A carbon fiber-like wind turbine made its first test flight – proof that the future of wind power may lie above ground.
The unit is owned by Makani, part of the Alphabet family, and the project is backed by the Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Bloomberg reports.
The test flight was made approx. 10 km. off the coast of Norway in the North Sea.
Makani is part of the Alphabet unit developing experimental new technologies. Earlier this year, the company began its partnership with Shell and is currently one of the few to develop kite-powered wind turbines. The turbine will process energy from more constant flows at greater altitudes and is expected to fly about half a mile in the future.
The unit looks like a plane and is 26 meters long. It has eight rotors attached to it that absorbs wind and generates electricity. The advantage of this technology is that it requires less steel and concrete for construction than traditional offshore wind turbines, some of which are attached to the bottom of skyscraper structures.
The test we conducted last week proves (technology) works, ”said Makani Chief Fort Felker. "This is a big step forward," he added.
There are also liquid water turbines, but according to Makani, their technology will only cost a fraction of the cost of such devices. Flying turbines are expected to be easier to use as many locations are not suitable for conventional equipment.
Other potential uses of flying turbines could include the supply of electricity to liquid oil platforms or small island states currently dependent on diesel generators.