While we wonder why the power of wind isn’t being harnessed more than it is, some companies are actually creating solutions to control this unpredictable source of power.
Makani Power has found a way to use the more tranquil wind found at higher altitudes by creating an innovative flying wing turbine. The machine ascends to a height of around 400 meters (1.300 feet) and flies without aid as it generates up to 20 kilowatts of power in winds of 35 km/h (20mph).
The inventors have used carbon fiber to construct the Wing 7 prototype (which is 8 meters (26.2 ft) wide), all the while managing to keep it at a weight of 58.4 kg (128.7 lbs). Due to the uniquely designed tail and rotors, the winged air turbine can fly both vertically and horizontally, as it becomes a high-tech kite when it reaches the appropriate height. The electricity is transmitted down the electrically-conductive tether that connects to the ground station which can store the energy in batteries.
Wing 7 is still being tested with funds from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy and private investors, such as Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.