Google Gets Into Power, Acquires Makani Wind Power
To be more specific, the wing of Google that bought Makani Power is the somewhat mysterious Google X lab (birthplace of Google Glass), which is Google’s moonshot think tank and makes the acquisition all the more intriguing.
Makani Power makes autonomous unmanned wind turbine aircraft that are tethered to a terrestrial source--in other words, kite power. The company has just recently been making successful flights of its Makani Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT), which flies between 800 and 1,950 feet off the ground; the higher winds at those altitudes forces the propeller blades to rotate rapidly, which produces electricity via a generator.
The prototype they recently tested, the Wing 7, can generate some 30 kW of power, but the company already has plans drawn up for a 600 kW AWT. With Google’s brains and financial backing, they’ll presumably be able to push forward technologically leaps and bounds.