How it works

The Makani energy kite system consists of four parts:

The Kite

The energy kite simulates the tip of a wind turbine blade, the part of a turbine that makes most of the energy. Rotors on the kite act like propellers on a helicopter to launch it from the ground station. Once the kite is in flight, air moving across the rotors forces them to rotate, driving a generator to produce electricity, which then travels down the tether to the grid.

The Tether

The tether is made of conductive wires surrounding a high strength core. The tether connects the kite to the ground station, and transfers power and communications between the kite and ground station in both directions.

The Ground Station

The ground station holds onto the tether, and is used as a resting place for the energy kite when not in flight. The ground station occupies less ground space and is significantly smaller than conventional wind turbines.

The Computer System

The computer system uses GPS and other sensors along with thousands of real-time calculations to guide the kite to the flight path with the strongest and steadiest winds for maximum energy generation.

600 kw energy kite

Operations

  • Rated power: 600 kW
  • Full rated power wind speed: 11.5 m/s
  • Operational altitude range: 140 m - 310 m
  • Circling radius: 145 m
  • First Power Point: 4 m/s

Kite materials

  • Kite: composite
  • Generation system: 8 brushless DC motors

Tether

  • Structure: carbon fiber
  • Conductor: aluminum

See Makani in action

Watch the video