Magni Telehandler Involved in Wind-Turbine Kite Experiment

Makani started with the idea that kites might be able to harness enough wind energy to give more people around the world access to renewable energy.

By replacing massive steel towers and wind turbines with lightweight hardware and smart software, Makani hoped to unlock access to wind resources that are too expensive or impractical to access with traditional wind technologies.

That insight sparked a 13-year-long adventure of designing, building, and testing that culminated last year in the world’s first offshore flight of an airborne wind turbine.

Makani’s energy kite was unusual. It turned like an aerobatic glider and sent electricity down a tether.

In its final incarnation, it did it autonomously from a floating platform anchored in deep water.

To create this unique machine, Makani had to solve hundreds of problems and push boundaries in aerodynamics, avionics, electric motors, and more.

While Makani was solving technical problems, the world was changing. Global use of electricity from renewable sources has been steadily rising and the cost of wind and solar has dropped dramatically. In fact, wind power is now one of the cheapest sources of electricity available.

While there’s still opportunity for innovation in floating offshore wind, the road to commercialization for Makani proved longer and riskier than hoped. Unable to secure sufficient investment, Makani closed.

The Makani start up involved a RTH 5.35S telehandler with various attachments, ranging from platform, to winch, fork carriage, and a special attachment designed just for Makani’s needs.

The Magni rotating telehandler was the best solution to move the kite and suspend it at the top. For Magni, it was a heartfelt collaboration, first of all because Magni has always been devoted to seeking and supporting sustainable solutions and secondly because new ideas are the forge that feeds the passion of our R&D department.

A full-length documentary about the project (see link below) includes the RTH 5.35S in the California desert and in Hawaii.

Makani’s filmmaker told Magni that she "loves the Magni. It's beautiful!"

Mr. Su, who coordinated the project, reportedly told Magni representatives, “The machine saved us on so many occasions, with its flexibility to set up in tight spaces and ability to be used as an easy-to-operate light crane, as well as an additional manlift on demand. We definitely would have missed some flight opportunities if we didn't have it!”

The full-length documentary shows lots of behind-the-scenes and test-flight footage from the 12-year project.