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Google Acquires Kite-Power Generator

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the blowing-in-the-wind dept.

Google 125

garymortimer writes "Google has acquired a US company that generates power using turbines mounted on tethered kites or wings. Makani Power will become part of Google X – the secretive research and development arm of the search giant. The deal comes as Makani carries out the first fully autonomous flights of robot kites bearing its power-generating propellers. Google has not said how much it paid to acquire Makani, but it has invested $15m (£9.9m) in the company previously."

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125 comments

Retort years in the making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827283)

To the comment "go fly a kite"

sounds like someone is following this thread (0)

axonis (640949) | about a year ago | (#43827295)

what is this string theory attached to ? .....

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827307)

Your post makes as much sense as your sig; that is, none.

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (0)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43827419)

See this is one of those nonsensical posters I was babbling about yesterday. I'm not sure if it's a gonzo thing, a Joycean stream of consciousness or some liberal arts class trying to fuck up the internet, but there's a lot of it.

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (-1, Offtopic)

axonis (640949) | about a year ago | (#43827471)

speak for yourself and go eat some 'hay', you obviously are a google user. Google in the grand scheme of the internet is a retarded child that needs lots of care OR '$' for there intellectually disabled team, they are the equivalent of charity for less able people that's you and the majority of the population who can't put 2 and 2 together. I guess you aspire to google ? ... go to library is mi advice.

Re: sounds like someone is following this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827493)

there, their, they're?

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (1)

friedmud (512466) | about a year ago | (#43827509)

I'm with you Intrepid - I've seen this lately too. Is this the new "Hot Grits!", are we being actively trolled or is this happening by chance?

Whatever it is, I'm pretty tired of it....

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (-1, Troll)

axonis (640949) | about a year ago | (#43827815)

dumdreid, or baked baby, go to library ?? .... that's Y sleep is available on your web brain >>> like you have a voice of intelligence this is not for wine wine wine underage scripts spaz, go do a google search and access you knead for collective stoopidity

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827969)

It's occurred to me that you could go back in the archives, find some troll poster from days gone by, and try and hack their account - maybe they were using nothing more secure than "12345" for the password. Voila, you have a low uid. Of course there's still the unsavory posting history to cope with. Are you gay?

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (0)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43827791)

I flew deep into the ocean and ate helium and nitrogen. The fish walked among the goats and elephants as the sun shone from below. I listened to the violent green and tasted the rectangle. I ecstatic. I am in hell.

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (0)

axonis (640949) | about a year ago | (#43827327)

like all evil brain beasts they get leash put on them, and are trained to heal, grow up google marketing

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43827343)

You didn't eat enough of your Paranoids today?

Folks, this is friggin Skynet.

Autonomous power generation.
Always on video feeds. From circling, self powered robots.
Autonomous cars.
Some of the largest computing resources on the planet.

Hidden by the biggest smiley face in the known Universe.

I'm getting a few more German Shepherds. And Sarah Connor.

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43828025)

So it'll take the AI's to outpace the regulators that keep us from using the technology we have available to us today?

The Terminator view of Skynet is very 80's - today's version would have a nano- tech or bio-tech plague that would just wipe everybody out. Terminators and HK's are a very inefficient perspective.

Re:sounds like someone is following this thread (1)

Molochi (555357) | about a year ago | (#43828947)

Well, sentient Grey Goo was an 80's thing too. I don't think I got around to reading Bear's Blood Music until the 90's however.

The idea that a network of computers could form a brainlike awareness floating in "cyberspace" (on a cloud, if you prefer) was also done around the same time.

I don't like to grade scifi on the movies. I was watching Nerdist last night and they commented on the lack of modern movies that were like 2001 A Space Odyssey, right before they brought out Guillermo del Toro for his new movie about Giant Robots With A Stupid UI.

Shhhhh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827325)

Makani Power will become part of Google X – the secretive research and development arm of the search giant.

Yeah, real secretive. Hence how this story has been hushed up. I did hear a rumour they were working on a driverless car and a haed mounted display too but haven't been able to back any of it up. They're like techno-ninjas.

Re:Shhhhh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828295)

I propose they change the name of the Google X to GARPA, if they really want to be as secretive as they are in some tv action comedy series and movies. Jokes are sometimes so hard to find.

Re:Shhhhh.... (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43828299)

It's secretive because it Google's skunk works – with lots of hair brain ideas, where 9 out of 10 fails. Since it is secret, in the sense that Google isn't publishing what it is doing, people can feel free to throw out and try wild ideas without the fear of embarrassment that comes with failure. (You don't know until you tried something, you learn from your mistakes, bold experiments tend to turn up unexpected results, etc.)

Re:Shhhhh.... (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43829409)

(You don't know until you tried something, you learn from your mistakes, bold experiments tend to turn up unexpected results, etc.)

Really? That's how civilization works? We all learn everything from scratch, without even a glance toward science, past experience, and the accumulated knowledge of mankind's history?

Would you participate in a study of the chance of surviving a game or Russian Roulette played with all cylinders loaded?
How about a swim unaided across the Atlantic from New York to Norway?

Some things are simply not going to fly, and a kite with heavy wind generation equipment when the wind dies it one of them.

Put in the third second of thought (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43830349)

Small and light enough and I can see people with boats getting them. There's only so much deck space for solar panels and not a lot of room for windmills. The name of the game there is burning less fuel, so a few windy days and one calm one is still a win.

Makes perfect sense (3, Interesting)

jmulvey (233344) | about a year ago | (#43827335)

Join this power-generating capability with Google's recent initiative to provide internet access to sub-Sarahan Africa via blimp: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-05/26/google-blimps [wired.co.uk] ...and you've got a robust, uninterruptable combination for internet access in the poorest, and the most corrupt nations in the world. Under such circumstances, Google will have great communicative and, perhaps most interestingly, surveillance power over the people under these oppressive governments. It should be interesting how such absolute power, so closely aligned with government interests, affects Google's behavior.

Of course, it could be that Google simply feels these citizens represent a huge market for targeted advertisements for tablet PCs and Lexus vehicles.

Re:Makes perfect sense (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43827661)

Sergey Brin grew up in Russia. He's not a big fan of oppressive governments.

Re:Makes perfect sense (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43827747)

If he doesn't like government looking up everybody's ass, it doesn't show in Google policy. Or maybe it's ok if it's done by a non-government organization.

Re:Makes perfect sense (1, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43827829)

Sergey Brin grew up in Russia. He's not a big fan of oppressive governments.

He lived in Russia till he was six. That is hardly "grown up". As a six year old, your only interaction with the government is your kindergarten teacher.

Re:Makes perfect sense (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#43828415)

Of course, it could be that Google simply feels these citizens represent a huge market for targeted advertisements for tablet PCs and Lexus vehicles.

Or it could be that Google believes that everyone in the world should have access to information, with all of the benefits it brings, and is looking for ways to make that possible, in sustainable, self-funding ways.

Nah, couldn't be. We all know corporations are utterly incapable of doing anything beneficial for humanity.

Re:Makes perfect sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829069)

+1 :)

Re:Makes perfect sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828921)

People in the poorest nations wouldn't be a good market for advertizing things that they cannot afford.
Access to the internet in the long term might brought along prosperity to google's targets.

This would be totally awesome (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43827341)

even if it didn't generate any electricity.

Re:This would be totally awesome (-1, Troll)

axonis (640949) | about a year ago | (#43827499)

imagine what mi IR could do ?, that's current resistance to the tide of stoopidity, a bolt in googles research robot, "frank"ly google strategy for power makes no cents, let alone $ --> google are going down every kite does

Re:This would be totally awesome (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | about a year ago | (#43827649)

Three questions:

1. What are you on?

2. How much?

3. Where can I get some?

Re:This would be totally awesome (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about a year ago | (#43830067)

I think rather than a cracknerd we've found the latest incarnation of the kristopeit bot. Hooray.

or (0)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43827405)

you could put your turbine on a fixed pole, so it doesn't come down when the wind stops blowing.

Re:or (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43827803)

But when the wind stops blowing there's no more reason for the kite to stay up, so why is it a problem if it comes down?

Re:or (4, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43828157)

Their way of doing stuff shouldn't be called a kite. What they have is a tethered airplane, not a kite. They started with a kite-based approach and dropped it. Their flying wing can hover under its own power, for example. Look at their videos [youtube.com]. It's pretty damn impressive top-notch engineering. I'd probably hire any of their engineers sight unseen, except that the projects I work on may not be as exciting after you've worked on a flying wing wind energy harvester.

Re:or (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#43829391)

What they have is a tethered airplane, not a kite.

If I understand their website correctly, it takes off and lands like a VTOL, but once it's in the air it acts primarily as a glider. If needed the turbine/engines can be used to propel it like an airplane for short periods.

So it's not exactly a kite, it's more of a mashup between a helicopter, a glider, and an airplane.

Re:or (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43827861)

you could put your turbine on a fixed pole, so it doesn't come down when the wind stops blowing.

A length of string is much cheaper than a pole.
Go up high enough, and the wind never stops.
Wind power goes up as the cube of the velocity, so the stronger winds at high altitude are a big win.

Re:or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828057)

I'm pretty sure it's squared, not cubed. Also the captured energy is related to the square of the diameter and these turbines are tiny.

Re:or (3)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43828399)

I'm pretty sure it's squared, not cubed.

Nope. Energy is equal to mv^2/2, but that assumes m is constant. With wind, the mass of the air passing through the blades increases linearly with the velocity. So the energy collected is proportional to v^3 not v^2. Here is a more detailed explanation [wikipedia.org].

Also the captured energy is related to the square of the diameter and these turbines are tiny.

That is a prototype. I think the plan is to scale them up.

Re:or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828445)

Oh yes, you're right. I was confused by the ^2 of mv^2/2.

Re:or (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43828141)

If you actually went right to the source [makanipower.com], you wouldn't be repeating tired old silliness. For your edification: in a standard wind turbine, the outermost part of the propeller blade is generating most of the energy. The rest is essentially dead weight. Makani's approach cuts the weight by roughly an order of magnitude. They can also operate in slower winds, and they can operate higher when the wind is faster and more stable. Never mind that their tethered airplane automatically copes with wind gusts - the tail realigns the wing to face the apparent wind. Standard turbines need to use relatively slow and bulky high-torque servos to adjust the blade pitch. Such an adjustment's time constant is an order of magnitude longer than what you get in Makani's approach.

Re:or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828351)

In some ways, I think the kite makes more sense.
Getting it back up there probably isn't too expensive in terms of energy, so having it land on occasion may be insignificant in terms of cost vs what you get back when it's aloft. Not to mentiong that the ability to land makes maintenance a hell of a lot easier than needing cranes and/or some guy willing to climb a 200ft tower.

The one big question I'd wonder about is why a wing and not a gyrokite design? (Patents? Or is the airfoil still that much simpler?)

Another question is whether they are stackable on the same tether? (Provided it's strong enough, I don't see why you couldn't. That would greatly boost output potential for the same amount of real estate.)

Re:or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828979)

That's called a windmill.

Flys in circles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827417)

Would that not cause the cable to kink up after enough rotations?

Re:Flys in circles? (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43827473)

Maybe they secretly invented a swivel...

Shhh!

Re:Flys in circles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829799)

Of course there is such a beast, but how well would something like that work while its transmitting power I what i was wondering.

Well, I'm exkited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827465)

Gotta say, the idea of viable power generation by flying swarms of kites sounds downright steampunk as balls, and I fucking love it.

How? (1)

Flozzin (626330) | about a year ago | (#43827501)

I really don't see how you can generate enough power to keep the aircraft in the air, and have extra power to spare and send back to the ground. A kite, ok, maybe. But they say this flying wing flies in circles. So it stays aloft and generates power. How high can it actually go anyway? It still is dragging a cord back to the ground. Every foot higher is another foot of cord it has to support. I would think it would be much simplier to create a modified wind turbine that can come down safely when the wind starts blowing too hard instead of creating some sort of 'perpetual motion' machine that creates energy.

Re:How? (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | about a year ago | (#43827581)

Sounds like [makanipower.com] the wing itself is modeled after a turbine blade, so the wind is simultaneously holding it up and causing it to generate power. From the pictures, the thing looks pretty small (not much longer than the truck in the same pic) and it's presumably really light, depending on what materials they're using to construct them. My guess is carbon fiber, but I'm no engineer.

Re:How? (1)

Flozzin (626330) | about a year ago | (#43827633)

Thanks guys. After posting I found their website and answered some of the questions I posed. I still have questions about viablity though. It is a kite as opposed to a plane, which I was imaging before.

Re:How? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43828173)

You can't see that because you didn't bother educating yourself, that's why. It's a problem with you, not their technology (unless you implied that). Aerodynamically what they are doing is absolutely no different than taking a big three-bladed classical turbine and only leaving the outermost segment of one of the blades. The rest of the dead weight is replaced as follows: the turbine in the nacelle by smaller high-speed turbines on the wing, the propeller is replaced by the control system that keeps it flying in a circle, and the fucking huge tower is replaced by a lightweight tether. There you go.

smaller version? (1)

rst123 (2440064) | about a year ago | (#43827541)

This sounds interesting, but is anyone familiar with plans or devices that do the same thing, except in the 10 to 100 Watt range that you could carry in, or strapped to, a backpack?

Re:smaller version? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43828175)

For that kind of power, you don't need anything but a small classical turbine. Now if you wanted to have a 50kW generator, then their approach is the only way to do it and still have it light enough to carry by two people.

Really might be a breakthrough (1)

PerMolestiasEruditio (1118269) | about a year ago | (#43827619)

They have been doing demos at small scale, but to really pay out big it needs to be done at much larger scale - as the line drag becomes a smaller and smaller loss the bigger you go and the wind stronger the higher they get. Given that most of their challenges are control system related solving them in small scale means the scale up should be far less risky (flying kites is really really hard compared to aircraft etc due to dominating and unknowable future variance of wind speed and direction)

And if you look at it from a simple cost of materials point of view the systems will be far less than 10% the weight of the turbines they replace, while the wind power flux they can access is several times as high at the altitudes they are aiming at. They are predicting less than half the cost of existing wind energy, but might end up even lower.

Fundamentally there is nothing preventing 10's or even eventually 100's of MW per wing, and its a lot easier to stick out at sea or in other tricky geographical locations than trying to assemble the current huge turbines and their towers.

Good idea but you need to go higher! (5, Informative)

F34nor (321515) | about a year ago | (#43827643)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1248068.stm [bbc.co.uk]

It is old ass news but the concept is correct. The jet stream is better than the surface. Don't worry about commercial airlines they run 10k feet lower.

Re:Good idea but you need to go higher! (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year ago | (#43828109)

But they will need to be aware of your tethers. Probably best used away from other air traffic.

Re:Good idea but you need to go higher! (1)

F34nor (321515) | about a year ago | (#43829715)

Either that or as air defense around major buildings. Just like running lots of telephone wires to keep out helicopters out you could string these off buildings and keep the bad guys away. Might not work for NYC but Denver would probably be... oh wait the Denver airport is the Illuminati base ask Colbert.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/403623/december-05-2011/mysteries-of-the-ancient-unknown---2012-end-of-times [colbertnation.com]

Re:Good idea but you need to go higher! (1)

Trogre (513942) | about a year ago | (#43830027)

Don't worry about commercial airlines they run 10k feet lower. ... straight into the strings?

WTF? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43827727)

Look at the space and structure required. [makanipower.com] Now consider the fragility and lack of stability as compared to a standard wind turbine in the same spot.

How could anyone seriously consider this idea to be better than a standard wind turbine?

Oh! By the way, the company's co-founder died unexpectedly 7 months ago.

Not that Google cares about this tiny bit of money, but this is wasted money, to be sure.

Re:WTF? Why? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43828197)

You're absolutely silly. The space is much smaller than that occupied by a turbine (DUH). The system is actually less fragile because a light flying wing passively deals with wind gusts by the virtue of having a tail. A big fucking turbine is more fragile than you think - a wind gust of sufficiently high acceleration (change in velocity over time) is guaranteed by design to break the blades. The blade pitch control system is slew-limited and uses humongous high-torque servos to adjust the blade pitch. Never mind that all the load can't but be transmitted through the narrowing base of each blade. In Makani's flying wing, the forces that contribute to generation of power are partly internal, and partly passed through the tether. It's much easier to control the flow and distribution of those forces than in a big wind turbine where the propeller base is the most structuraly loaded part of the system and you can't help it.

Re:WTF? Why? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43828401)

How could anyone seriously consider this idea to be better than a standard wind turbine?

You're right, all these people with degrees in engineering and practical experience in this area are obviously wasting their time, and you, dear Slashdot AC, once again have all the answers!

Praise be to the AC!

Re:WTF? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828453)

No. You are wrong and stupid. Please do some research. [makanipower.com]

Makani’s Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) can create inexpensive energy, in more locations than traditional wind turbines, because it flies where the wind is stronger and more consistent.

The Makani AWT can transform wind power:

* Produces power at up to half the cost of traditional wind turbines
* Accesses the stronger and more consistent winds at altitude
* 90% less material than a conventional turbine, it is less expensive to build and install
* Opens up large new areas of wind resource, including the vast resources offshore above deep water
* Allows for deployment outside of visually or environmentally sensitive locations

The Makani AWT is a practical solution:

* Requires no more space than conventional turbines
* Capable of handling large, sudden shifts in wind speed and direction
* Redundant, fault tolerant design
* Lightning hardened

Sergei's latest science fair project (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43827771)

Makani Power will become part of Google X – the secretive research and development arm of the search giant

Google X is Sergei's play thing. Maybe he has an inferiority complex from taking second place in a science fair, or it's just that billionaire's can afford cool hobbies. I know I'm being a wet blanket, but this seems very tenuously related to anything Google is involved in. I think it's fascinating tech, but I'm skeptical that Google X is a real industrial research lab as opposed to a cool hobby and a good way to get more of what Google thrives on: hype.

Re:Sergei's latest science fair project (2)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#43827961)

Makani Power will become part of Google X – the secretive research and development arm of the search giant

Google X is Sergei's play thing. Maybe he has an inferiority complex from taking second place in a science fair, or it's just that billionaire's can afford cool hobbies. I know I'm being a wet blanket, but this seems very tenuously related to anything Google is involved in. I think it's fascinating tech, but I'm skeptical that Google X is a real industrial research lab as opposed to a cool hobby and a good way to get more of what Google thrives on: hype.

If you were ridiculously wealthy, what would you spend your money on?

I like the idea that he's spending his on advancing technology. I'd probably be aimed more at biotech and nanotechnology - about the only realistic chances to buy yourself a longer life expectancy, which would let you spend even more money on cool stuff - than wind generators, but I like that he's spending on wearable computing and space elevators and fuel cells.

If he wanted to solve the power issues, he'd be probably better off working on Thorium reactors than wind generation, given that one of the Diablo Canyon reactors puts out more energy than if all the windmills in California were simultaneously operating at 100% capacity, but for all I know he's building one somewhere, or there are anti-nuclear regulatory issues standing in the way.

He could do something stupid, like buy RVs for all the homeless people in San Francisco, but generally, you can't possibly hope to fix people one at a time, and concentrating on getting to the point where you can help everyone is probably the best use of his resources, if what he's trying to do is something to improve the general state of the world.

Re:Sergei's latest science fair project (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43828081)

I like the idea that he's spending his on advancing technology.

I love the idea of advancing tech, and it costs lots of money. Many worse uses for that money. What I'm skeptical of is that Google X is much more than a way to generate hype (which Google and Silicon Valley in general thrives on) and/or Sergei being a dilettante. The endless announcements of seriously not-ready-for-prime-time stuff seem more like a way of generating hype, as serious projects are more kept under wraps. And many of the things they work on seem "cool" more than part of any coherent business strategy or research approach. Nor are they deep research of the sort that Bell Labs used to do. Maybe Sergei thinks he's running the commercial version of DARPA, but he doesn't single-handedly control the company. I suspect that when the hype and gee golly value of these projects dies out, so will the funding.

Re:Sergei's latest science fair project (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43828449)

Well, I doubt if even Sergei is wealthy enough to commercialize a new fission technology given the tremendous obstacles.

Perhaps a consortium of the super rich could do it. It's too long-term a project for a corporation.

Otherwise it will take a government. Unfortunately ours is so dysfunctional that it isn't likely.

Maybe when it becomes obvious that these diffuse renewables are not going to provide the growth that is needed for the human race to get to the next level we will see the investment take place.
 

Re:Sergei's latest science fair project (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#43828573)

If he wanted to solve the power issues, he'd be probably better off working on Thorium reactors than wind generation, given that one of the Diablo Canyon reactors puts out more energy than if all the windmills in California were simultaneously operating at 100% capacity, but for all I know he's building one somewhere, or there are anti-nuclear regulatory issues standing in the way.

Or maybe he's bought into the anti-nuclear hype. Sergei's a bright guy but smart people can have blinders like anyone else. Still, having more solutions is better, so if Google X can make this into a viable wind power approach, I think it's great. Though I hope someone does the research on next generation reactors and fuels, because we'll need that, too.

Queing... (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | about a year ago | (#43827799)

Que the Benjamin Franklin posts in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Queing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828093)

People tend to get cue (signal something to start), and queue (put things in a line) mixed up. You have gone one further!

Re:Queing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828487)

No silly he was trying to serialize the responses for easier reading.

so now we can tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828261)

sergey, larry and that bozo-in-charge now, eric schmidt to 'go fly a kite' whenever google does or says something stupid... which is about every other day it seems, now.

Old french idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828371)

...seen 50 years ago in some french Sci-Fi magazine.

Re:Old french idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43828417)

Yeah, in theory.

Reminds me of another kite-power idea (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43828421)

I read around ten years ago about another scheme involving kites. The kites would be louvred (for want of a better word) and the wind would act on them to unwind their tethers which were attached to dynamos. Once a kite reached the end of its tether, the louvres would be opened and the kite could be wound back in - using energy, but less than was generated in the unwinding. Or that was the theory, anyway.

This seems a more elegant solution.

The engineering problem with ALL of these kites.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829043)

... isn't the kite.

It's how to get the power to the ground. You need a cable with capabilities that hasn't been invented yet....

Auto Rephrased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43829765)

as "Google X – the secretive arms research and development department of the search giant"

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