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Anchor Tag: Fly a kite and you get a good feel for how much force can be created by a lightweight aircraft. That’s the idea behind a new system for getting power from wind.
Randy Atkins: Winds are generally stronger and more consistent further from the ground. So Makani Power, is launching propeller-controlled aircraft to tap that energy. Mechanical engineer Corwin Hardham is their C-E-O.
Corwin Hardham: The thing that is different with our aircraft is that ours is tied to the ground with a flexible tether. And that energy gets piped down the tether to the ground…
Randy Atkins: …and, one day, to the grid. It’s a computer-guided kite engineered to fly itself in a nearly circular path…
Corwin Hardham: …because that’s one of the most effective paths for generating energy.
Randy Atkins: Hardham says the system is about 90-percent lighter than conventional wind turbines, and can be more easily installed in a wider range of locations.
Corwin Hardham: We expect to be cost-competitive with the cheapest of the fossil fuel energy sources.
Randy Atkins: With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.
Anchor Tag: The airborne wind turbines are expected to be available in 2015. To find out more, go to wtopnews.com and type in keywords “Engineering Innovation” or go to “N-A-E – dot – E-D-U slash RADIO.”