R-Squared Energy Blog

Pure Energy

Thermodynamics Wins Again

Back in 2006, the Irish company Steorn announced that they had discovered a “a technology that produces free, clean and constant energy.” A magnetism-based perpetual motion machine is what it amounted to, which would clearly violate various physical laws, such as the First and Second Law of Thermodynamics. Steorn put an advertisement in the Economist after announcing their new technology, seeking qualified experts to form a “jury” to validate their claims.

The jury is in. The laws of science do not fall so easily:

Irish ‘energy for nothing’ gizmo fails jury vetting

An Irish company had promised it could deliver non-polluting, virtually cost-free power but an international jury said yesterday it did not work.

Scientists doubted the claims and, when the company resisted calls to release precise details of how Orbo worked, it asked an international panel of experts to adjudicate on the device.

Steorn organised a panel of 22 independent scientists and engineers from Europe and North America chaired by Ian MacDonald, emeritus professor of electrical engineering at the University of Alberta.

“The situation was we had engaged them in February 2007 and went through a process with them,” Mr McCarthy said. Two years have passed however and the jury clearly decided that enough was enough.

It posted an announcement on its website http://stjury.ning.com that it was disbanding.

“The unanimous verdict of the jury is that Steorn’s attempts to demonstrate the claim have not shown the production of energy,” it stated. “The jury is therefore ceasing work.”

Undeterred, Steorn rejected science and announced that they would proceed toward licensing their technology by the end of 2009. No joke.

July 2, 2009 Posted by | free energy, Steorn, zero point energy | 47 Comments

Zero Point Energy Gets a Patent

I will be flying back to Europe on Monday, so I will be out of touch for a day or so. Meanwhile, I would like to thank a reader for pointing this out:

Quantum Vacuum Energy Extraction

I am very, very skeptical of their claims, so I was surprised to see that they got them past a patent examiner. US Patent 7,379,286 was granted on May 27, 2008. The patent reads in part:

A system is disclosed for converting energy from the electromagnetic quantum vacuum available at any point in the universe to usable energy in the form of heat, electricity, mechanical energy or other forms of power. By suppressing electromagnetic quantum vacuum energy at appropriate frequencies a change may be effected in the electron energy levels which will result in the emission or release of energy. Mode suppression of electromagnetic quantum vacuum radiation is known to take place in Casimir cavities. A Casimir cavity refers to any region in which electromagnetic modes are suppressed or restricted. When atoms enter into suitable micro Casimir cavities a decrease in the orbital energies of electrons in atoms will thus occur. Such energy will be captured in the claimed devices. Upon emergence form such micro Casimir cavities the atoms will be re-energized by the ambient electromagnetic quantum vacuum. In this way energy is extracted locally and replenished globally from and by the electromagnetic quantum vacuum.

The whole thing reads like pseudoscience, and the idea of harnessing zero point energy has a history of attracting crackpots. But personally, I don’t know enough about the physics to point to a particular invalid claim in the patent. To my knowledge, such a device would constitute a perpetual motion machine, and would violate the laws of thermodynamics. Perhaps someone who knows the physics would care to comment?

Bernard Haisch is the principal inventor. You can see from his Wikipedia biography that he has a history of involvement with fringe science. It doesn’t mean he’s wrong, but it certainly makes the whole thing smell even fishier.

July 6, 2008 Posted by | zero point energy | 26 Comments