Atanu Dey On India's Development

“Free” Energy? Not Really — Part 3

[Previous Posts on "Free Energy": Part 1, Part 2]

Keith Hudson, the author of the outstanding Daily Wisdom postings, recently commented on the matter of free energy. With his permission, I am sharing his post with the readers of this blog.

“An Irish company has thrown down the gauntlet to the worldwide scientific community to test a technology it has developed that it claims produces free energy. The company, Steorn, says its discovery is based on the interaction of magnetic fields and allows the production of clean, free and constant energy — a concept that challenges one of the basic rules of physics. It claims the technology can be used to supply energy for virtually all devices, from mobile phones to cars. Steorn issued its challenge through an advertisement in the Economist magazine this week.” –Scientific American (22 August 2006)

Almost 30 years ago when I had some funds at my disposal I was approached by an engineer who had devised a new type of gearbox and wanted my organisation to make a model. He showed me his drawings and I was almost totally persuaded that this would be an innovation that would revolutionalise the whole automotive industry (in which I had spent years of my life) — and much else besides. He was enthusiastic and obviously sincere because he told me en passant of engineering firms who’d turned him down. So I ‘phoned some of them but none of them were very helpful until I managed to get through to the research director of a well-known engineering institute. Initially, he huffed and puffed and was evasive as the others in speaking to a stranger on the ‘phone but in this case our conversation went on long enough for a degree of trust to be established and he finally confessed: “To be frank, this is yet another version of the perpetual motion machine.”

I thanked him and turned the engineer down. But the inventor had been so persuasive that, for many years afterwards, I often wondered whether the innovation was, in fact, sound. This was until I learned that a highly successful businessman and millionaire — of great public eminence today — had been made bankrupt earlier in his career after investing in this idea. (Perhaps I needed to have had confidence in the idea myself in order to become a millionaire myself in later years!)

All new ideas, good or bad, meet with resistance at first and this is the ploy that inventors of “free energy”, rather like faith-healers, consciously or unconsciously use when trying to convince others. They seem more committed to persuading others (and describing the opposition they meet) rather than getting on with the ideas themselves. I realise now that my engineer could have actually built a model himself — albeit fairly expensively over a long period — and I also wonder why, out of the hundreds, indeed thousands, of faith-healers in the country, not a single one of them has become tempted by their successful treatment of others to become, not just a millionaire, but a multi-billionaire.

The same applies to the Irish firm. They had already apparently discovered their system of free energy in one of their existing products. Why spend a great deal of money in challenging the world?

Keith Hudson, Bath, England.

  • shiv

    I saw the video posted in the companies site where the two guys into this give some overall gyan about the process. The chap on the video says that there is some ‘movement’ of the current carrying conductor w.r.t the magnetic field . The example given was that of coming down hill. Bit of sophistry, but alas it makes no sense to me. Seems to be another ramar pillai with magic petrol…Maybe they want to attract some funding and this is free publicity.

  • Krishi

    Free energy is the Holy Grail of…. well, almost everything.

    But, I think most of the energy research is being funnelled into the wrong channels, chasing sources that are materially replenishable. For ex : these would need magnetic fields, which need materials that generate magnetic fields etc. Anytime moving parts come in, the logic of perpetual motion is lost.

    The best way, I would argue the only way, is to find a source that is not materially replenishable, but naturally and automatically replenishable. The only true perpetual motions that we know to exist are of the planets around the Sun, and of the Moon around the Sun. Obviously, we can’t replicate the scale of that experiment, but, we can do it on a smaller scale.

    I am not a physics expert, but even to my untrained eye, I think there is potential here. I will try to formulate them in a post on my blog shortly.

  • Niket

    Some commentators here have gotten it wrong. Free energy, in this context, implies that one gets more than what one puts in: a violation of the first law of thermodynamics, a.k.a. “energy can neither be created nor distroyed”. It doesn’t matter if the magnets required are huge; even if you can put in 100 KW of energy and get out 100.00000000001 KW, you still get free energy (and it IS a big deal).

    Sun and planets are not examples of free energy or perpetual motion machines. The sun is continuously “burning” its fuel, hydrogen. Implications of what these guys are claiming is huge. The manner in which they chose to come out with their claim rings quite a few alarm bells.

    Related: The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science

  • rama

    Hullo! As a student of economics and former teacher of the subject, and a social planner, I was very happy to discover this blog.

    Perhaps you’ve written about this before, but I was really aggravated reading the report in today’s Telegraph (Calcutta) about Wipro asking for a cheaper rate for getting land in West Bengal.

    Free market??!!