Wednesday, July 15, 2009
If you thought domination of the world’s software market was cool, get a load of Bill Gates’ next technological vision: giant ocean-going tubs that fight hurricanes by draining warm water from the surface to the depths, through a long tube.
A second tube could simultaneously suck cool water from the depths to the surface.
Microsoft founder Gates and a dozen other scientists and engineers have a patent pending for deploying such vessels, which they say would collect water through waves breaking over the walls of the tub. Some variations have the water moving through turbines on their way down, which would in turn generate electricity to suck up the cooler water.
As many as 200 vessels could be placed strategically in the predicted path of a hurricane, and they could be designed to be reused or to sink in place and decompose underwater. The vessels could be moved into place by towing or by dropping from airplanes.
A second patent application describes how part or all of the cost of building and maintaining the hurricane-killer ships could be raised by selling insurance to coastal residents whose risk would be reduced by using the new system.
The hurricane-killing ideas, contained in a half-dozen related patent applications, were made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Friday, with Gates listed as one of the inventors on each. The applications were submitted by Searete LLC, a subsidiary of Intellectual Ventures of Bellevue, Wash., and created by former Microsoft executives to both buy up existing patents and develop patent applications for new ideas.
This article was posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm