Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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“Light” Sail

Boat Powered by Laser
  (+6, -2)
(+6, -2)
  [vote for,

Idea of propelling something with laser has been around. This idea involves powering boats with laser/

Powerful laser beams will act like “light rails” of the ocean powering the boats and tankers. On board of the these vessels is a steam engine, heated by laser. Substations will have to be built along the course to compensate for the curvature of the earth and to refocus the beam.

This is especially beneficial to tankers or cargo ships because of the mass and the shear amount of fuel these ships need to carry onboard. With external power source, efficiency can be increased dramactically.

neoearth, Dec 13 2004


       Welcome to the Halfbakery, and thank you for taking several days to post your first idea. Enjoy the fish.   

       Suggested improvement: Use those new-fangled 'Son of Star Wars' space lasers. If they can hit a metre wide, speeding ICBM then a big ol' dumb LPG tanker should be a piece of cake.
ConsulFlaminicus, Dec 13 2004

       I don't understand why this idea has received such a bad-tempered reception. Was there some Halfbakery shindig on December 12th that you're all recuperating from? I really like this idea, but I would suggest a couple of modifications:
1) Use a maser, a microwave laser, rather than a visible light one. It will be less diffused by the air, and will be just as effective at heating up the water.
2) Use multiple masers, one for each ship, actively targeted using GPS data from the ship. 3) Put the masers up HIGH, perhaps by mounting them on blimps.(psst, a quick hint - if you want to pick up some cheap croissants on the HB, name-checking blimps is always a good idea.) A blimp tethered at an altitude of 5 miles should be able to cover a pretty big horizon. You could site the masers at the base of the tether, power them with a large wind-farm, and target them using movable mirrors on the blimp.
spacemoggy, Dec 14 2004

       + from me for "dramactically".
bungston, Dec 14 2004

       There's only one problem with this--once the ship gets over the horizon, the laser will stop hitting it.
5th Earth, Dec 15 2004

       (5TH) Your objection is dealt with in the idea, with the use of substations to re-route the beam, or by moggy's modifications. Bun for drama.
gardnertoo, Dec 15 2004

       How come I was never welcomed to the Halfbakery? All I got was an insult from [Unabubba] attacking my masculinity. Sniff sniff.
MikeOxbig, Dec 13 2005

       That massive amount of laser power required to power some big ships would fry small sailing boats and the crew. At least being visible light you might see it before it hits your eyes?
Pellepeloton, Oct 07 2006

       [MikeOxbig], you should be honored. That IS a welcome around here.
normzone, Oct 07 2006


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