Sunday, May 19, 2019

Magnets and energy machines - everything old is new again.

(Very) long-time readers of this blog will remember waaaay back in 2006-2007, when an Irish company called Steorn claimed that they had invented a machine, based on rotation and various permanent magnets, that allegedly produced more energy than it consumed.  I wrote about this herehere (complete with comments from Steorn's founder), and here.  Long story short:  The laws of thermodynamics were apparently safe, and Steorn is long gone.

This past Friday, the Wall Street Journal published this article (sorry about the pay wall - I couldn't find a non-subscriber link that worked), describing how Dennis Danzik, science and technology officer for Inductance Energy Corp, claims to have built a gizmo called the Earth Engine.  This gadget is a big rotary machine that claims it spins two 900 kg flywheels at 125 rpm (for the slow version), and generates 240V at up to 100A, with no fuel, no emissions, and practically no noise.  They claim to have run one of these in January for 422 hours generating an average 4.4 kW.  If you want, you can watch a live-stream of a version made largely out of clear plastic, designed to show that there are no hidden tricks. 

To the credit of Dan Neil, the Pulitzer-winning WSJ writer, he does state, repeatedly, in the article that physicists think this can't be right.  He includes a great quote from Don Lincoln:  "Perpetual motion machines are bunk, and magnets are the refuge of charlatans." 

Not content with just violating the law of conservation of energy, the claimed explanation relies on a weird claim that seemingly would imply a non-zero divergence of \(\mathbf{B}]) and therefore magnetic monopoles:  "The magnets IEC uses are also highly one-sided, or 'anisotropic,' which means that their field is stronger on one face than the other - say 85% North and 15% South". 

I wouldn't rush out and invest in these folks just yet.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

With these things it's just a matter of "Where's Waldo?", but instead of Waldo you're looking for the power cable and ask to unplug it.

Mike S said...

The World’s first Magnetic Propulsion Engine streaming live 24 hours a day!

http://earthenginelive.com/mobile/index.html

zk said...

To be Scrupulously Fair, it is possible to orient magnetic dipoles on a plane in such a way that you get much more flux on one face than the other -- I can't get through the paywall, but it's at least conceivable that something got lost in translation or that someone thinks the south and north poles of a magnet have something to do with the geometry of your block of magnetic stuff.

David Brown said...

There are probably over 1 trillion galaxies in the observable universe. If were possible to build perpetual motion machines of the first kind on a large scale, there would probably have been evidence of very funny business in at least some of the galaxies.

Anonymous said...

Danziks claimed device has a lot of similarities with the Joseph Newman engine (which was fraud).

If they really had a "free energy" device - - they would have already had it vetted by the IEEE or UL, so then the world would believe them . . . .