Google developing novel kite-based ship propulsion system

After the Google Car comes the Google Ship with news the internet giant has patented a new form of ship propulsion.

The kite-based propellers is being developed by Makani, a company Google acquired three years ago. The airborne wind turbine could ultimately be used to move data centers, something Google has been looking at shipping-wise for many years.

The patent is specifically for an “airborne rigid kite with on-board power plant for ship propulsion”.

Makani Power stated that the “energy kite” has the potential to generate 50% more energy while eliminating 90% of the materials used and for half the cost of a conventional wind turbine.

“Conventional wind turbines typically include large turbine blades positioned atop a tower,” reads the patent.

“An alternative to the costly conventional wind turbine towers that may be used to harness wind energy is to use an aerial vehicle attached to a ground station with an electrically conductive tether.”


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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