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233) Free energy

Ludwik Kowalski (5/7/05)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043



The term “free energy” is often used to describe gadgets presumably delivering more benefits than seems to be possible according to laws of physics described in our textbooks. Some refer to it as zero point energy, vacuum energy, black matter energy, etc. How can this concept be described to a layman? One way is to use a simple hypothetical illustration. Imagine a valley between two mountains. The slopes are covert by ice and an object is placed at a point A as illustrated below.

        *                                                                         *
* * C
* *
B * * A
* *
* *
* *
* *
D E
It starts sliding down gaining speed. Then it slides up loosing speed. Without friction it would slide to the point B (located at the same elevation as A), then back to the point A, then to B again, etc. etc. That is an ideal situation. In reality some friction is always present and consecutive round trips would become shorter. This happens because mechanical energy of the sliding object decreases and is converted into thermal energy (heat). The assumption is that no external energy is supplied. Under that assumption our object would never slide above the elevation AB.

But suppose that some energy is received during each round trip, for example, from a push (or blow of air) at the bottom of the valley. It is not difficult to imagine, for example, that pushes occur only when the object travels from D to E. In that case the object will be able to slide higher and higher during consecutive round trips. The same result would be observed if chemical energy, for example, in the form of fuel, were used to gain additional speed during each cycle. The mechanical energy gained can be used to perform some useful work, or to generate some heat. Free energy is similar to synchronized pushes and blows (in the above illustration) except that it cannot be identified with any known source or agent.

Now consider an inventor who invented a device that, according to a patent description, delivers excess energy at a steady rate. He is selling shares for the device and people buy them. Why do they buy shares without seeing a working device? Because they think that the claim is valid. The patent granted to the inventor is the basis of that belief. Naive investors assume that the patented device have been examined by experts; they do not know that working models are not required by patent laws. My impression is that even impossible-to-build devices can be patented, provided they are new. A patent is not a guarantee that a device will perform as described, it is only a document whose purpose is to protect the inventor, if the device turns out to be successful.

The law of conservation of energy, also known as the first law of thermodynamics, makes a clear distinction between what is and what is not possible. It tells us that some energy must be responsible for the excess heat or excess work. In the case of cold fusion that energy is believed to be thermonuclear. The best proof of this, from the scientific point of view, is accumulation of helium at the rate commensurable with excess heat. Unfortunately, that proof has not been accepted as valid by all scientists who evaluated cold cold fusion recently, on behalf of the DOE.

My impression is that the term “free energy” is used to provide a justification for perpetual motion devices of all kind. Entering this phrase into Google I had 962,000 hits. By adding “Antigravity” I got 17,800 hits. Adding “paranormal” I got 595 hits. In one of them I found this promotional description (by Tom Valone):

“. . . Now at the start of a new millennium, new technologies are emerging that create “’free energy’ (electricity without an electric bill), ‘free propulsion’ (drive for miles without paying for fuel) and ‘anti-gravity’ (leaving the surface of the road while you are driving). With diagrams, pictures, and video clips, this report details electrogravitics, inertial propulsion, free energy, magnetic motors, N-machines, the Searle effect, the Hutchinson effect, nuclear batteries and much more. Learn what these 21st century technologies will allow you to do. See demonstrations of anti-gravity and inertial propulsion that defy explanation. Become an expert on the new realities of free energy. K401 • VHS Video Tape • 90 min • $24.95 ” As you can see, the term free energy a justification for all sort of science-fiction devices. The impression I got was that authors of most messages have no familiarity with conventional science.

Some authors, on the other hand, try to explain free energy in terms of physics that is too advanced for me. Instead of blaming authors for not explaining things I blame myself for not being educated enough. The net result is the same -- dissatisfaction. Those who really understand zero-point energy, for example, inventors, should be able to explain it, at least partially, to students and teachers familiar with basic physics. The “believe me; I know better” attitude is not helpful. Cold fusion is not the same thing as free energy. Cold fusion processes, when they becomes universally reproducible, will probably be recognized as nuclear reactions; free energy, on the other hand, is still a general mystery concept invented to turn impossible into passible.

What is being offered to the world by the iESiUSA company? Are they offering us cold fusion devices or a free energy devices? Unfortunately, as far as I know, no scientific explanations are available. Why is it so? Why those who were invited to see the demonstration do not share what they saw, and heard, with the rest of us? What do they think about emperor's cloths? Their silence is highly undesirable, as far as I am concerned. For the time being I have no other choice but to assume that iESiUSA devices, all three of them, belong to science fiction run on free energy.


This website contains my other cold fusion items.
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