Google X has ‘Peter Pans with PhDs’ working on green energy project

June 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News


Astro Teller, head of Google’s research unit, Google X has
spoken of the organisation’s upcoming green energy project as being
“radically cheaper and easier to deploy than a normal wind

The unit, responsible for Google Glass and Project Loon, has
been known to be working on an alternative energy project since
Google acquired airborne wind power specialists, Makani Power,
earlier in 2013. At the time a post on the Makani
website stated
: “We look forward to working with our new
colleagues at Google X to make airborne wind a cost-effective

Now Teller has spoken in greater detail about the work at Cannes
Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The Guardian reports Teller as saying

“You get one of these 300 tonnes wind turbines, 300 tonnes of
steel. You only get power through tips of blades, just circulating
in space. What if [you could have] the little tips circle in space
without the 300 tonnes of steel — wouldn’t that be awesome?”

The project appears to be a refined version of the Airborne Wind
Turbine already described on Makani’s website. A
tethered wing generates power by flying in circles where wind is
strong and consistent. According to the company, it eliminated 90
percent of the material used in a conventional turbine and can be
deployed at higher altitudes or over deep waters.

Teller continued:

“If you had a long tether attached to blades, you can generate
power by this specifically designed tether. This technology exists.
We believe there is some possibility, because this is so much
radically cheaper and easier to deploy than a normal wind turbine
that it may have an important part to play in the future of world
energy production. That’s the technology story.”

As part of the session, the Google X head also offered his
explanation of how the unit cultivates an environment suited to
innovation. “I have this incredible collection of Peter Pans with
PhDs all kind of running amok, who are very productive in a sort of
loosely organised way.”

Edited by Olivia Solon

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