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Biofuels Tokyo Energy

Published on May 31st, 2008 | by Michelle Bennett

14

How to Power the Planet? "Use the Force, Luke."

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May 31st, 2008 by  

(Quote shamelessly borrowed from Star Wars via Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Tokyo EnergyThere’s a basic law of physics that everyone can agree on: you can’t create energy from nothing. So when an invention comes along and seems to do exactly that, scientists are skeptical. Some get downright prickly. The problem is, these inventions exist, and everyone who looks at it agrees: it works.

Fortunately, no laws of the universe were harmed in the making of this device, though Star Wars geeks like myself could have reason to rejoice.

The Dark Side

The idea stems from some of the most bizarre, puzzling, and dark corners of Physics, specifically Quantum Physics. Here’s the very basic idea: there is energy/matter everywhere in the universe, even the deepest, emptiest depths of space. Since there’s almost no normal energy/matter in the deepest, emptiest depths of space, the fact that all that space exists (and is expanding) means that it must be filled with something. Enter Dark Matter/Dark Energy. It is believed to exist everywhere in small amounts, but since it fills the universe, that means that there’s A LOT of it – as close to infinity as you can get. While this matter/energy is not literally “dark” in any sense of the word, it does prove that energy exists everywhere, and that it affects normal matter so that (in theory) we could use it. (Watch a video for more details about this concept)

What if you could tap into that?

This is the part where mainstream physicists and scientists start shaking their heads (unless, of course, your name is Tesla). The quantities are so small they have a hard time measuring it in a lab. How would you even harness it? There’s also the not-so-small issue that scientists barely understand the forces at work, much less how they work. Mayeb that’s why they call it Zero Point Energy: it seems to come from nothing and nowhere. Normally I would join them and file this idea away as a big “Maybe” for the distant future. But then something changed my mind:

Working prototypes have been popping up independently around the globe.

One has been demonstrated by a scientist in Bangladesh. Several companies are trying to produce them in the United States.

Oh, and Magnetic Power Inc. want to sell you a self-powered toy next Christmas. (Source for above statements: Radio Interview with Mark Goldes)

Energy in the AirSo what is Zero Point Energy?

This is where details start to get sketchy. I wouldn’t blame an inventor for perfecting his design in secret before unveiling it to better weather the inevitable criticism, but there’s just not enough information out there. From what I understand, the devices will derive energy from ambient heat in the air, but they could produce enough of it to give cars or planes an unlimited range. And they want to make it cheap and available. But reputable details are few and far between; I can’t even find a picture of one of these devices. The science is hotly contested. Let me admit that we are dabbling on the fringe of science. I don’t have as many sources as I would like for this article, but the idea is nevertheless exciting.

So consider this a “Cool Tech of the Week” with a bit of science tossed in for fun. Like many future technologies, we’ll just have to wait and see. Keep an eye out in 2009 for Christmas toys that power themselves… forever.

Broken Link:

This link was working when I did my initial research. When I returned to the site before the publication of this article, I received this message: Reason for restriction: Forbidden Category “Other” from Sonic Wall. Further investigation revealed the “Other” category to be “Occult”. The article did try to tie the physics into Buddhist philosophy, but their initial scientific explanation was more accessible (and of comparable quality) to my other sources.

http://www.cosmiclight.com/ofquasarsandquanta/vacuum.htm

Question for readers: why can Sonic Wall block my web browsing when I have never subscribed to their services?

(Tokyo Energy by D-D-T via Flickr Creative Commons)

(Energy in the Air by jonasj via Flickr Creative Commons)

For some More Realistic Technology, check out:

Full Size Floating Wind Turbines

Wave Power and Biomimicry

Tiny CFLs

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About the Author

is an environmentalist who loves to write. She grew up across the southeastern USA and especially love the Appalachian mountains. She went to school in the northeast USA in part to witness different mindsets and lifestyles than those of my southern stomping grounds. She majored in English Lit. and Anthropology. She has worked as a whitewater rafting guide, which introduced her to a wilderness and the complex issues at play in the places where relatively few people go. She also taught English in South Korea for a year, which taught her to take nothing for granted.



  • http://www.SethEden.com SethEden

    The concept of “Ambinet Heat” can easily be confused with “Ambinet Energy”, there has been a trend in the “Free-Engery” groups around the world caused by all the “Free-Energy” hate against their “so-called” “Science”. The root cause being university professors and scientists who stick to their book of “scientific laws” and reject anything and everything outside those “laws” as being completely quack, going so far as to form professional panels to discredit the people researching “Free-Energy”. So these Free-Energy researchers have changed their tactics using words such as “Ambient Energy” to imply that the energy does still come from an environment that cannot be seen, such as Zero-Point Energy and therefore does not break any laws of physics. In the same way that light energy or wind energy comes from the environment and creates electric power. Only that these generators are pulling their power from an environment that is not directly observable.

    Hope that clarifies things a bit.

    Cheers

    Seth

    http://www.SethEden.com

    http://Blog.SethEden.com

  • http://www.SethEden.com SethEden

    The concept of “Ambinet Heat” can easily be confused with “Ambinet Energy”, there has been a trend in the “Free-Engery” groups around the world caused by all the “Free-Energy” hate against their “so-called” “Science”. The root cause being university professors and scientists who stick to their book of “scientific laws” and reject anything and everything outside those “laws” as being completely quack, going so far as to form professional panels to discredit the people researching “Free-Energy”. So these Free-Energy researchers have changed their tactics using words such as “Ambient Energy” to imply that the energy does still come from an environment that cannot be seen, such as Zero-Point Energy and therefore does not break any laws of physics. In the same way that light energy or wind energy comes from the environment and creates electric power. Only that these generators are pulling their power from an environment that is not directly observable.

    Hope that clarifies things a bit.

    Cheers

    Seth

    http://www.SethEden.com

    http://Blog.SethEden.com

  • http://cleantechnica.com Michelle Bennett

    @ Justin:

    Thanks for your opinion! As a physicist could I ask you to expand on why this could never work? Perhaps we can patch up the article a bit with some more information.

    As for renewable tech and quackery, I’m all-too-wary of false claims “green” technologies. The only reason I decided to write this article was because they promise an actual product. Someone has their money riding on it. It’s certainly possible that it won’t come to anything, but if it actually does I think it would be exciting. I, for one, am content to wait and see.

  • http://cleantechnica.com Michelle Bennett

    @ Justin:

    Thanks for your opinion! As a physicist could I ask you to expand on why this could never work? Perhaps we can patch up the article a bit with some more information.

    As for renewable tech and quackery, I’m all-too-wary of false claims “green” technologies. The only reason I decided to write this article was because they promise an actual product. Someone has their money riding on it. It’s certainly possible that it won’t come to anything, but if it actually does I think it would be exciting. I, for one, am content to wait and see.

  • http://cleantechnica.com Michelle Bennett

    @ Meryn:

    Thanks for the link! I admit it wasn’t clear to me where they made the distinction between their “zero point” and ambient heat technologies. The fact that there is a confusion there – and more importantly, no clarifications on their part – does raise some red flags for me. But I’m content to see one or the other, if it hits the market.

  • http://cleantechnica.com Michelle Bennett

    @ Meryn:

    Thanks for the link! I admit it wasn’t clear to me where they made the distinction between their “zero point” and ambient heat technologies. The fact that there is a confusion there – and more importantly, no clarifications on their part – does raise some red flags for me. But I’m content to see one or the other, if it hits the market.

  • http://cleantechnica.com Michelle Bennett

    Thanks for all your comments, I always appreciate feedback even if it’s not complimentary.

    I’ll be honest and say that this article isn’t up to par with our others. I’ve decided not to take it down, despite its faults, just because it’s an exciting concept if it ever works out.

    So a disclaimer for future readers: The explanations contained here are rudimentary at best. I’ve already made my comments about the sources. Take away from this article the base concept: that a renewable energy source might hit the market within the next year or so, and if it actually works it could have a significant impact on the way we power our electronics.

    Naturally, if it doesn’t work, we’ll file it away with all the other “amazing future technologies” that never were, and keep our eyes peeled on the ones that already exist, or come to fruition.

  • http://cleantechnica.com Michelle Bennett

    Thanks for all your comments, I always appreciate feedback even if it’s not complimentary.

    I’ll be honest and say that this article isn’t up to par with our others. I’ve decided not to take it down, despite its faults, just because it’s an exciting concept if it ever works out.

    So a disclaimer for future readers: The explanations contained here are rudimentary at best. I’ve already made my comments about the sources. Take away from this article the base concept: that a renewable energy source might hit the market within the next year or so, and if it actually works it could have a significant impact on the way we power our electronics.

    Naturally, if it doesn’t work, we’ll file it away with all the other “amazing future technologies” that never were, and keep our eyes peeled on the ones that already exist, or come to fruition.

  • Ciceroji

    I am not sure if these guys are quaks. I will wait untill they prove thier claims just like previous scientists had to prove their claims.

    However statements like these:

    I read this blog every day and I enjoy much of the coverage, but this article needs to be deleted as fast as possible…He explains nothing and messes up an astounding amount of modern physics….but is in fact on the internet only BBS, a station full of crystal power and chi focusing…these guys you list here are perpetual motion hacks. Do not let people confuse real sustainable technology for quackery like this!

    To me sound alot like religions dogma. All of science all of it as a postulation. A set of theories which have worked quite well to explain: “EXPERIMENTAL DATA”. The only REAL law of science is “EXPERIEMTAL DATA PREVAILS”. So, they may be quaks or they may not be. But please spare us the inquisition.

  • Ciceroji

    I am not sure if these guys are quaks. I will wait untill they prove thier claims just like previous scientists had to prove their claims.

    However statements like these:

    I read this blog every day and I enjoy much of the coverage, but this article needs to be deleted as fast as possible…He explains nothing and messes up an astounding amount of modern physics….but is in fact on the internet only BBS, a station full of crystal power and chi focusing…these guys you list here are perpetual motion hacks. Do not let people confuse real sustainable technology for quackery like this!

    To me sound alot like religions dogma. All of science all of it as a postulation. A set of theories which have worked quite well to explain: “EXPERIMENTAL DATA”. The only REAL law of science is “EXPERIEMTAL DATA PREVAILS”. So, they may be quaks or they may not be. But please spare us the inquisition.

  • Justin M

    As a physicist, I now know how evolutionary biologists feel during school board meetings in Kansas.

    I read this blog every day and I enjoy much of the coverage, but this article needs to be deleted as fast as possible. To start, the video explanation is of a guy who got his PhD at an unaccredited private university. He is a quack. He explains nothing and messes up an astounding amount of modern physics.

    The companies you list have 2 patents for what they see as a world changing energy technology. TWO!!! Does this sound like a REAL company? Nope. Magnetic Power Inc links to an interview on a radio show that they say is on the BBC, but is in fact on the internet only BBS, a station full of crystal power and chi focusing.

    Zero point energy is real. Casmir forces are real. There is no debate here. There is fundamental physics that requires it. These guys you list here are perpetual motion hacks. Do not let people confuse real sustainable technology for quackery like this!

  • Justin M

    As a physicist, I now know how evolutionary biologists feel during school board meetings in Kansas.

    I read this blog every day and I enjoy much of the coverage, but this article needs to be deleted as fast as possible. To start, the video explanation is of a guy who got his PhD at an unaccredited private university. He is a quack. He explains nothing and messes up an astounding amount of modern physics.

    The companies you list have 2 patents for what they see as a world changing energy technology. TWO!!! Does this sound like a REAL company? Nope. Magnetic Power Inc links to an interview on a radio show that they say is on the BBC, but is in fact on the internet only BBS, a station full of crystal power and chi focusing.

    Zero point energy is real. Casmir forces are real. There is no debate here. There is fundamental physics that requires it. These guys you list here are perpetual motion hacks. Do not let people confuse real sustainable technology for quackery like this!

  • http://meryn.nl/blog/ Meryn Stol

    I believe Zero Point energy is something all together different then extracting energy from ambient heat. The first happens at a really small (sub-atom) scale, while ambient heat is wel… just molecules who are randomly moving around which can be seemingly slowed down, converting their kinetic energy to electricity.

    The Ambient Heat thing seems quite real though, looking at http://www.theimagingsource.biz/en/technology/ambientheatelectricity/ and http://pesn.com/Radio/Free_Energy_Now/shows/2006/09/23/9700208_Rauen_heat_engine/ , although from my limited understanding of physics I would have said it’s impossible.

    I guess the devices are too costly relative to their energy output to make it ever a viable large energy source (otherwise everyone would have jumped on it?), but the technology may have its places in specific settings. It’s handy to be able to generate electricity in the dark, without wind.

  • http://meryn.nl/blog/ Meryn Stol

    I believe Zero Point energy is something all together different then extracting energy from ambient heat. The first happens at a really small (sub-atom) scale, while ambient heat is wel… just molecules who are randomly moving around which can be seemingly slowed down, converting their kinetic energy to electricity.

    The Ambient Heat thing seems quite real though, looking at http://www.theimagingsource.biz/en/technology/ambientheatelectricity/ and http://pesn.com/Radio/Free_Energy_Now/shows/2006/09/23/9700208_Rauen_heat_engine/ , although from my limited understanding of physics I would have said it’s impossible.

    I guess the devices are too costly relative to their energy output to make it ever a viable large energy source (otherwise everyone would have jumped on it?), but the technology may have its places in specific settings. It’s handy to be able to generate electricity in the dark, without wind.

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