Photo via Anomieus/Flickr (CC-BY-ND)
According to a recently filed patent, Google inventors are exploring a new, kite-based way of propelling sea dwelling vessels. Makani, a company Google acquired and lumped into its X moonshot division, develops energy kites, a wind turbine that operates at higher altitudes for greater efficiency. In the patent, inventors Damon Vander Lind, Thomas Van Alsenoy, and Richard Wayne DeVaul explain how this technology could be used to propel ships. (Or, more accurately, how this airborne wind turbine would actually pull a ship.)
Perhaps this system could also harvest and then store wind-powered energy that could then be used for other applications back on land, like a giant, floating battery charging station. It'll be interesting to see if, or how, Google pushes this invention further.