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Kiteboarding to Power Your House

August 14th, 2009 - Or 100,000 houses. This is a fun thought for Friday: Kiteboarding-inspired high altitude wind technology has the potential to be cheaper than coal. via National Geographic.

High altitude winds are much stronger than lower airflows and Makani Power intends to capitalize on that fact. Developing giant, wing-shaped kites, the idea is to use the consistent strength found higher up to turn a turbine, and do it cheaply.

Makanimakes some bold claims:

Makani Power is seeking to harness high-altitude wind energy to produce energy at an unsubsidized real cost significantly below that of the least expensive coal-fired power plants, the current benchmark of the lowest cost source of power…. Capturing a small fraction of the global high-altitude wind energy flux could be sufficient to supply the current energy needs of the globe.

Google has put $15 million into the renewable energy company and in 2007 the MacArthur Foundation gave Saul Griffith a $500,000 “genius” fellowship for the idea.