Makani

makani

Harnessing wind energy with kites to create renewable electricity.

Introduction

Makani energy kites, which resemble model aircraft but are outfitted with several propellers and have the wingspan of a small jet plane, are X’s attempt to better harvest wind energy. They have the capacity to produce up to 600 kilowatts of electricity, which is enough to power around 300 households. So, how exactly does it work? The M600 kite is connected to a ground station, and while the kite is flown, the wind flows through the propellers, generating electricity that is then sent to the grid through a tether.

Challenge
Wind could power the planet 100 times over, but it only provides 5% of the world’s electricity.


Makani’s goal was to provide more people across the world with access to clean, inexpensive wind power by inventing energy kites, an aerial wind energy device that employed a wing linked to a base station to effectively harvest wind energy.


Makani planned to gain access to wind resources that were too expensive or impracticable to reach with standard wind technology by substituting the large steel towers of conventional wind turbines with lightweight hardware and smart software.


In the process of developing kites Markini has spent over 13 Years. The kite generates electricity by flying in a loop and it transmits power through a cable to the grid.

Journey
From kitesurfing to energy kites.


Makani began in 2006, when a handful of dedicated kite surfers had the original concept that kites could gather enough wind energy to power the whole planet. The first kites were constructed of cloth and resembled kiteboarding equipment. The testing of these early versions revealed that the kites required greater efficiency and control than cloth could provide. This sparked the notion of rigid kites with onboard rotors to capture apparent wind for more lift and more energy generation.


Following the construction of rigid kites, their next step was to test small-scale kite prototypes in a variety of wind and climatic circumstances. The team had to address several big technical challenges here, such as how to transition from vertical hover flight to crosswind flight while the kite flies in acrobatic loops.
After several generations of prototypes, the team finally incorporated the information learned from years of testing into a utility-scale carbon-fiber kite with the wingspan of a small jet plane in December 2016. This kite may generate up to 600 kilowatts of electricity, which is 30 times more energy than the last prototype and enough to power around 300 houses.


Makani formed a standalone company in 2019 and collaborated with Shell to deliver energy kites to offshore areas.

Design
An aerodynamic wing tethered to a ground station
• Generation of energy
The wind acting on a moving kite is several times quicker than the wind acting on a stationary item. This strong apparent wind rotates the rotors of the kite, creating a tremendous quantity of electricity.
• G – Forces
Loads of 7-15 Gs has handled by the kite’s airframe.
• Sensors
The kite will be controlled with the help of Data from GPS and other sensors.
• Navigation
The flying path of the autonomous kite is guided by onboard processors running unique flight controller software.
• Motor Control
High voltages are handled effectively and with minimum mass using 1200V DC silicon carbide motor controllers.

• Stacked Rotors

In crosswind aircraft, the wind spins 8 stacked rotors. Each one is powered by a permanent magnet motor/generator, which generates electricity onboard.

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