I just had to blog about this. A friend of mine at a Networking group I belong to actually went to this company, Steorn, to see if they are for real. Only time will tell because they have put out a challenge.
They claim to have built a magnetic generator that produces a net energy gain and does not degrade in any way. Short meaning. Free energy, no cost. In the First Law of Thermodynamics, which is one of the most important fundamental principles of physics, in any process the total energy of the universe remains constant. Energy is never created or destroyed, it just changes form. Matter, is frozen energy. When you blow up a Nuclear bomb, you are simply releasing the energy of matter. Since E=MC2 then Matter contains a large amount of energy.
The basic point is that energy goes somewhere, it does not disappear or get created from no where. In fact even on the quantum level (where virtual particles pop in and out of existence in the quantum foam, as it is called) in the vacuum of space, there is a conservation of the law in the fact that the "borrowed energy" to create the virtual particles is paid back when they once again meet and extinguish themselves back to nothing.
This concept makes its way into Steven Hawkins' theory about back holes. He says the quantum foam produces virtual particles even close to the event horizon of the black hole. Theoretically then one of these virtual particles can be inside and one outside the back hole's event horizon. that means one gets sucked into the black hole and the new one gets to exist for no cost with its "borrowed energy" from the universe thereby increasing the energy level of the universe slightly. Since this defies the first law of thermodynamics, Hawkins proposed that the virtual particle that gets gravitationally trapped into the black hole, meets another anti-particle and wham, they dissapear and so then there is still no net gain of energy (in the form of particle matter) in the universe. Problem solved. Except that this means that black holes loose a tiny bit of mass every time that happens. The timescale and loss of mass is so small that it would take longer than the universe has to exist for a black hole to degrade this way, but in theory, black holes lose mass, they shrink.
The Steorn company claims that they have created a system in which there is a net energy gain. No heat is lost or mass degraded in the process. The system produces a net energy gain. If true, throw out the first law of thermodynamics or put a disclaimer in there, like sometimes energy is equal or mostly, energy is not lost or created or in the natural universe energy is not lost or created.
In this case, what about the second and third laws. Basically together they say that since the big bang, entropy is increasing an eventually it will even out to equalibrium. When that happens, as the temperature approaches absolute zero (but thoretically can never be absolute zero) all entropy slows and all processes cease. Basically, it's like your coffee in the morning. When you get it, someone heated it up using energy. The energy tranfered heat from the coils to the water to the coffee. As time goes by, entropy cools your coffee down. the heat energy in the coffee is released into the universe until it reaches equalibrium with it's envoronment.
We can never see that complete absolute zero value on earth because the sun is working really hard to warm us up with all kinds of radiation. Even the sun, though long lasting to be sure, is degrading by fusing Hydrogen and Helium to produce energy. That heat and light (and other radiation) is lost. Slowly the sun looses energy. Luckily the sun is extremely massive and since matter converts to a lot energy, the sun will be around for a long time to come. (Eventully the nuclear process that drives the sun will deplete enough matter that the energetic process will no longer be able to "push" out against the gravitational force of the matter and the sun will collapse to a small dwarf sun. Poor sun.)
So they create energy for the universe and do not burn, consume or transfer energy from any other source. This is all new energy. Sounds to good to be true? Probably but they have some interesting stuff to say. The following is a direct quote from their website:
Our Technology and the Laws of Physics
Steorn’s technology produces free, clean and constant energy. This provides a significant range of benefits, from the convenience of never having to refuel your car or recharge your mobile phone, to a genuine solution to the need for zero emission energy production. It also provides a secure supply of energy, since the components of the technology are readily available.
The technology is in a constant state of development. The company has focused for the past three years on increasing power output and the development of test systems that allow detailed analysis to be performed.
Steorn’s technology appears to violate the ‘Principle of the Conservation of Energy’, considered by many to be the most fundamental principle in our current understanding of the universe. This principle is stated simply as ‘energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only change form’.
Steorn is making three claims for its technology:
- The technology has a coefficient of performance greater than 100%.
- The operation of the technology (i.e. the creation of energy) is not derived from the degradation of its component parts.
- There is no identifiable environmental source of the energy (as might be witnessed by a cooling of ambient air temperature).
The sum of these claims is that our technology creates free energy.
This represents a significant challenge to our current understanding of the universe and clearly such claims require independent validation from credible third parties. During 2005 Steorn embarked on a process of independent validation and approached a wide selection of academic institutions. The vast majority of these institutions refused to even look at the technology, however several did. Those who were prepared to complete testing have all confirmed our claims; however none will publicly go on record.
In early 2006 Steorn decided to seek validation from the scientific community in a more public forum, and as a result have published the challenge in The Economist. The company is seeking a jury of twelve qualified experimental physicists to define the tests required, the test centres to be used, monitor the analysis and then publish the results.
Steorn has decided to publish its challenge in The Economist because of the breadth of its readership. "We chose it over a purely scientific magazine simply because we want to make the general public aware that this process is about to commence and to generate public support, awareness, interest etc for what we are doing."Check Steorn out, here.