Energy cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative.[3] "Makani" is Hawaiian for "wind."[4] Corwin Hardham died in 2012 at age 38.[5] On May 23, 2013, Makani Power was acquired by Google and was folded into Google X.[6]

In February 2019, Makani was separated from X and made into a subsidiary of Alphabet. At the same time, Royal Dutch Shell made a minority investment in Makani and has begun a partnership with the company to develop its business.[7]


In order to meet its goal of producing low-cost renewable energy, the Makani kite-energy system uses autonomous tethered wings which fly in a circular path and generate electricity via wind turbines mounted upon the main wing, a method already in public domain; expert Miles Loyd in 1980 stated that for large scale purposes flying the generators was expected to be disfavored because of the need to fly the mass of the generators;[8] many of Makani Power competitors have generators kept on the ground, like KiteGen, Italy.[9] The electricity is transmitted to the ground via an electrical cable within the kite's tether.[10] Several patent applications have been made; some have been granted.

In December 2016, Makani operated for the first time a 600 kW prototype with 28 meter wing span.[11][12] In August 2018, the energy kite was tested on the Big Island of Hawaii.[13]


In 2019 the offshore energy kite was lost during testing. Investigation and reporting the technical details of the mishap are underway. The wing did not successfully land on the platform resulting in the loss of the energy kite. [14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kirsner, Scott. "A generator that's lighter than air — and relatively light on the wallet".
  2. ^ "Company History".
  3. ^ "Investing in a cleaner energy revolution".
  4. ^ Wagner, Eric (7 December 2012). "High-altitude Wind Power". Conservation. University of Washington. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Makani Power's Corwin Hardham Dies; Service Scheduled". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "Google acquires kite-power generator". BBC News. 23 May 2013.
  7. ^ Waters, Richard; Hook, Leslie (13 February 2019). "Shell joins Alphabet in power-generating kites plan". Financial Times. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  8. ^ Miles Loyd, 1980: (pdf)
  9. ^ AWES Museum || KiteGen
  10. ^ Harper, Ben (21 March 2011). "Start-ups are devising kites to turn wind power into a cheap source of power". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Makani's first commercial-scale energy kite". YouTube. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  12. ^ Felker, Fort (5 October 2017). Progress and Challenges in Airborne Wind Energy. Airborne Wind Energy Conference 2017. Freiburg, Germany: University of Freiburg.
  13. ^ Landry, Fuller (27 August 2018). "Ride like the wind: Makani energy kite test flights in the works, lift off later this year". Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links[edit]