|30 Jan 2002 @ 17:18, by Flemming Funch|
Reuters has a story about a free energy device. That in itself is unusual. It off course has to be qualified by the requisite set of "experts" who say that it of course is all impossible. I don't know if this one is real or a hoax, but I think it is better to keep a record of it. It is a apparently a dishwasher size device that can run indefinitely and power a small home.
DUBLIN, Ireland (Reuters/CNN) -- It has been a pipe-dream of inventors since Leonardo da Vinci, but has the secret of free energy now been found in Ireland, or is this just another misguided attempt to build a perpetual motion machine?
A cold stone house on a wind-swept Irish hillside may seem an unlikely setting for the birthplace of such an epoch-making discovery, but it is here that an Irish inventor says he has developed a machine that will do no less than change the world.
The 58-year-old electrical engineer, who lives in the Irish republic and intends -- for "security and publicity-avoidance reasons" -- to keep his identity a secret, has spent 23 years perfecting the Jasker Power System.
It is an electromechanical device he says is capable of nothing less than replenishing its own energy source.
The Irishman is not alone in making such assertions. The Internet is awash with speculation about free or "zero point" energy, with many claiming to have cracked the problem using magnets, coils, and even crystals.
"These claims come along every 10 years or so and nothing ever comes of them. They're all cases of 'voodoo science'," said Robert Park, professor of physics at the University of Maryland.
The makers of the Jasker -- a name derived from family abbreviations -- say it can be built to scale using off-the-shelf components and can power anything that requires a motor.
"The Jasker produces emission-free energy at no cost apart from the installation. It is quite possibly the most significant invention since the wheel," Tom Hedrick, the only person involved with the machine willing to give his name, told Reuters.
Hedrick, chief executive of a company set up with a view to licensing the device in the United States, said the technology shattered preconceived laws of science.
"It's a giant leap forward. The uses of this are almost beyond imagination."
Red hot with controversy
Not surprisingly, this topic is red hot with controversy -- sharply dividing a world scientific community still on its guard after the "Cold Fusion" fiasco of 1989 when a group of Utah researchers scandalized the scientific world with claims -- quickly found to be unsupported -- that the long-sought answer to the problem of Cold Fusion had been discovered.
Experts contacted by Reuters were wary, citing the first law of thermodynamics which, in layman's terms, states that you can't get more energy out than you put in.
"I don't believe this. It goes against fundamentals which have not yet been disproved," said William Beattie, senior lecturer in electr ical engineering at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"These people (Jasker) are either Nobel prize-winners or they don't know what they're dealing with. The energy has to come from somewhere."
Undaunted, the inventor says that once powered-up, his device can run indefinitely -- or at least until the parts wear out, adding that he has supplied all his own domestic power needs free for 17 months.
But he is keen to head off the notion that he has tapped into the age-old myth of perpetual motion. "Perpetual motion is impossible. This is a self-sustaining unit which at the same time provides surplus electrical energy," he said.
Size of a dishwasher
In a demonstration for Reuters, a prototype -- roughly the size of a dishwasher -- was run for around 10 minutes using four 12-volt car batteries as an initial power source.
Emitting a steady motorized hum, the machine powered three 100-watt light bulbs for the duration.
A multimeter reading of the batteries' voltage before the device started up showed a total of 48.9 volts. When it was switched off, a second reading showed 51.2 volts, indicating that, somehow, they had been reimbursed.
The machine went on to run for around two hours while photographs were taken, with no diminution in the brightness of the light bulbs, which remained lit during a short power cut.
"The draw on the batteries was estimated at more than 4.5 kilowatts. With any existing technology the batteries would have been drained flat in one and a half minutes," the inventor said.
Modern theories of zero point energy have their roots in quantum physics and encompass the fraught areas of "anti-gravity machines" and "advanced propulsion" research.
Contributors to the debate range from serious exponents of quantum science to those who insist free energy secrets have been imparted to them by aliens. Still others seem convinced the U.S. government is conspiring to suppress such discoveries.
Nick Cook, aerospace consultant to Janes Defense Weekly and author of "The Hunt for Zero Point" is not as quick as some to dismiss the possibilities.
"Zero point energy has been proven to exist," he told Reuters. "The question is whether it can be tapped to provide usable energy. And to that end, I think it's possible, yes. There are a lot of eminent scientists now involved in this field and they wouldn't be if there wasn't anything to it."
"In my experience opinion in this field is extremely polarized ... people either go with this area of investigation in their minds or they don't, and if they don't they tend to pooh-pooh it vehemently. It's very difficult to get an objective assessment," he said.
"Basically, no one wants to be the first to stick his head above the parapet."
Impervious to skepticism, Jasker's makers see the first practical application of their technology as a stand-alone generator for home use, although the automotive industry could also be a near-term target given the huge investment in developing substitutes for gasoline-fueled engines. With world oil reserves running down, there is mounting urgency in the quest for alternatives.
Is this story a hoax?
Since publication of this story, CNN and other media have been criticized for falling for a clear hoax. According to popular technical web site slashdot.org the story is full of holes.
"Three 100 Watt light bulbs created a drain of 4500 Watts", - it should be 300 Watts. The inventor comments that perpetual motion is impossible, but then says what he's created is a "self-sustaining unit" that generates surplus energy, surely just another name for the same thing?
Michael Sims, writing on Slashdot, points out that this inventor's claim contravenes the second law of thermodynamics which states that in a closed system, any real physical process ends with less useful energy than it started with, some is always wasted.
In other words, a perpetual motion machine is impossible.
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