Google Buys Green Energy Startup Company Makani Power

Posted May 23, 2013

has acquired green energy startup company Makani Power.  Makani is known for building airborne wind turbines.  Google was an investor in Makani before the acquisition took place.  The team at Makani will join the Google X team.  Google invested $10 million in Makani back in 2006 and another $5 million in 2008.  This is the first time that Google has acquired a company specifically for Google X.

“This formalizes a long and productive relationship between our two companies, and will provide Makani with the resources to accelerate our work to make wind energy cost competitive with fossil fuels. The timing couldn?t be better, as we completed the first ever autonomous all-modes flight with our Wing 7 prototype last week,” said Makani on their website.

Makani Power was founded by Saul Griffith and former World Cup windsurfer Don Montague.  The details of the acquisition was undisclosed.

“Creating clean energy is one of the most pressing issues facing the world, and Google for years has been interested in helping to solve this problem.  Makani Power?s technology has opened the door to a radical new approach to wind energy.  They?ve turned a technology that today involves hundreds of tons of steel and precious open space into a problem that can be solved with really intelligent software.  We?re looking forward to bringing them into Google[x],” stated Astro Teller of Google X in a message to TechCrunch.

Makani’s Airborne Wind Turbines (AWTs) operates on many of the same principles as a conventional wind turbine.  The blade of Makani’s AWTs is anchored to the ground by a tether that can fly in large circles in the vertical plane across the wind.  The blade follows the same path as a conventional turbine blade.  The entire wing flies at the same speed as the active tip of a wind turbine blade.