Alphabet partners with Shell for a wind energy project

Feb 12, 2019, 5:00 pm

Varun K.

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Alphabet turns another of its X-projects into a business, but this time it enlists the support of an unusual ally. Makani Power, a company that produces electric kites, has become a fully-fledged subsidiary of Alphabet. They plan to transfer technology from land to water, where the wind is stronger. They rely on the fact that kites will be easier to deploy than conventional wind power plants, as they can be deployed with floating buoys. This is a big step for Alphabet. To date, it has put forward energy projects such as Malta – storing energy using hot salt and Dandelion – geothermal energy, as completely separate companies.

According to the Financial Times, the oil group has invested in Makani Project, the subsidiary of the US giant that manufactures kites equipped with rotors. The amount of the investment has not been revealed. Google just said that the agreement was based on the “partnership”.

Prototype KiteGoogle took over Makani Power in 2013. The start-up, which became a subsidiary of Alphabet – the parent company of Google – managed to float the gear, hung on the ground, 300 meters above sea level.

In six years, the start-up has developed well, but the US giant wants to accelerate. And move to the “commercial phase,” says the “FT”, just like what it did with its subsidiary Waymo, which began marketing its service of robots-taxis.

Google is counting on Shell’s offshore know-now. The American giant wants to deploy kites on coastal areas. According to the “FT”, Google and Shell rely on the lightness and robustness of the kites to deploy them in, particularly windy areas.

Makani is not the only project of this type. Google has already launched two similar projects in renewable energy, “Malta” and “Dandelion”. But this is the first time that the American giant wants to propel it beyond the experimental phase.

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