GoogleX has increased recruiting at Makani, the company’s attempts to create ‘energy kites’ that will offer cheap wind power.
In the last 30 days Google has posted more than 30 Makani job openings.
The company is working with experimental technology that can produce up to 50% more energy with 90% less materials than traditional wind turbines.
16 new jobs on Google’s hardware engineering careers page advertise positions at Makani, including electrical engineer of avionics hardware, aerodynamicist, and offshore wind program manager.
The Makani project is also looking for a sales engineer, to be the “customer-facing expert on Makani’s revolutionary new wind power technology as it’s presented to customers for the first time.”
Google acquired Makani in 2013 after it invested $15 million in the startup several years before.
Google is no stranger to alternative energy projects, having also invested in solar facilities and wind farms. Those investments have mostly gone towards benefitting the company’s green energy in its massive data centers.
Makani’s tackling the idea that it’s possible to use the same aerodynamic principles as conventional wind turbines, with lightweight electronics and smart software in place of massive amounts of steel.
Makani’s energy “kites” are plane-like machines tethered to ground stations. Rotors on the kite launch it high into the air, where it then starts to rotate, driving an on-board generator to produce electricity, which moves down its tether to a grid below.
In early 2015 the company started testing 600kW energy kite in Alameda, California. The first Makani kites started testing in Hawaii in 2008.