A retired aerospace engineer and rocket scientist is seeking a patent involving the use of microwave energy to disrupt nascent storm systems before they are able to strengthen into hurricanes. Bruce Morton, who has held engineering, business development, and defense contracting roles with GE, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, among others, is pursuing a concept that would use platforms in space to collect solar radiation that would be turned into microwave energy. That energy could be transmitted to earth and directed at tropical depressions.
The idea would be to use the energy to interrupt the cycle of upward and downward movement of air, water, and water vapor, causing it to break up and dissipate, he said. Morton estimated that each space-based platform could enable the output of thousands of megawatts. Increased interest in commercial space launches could make the launching costs of the platforms more affordable, he said. Excess microwave energy could be used converted to other traditional solar energy uses, Morton said.
While weather specialists have long been able to track hurricanes, past attempts at altering hurricanes have proved unsuccessful, including attempts to diminish their strength by seeding from aircraft, he noted, saying this provides a new approach. Morton, who is still forming a business plan for the technology, expects the patent process to take a few years.