Global warming is becoming a more realistic fear with the giant strides we have made in industrialization. Obviously, mankind hasn’t been good guests to his host Mother Earth as regularly we have harassed her hospitality with pollution. This has established the push for clean energy, powering our industrial infrastructure sustainably without bleeding our environment.
At the forefront of this clean energy, movement sits wind energy. We have admirably recorded impressive success in tapping electrical energy from the wind snapping into its aerodynamic prowess and manipulating it through to electrical energy. This technology has been majorly realized with wind turbines. Great as this feat may sound, it still has its glaring downsides. For some reason, the cost of wind turbines seems elevated unduly owing to the overbearing tower cost and gearbox expenditures. This is sad considering that the major operating part of the wind turbine essentially responsible for the power produced is the blades of the turbines. So how about we make away with the tower and gearbox since what we practically need in a wind turbine is its blades?
Such a revolutionary idea on wind turbines is what Damon Vander Lind and his team at Makani are pushing forward. This is to be a huge digression or better said a huge advancement from the conventional tower wind turbines we have come to know. This time it is replaced with some kind of “energy kites”. With this invention, Damon Vander Lind has his team ambitiously hope to reach into more vehement and heftier winds at greater heights aiming to realize the larger chunk of energy at reasonable lesser cost from reducing materials needed.
Looking deeper into this technology, we see these airborne turbines in the form of energy kites being able to fly into heights of 1000 feet tethered to the ground to explore powerful winds at such high altitudes. How is this even possible? Damon explains disposing of the tower which is basically responsible for 90% of the mass of the normal turbines we have today. In more depths, these energy kites are not really kites pertaining to construction. More realistically, they look more like an airplane or some robot helicopter being sleek not weighing up to 150 pounds.
So we have a situation where this kind of turbine ascends vertically deploying rotors, rotating into horizontal flight and flying around in circles all on its own in kind of orbits. The design entails the turbine which is in this case mounted on the wings of the airplane producing electricity. This is then transmitted to the ground via means of the tether connection. This is amazing!
This new kind of wind turbine project is one that involves the load of brains to think outside the box of customary tower turbines, fresh well perfumed with genius. This project is also supported by Google co-founder Larry Page. Upon its success, mankind will enjoy a cheap source of energy while maintaining the health of our ecosystem.