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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:
Imagine
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.
Free Energy
Posted by The Curator on Sun Aug 20, 2006


It is a bit suspicious that all their prior tests have been secret, and that they're the ones who will be choosing who the 12 people are to test their product. Assuming that they even do conduct such a test, it would be too easy for them to select twelve people who are in their pay. And then the results are to be published, but on the company's own website.

While none of that means that their claims aren't true, it does look rather odd.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  05:33 AM
The CEO's description of their "technology" actually sounds like he is simply describing a...dynamo
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  07:33 AM
Has anyone bothered to check to see if this company is still using power from the electric grid? Clearly if their tech works they should be independant of the energy companies.
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  08:12 AM
Electrical generations is normally done by moving a a conductor through a magnetic fields, so such a device COULD produce SOME electricity from people just moving around, but it is highly doubtful that it could produce more than a trickle. Even if it could, it would be highly dependant on all the magnetic fields already created by electricity already being generated elsewhere.
Posted by catwhowalksbyhimself  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  08:46 AM
Like Alex says, it may be nothing more than a publicity stunt. Why do it? Well it just might drive up the stock value, then the owners can cash out and leave the investors with worthless stock.

Legitimate scientific research does not get announced in the media. They publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals that allows other scientists to check it out before informing the public. Remember the cold fusion press conference a few years ago with claims that no one could replicate, not even those who originally made the claim. Same thing here.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  10:41 AM
perpetual motion, spontaneous combustion, plausible deniability, historic revisionism, counter insurgency, telepathic communication, tintanabulatory descriptions, abdominal cramps...I tried each and every one of these theories out, but Mom still made me go to school... not nice to fool Mother Houdini
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  11:10 AM
I emailed James Randi about this perpetual motion "invention" as soon as I read about it. He told me via return email that he will be talking about it on his website this coming Friday. Check randi.org then for it.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Aug 20, 2006  at  09:20 PM
I bet anything that this is nothing but a viral marketing ploy.
Posted by Rom  on  Mon Aug 21, 2006  at  12:43 AM
The viral marketing angle occurred to me, but this is a real company that's been around since 2001. Why would they flush their reputation down the toilet by forever branding themselves as the perpetual-motion guys.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Aug 21, 2006  at  01:13 AM
Wouldn't it be fun if all science was done this way? Imagine if, instead of experimenting and publishing his results, Pasteur had said "I know of lifeforms so small that you can't see them, and I'm challenging anyone to prove that they don't exist!"
Posted by Citizen Premier  in  spite of public outcry  on  Mon Aug 21, 2006  at  02:34 AM
Hey, Alex.. See if you can get invited to wherever it is? You'd get a free trip out of the deal!
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Mon Aug 21, 2006  at  05:29 AM
Quantum physics allows for things called "virtual particles", which are a pair of opposite particles that spontaneously generate, exist for a short time, and then collide with each other and annihilate (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particles ). It might be possible to create a vacuum that would encourage the creation of virtual particles and then use magnetic fields to "collect" electrons and positrons and convert them into usable electricity.

Doing this would be more akin to using a water wheel that turns from moving water to drive a generator than it is to the classic perpetual motion device. You are merely taking advantage of naturally occurring energy sources.

It also might be possible that they are taking advantage of some other newly discovered law (or rule of thumb) of physics. But, I remain skeptical of their claim. I will only believe claims such as these when I see them. And, when there is sufficient independent scientific scrutiny.
Posted by BugbearSloth  in  earth, 3rd planet, sol system  on  Mon Aug 21, 2006  at  12:54 PM
I am highly skeptical of this, and have several questions... if anyone would like to answer/comment on these, they are posted at My Blog. Thanks.
Posted by Jacob Bohall  in  Hilton Head Island, SC  on  Mon Aug 21, 2006  at  07:24 PM
OK, this company has been around for five years or so. Do they have any other products? Products that have been consumer tested in the marketplace and found to work? If they have, this would support Alex's comment about their reputation. If not, maybe they have a paper company that did nothing just to give the illusion of respectability so they could do the stock fraud as Captain Al mentioned. Previous products or services would be the next step to check as far as fraud goes I think. Besides, entropy is too much of a downer.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Mon Aug 21, 2006  at  09:57 PM
Newton's laws of thermodynamics states that matter is neither created nor destroyed, and the same goes for energy. There is a finite amount of energy in the universe, so one can never "create" energy from nothing. It is all a matter of how efficiently we can extract energy from various sources and convert it to a useful form. If this invention is indeed creating energy, it is being derrived from *some* existing source. I say its a hoax.
Posted by Seth Easton  in  Washington, D.C.  on  Tue Aug 22, 2006  at  09:00 PM
Seth, Newton doesn't work on the subatomic level. Energy is being created from nothing all the time and destroyed as well. The subatomic level is weird. Wonderful but weird. Quantum Physics is hard to understand, I have no real training in it but I do try to read and understand what gets published and explained, but the knowledge of free energy at the subatomic level has been know for a couple of decades at least. Translating that energy into something we could use is an extremly hard bit of engineering. If this Steom has done it, even with a low efficiency, it would be great. I have my doubts about this claim but I am not yet prepared to reject it out of hand.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Tue Aug 22, 2006  at  09:08 PM
Chris...
The law of Thermodynamics applies to all levels, as it is the study of energy. Quantum physics refers to everything in its smallest form, and is not an exception to the laws of physics. There is no such thing as "free energy". What you are referring to is the subatomic particles that carry a charge. These particles (+ or -) bounce around until they find another particle, they collide, and then destroy one another, creating a small sub-atomic "bang". Now, it is possible that in using the magnets, Steorn has found some way of attracting these subatomic particles, and using the minute amoung of energy they create, to actually produce an overall increase in the output of energy, and at the same time have the illusion of providing "free energy". I pray this is the case. However, I do feel skeptical of the claims made by Steorn, due to their lack of any supporting evidence. The video they have speaks in a flowery way about how great "free energy" is, but doesn't have any scientific approach to explaining their discovery. I could just as easily say I have created a teleporter, and I want the world to know that I challenge everyone to send me 12 scientist to validate my claim...oh, and I get to choose who they are! For more, check out my blog...its the second topic, and don't forget to leave your comments.. MY BLOG Thanks smile
Posted by Jacob Bohall  in  Hilton Head Island, SC  on  Tue Aug 22, 2006  at  10:18 PM
My personal opinion: I expect something about the Mysterious TV show "Lost."

See my website:
http://rvincoletto.multiply.com

Renata
Posted by Renata Vincoletto  in  UK  on  Wed Aug 23, 2006  at  09:01 AM
Actually, on a basic level Chris is correct. Energy does seem to fluctuate between zero and non-zero at the quantum level, it just averages out overall. And since it averages out there is no way to gain energy from this fluctuation as it would instantly be canceled out again. If Steorn has found a way to control these fluctuations, they've discovered something a hell of a lot more powerful than free energy. They could control matter/energy itself. In other words, extremely unlikely.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Wed Aug 23, 2006  at  10:31 AM
I don't understand... please not, I am not a scientist or anything, I just derived my understanding of quantum physics from "Elegant Universe" Amazon.com

I understood that there were charged particles floating, and at that point, I guess there would be energy, and once the particles collide, then the energy is transferred, leaving a balance of zero?
Posted by Jacob Bohall  in  Hilton Head Island, SC  on  Wed Aug 23, 2006  at  10:39 AM
I'm a mass communications and sociology grad student, and I love stories like this Steorn free-energy thing. Not simply for the fact that it purports to challenge established physical laws, but for the way their assertions are received and circulated in the scientific and public communities.

Anyhow, it will be interesting and insightful (oh there's gotta be a short paper I can write about this for at least one of my profs) to see how this plays out. It sure looks slick and cool - photos, videos, soft-spinning logos etc. After cold fusion, how much wiser did we become collectively? Or does hope always shake our faith in empiricism?

Or maybe its just another high-brow publicity stunt put on by the energy companies to let us down and restore our faith in good old oil and its traditional socio-economic priority in our consumption-oriented lives? Yeah, that's it... wink
Fascinating and fun to watch it all unfold though.

Peace-out!
Posted by roger  in  ottawa, canada  on  Thu Aug 24, 2006  at  05:06 PM
Doesn't anyone live in Dublin? They could just go to the address Steorn lists on the website and we could all find out what's going on. I think it would all be much easier.

T.
Posted by DukeLeto  in  Bucharest, Romania  on  Thu Aug 24, 2006  at  08:08 PM
As of today, James Randi has also covered it in his Swift commentary.
http://randi.org/jr/2006-08/082506yet.html#i1
Posted by Boo  in  The Land of the Haggii...  on  Fri Aug 25, 2006  at  07:11 AM
Has anyone been accepted for the panel of sceptics that is going to investigate this claim? I didn't see that Randi had definitely accepted but he probably would meet the "most qualified" part of the requirements. And who would be qualified to judge this device/technology, much less be the "most qualified"? Physics types would be my guess but maybe engineers?
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Fri Aug 25, 2006  at  01:59 PM
Better recheck this "Hoax" folks. The jury has been chosen and will begin its investigating in Jan 2007. Steorn has made no promises as to what the Jury finds. The only promise they make is that all the Jurys findings will be published.
It's quite possible Steorn has stumbled onto something revolutionary.

Cheers
Posted by skeptic2  in  dublin  on  Thu Dec 07, 2006  at  02:37 PM
Clean the air? It is possible. Clean water? It is possible too.
Clean energy? It is possible as well.
My idea is very difficult for understanding. It is not difficult for engineer - mechanic, who knows very good the Pascal's law and even-arm lever.
Please open GOOgle and find metozor and next :
index of metozor.
Overthere is all about idea of main .
example : http://www.nets.pl/~metozor/for_greenpeace.html or
http://www.nets.pl/~metozor/energy_for_everybody.html
http://www.nets.pl/~metozor/prolog_for_metoz.html
Email this article to friends.
Posted by Orlowski Zygmunt  on  Sat Jan 27, 2007  at  02:31 PM
We as humans think that we know so much about the universe and the information that surrounds us, when in reality we know only a drop in a vast ocean of knowledge. Speculation of course is in our nature but should we be overwhelmed by it, we will never be open to the discoveries that are right in front of us.
We should consider the many outcomes that taking this "discovery" to press will present. This could be a marketing ploy or scam so that Steorns stock will rise. After this of course, they will sell, giving them a humongous profit. If so I doubt very seriously that they would even care what would happen to what is left of the company. This can certainly be seen as a reasonable accusation seeing how it is a team of only twenty people. It is also reasonable because what we have observed so far within our universe, it points out that creating a potentially useful energy source out of thin air would be incredibly hard if not impossible to do and control, even on the subatomic levels where the energy levels may fluctuate.
On the other hand if they did make this astonishing breakthrough there are plenty of reasons not to publish it within the scientific community first. The first reason that comes to mind is simple, assassination. Many people are too trusting of the oil companies and their government. This is not a conspiracy theory but a cold hard fact. The number one thing that corrupts a government is the economy. Once the economy collapses then there is civil disarray, up rises and eventually a collapse in the government. If there is a replacement for oil the government will be against it because at this time that is their economic power. In effect releasing such a claim directly into the scientific community would be a death wish. There is also the possibility that with this rise in stock they would have money to further research this claim and create a working prototype.
In my own personal point of view it sounds like a reasonable claim but a highly doubtful one. It may look good on paper but in real life there are millions of variables including the earth
Posted by Tristan  on  Mon Feb 05, 2007  at  09:50 PM
Clean the air? It is possible. Clean water? It is possible too.
Clean energy? It is possible as well.
My idea is very difficult for understanding. It is not difficult for engineer - mechanic, who knows very good the Pascal's law and even-arm lever.
Please open GOOgle and find metozor and next :
index of metozor.
Overthere is all about idea of main .
example : http://www.nets.pl/~metozor/for_greenpeace.html or
http://www.nets.pl/~metozor/energy_for_everybody.h...
http://www.nets.pl/~metozor/prolog_for_metoz.html
Email this article to a friend.
Posted by Orlowski Zygmunt  in  Poland Gdynia  on  Tue Feb 06, 2007  at  05:03 AM
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