Minesto’s Dragon 12 Unleashed: A 25-Ton Tidal Kite Revolutionizing Renewable Energy
A Swedish company just awakened a 25-ton “Dragon” that could power thousands of homes with affordable tidal energy.
Minesto, a spin-off from aerospace giant Saab, makes unique underwater kites that harness ocean currents to generate electricity. They recently launched and recovered their largest model yet – the 25,000 pound Dragon 12 tidal kite.
This beast has a massive 1.2 megawatt capacity, making it over 10 times more powerful than Minesto’s existing 100 kilowatt model. Impressively, it uses the same proven launch and recovery system, showing the scalability of their technology.
CEO Martin Edlund called the successful Dragon 12 procedure “a truly unique achievement at the core of our competitive costs.” Now commissioning continues before full electricity production begins.
So how do these bizarre “energy dragons” work? The kites fly figure-8 patterns underwater, with onboard turbines converting flow into renewable power. Travelling perpendicular to currents makes them faster than static tidal turbines.
Minesto says this boosts output while allowing lighter, smaller, cheaper designs. The wing even folds to simplify retrieval, with a simple tether linking seafloor and shoreline. They claim the approach beats wind and solar for predictability and reliability.
After 15 years perfecting the technology, Minesto installed its first commercial-scale unit in the Faroe Islands last year. But the new Dragon 12 takes their innovative concept into uncharted waters.
Its 1.2 megawatt capacity can reportedly service over 1,000 households. And innovations proven with this beast, like bargain launch and recovery, should streamline even larger systems down the road.
With 92 patents and operations in Europe and Asia, Minesto aims to lead a growing tidal power market. Their unique “energy kites” face competition from floating turbines and conventional subsidy-hungry projects.
Yet breakthroughs like Dragon 12 show their creative design and scaling strengths.