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Free Energy FAQ/Guide V2.0

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Nigel, could you replace the sticky with this one, I've cleaned it up a bit and made it easier to follow. Some of the smart alec comments have also been removed:

When you see a posting about a 'Free Energy' device, more often than not you'll see one of the following:

1) A device that takes part of its output and feeds it back into its own input, and claims to produce more energy than it consumes.

2) A device that appears to produce enough energy from air or water to run a vehicle, large generator, etc.

3) Machines that claim to rotate/reciprocate forever after initial momentum is applied, supplying enough additional momentum to produce 'Free Energy'. This phenomena is also known as Perpetual Motion.

I am going to ATTEMPT to show you why most of these are absolute bunk, and how to spot any new ones that pop up. You'll also be far more likely to spot a TRUE source of alternative energy that may come from legitimate but untapped sources.


What you are seeking with Free Energy is really Free Work. Energy (especially heat) is everywhere in unlimited quanitity, and like the first law of thermodynamics states, it cannot be created or destroyed, only changed in form. WORK can be extracted by the reduction of energy GRADIENTS (differences in energy or potential energy levels). When energy such as heat, pressure, electrical charge, masses in a gravitation field, etc. move from a region of higher energy or potential energy, work can be produced. Unlike energy, WORK, once extracted by reduction of an energy gradient CANNOT be reversed by a process within the same energy system. If you look at it this way, what we are seeking as "energy" CANNOT be created and MUST be destroyed. The whole universe including life itself is reducing energy gradients and will continue to do so until the entire universe reaches thermal equilibrium and DIES. When this happens there will still be the same amount of energy that the universe started with, but NO MORE WORK CAN BE DONE. Welcome to the cold hard reality of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.


There is a related concept that needs clarifying, known as Quality of Energy. "Quality" energy creates gradients that are either very steep or very easy to extract work from. When we reduce an energy gradient to produce work, what we are doing is breaking up the original gradient into work (our % of efficiency) and other smaller gradients (inefficiency or energy loss, usually in the form of heat). Burning gasoline (an incredibly high quality source of chemical energy) in our cars produces mechanical work, and lots of heat energy. Heat energy is a random movement of atoms and molecules within matter. The hotter something is, the faster the particles move around. On a large scale (above a few micrograms) heat moves from a region of higher temperature to a region of lower temperature. As it moves it further reduces any gradients to even lower levels.

On a microscopic level, a fluid or a gas that appears to have reached thermal equilibrium may in fact have millions or even billions of very minute temperature gradients. Many have tried to come up with a way to extract useful work from this phenomena, but so far nobody has. It has the lowest Quality of Energy of all. Using this energy would be like trying to get sufficient nutrituion from eating excrement and dirt. If someone comes up with a "Free Energy" device that exploits these microgradients, there will NOT be enough energy to operatre a vehicle or power a large generator.


Why can't we just make a device that harnesses the random motion of thermal energy, thus reducing the temperature and creating a useful thermal gradient, getting work at the same time? This has also been theorized and experimented on for centuries. The problem is anything tiny enough to attempt to harness work from this random motion is subject to and a contributor to the random thermal noise as well. Brownian Ratches and motors come into the system with only their own potential energy, and won't produce any more work than the gradient of potential energy they came in with. Thermal Radiation can't be utilized because it is being randomly emitted in every direction and frequency, cancelling each other out. The only thing Thermal Radiation can do is increase the Thermal Noise in another mass of lower temperature, which is another way heat can be transferred to a cooler body besides convection and conduction.


About chemical fuels and "burning water". We can use chemicals such as gasoline and alcohol to produce very useful temperature and pressure gradients. What is happening here is the chemical bonds are not very strong, and get excited enough to come apart with sufficient impetus from heat energy. This is realeasing more heat energy when combining with oxygen, thus perpetuating the process until the chemical fuel or supply of oxygen is exhausted. Chemical energy is potential energy. Some bonds release heat when made/broken, some absorb heat. Both can be used to create temperature or pressure gradients and produce work.

Water has a VERY strong bond. If fact, it has a STABLE bond. A stable bond doesn't release or absorb any energy when it is broken, it just breaks. In the case of water, it takes a LOT of energy to break the bond. The amount of energy released CANNOT exceed any energy used to break the bond in the first place


Another thing that needs to be addressed is Closed and Open systems. A closed system contains only its own initial gradients. Once these are reduced to produce work, no more work can be produced and it grinds to a halt. Alternators that power their own motors, magnet/flywheel/shifting weight combinations, closed air/water/electricity circulators, etc. are ALL closed systems and CANNOT perform any work after their initial gradients are reduced.

Open systems are a completely different story. Here is where something that may appear to be free energy is possible, or as often is the case, someone is claiming to have made a Free Energy device which in reality is being operated by a hidden or non-apparent energy shource.

Open systems have an energy system producing work, but functions by creating gradients with the environment around them. The work that can be produced by an open system is in fact UNLIMITED as long as the outside environment continues to provide its contribution. Solar power, wind power, thermal updraft towers, etc. all create work by reducing a gradient between their own system and the outside world. The Earth itself is part of a thermodynamic gradient between itself and our Sun.

Claims of Free Energy that are an Open system do warrant closer inspection. It is possible to generate a small amount of electrical or mechanical power using nothing more than evaporation and atmospheric heat and currents, but the power produced isn't very much and would be impractical for many real world applications. When confronted with a Free Energy claim, you need to ask yourself these questions:

1) Is it an Open or a Closed system? Closed systems are doomed right from the start. If a device appears to actually operate and produce work, it is an Open system even though it may appear closed. A scam artist could be using light, heat, RF, electrostatic charge, or any number of energy sources to create a gradient within their "closed" system that does not appear to be there.

2) Does it appear to recycle something? This smacks of a Closed system, and if it functions then it is an Open system and you need to find the outside element of the gradient.

3) Does it produce a useful amount of work? I can sprinkle a fine powder on water and you can see the particles move around from brownian motion under a microscope for the rest of eternity. Yes, it is perpetual motion, but it is USELESS.
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