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.
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.