Hoax Museum Blog: Free Energy

It’s all about the magnets! — Sixty-two-year-old Andrew Abolafia claims to have built a "Static Field Converter" that extracts hidden energy from magnets — thereby staying true to the general rule that free-energy inventions almost always involve magnets in some way.

Abolafia feels sure his invention will provide the solution to the world's need for energy, replacing our reliance on fossil fuels. But for some reason, the scientific community hasn't shown much interest. So Abolafia has been reduced to demonstrating his gizmo to local news reporters, hoping this will get the device the attention he believes it deserves. [wnyt.com]

Posted: Thu Sep 19, 2013.   Comments (3)

Steorn: perpetually in the news — Irish company Steorn is back in the news with their perpetual motion machine. Having had their claims dismissed by a jury of scientists earlier this year, they're now appealing directly to the public by staging a demonstration of their machine in Dublin.

I still can't figure out if these guys really think they've developed a new, revolutionary technology, or if it's all a cynical publicity ploy.

Links: herald.ie, steorn.com/orbo

Related entries:
Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2009.   Comments (9)

Official verdict: Steorn didn’t develop free energy technology — Back in August 2006, the Irish company Steorn declared it had developed "revolutionary free energy technology." To back up its claim, they ran an ad in the Economist inviting a jury of independent experts to scrutinize its claims.

It's been almost three years, but the jury has finally delivered its verdict.

The unanimous verdict of the Jury is that Steorn's attempts to demonstrate the claim have not shown the production of energy. The jury is therefore ceasing work.

So the whole thing was a big waste of time. The mystery is why Steorn even bothered. What did they think they were gaining from this elaborate charade?
Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009.   Comments (11)

Diesel Trees — With the price of gas going through the roof, there's been a lot of interest in alternative fuel supplies. For instance, various schemes to use water as a fuel have been getting renewed interest. But a new idea (at least, new to me) is the Diesel Tree. This is a tree that directly produces diesel fuel. All you have to do is tap the tree (just as you would tap a maple tree for its syrup), then fill up your tank with the oil, and you're good to go. From treehugger.com:

the Brazilian Copaifera langsdorfii, to use its botanical name, can be tapped not unlike a rubber tree, but instead of yielding rubbery latex it gives up a natural diesel. According to the nurseryman selling the trees, one hectare will yield about 12,000 litres annually.
Once filtered—-no complex refining required, apparently—-it can be placed straight into a diesel tractor or truck. We read that a single Copaifera langsdorfii will continue to produce fuel oil for an impressive 70 years, with the only negative being that its particular form of diesel needs to be used within three months of extraction.

You can also check out this video on YouTube in which an Australian farmer who's growing Diesel Trees is interviewed. He admits it "sounds like a fanciful concept," but insists it's real. There are also articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC.net.au.

As odd as the idea sounds, Diesel Trees do appear to be real. Here's the wikipedia article about them. They simply produce a plant oil pure enough that diesel engines can run on it. The Alaska Science Forum notes:
Though not likely to become a significant source of diesel fuel in temperate climates, in the tropics Cobaifera plantations might produce as much as 25 barrels of fuel per year. Still, Cobaifera relatives in the same genus, Euphorbia, are producing 10 barrels per acre in northern California.

It would be pretty cool to be able to fill up your car directly from a tree in your backyard.(via geoisla)
Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008.   Comments (4)

Micro Nuclear Reactor — Last month a lot of blogs posted about a "micro nuclear reactor" supposedly developed by Toshiba. It promised to provide dirt-cheap energy, and was also small enough to fit in a basement. The story was first posted on nextenergynews.com:

Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.

The idea of everyone putting a nuclear reactor in their basement sounded a bit dicey, and a lot of people were suspicious. Sure enough, the story has turned out to be a hoax. Rod Adams, of the Atomic Insights Blog, contacted Toshiba, who confirmed that they're not building an apartment-sized nuclear reactor. However, it's not clear who was the source of the hoax. Next Energy News perhaps?
Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008.   Comments (12)

Ecowatts Miracle Tube — The Mail on Sunday reports that a British company called Ecowatts claims to have created a device that seems to create energy from virtually nothing. It's a 12-inch tube that you plug into your electrical outlet. The device then creates more heat energy than the electrical energy put into it can account for. They hope to market this revolutionary tube as a home-heating device.

Sounds like another free-energy scam to me. If the device really did output more energy than is put into it, heating homes would be the least of its abilities. You could use these things to create limitless amounts of power at virtually no cost.

Jim Lyons, who works at the University of York, apparently tested the device and has given it his stamp of approval. If a real researcher from a respected University has okayed the device, then it must be for real. Or, maybe not. Here's Jim Lyons's bio from scimednet.org:
After an initial industrial career as a chartered engineer, I am currently in the academic world and have been at the University of York for the last twelve years. Following a period in the Department of Computer Science, I have become involved with the innovative process of engaging academia with the world of commerce, developing research, particularly into sustainable technologies.
The constraining perspective and narrowly defined disciplines of western academic life drove a need to engage with colleagues having a much wider vision of the world. The SMN offered the ideal vehicle. Involvement since the early 1990s with like minded people from diverse backgrounds with their `no blinkers` interdisciplinary approach now seems so natural and indeed the obvious way to progress.
My research area is in the field of non-locality of Consciousness. The emerging new models describing an active Aether can begin to account for many phenomena such as Healing, Synchronicity, Psychometry etc, currently not even considered in mainstream Science. The open mindedness implicit in the SMN philosophy is what Science should truly be about.
I'd wager that Ecowatts's miracle tube never makes it to market as a working device. (Thanks to Russell Jones for the link)
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007.   Comments (25)

Perpetual motion machine introduction delayed — Steorn is an Irish company which has announced that it's developed a "free energy" machine. "Free energy" is another name for "perpetual motion." As you may recall from high school physics, perpetual motion is theoretically impossible according to the known laws of physics. "Pshaw" says Steorn (figuratively, anyway).

So, time for the Big Unveiling came...and went. "Technical problems" says Steorn. Gee, you'd think that a company which has a paradigm-shattering technology would make sure that everything was ready to go before announcing a demo, wouldn't you? No worries, though, they're going to unveil it on the Fifth. I'm sure that every oil company executive will be anxiously sitting in front of his computer, terrified of the machine that will inevitably put him out of work. And then pigs will fly like 747's above the landscape.

Perpetual motion at long last?


Per mo no go


Steorn device linked to Intelligent Design

MORE: Smirk as a Steorn exec "explains" their device's failure:


UPDATE: Let the lying begin!

Steorn CEO tries to explain

Gaze upon the Orbo, disbelievers!
Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007.   Comments (13)

Fire From Saltwater — Inventor John Kanzius claims that he has discovered a way to make saltwater burn. This discovery could eventually lead, he suggests, to cars that run on saltwater. This suggestion places Kanzius in a long tradition of inventors (and con artists) who have claimed to have found ways to use water as fuel, reducing his credibility right away. But as always with these things, once is tempted to think that maybe this time the guy is really onto something.

Check out the video about his discovery on YouTube (below). Kanzius explains that he was originally searching for a way to cure cancer. He reasoned that if he injected tiny amounts of metal, such as gold, into cancer patients, that these metal bits would be attracted to the cancer cells, and he could then use radio waves to heat up the metal and destroy the cancer cells.

Fortuitously, Kanzius then discovered that these same radio waves would also heat saltwater and make it burn. He has yet to reveal the exact mechanism of his radio transmitter, but he has demonstrated the process.

Assuming the guy isn't totally lying (which is not necessarily a good assumption), then it would appear on the surface that Kanzius has discovered an interesting new phenomenon. But whether this phenomenon can be used to power vehicles is another question altogether. For instance, how much power is the radio transmitter using to ignite the saltwater? Somehow inventions like this always seem great at first, but they never seem to amount to anything.

There are more videos about Kanzius collected at magistrala.cz.

Posted: Wed May 30, 2007.   Comments (33)

Steorn Develops Free Energy Technology — image An Irish company, Steorn, has been making some pretty bold claims lately. They claim to have developed "revolutionary free energy technology," and last week they published an ad in The Economist challenging the scientific community to test their technology. Their ad reads:
A world with an infinite supply of pure energy.
Never having to recharge your phone.
Never having to refuel your car.

Welcome to our world
At Steorn we have developed a technology that produces free, clean and constant energy. Our technology has been independently validated by engineers and scientists--always behind closed doors, always off the record, always proven to work.

The Challenge
We are therefore issuing a challenge to the scientific community: test our technology and report your findings to the world.
We are seeking a jury of twelve--the most qualified and the most cynical.
My first reaction to this is that it's yet another perpetual-motion-machine fantasy. Often the inventors who dream up these devices truly believe they work. They want so badly to cheat the laws of physics that they convince themselves that they have. They remind me of gamblers who convince themselves that it's possible to beat the odds.

Steorn isn't being specific about exactly how their technology works, but Sean McCarthy, the CEO, gave this description of it on Ireland's RTE Radio:
"What we have developed is a way to construct magnetic fields so that when you travel round the magnetic fields, starting and stopping at the same position, you have gained energy. The energy isn't being converted from any other source such as the energy within the magnet. It's literally created. Once the technology operates, it provides a constant stream of clean energy."
So it's got something to do with magnets. Perpetual-motion fanatics love magnets!

The one unusual aspect of Steorn's claim is their active recruitment of independent scrutiny of their claims. They're probably going to end up wasting the time of everyone involved, but at least they're putting on a good show of wanting to be open and honest about the process. Though I'm wondering if this whole thing is an elaborate publicity stunt.
Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2006.   Comments (28)

Blacklight Power and Hydrinos —
Status: Most likely a free energy scam
An article in the Guardian about Dr. Randall Mills, founder of Blacklight Power, has been generating a lot of debate in the blogosphere. For instance, there's discussion of the article over on Slashdot, and a link to it also got posted in the hoax forum. I wanted to add a few comments here because, although many people might be hearing about Mills for the first time (thanks to the Guardian article), the guy has actually been lurking around since the early 1990s, claiming to have discovered a limitless source of cheap energy. (I recognized Mills because he's discussed in Robert Park's book Voodoo Science, published in 2000.)

Mills's theories originally developed out of his interest in cold fusion, though he insists he's not proposing a rejiggered form of cold fusion. Instead, what Mills claims to have discovered is a way to get a hydrogen atom to move to an energy level below the ground state. The ground state is the lowest energy level a hydrogen atom can sink to (according to modern physics). But Mills is saying it can sink even lower (i.e. the electron can move even closer to the proton). When a hydrogen atom sinks to this sub-ground level, it supposedly emits an enormous amount of energy and transforms into what Mills calls a "hydrino". If Mills is right, pretty much all of modern physics is wrong. Which is why Mills probably isn't right.

Of course, Mills could be a genius whose theories are going to completely revolutionize modern science (and modern industry). That's what his supporters claim. But that's what the supporters of ALL free-energy schemers claim. The fact is that for almost fifteen years Mills has been promising that practical applications of his hydrino technology are just around the corner. But nothing ever materializes. And meanwhile he keeps luring in new investors with his wild promises of limitless energy. So it seems to me that Mills and his hydrinos match the familiar free-energy pattern of big promises, but no results.
Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2005.   Comments (28)

Yet Another Solution for the World’s Power and Energy Needs — The GMC Holding Corporation sure isn't bashful about what it believes to be the potential market value of its new technology. According to this press release, its technology will solve the world's energy needs, providing pollution-free power to any kind of motorized product (car, boat, golf cart, etc.). And here's the best part: "The overall market value is expected to exceed a trillion dollars over the next 10 years and these estimates are more than likely to be low." Wow! A trillion dollars! I bet the stock value of the GMC Holding Corporation must be going through the roof after announcing a trillion-dollar product like that. Yup. It was up 20 cents yesterday, to end trading at $1.40. Obviously the market sees huge potential in this technology. But just what is this mysterious revolutionary technology? According to their website: "The prototype motor presented is a permanent magnet design, with the magnets suspended in an inner frame forming the rotor and multiple coils embedded in an outer frame forming the stator... The motor is designed on the known principals set forth by Nikola Tesla." Magnetic coils? Tesla? Oh, I understand now. It's another perpetual motion machine.
Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2004.   Comments (32)

Water From Air — Shea Cockrum thinks that extracting water from air is the solution to the world's water shortage. Honestly, I'm not sure whether he's a nutcase, or if his theories could actually work. He claims that he was extracting one or two gallons of water an hour from an "air well" that he constructed in his backyard consisting of buried PVC pipe through which hot air was blown. One or two gallons of water an hour, if he was really getting this, isn't bad at all. And according to Cockrum, this was just the beginning. His new system is even better. Like I said, I have no idea if this could be done... though I do know that an incredible amount of dew collects in my yard every morning, which is the only reason I'm reluctant to dismiss his theory out of hand.
Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2004.   Comments (43)

Jydsk Atomic Power — image Here's a hoax website from Denmark. It's Jydsk Atomic Power (in bad English via automatic translation here). I discovered the site through an article in a Danish newspaper (bad translation) that mentioned it, and also linked to my site. My Danish is a little rusty (nonexistent actually), but from what I can make out Jydsk Atomic Power claims to be overclocking their atomic reactor, thereby producing electricity with twice as much power. All electric devices drawing this double-strength power work twice as well. You'll be able to boil water on your stove in half the time! At least, I think that's what the site says. Any Danish speakers out there feel free to correct me.
Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2004.   Comments (1)

Hoax Industries Enoon Car — Since I'm on the subject of free-energy cars, here's the ENOON Car by Hoax Industries. "The ENOON*-device is able to power a car for an
unlimited time period without the need of refuelling!" ENOON stands for 'energy out of nowhere.'
Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2004.   Comments (5)

Water-Fueled Car — image Earth2012 this month announced the launch of a major new project: they're going to build a water-fueled car. And they're soliciting donations to help them achieve this ambitious dream. Of course, a water-fueled car might raise a few skeptical eyebrows, but Earth2012 says the science behind their project is all very sound. The tank of their car will be filled up with water, but the water will then be converted onboard into hydrogen. So it's really a hydrogen-powered car, not a water-powered one. And hydrogen-powered cars, of course, already exist.

What makes my hoax detector start ringing when I read about their project is their description of the onboard water-to-hydrogen conversion process. From what I understand, it takes quite a bit of energy to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. This has always been one of the major stumbling blocks on the road to a hydrogen economy (the cost of producing hydrogen). But Earth2012 says that it has developed a 'revolutionary way of creating hydrogen from water.' This involves vibrating the water at exactly the correct frequency, thereby causing the water to easily separate into oxygen and hydrogen.

Maybe Earth2012 really has developed this revolutionary new process, though the details they provide about it are awfully sketchy. But it all sounds an awful lot like a water-as-fuel hoax, of which there have been many in the past... one of the weirdest being Guido Franch's claims back in the 70s that he had developed a cheap green powder that, when added to water, transformed the water into gasoline. Franch gave a few demonstrations of his powder, though never under scientifically controlled conditions, and his credibility took a bit of a blow when he confessed that the secret of the powder had been given to him by a group of spacemen from the planet Neptune. The Straight Dope has an article about Franch if you're interested in reading more about him.

Update: Parazyte has provided a link to an article (in English) about Daniel Dingel, a Filipino man who claims that he invented a water-powered car back in 1969. The rest of the site is in German, but click here to see a video of Mr. Dingel driving around in his watercar.
Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2004.   Comments (67)

Japanese Magnetic Fan — image Kohei Minato, a Japanese inventor, has built an incredible new kind of magnet-powered electric motor. As this article on Japan.com explains, "Minato's motors consume just 20 percent or less of the power of conventional motors with the same torque and horse power. They run cool to the touch and produce almost no acoustic or electrical noise. They are significantly safer and cheaper (in terms of power consumed), and they are sounder environmentally." Sounds really great. Until you read down a bit more and get to this line, "it is feasible to attach a generator to the motor and produce more electric power than was put into the device." In other words, it's another perpetual-motion machine. Lots of discussion of this over at Slashdot. (Thanks, James).
Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2004.   Comments (2)

Joseph Papp and his Submarine — Infinite Energy, 'The Magazine of New Energy Science and Technology,' has devoted its entire current issue to analyzing the work of Joseph Papp, the Hungarian inventor who claimed to have built some kind of fusion-powered engine that used noble gases as fuel (i.e. we're talking 'free-energy' technology here). In the 1960s he also claimed to have built a submarine that could travel at 300 mph, and in a test run of this craft he said that he travelled from Canada to France in 13 hours (the airplane ticket that was later found in his pocket debunked this claim). Infinite Energy has one sample article about Papp on its website. I've also got some pictures of Papp's submarine on my site.
Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2003.   Comments (0)

Perpetual Motion Machine — magnetic energy converter Sandeep Acharya has shared with me his blueprints for building a machine that can convert magnetic energy into mechanical energy. He promises that it really works. Check it out for yourself.
Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2003.   Comments (0)

Joseph Papp — A visitor named Heinz Klostermann sent me quite a bit of info about Joseph Papp, a Hungarian-born inventor who first claimed that he had built a submarine capable of traveling at 300 mph, and later claimed to have built a car engine that could run for six months without refueling. Heinz sent an article about Papp that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News in 1989, as well as an article apparently written by the physicist Richard Feynman describing a demonstration of Papp's engine. It turns out that Heinz has been working for the past three years to reinvent Papp's engine (the secret of how to build it died with Papp). If you have any info about Papp he'd like you to contact him at: AHK2@rcn.com. Also check out the comments I've received over the years about Papp and his submarine.
Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2003.   Comments (1)

The Hunt For Zero Point — Anti-gravity technology has been getting a lot of attention lately, on the heels of the news that Boeing is testing some kind of anti-gravity device. Salon reviews THE HUNT FOR ZERO POINT by Nick Cook, an editor at Jane's Defense Weekly. It's all about the US Government's classified research into anti-gravity technology. Sounds interesting, but it also sounds like the author got seduced by the idea that such technology might exist and began making some pretty far-fetched assumptions.
Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2002.   Comments (0)

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >