The tech giant's innovation unit is an ideas factory the will generate sustainable power solutions within the next 20 to 30 years.
Google’s innovation unit Google X is working on a green energy project which its top executive Astro Teller believes could “have an important part to play in the future of the world energy production”.
The alternative wind turbine project, which Google executives are still fine tuning, is likely to be one of the next projects coming out of the Google X, which Teller described as a “moonshot factory” of “Peter Pans with PhDs all kind of running amok”.
The latest “moonshot” innovation from Google X follows hot on the heels of Google’s Project Loon, its experimentation with solar-panelled balloons to bring Wi-Fi to remote regions of Africa and the Asia Pacific. Google Glass also emanated from Google X.
Google is working with Makani Power, the Californian start-up wind-power company it recently acquired, on the project, which uses complicated robotics to generate electricity.
Speaking at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Tuesday, Teller said: “We recently announced that we have purchased a company called Makani Power. 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 the little tips circle in space without the 300 tonnes of steel – wouldn’t that be awesome?
“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.”
Of the Google X project, generally, Teller said: “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. But if you hold on too tight and turn it into something organised the magic will leave the building.
“But if there is no oversight, then the magic will also leave the building. So I’ve come to this phrase for my story of what I am doing and what Google can become, which is a Moonshot factory, because of tension between Peter Pan and PhD.”
Teller said he believed that a likely innovation within the next 20 to 30 years will be the creation of “factories for ideas”, virtual factories which will produce “new ideas in every domain”.