Free energy for sale: Steorn's impossible Orbo hits the market

Waste heat from electronics is not the cause of global warming. A source of energy that didn’t put lots of carbon in the atmosphere would be very welcome.

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See, now my assumption is that there could theoretically be a way to generate energy from the excess heat that’s being dumped into the environment by other things- “Free” energy in the sense that it’s lying around not being used, but not “free” as in “violates the laws of physics”.

Of course, the first problem is whether such a method would be so inefficient as to be effectively useless.

The second problem goes back to extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence. We’re gonna need to see a hell of a lot more than a failed demo and some venture capital…

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All we have to do is wait at this point it will work or not [second more likely?] i have zero skin in that game so i hope its true but wait to see results. Would be amazing even if it didn’t scale up.

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All you need to successfully deliver free energy is an app that tracks charge in/out of the device you sold, and each user has an account. A user puts in $1000 to buy the device and app, and then is credited per kwh used at a rate higher than what the user pays the power company. Voila! Free power! But here’s the neat part. The scheme is funded with each new sale of a device, like Amway or any good Ponzi scheme. Keep selling devices and you can keep selling free power.

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Because if your trying to get rich by perpetrating a fraud, you need to actually take money.
If you offer your fraudulent products for free, not only will you not make any money, it will no actually be fraud, either.

No. While that would not contradict the first law of thermodynamics, it would contradict the second law of thermodynamics. That’s why such a machine would be called a perpetual motion machine of the second kind.

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From what I understand, generating energy from temperature differential is fairly easy. So, if you have a cold room and a warm room, you can generate energy from the tendency of those two rooms to “want” to equalize their temperature. However, generating energy just because everything is warmer is nearly impossible (unless you mean by taking advantage of the more energetic storms predicted by climate change researchers).

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Ah, Andrew… If you can generate infinite energy here on Earth, where do you think it goes?

Perhaps you meant to reply to a different post?

The sun is current dumping something like 10,000 time more energy onto the planet than what people are using. As a species, we could double our energy use and it would still be a drop in the bucket, if it were from a clean source.

I mean, I guess literally infinite energy would be a different matter, as the black hole would engulf the entire universe, but assuming that we are talking energy on the same order of magnitude as what people are already using, it won’t make much difference to the planet’s temperature.

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That would be entropy: the energy in a system that is not available to do work.

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Well, the excess heat is energy. If you generate more energy from the excess energy, you’re even more up the creek without a paddle!

But yes, it’s all academic. Because we won’t be seeing the universe violating the rules that we can readily demonstrate time and again and have so far been unable to refute.

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The way I read the parent post – generating electricity from heat that’s being dumped into the environment from other processes – doesn’t violate any laws of physics. Imagine, for example, attaching a thermoelectric material to the hot coils of an air-conditioner. Don’t know that it would be of too much use, but there is no violation there.

And a quick google search turns up the fact that there are scientists and engineers who are working on new thermoelectric materials that could be useful in some contexts to generate electricity from waste heat:

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The conversion process is not completely efficient. Turning heat back into electricity reduces waste, but there is still a net loss.

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Not surprised this device is so expensive – cloning Maxwell’s Demon is hard!

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Right- Like regenerative braking on an electric car. Not free as in “out of nowhere”, just free as in “otherwise wasted”.

Of course, I doubt you’d ever be able to make it as efficient as say, an off the shelf solar panel.

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No. We’re not talking about generating an infinite amount of energy – what we’re talking about is being able to generate as much energy we need at any given moment. Although humanity uses a lot of energy, in the Terawatt range, the amount of solar energy that comes in from sunlight is in Petawatts and so we’d have to be using a lot more energy than we do currently for our output heat to be more than the tiniest drop in the ocean.

Absolutely. It’s probably only a couple of percent, but that could still be useful (the linked article talks about how powering a car’s electronics from the tail-pipe heat could raise fuel economy a few MPG. Multiply that by 2 billion cars, and it could be worthwhile.

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Doing that would effectively increase the efficiency of the air conditioner, but there would still be energy loss.

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Yes, the whole point is to increase the work that’s extracted from the energy source being used.

TANSTAAFL is still in effect in this particular universe!

They’re in the foothills of the Southern Alps, right? I think I’ve been tramping there.

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