Soaring high with kite-wind test flight

Makani has declared the offshore test flights of its 600kW kite-wind demonstrator a success, even though one of the two flights ended in a rather wet crash landing.

(pic: Makani)

Makani ran two test flights of its kite-wind technology off the coast of Norway, with the 600kW generator crash-landing in the sea after the second.

But despite this, the Shell-backed, Alphabet-owned manufacturer declared the tests a success, as they proved the technology’s ability to launch, generate power and land.

"We learn a lot from every flight, and on this one we learned so much about the dynamics of the kite’s flight, and about the launch-and-land process," Makani CEO Fort Felker told Windpower Monthly.

Felker remained tight-lipped about precise weights, but believes the relative lightness of both the kite and the floating foundation from which it takes off will give Makani a head-start in achieving competitive levelised cost of energy as it glides towards commercialisation.

The manufacturer plans to continue onshore trials at a test site in Hawaii, before returning to the Metcentre offshore energy test site in Norway in 2020.