How it works

The Makani energy kite system consists of four parts:

The Kite

The largest part of the kite is a high-performance wing. The wing is driven in circles by the wind, just like the blade of a conventional wind turbine. 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 through 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 is much smaller and easier to install than the tower of a conventional wind turbine.

The Computer System

The computer system uses GPS and other sensors along with thousands of real-time calculations to safely and reliably guide the kite even in turbulent winds.

600 kw energy kite

Operations

  • Rated power: 600 kW
  • Full rated power wind speed: 11.5 m/s
  • Operational altitude range: 100 m - 400 m
  • Circling radius: 145 m
  • First Power Point: 4 m/s

Kite materials

  • Kite: composite
  • Generation system: 8 permanent magnet motor generators

Tether

  • Structure: carbon fiber
  • Conductor: aluminum

See Makani in action

Watch the video