Bellvue, Washington - Bill Gates, along with a bunch of co-inventors, has applied for patents on technology aimed at dampening hurricanes.
Searete has made a patent application on giant ocean-going tubs that would drain warm water from the surface and pump up cool water from below, thus sapping hurricanes of their force.
The company is a subsidiary of Intellectual Ventures, which was founded by former Microsoft executives to develop patent applications for new ideas. Gates is listed as an applicant on each of several patents for the idea.
Waves breaking over the rim of the tub would be channelled down to the depths, while a second tube would draw cooler water from the depths. The patent application includes a number of variations on this theme. One includes the use of turbines to draw energy from the water on its way down and use it to power the lifting of the cooler water.
The company believes the project could be funded by selling insurance to coastal residents whose hurricane risk would be reduced by the new equipment.
"It might be possible to suppress hurricanes so they aren’t so devastating to people who live in their path," said Pablos Holman on the company's blog. "This type of technology is not something humankind would try as a Plan A or Plan B. These inventions are a “Plan C” where humans decide that we have exhausted all of our behavior changing and alternative energy options and need to rely on mitigation technologies. If our planet is in this severe situation, then our belief is that we should not be starting from scratch at investigating mitigation options."