The Silver Bullet of Free Energy
We investigate all the potential uses of free energy if it were true,
(if it existed)
along with the claims of a small company called Steorn
who just might hold the key to our energy worries.
I presume very few of you would have heard of a company called 'Steorn'. They have claimed to have invented something that has been considered a pipe-dream by almost all scientists. This mythical technology is in fact 'free energy'. Basically that would mean never having to charge your mobile phone, an end to poverty (easy water filtering/desalination, and growing food indoors in tiered layers powered by free electric light). The world would be turned upside down, not to mentioned saved, since CO2 emisions would grind to a halt. It would be the biggest change since the discovery of fire.
Unfortunately in this world of reality, claims of "cold fusion", "perpetual motion
" (YouTube video), "free energy", and "over unity" are probably false. However, there's certain things about Steorn which distinguish them from 99.9% of other companies claiming to have invented such a device. For a start, previous to their discovery, they were a proper company which was working in the field of anti-fraud. Additionally, they took out a £85,000 advert out in the large scale newspaper, the Economist, asking for a jury of 12 skeptical scientists to confirm the technology (they took 22 in the end). The results of these scientists should be announced in July 2007.
There are numerous other bits and pieces which seem to provide evidence such as their interviews (which seem unusually honest, and to the point), and the fact that they're receiving no money from investers until after the jury has announced their verdict, and also how they have a proper address (people even know the CEO's (Sean McCarthy) own home address, which is putting his family on the line!). For more info, visit their site
or Paul Story's overview
. In a nutshell though, they're claiming an all-permanant-magnet mechanical device with a power density of at least 0.5 watts per cubed centimetre - dubbed 'Orbo'. It can scale from the smallest watch to the largest aeroplane.
Basically, it's the best hope for a short term miracle cure, even though it's probably still not true. Rather than try to convince you it is
true (I doubt it myself, and we should know for sure soon anyway), this page is devoted to outlining all the cool, useful and fun technologies that would become feasible IF we could really generate free energy. There will be two versions of the hypothetical technology which we'll consider. The second type is like the first except it's portable, so you can carry your limitless supplies of free energy everywhere you go. Items needing this will have a * symbol.
Revolution in farming - much cheaper food
Food is almost always grown outdoors thanks to nature providing us rain and sunlight for free. But there are massive disadvantages too, such as land consumption (75% of Britain is farmland!), pestilence, and not enough (or too much) sun/rain/cold. Moving all food production
indoors will enable us to have cheap, organic, all-year-round food, and save us tons of land in the bargain, by building multi-tier levels each powered by man-made light.
Cities in the sky *
Kept afloat by a barrage of fans underneath the city, we can build into the third dimension, and with a bit of work, create a utopia above the Earth's surface. It doesn't stop there though; the extension of the whole idea would be to have many cities/islands/patches in the sky, and then soon enough, you would create an entire complex, somewhat akin to the Fifth Element film. One could even create giant slides for transport!
At 1800 watts per kilogram, the current generation of Lithium Ion batteries have the potential to lift an object weighing around 5-10 times heavier than itself. If a free-energy equivalent is ever made, then anything is possible.
Easy generation of Oil
With cold fusion, we wouldn't need oil to produce energy anymore, but oil is still needed for other uses. Can cold fusion help here? I quote:
"Oil will be worth nothing. I have asked experts: "Could you synthesize oil from raw materials? If I gave you carbon and water, could you make any hydrocarbon petrochemical you like?" They say yes, but it would take fantastic amounts of energy. It would be the most uneconomical chemical plant on earth. It does not occur to them, at first, that this would not be the case if energy costs nothing."
(Taken from Infinite Energy)
Dump all rubbish into space
With Orbo, there's no need to recycle (at least in the first million years or so). Instead, we can just slingshot our rubbish into space. The idea being that it will be so far away eventually, so when we reach space inhabitation, there's no chance of bumping into the rubbish.
On the other hand, recycling
may be so cheap that it's our best option anyway.
Light up the night sky to appear like day
I'm trying to think of the best way to do this. I suppose just simple wide dispersion beams on the ground shooting up into the air would be best. Hopefully, there's lighting technology which can reach stupidly high lumen levels at a low cost to produce, with the only condition that it requires stupidly high amounts of energy (no problem if the energy is free of course!).
Although we are asleep most of the time it is dark, there are a number of hours (especially in the summer) where it would reallybe helpful to have day-like brightness. It would improve safety, lift our moods, and generally let us stay outside longer. Plus I bet it would look a spectacle. We can also make millions of smaller lights, and create a sight similar to Blackpool illuminations for free.
Dig to the center of the earth
From what I recall, science has never achieved this because the energy required to do so would be prohibitive?
Generate gigantic heaters for the cold and night.
Not 100% of the time and for 100% of the world, because we can have the odd few cooler/cold days for 'variety', but it would be great to go out at night in winter and experience summer like temperatures. Like with the super bright light tech to light up the night, I'm hoping that it's relatively cheap to build heaters that can withstand the force of creating gigawatts of heat to blow across housing estates. Presumably, convector fans will dissipate the heat quickly enough so the mechanism itself doesn't overheat.
Much faster transport
Fancy travelling from London to Scotland in 5 minutes? Trains and such would be the first to benefit from massive speed increases.
Home generator *
Disconnect from the power grid once and for all! Free heating, free lighting, free electricity, free everything. No more electricity bills, as each home would come with its own free power generating machine. No more unsightly and costly power lines would be needed, and we can leave devices on all day without running up huge bills!
Light up the ocean *
For the more adventurous, we can light up rivers, lakes, and parts of the ocean with stupidly strong forever torches. This could be accomplished with water 'floaters' which look down, or giant ocean light balls encased in water resistant material. In each case, there would stpidly strong lights in each, and very large outer casings (say 10 metres in diameter?), so as to disperse the light more easily, avoiding the possibility of blinding life with laser-like brightness.
More ambient light is possible, but would involve creating a larger quantity of smaller bulbs, which could cost more.
Decrease in wiring - true portability *
Although we're heading towards a wireless socieity, the one thing that sticks to our appliances like a leech is the power cord. If portable free energy were to come reality though, we can take our laptops, mp3 players, ipods, digital cameras, and camcorders around anywhere we go without ever worrying about recharging. We can hoover or mow the lawn without worrying about tripping over or cutting the wire. Electric shocks would almost dissappear too, along with all the unsightly wires that pervade our living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and attics.
Silent and compact refrigeration / air conditioning
In all likelihood, you probably have a Compressor refrigerator in your home as they are the most common type, but they make a noticable noise, and the cooling section is quite bulky. Absorption refridgerators are quieter, but for the ultimate in compactness and silent-ness, Peltier fridges come top. They come at a cost as they are less energy efficient, but that means nothing if the energy's for free!
Portable heaters/coolers *
So you want to camp for the night. Only problem is that it's winter. No problem, just take along your 20,000 watt portable heater, and you'd never notice the difference.
Also, if you want an ice-cold beer or lemonade after a long hot drive in the sun, whip out that portable fridge powered by free energy, and drink away! Along with portable fridges, we can cool our homes if they get too hot, again, all for free.
Heat generating clothes *
Failing the above, we can simply keep ourselves warm or cool by sewing free energy batteries into our clothes! You can get heat-generating clothes today, but they don't last long, and they're a pain to keep recharging obviously.
The jury is out on whether it's possible to make clothes which cool you down.
Billions saved on oil infrastructure and industy
Without the constant need for electricity providing oil, we can save a lorry load of cash
It takes lots of energy to purify water ready for drinking, even with the new methods of water desalination
(multi-stage flash and reverse osmosis which saves energy by heating water at a lower boiling point).
With free energy, it would be trivial to filter and desalinate water ready for human and animal consumption using the old simple distillation procedure (reverse osmosis has high capital and maintenence costs). Islands would be the first to benefit, as they either need natural water springs, water exported from elsewhere, or large quantities of power to purify water.
Save our Earth!
If nothing else, free energy would save the planet from extreme weather, spread of disease, and flooding, to name but a few. The green-house effect is going into overdrive thanks to greenhouse gasses (of which carbon dioxide is the main concern). The main culprits of carbon dioxide emissions
are power plants (40%), transport emissions (33% cars, trucks...), and buildings (12%). Free energy would mean not having to rely on burning fossil fuels which produce all this carbon dioxide, thus preventing catastrophic scenarios in the future.
If you live in a heavily populated city like London or New York, you'll be inhaling all kinds of pollution mostly created from the exhaust pipes from cars. Portable free energy would provide fresh, pure air, forever! Homes can have constant ventilated air, either warmed up from outside, or filtered from inside.
Fuel-less transport *
...and the end of the combustion engine. No need to ever fill 'er up again, your car would travel forever! The industrialized world would also hugely benefit, with faster and cheaper delivery of cargo and post/parcels. We'd have to worry about road congestion though, so maybe the answer lies in...
Flying cars *
A big problem with current VTOL technology is not just how much fuel the engine guzzles, but also problems of stability. The best we've got so far is the V-22 Osprey aircraft
, but it's by no means perfect, and has suffered from its own share of crashes.
With portable free-energy batteries, we will be one step closer to the Jetson's age. The other massive problem to overcome is noise, but only time will tell if that hurdle will ever be overcome.
Less chance of war
With everyone living a more prosperous life, there will be less chance of war, and all the associated costs of money and life to go with it (apparently the US spends trillions of pounds on defence, which could easily lessen given a more stable political climate, and happier nations).
Self heating pools *
Pools that stay warm, even in winter, along with ultra-violet sterilization
removing the need for chlorine, will both mean that many more people will be to afford their own private swimming pool.
Infinite energy would allow us to much more easily recycle all our waste.
Bigger and better leisure
Imagine giant waves created artificially by a wave generators at water parks. They would require a lot of energy to run, as would super fast whirlpools and water flumes. All become trivial with free energy.
Fairground attractions would also benefit with cheaper and bigger rides.
In addition to the above, we can also have...
Self-powered water fountains
Self-powered remote controlled toy aeroplanes, helicopters and cars
Self-powered cup heaters/coolers for that perfect drink
Self-powered power tools
An automatic winder for those wind up radios (Thanks to kennedy3).
...but the most useful idea for free energy is...
Billy Bass hanging wall ornament that sings "Take Me to the River" without stopping. Ever.
(thanks to modervador for that one!)
Skytopia > Projects > Articles > The Silver bullet of free energy (article created 28/06/2007
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