Wind generators go up in the air
Since August 2019, Google subsidiary Makani Power has been testing its flying wind generators off Karmøy on the coast of Norway – with mixed success. But other companies are also going up in the air.15 Oct 2019 Barbara Rusch
Conventional wind generators reach an overall height of around 200 m. Higher locations are more conducive to power generation, however, where the wind blows uninhibited, more steadily, and more strongly. Flying wind turbines, which do not require concrete foundations in the water, but only large buoys, are therefore currently being constructed all over the world, including by US company Makani Power , which was spun off in February 2019 by Google’s parent company Alphabet from the X-Labor research department, with energy group Shell also participating. Following successful tests of the 300-m-high Makani wind generator – basically a kite with eight rotors – in the desert and at the Marine Energy Test Center off Karmøy in Norway, the device crashed over water during its second test flight , according to the Norwegian media. Makani is nevertheless convinced of the success of the concept, because the kite generated electricity and provided valuable insights that will be incorporated in the development of the next generation of wind flight. According to the company, the current M600 model produces up to 600 KW of power and the technology is scheduled to be marketed from 2020.
In Germany, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is investing several million euro in similar research projects . Energy supplier E.on plans to commission an MW plant in the Irish Sea with flying wind turbines from Dutch company Ampyx Power .
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