Alphabet puts end to Makani wind kite ops, Shell mulls options

Makani's wind energy kite. Source: Makani Technologies LLC

February 20 (Renewables Now) - Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will no longer support the technology developed by Makani Technologies LLC, but the wind energy kites maker hopes to secure the continued backing of another big name.

CEO Fort Felker announced in a blog post on Tuesday that Makani will no longer be an Alphabet company. However, he noted that Royal Dutch Shell Plc (AMS:RDSA), an existing partner of the firm, is considering ways to continue developing Makani’s technology.

“Despite strong technical progress, the road to commercialization is longer and riskier than hoped, so from today Makani’s time at Alphabet is coming to an end,” Felker said.

In a separate statement, Astro Teller, captain of Moonshots at X and chairman of the Makani board, said the following: “After considering many factors, I believe that the road to commercial viability is a much longer and riskier road than we'd hoped and that it no longer makes sense for Makani to be an Alphabet company.”

In February 2019, Makani and Shell entered into a partnership with the idea of testing a floating offshore system. About six months later, Makani’s energy kite, tethered to a floating platform, flew over the North Sea for the first time.

The current model of the device, the M600, was designed in 2014. It has a wingspan of 26 metres (85 ft) and a rated power of 600 kW. For comparison, Makani’s first demonstrator kite had a capacity of 20 kW.

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