The Search for Usable Energy

Authors: 
Joe Hadzicki
Article type: 
Discourse

In man’s search for usable energy, the journey started with the first spark that led to harnessing fire, and continues toward the hope of nuclear fusion power in the future. Here I’d like to draw from that history and consider how kites may be on the verge of becoming a small part of that story.

First a little history. In the early 1940s Edward Teller was a key scientist on the Manhattan Project. The group’s goal was to produce the first atomic bomb. His work on the Manhattan Project changed the landscape of energy production forever with the advent of nuclear power. Fast forward more than 70 years and his grandson, Astro Teller, is once again redefining the approach to energy production. Where his grandfather once found energy inside an atom, Astro is now looking to the air. 

Astro is the director of Google X laboratories, overseeing such projects as Google Glass, the Google driverless car and Project Loon, so finding innovative ways to make futuristic technologies viable is right up his alley. He’s been responsible for spearheading self-driving cars that have since traveled more than a million miles on their own. Now he is trying to bring that same magic to kites. The Makani Power airborne wind turbine power system was acquired by Google X in 2013 and has been on the cutting edge of kite energy ever since.

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