Makani Power

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Makani Power
IndustryWind Energy
Key people
Saul Griffith, Corwin Hardham, Donald Montague, Damon Vander Lind
OwnerAlphabet Inc.
Number of employees

Makani Power is an Alameda, California-based company that developed airborne wind turbines with the support of Google X and the U.S. Department of Energy office of ARPA-E. Makani is a leader in the development of airborne wind power extraction systems.[1] 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] One of the founders, 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]

Working principle[edit]

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;[7] many of Makani Power competitors have generators kept on the ground, like KiteGen, Italy.[8] The electricity is transmitted to the ground via an electrical cable within the kite's tether.[9] Several patent applications have been made; some have been granted.

Development milestones[edit]

In December 2016, Makani operated for the first time a 600 kW prototype with 28 meter wing span.[10][11]

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.
  6. ^ "Google acquires kite-power generator". BBC News. 23 May 2013.
  7. ^ Miles Loyd, 1980:
  8. ^ AWES Museum || KiteGen
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Makani's first commercial-scale energy kite". YouTube. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  11. ^ Felker, Fort (5 October 2017). Progress and Challenges in Airborne Wind Energy. Airborne Wind Energy Conference 2017. Freiburg, Germany: University of Freiburg.

External links[edit]