Energy generators sourcing energy from a Vacuum (Zero Point Energy)

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Also known as MEG (Motionless Electrical Generator), Solid State Generator, Casimir Effect, Lamb-shift, ...

The Wikipedia entry on Zero-Point Energy is an excellent reference for an overview of the field, especially the practical applications section.[1]

Background of technology, including the basic science foundation

Quantum theory predicts and experiments verify that so-called empty space (the vacuum) contains an enormous residual background energy known as zero-point energy or ZPE (the Casimir[2] Effect). This energy derives its name from the fact that at temperatures of absolute zero (- 273 Celsius), elementary particles continue to exhibit energetic behavior." The field seems to have a strong theoretical foundation, as illustrated by numerous articles in high-quality peer-reviewed scientific journals such as "Extracting energy and heat from the vacuum" by Cole and Puthoff in Physical Review E in 1993.[3] This youtube video[4] also features American physicist Harold Puthoff explaining the reality of ‘free energy’.

The Casimir Effect

The Casimir Effect technology research made a leap forward in 2008 by[5] a team of researchers at MIT who "carved a single[5] device out of silicon that is capable of measuring the Casimir force between a pair of parallel silicon beams, the first on-chip device capable of doing this. The device consists of one fixed beam and another movable one attached to an electro-mechanical actuator. The team starts by measuring the separation between them using a scanning electron microscope. They then apply a voltage to the actuator, which pushes the movable beam towards the fixed beam."

When Planck introduced the ½hν term to his 1911 black body equation he showed that there is a residual energy remaining at zero degree K after all thermal energy ceased. Other investigators, including Lamb, Casimir, and Dirac added to this information. Today zero point energy (ZPE) is accepted as an established condition. given by the gravity constant (G) and the characteristics of its particles are revealed by the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Eddies of ZPE particles created by flow around mass bodies reduce the pressure normal to the eddy flow and are responsible for the force of gravity. Helium atoms resonate with ZPE particles at low temperature to produce superfluid helium. High velocity micro vortices of ZPE particles about a basic particle or particles are responsible for electromagnetic forces. The speed of light is the speed of the wave front in the ZPE and its value is a function of the temperature and density of the ZPE[6].

[Caution: the claims here might lack scientific rigour. For example, the speed of light is not dependent on the factors described. At least it was not when I was taught physics.]

What is the Casimir effect? [7] provides a quick explanation of how the effect produces a tiny force, and highlights a couple of theoretical challenges. It says that the theory "implies that empty space contains a certain amount of energy - an energy that we can't tap, but that is always there".

[Speculation by wiki author: Even if energy cannot be extracted from the Universe's background energy as "free energy", it might instead be possible to use the mechanism to collect ambient energy, i.e. an innovative form of heat pump. So, in theory, heat energy would be extracted from the surroundings and used by the technology to produce electrical energy or fuel, for example. This does not violate the law of conservation of energy.]

A variant of the Casimir Effect is the Dynamic Casimir effect. In this case, one of the plates moves and causes the accumulation of photons within the region between the plates. These plates are mirrored, so that the photons continue to accumulate between them. This effect was experimentally verified in May 2011.[8][9] A video illustration of the Dynamic Casimir effect can be found here.

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was perhaps the first to propose that the vacuum energy, or aether, might be harnessed for useful work stating in 1889:

"Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic? If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic – and we know it is, for certain – then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheel work of Nature. Many generations may pass, but in time our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point in the Universe."[1]

Excerpt from Nikola Tesla Patent US 685958 Method for Utilizing Radiant Energy:

"My present application is based upon a discovery which I have made that when rays or radiations of the above kind are permitted to fall upon an insulated conducting body connected to one of the terminals of a condenser, while the other terminal of the same is made by independent means to receive or to carry away electricity, a current flows into the condenser so long as the insulated body is exposed to the rays, and under the conditions hereinafter specified an indefinite accumulation of electrical energy in the condenser takes place. This energy after a suitable time interval, during which the rays are allowed to act, may manifest itself in a powerful discharge, which may be utilized for the operation or control of mechanical or electrical devices or rendered useful in many other ways."[10]

Thomas Henry Moray

During the 1920’s, Thomas Henry Moray (1892-1974) was one of the most talented electronic circuit designers in the emerging field of radio. After hundreds of experiments designed to improve radio reception, Moray discovered a source of energy transmission apparently available everywhere. Using advanced ideas in solid state detectors, he developed a power source that produced 50,000 watts of a cold form of electricity. By the early 1930’s, dozens of people had witnessed demonstrations of this astonishing technology.[11]

According to Tom Beardon, "In the early 1900's, Dr. T. Henry Moray of Salt Lake City produced his first device to tap energy from the metafrequency oscillations of empty space itself. Eventually Moray was able to produce a free energy device weighing sixty pounds and producing 50,000 watts of electricity for several hours. Ironically, although he demonstrated his device repeatedly to scientists and engineers, Moray was unable to obtain funding to develop the device further into a useable power station that would furnish electrical power on a mass scale."[12]

T Henry Moray Books

  • The Sea of Energy in Which the Earth Floats[13]
  • Beyond the Light-Rays - Explanation of the Oscillations of Radiant Energy[14]
  • Radiant Energy - For Beyond the Light Rays Lies the Secret of the Universe The Evolution of Energy and Matter[15]
  • Radiant Energy - For Beyond the Light Rays Lies the Secret of the Universe The Evolution and Transmutation of the Atom[16]

Charge Clusters

Ken Shoulders[17] Shoulders, who is an experimental physicist, has been working with what he calls EVOs or Exotic Vacuum Objects for more than two decades. Particles of like charge repel each other - that is one of the laws describing the interaction between single sub-atomic particles. Not in all cases, says Ken Shoulders - there are some notable exceptions, although current theory has no description for them. [18]

The May/June 2005 Issue 61 of Infinite Energy Magazine describes:

"Our  cover article in this issue is about charge clusters, which are compact groups  of electrons. They defy the common belief that such things cannot occur because  of the great repelling forces these electrons should exert on each other. Yet  they do appear to exist and are not even that difficult to create, once you know  how. Ken Shoulders knows how and has been doing it for about 25 years. Ken and his son Steve experiment with charge clusters (also called exotic vacuum objects  or EVOs) in a well-equipped, privately funded lab in California. Ken has a history  of working at the edge of science and engineering. He worked at SRI International  for ten years as a staff scientist and started a field now called vacuum nanoelectronics,  which is based on field emission active devices. He also worked at MIT (during  this time he fabricated the world's first microcircuits) and later did some exotic and confidential work for the CIA and others.[19]

Current state of the technology

The physical foundations of ZPE seem firmly established and experiments reproducible, as described in this article in Foundation of Physics Letters (2001) by 14 scientists:

"Bearden et al. recently produced a device which they describe as a motionless electromagnetic generator (MEG), which outputs more energy than is input by the operator, and therefore produces a coefficient of performance (COP) well in excess of unity. The device has been replicated independently by Naudin and is therefore reproducible and repeatable, meeting the requirements of scientific rigor."[20]

Despite controversy, harnessing zero-point energy remains an ongoing area of worldwide research, particularly in US where it has attracted the attention of major aerospace/defence contractors and the US Department of Defense as well as in China, Germany, Russia and Brazil.[1]

A 2009 article in Nature[2] magazine reports that a research team from Harvard was able to first show the Casimir effect. "Their results[2] show that by judiciously choosing two materials (silica and gold) immersed in a fluid (bromobenzene), quantum fluctuations can be seen to drive the materials apart. This repulsive version of the Casimir effect had long been predicted but never observed."  The Nature archive[21] for subscribers to retrieve the article is here. Individual research property rights[22], within cited papers, belong to the researcher and the University or other sponsoring organization. At this time, no U.S. patents have been filed for nanotechnology energy generators based on the Casimir effect. The IP section below lists more general ZPE patents.

Mainstream scientific research into this area can be found cloaked as a thought experiment, in German this is called Gedankenexperiment[23]. Accepted for publication in Foundation of Physics November 2003 is G. Jordan Maclay paper, A Gedanken spacecraft that operates using the quantum vacuum (Dynamic Casimir effect) and states "Conventional rockets are not a suitable technology for interstellar missions. Our objective in this paper is to explore how one might make use of the properties of the quantum vacuum in the creation of a spacecraft. Rockets employing chemical or ionic propellants require the transport of prohibitively large quantities of propellant. If the properties of the quantum vacuum could somehow be utilized in the production of thrust, that would provide a decided advantage since the vacuum is everywhere.[24][25]

Required inputs for energy generation

The inputs for any energy generation process can be represented as shown in the System Representation. [26] The efficiency of the system is represented by the output energy divided by the input energy. Note that all energy inputs should be accounted for, including any internal energy storage within the prototype itself. This internal energy could be in any form, not just electrical energy. The latter point might be particularly relevant to any prototypes being tested. In theory, the energy is from a "free" ambient source; but significant scientific scrutiny is warranted. Experiments claim to have measured the force, but extracting energy requires another step. If energy is extracted then the experiments should check to see if that energy has been extracted from the conventional ambient environment (e.g. the heat of the surroundings) rather than from the mysterious quantum mechanical world of vacuum energy. The former source can be measured; the latter is probably much more challenging.

The inputs for Casimir effect energy generation have been ongoing through research efforts utilizing elements, such as gold and silica[2] suspended in a solution, to changing plate[21] and coatings in chips, to "the generation[27] of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen steering and Gaussian interferometric power, two useful forms of asymmetric quantum correlations, in superconducting waveguides modulated by superconducting quantum interferometric devices."

Many of the scientific journal article abstracts are available, full articles require subscription[28]. Each citation provides the location of the paywall, as well as a list of other articles citing the ones in this response.

Organizations/researchers working with this technology

This section highlights those organisations active in this field today. Further history can be found in a separate section.

NASA

Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program

In 1996, a team of government, university and industry researchers proposed a program to seek the ultimate breakthroughs in space transportation: propulsion that requires no propellant mass, propulsion that can approach and, if possible, circumvent light speed, and breakthrough methods of energy production to power such devices. This Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program, managed by Lewis Research Center, is one part of a comprehensive, long range Advanced Space Transportation Plan managed by Marshall Space Flight Center. Because the breakthrough goals are beyond existing science, a main emphasis of this program is to establish metrics and ground rules to produce near-term credible progress toward these incredible possibilities. An introduction to the emerging scientific possibilities from which such solutions can be sought is also presented.[29]

Eagleworks

In 2014 NASA's Eagleworks Laboratories announced that they had successfully validated the use of a Quantum Vacuum Plasma Thruster which makes use of the Casimir effect for propulsion. Such a thruster could be powered by solar electricity, eliminating the need for the supply of propellant that occupies up to half the launch mass of many satellites.[30]

NASA/JSC (Johnson Space Center) is implementing an advanced propulsion physics laboratory, informally known as "Eagleworks", to pursue propulsion technologies necessary to enable human exploration of the solar system over the next 50 years, and enabling interstellar spaceflight by the end of the century. This work directly supports the "Breakthrough Propulsion" objectives detailed in the NASA OCT TA02 In-space Propulsion Roadmap, and aligns with the #10 Top Technical Challenge identified in the report. Dr. Harold “Sonny” White, Paul March, Nehemiah Williams, William O’Neill NASA Johnson Space Center were the lead scientific researchers at NASA/JSC.[31]

Glenn Research Center

One of the key researchers is Marc Millis[32], who "has been with NASA’s Glenn Research Center since 1982 after earning a degree in Physics from Georgia Tech. In addition to his more conventional engineering assignments that have included designing guidance displays for aircraft low-gravity trajectories, ion thrusters, monitoring systems for rocket engines, and cryogenic propellant delivery systems, he has researched possibilities for creating propulsion breakthroughs." Millis continued this work as part of the interstellar research activities of the Tau Zero Foundation[33] furthering the work he discusses in his book, Frontiers of Propulsion Science (Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics)[34].

A robust archive of reports from the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project can be found here[35].

Research community

There's a large community of researchers, some of whom have grouped into the Casimir Effect Researchers network, which brings together 60 groups from 11 different countries. A total of 330 articles were published by this group of international scientists. Contact information and C.V. are published on their website.[36]

Other notable individual researchers include:

  • Jeremy Munday Assistant Professor University of Maryland, his lab’s current research endeavors range from photovoltaics, near field optics, photonics, and plasmonics for energy to nanoscale forces (e.g. the Casimir Force) for actuating micro- and nano-mechanical devices.[37]
  • Hong Tang Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science. Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), classical and quantum optomechanics, integrated quantum optics, microfluidics embedded nanosensor development.[38]
  • G Jordan Maclay authored several papers including The Anharmonic Casimir Oscillator (ACO) - The Casimir Effect in a Microelectromechanical System[39] and A Gedanken spacecraft that operates using the quantum vacuum (Dynamic Casimir Effect)[40]
  • Tom Bearden is a long time researcher of zero-point energy[41] and runs a website called cheniere.org[42] He is co-author on one patent[43].
  • Nick Cook, an editor of Janes Defense Weekly, wrote The Hunt for Zero Point - Inside the Classified World of Antigravity Technology, a 318 page look into this field.

Private Companies

Jovion Corporation

"The mission of Jovion Corporation is to develop pollution-free, portable, scalable, distributed power sources that require no fossil or nuclear fuel and emit no waste, carbon or harmful radiation, based on the Casimir-Lamb shift. We are still at work to research and build our demonstration device, and we welcome serious inquiries from potential technology and development partners. We think investment in research and development of our solution represents a significant value in comparison to costs and external effects of other alternative energy sources."[44]

The company, founded in 2005[45], holds one patent[46].

Reasons why the science and technology has not moved forward

Science, arguably, seems to move forward, but perhaps not as swiftly as hoped for. The crux is scaling up some of the lab experiments, which seems difficult.

Johnson Noise: A 2015 paper Lazslo B. Kisch at the Texas A&M Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering describes Johnson Noise as a potential in nanotechnology to create an opposing force to the Casimir force, "In systems where there is electrical connection between nanostructural conductors forming capacitors, such as coated cantilevers, the zero-point noise would imply forces that could dominate over the van der Waals/Casimir forces."

In terms of practical devices, similar to other subsections of the free energy space, progress is not helped by false claims giving the field a dubious reputation. An example of a typical hype-bust cycle was perhaps Philippine inventor Ismael Aviso, who "discovered a new technology that can produce overunity. The Department of Energy (DOE) has validated this technology."[47] Responding to a recent blogger asking "whatever happened to Ismael Aviso, one contributor wrote that "Ismael Aviso was high comedy and a prime example of measurements gone bad. These days he is concentrating on selling alkanized drinking water. That would be fine by itself. Ismael has taken things further a bit by making specific unsupported medical claims for his water, such as it is an effective cancer treatment."[48] The company's website, like so many in this space, is no longer functional.[49]

[Caution needs to be taken with this topic; and in particular some of the references on this page contain scientific inaccuracies and errors - to say the least.] The continuous extraction of energy requires more than a net force, and the motion required might not be sustainable - as mentioned in the discussion: Talk:Energy generators sourcing energy from a Vacuum (Zero Point Energy)[50].

Costs of facilities, production, now and projected future costs with improvements

It is likely that only a compact, distributed, free energy generator will be acceptable to the public in the future. Considering payback-on-investment, if it possessed a twenty-five year lifespan or more, while requiring minimum maintenance, then it will probably please most of the people, most of the time. The development of a ZPE generator theoretically would actually satisfy these criteria[51].

Intellectual Property surrounding technology

  • (Schulte, 2014) US 9369057 B1[52] Apparatus having a vacuum chamber configured to convert electromagnetic waves to electricity  The present invention, as is detailed herein below, seeks to provide a new device for generating electricity... comprises a core having an interior chamber having a top portion and a bottom portion. The core is held at a vacuum. A frequency generator is provided for introducing and inputting electromagnetic waves into the interior chamber. A point source waveguide tube is provided to connect the frequency generator and the core, and the point source waveguide tube allows the passage of electromagnetic waves from the frequency generator into the interior chamber of the core. In addition, a plurality of electrodes is provided which extend into the interior chamber and conduct the flow of electricity away from a lining on the interior chamber
  • (Rosendorf, 2012) WO 2013071100 A1[53] Method and equipment for quantum vacuum energy extraction Embodiments of the present invention comprise different methods and equipment for efficiently and relatively inexpensively producing Casimir cavities for use in quantum vacuum energy extraction. The equipment includes without limitation, sintered materials; submicron porous filter materials; web roll-to-roll produced mesh or foil layers; nanotube arrays; web roll-to-roll produced porous membranes such as graphene, metallically doped; web roll-to-roll produced metallic crystals with self assembling arrays of nano-channels; materials produced by three-dimensional prototyping; materials produced by charged particle deposition; metal wire bundles; metal tube bundles; and metallically doped or metallically coated glass or polymer wire bundles.
  • (Kibar et al, 2011) WO 2012006301 A1[54] Renewable energy extraction "A Brownian ratchet can extract cyclic energy from a nonequilibrium system, even if there's no permanent gradient. In this section, we describe the principle of operation of our proposed technique, system, method, and device to extract cyclic energy/power... Among other things, renewable energy is extracted from an asymmetric system (or the ability of the system to have renewable energy extracted from it is enhanced, or both) that is characterized by one or more stochastic variables, which exhibit at least one statistical component that is not Gaussian and/or not white. ... the energy extractable from the structure being greater than all control and ancillary elements required for the extraction consume."
  • (Mesler, 2009) US 20100201133 A1[55] Zero Point Energy Rotator Transducer and Associated Methods An energy conversion system for extracting energy from the zero-point field of space is disclosed and described. This system includes a primary transducer operatively associated with a secondary transducer. The primary transducer can include a substrate having an arm rotatably coupled to the substrate, while the substrate can be confined to move along a linear oscillatory path. The secondary transducer converts kinetic energy of the substrate and arm to usable energy.
  • (Willis, 2008) WO 2009065219 A1[56] Electrical generator The present invention relates to an electrical power generator, and more particularly to an "over unity" electrical power generator...An electrical generator comprises an induction coil having a first end and a second end. There is a first magnet disposed adjacent the first end of the induction coil so as to be in the electromagnetic of the induction coil when the induction coil is energized, and for creating a magnetic field around at least the first end of the induction coil. There is also a second magnet disposed adjacent the second end of the induction coil so as to be in the electromagnetic field of the induction coil when the induction coil is energized, and for creating a magnetic field around at least the second end of the induction coil. A power input circuit portion provides power to the induction coil. A timer is disposed in the power input circuit portion for creating electrical pulses and controlling the timing of the electrical pulses to the induction coil. A power output circuit portion receives power from the induction coil.
  • (Chava LLC, 2006) US 7830065 B2[57] Solid state electric generator This invention relates to a method and device for generating electrical power using solid state means... A solid-state electrical generator including at least one permanent magnet, magnetically coupled to a ferromagnetic core provided with at least one hole penetrating its volume; the hole(s) and magnet(s) being placed such that the hole(s) penetrating the ferromagnetic core's volume intercept flux from the permanent magnet(s) coupled into the ferromagnetic core.
  • (Correa, 2005) US 7235945 B2[58] Energy conversion systems The present invention is concerned with conversion to conventional electrical energy of the variants of massfree energy radiation considered above, referred to for convenience as Tesla waves, massfree thermal radiation and latent massfree radiation. The first variant of such radiation was recognized, generated and at least partially disclosed by Tesla about a hundred years ago, although his work has been widely misinterpreted and also confused with his work on the transmission of radio or electromagnetic waves. The Tesla coil is a convenient generator of such radiation, and is used as such in many of the embodiments of our invention described below, but it should be clearly understood that our invention in its broadest sense is not restricted to the use of such a coil as a source of massfree radiation and any natural or artificial source may be utilized. For example, the sun is a natural source of such radiation, although interaction with the atmosphere means that it is largely unavailable at the earth's surface, limiting applications to locations outside of the earth's atmosphere.
  • (Jovion Inc., 2005) US 7379286 B2[46] Quantum vacuum energy extraction "A system is disclosed for converting energy from the electromagnetic quantum vacuum available at any point in the universe to usable energy in the form of heat, electricity, mechanical energy or other forms of power. By suppressing electromagnetic quantum vacuum energy at appropriate frequencies a change may be effected in the electron energy levels which will result in the emission or release of energy."
  • (de Abreu, 2005) US 7567056 B2[59] Quantum generator and related devices of energy extraction and conversion A quantum generator and related devices of energy extraction and conversion based upon the interaction of light and matter using a constructive arrangement of at least two metallic reservoirs with high ratios between the surface area and the mass of metal from which the metallic reservoirs are formed. The at least two metallic reservoirs are submitted to tension and compression states creating thermo potentials on the free electron gas. In one embodiment, a quantum capacitor is formed by at least two porous plates between pairs of batteries that are submitted to tension and compression states. Also (de Abreu, 2004) Quantum generator and accessories US 20060255991 A1[60].
  • (Boris Volfson, 2005) US 6960975 B1[61] A space vehicle propelled by the pressure of inflationary vacuum state is provided comprising a hollow superconductive shield, an inner shield, a power source, a support structure, upper and lower means for generating an electromagnetic field, and a flux modulation controller. A cooled hollow superconductive shield is energized by an electromagnetic field resulting in the quantized vortices of lattice ions projecting a gravitomagnetic field that forms a spacetime curvature anomaly outside the space vehicle. The spacetime curvature imbalance, the spacetime curvature being the same as gravity, provides for the space vehicle's propulsion. The space vehicle, surrounded by the spacetime anomaly, may move at a speed approaching the light-speed characteristic for the modified locale. NOTE : this patent does not seem to be about an energy source, it runs on electricity.
  • (Marshall, 2004) US 20050156702 A1[62]  Motionless electromagnetic turbine An electromagnetic turbine without moving parts includes a magnetic core with three magnetic paths and magnetic connectors arranged between the three paths forming two adjacent closed magnetic loops. Three coils extend individually around portions of each magnetic path. The three coils are electrically pulsed to provide current pulses in the coils. Driving electrical current through each of the coils in sequence results in a flow of magnetic flux external to the magnetic core...Timing of the pulses results in the external sweeping flux decelerating the relative movement of the electrically conductive material external to the turbine, resulting in an acceleration of flux flow in the core and a net generation of electrical energy in the coils.
  • (Patterson, 2003) US 20050109879 A1[63] Method and apparatus for quantum vortex implosion propulsion and species System for converting high frequency quantum electrodynamic radiation energy and at least one atom through cavity vacuum fluctuations and converting same into a superconductive electrical implosion propulsion energy from zero point energy at a frequency that is amenable to conversion to electrical and implosive propulsion and superconductive energy extracted within an environment having a desired voltage and a reversed waveform such that the emitted energy returns into the system to be recycled. "It is another object of the present invention to provide a system for converting zero point electromagnetic radiation energy to electrical energy."
  • (Grandics, 2000) WO 2001049084 A2[64] Method and apparatus for converting electrostatic potential energy Pursuant to this invention new techniques are described to produce directional currents in the space lattice. The currents are induced cither by separated charges, properly positioned magnetic fields or by the interaction of electrostatic and magnetic fields at an angle, speci fied by the side angle of a pyramid. The induced space lattice currents can be utilized to generate specific effects which may vary from propulsion, to gravity cancellation and power generation.
  • (Patrick et al) US 6362718 B1[43] Motionless electromagnetic generator An electromagnetic generator without moving parts includes a permanent magnet and a magnetic core including first and second magnetic paths. A first input coil and a first output coil extend around portions of the first magnetic path, while a second input coil and a second output coil extend around portions of the second magnetic path. The input coils are alternatively pulsed to provide induced current pulses in the output coils. Driving electrical current through each of the input coils reduces a level of flux from the permanent magnet within the magnet path around which the input coil extends. In an alternative embodiment of an electromagneticgenerator, the magnetic core includes annular spaced-apart plates, with posts and permanent magnets extending in an alternating fashion between the plates. An output coil extends around each of these posts. Input coils extending around portions of the plates are pulsed to cause the induction of current within the output coils.
  • (Pinto, 2000) WO 2000071894 A1[65] Method and apparatus for energy extraction In some embodiments, the illustrative method defines an engine cycle comprising several state changes that allow for a net gain of energy from an underlying source force field. The potential for a net energy gain via the method results from the discovery that a Casimir force system can be rendered non-conservative. This is done by appropriately altering one or more of a variety of physical factors that affect the Casimir force, or by altering any of a variety of environmental factors that affect such physical factors. In various embodiments, the extracted energy is stored, used to power energy-consuming devices or used to actuate a micromechanical device. Also US6665167[66] Method for energy extraction-I, US6920032[67] Method for energy extraction—II, US6842326[68] Apparatus for energy extraction-I.
  • (Jarck, 1995) WO9628882[69] Zero-point energy power plant. Patent suggests that a coil and magnet will be moved by ZPE which then will flow through a hollow body generating induction through an energy whirlpool. It is not clear how such a macroscopic apparatus could resonate or respond to ZPE effectively. "A device for the recovery of energy, consisting of the functional units A, B + C. A part consists of coils around a hollow body A1, which are traversed by direct current. Part B consists of a bar-shaped permanent magnet which protrudes into the outlet opening of Part A. Part C consists of coils that are wound around non-contact part B and in which electric current. effected through the coils A, the etheric energy flowing through A, forms a vortex of energy, this creates a power vacuum, a 'Partikel' power over part B in part C causes through which induction. The etheric energy vortex causes induction in part C by resonance with Part B."
  • (Mead and Nachapkin, 1994) US 5590031[70] System for converting electromagnetic radiation energy to electrical energy. On Dec. 31, 1996 the conversion of ZPE was patented for the first time in the United States with US patent #5,590,031. The inventor, Dr. Frank Mead, Director of the Air Force Research Laboratory, designed receivers to be spherical collectors of zero point radiation. One of the interesting considerations was to design it for the range of extremely high frequency that ZPE offers, which by some estimates, corresponds to the Planck frequency of 1043 Hz. We do not have any apparatus to amplify or even oscillate at that frequency currently. For example, gigahertz radar is only 1010 Hz or so. Visible light is about 1014 Hertz and gamma rays reach into the 20th power, where the 21wavelength is smaller than the size of an atom. However, that's still a long way off from the 40th power. The essential innovation of the Mead patent is the “beat frequency” generation circuitry, which creates a lower frequency output signal from the ZPE input. "A system is disclosed for converting high frequency zero point electromagnetic radiation energy to electrical energy. The system includes a pair of dielectric structures which are positioned proximal to each other and which receive incident zero point electromagnetic radiation. The volumetric sizes of the structures are selected so that they resonate at a frequency of the incident radiation."
  • (Hydro Dynamics, 1991) US 5188090 A[71] Apparatus for heating fluids Grigg's Hydrosonic Pump is another patent (U.S. #5,188,090), whose water glows blue when in cavitation mode, that consistently has been measuring an over-unity performance of excess heat energy output. It appears to be a dynamic Casimir effect that contributes to sonoluminescence[72].
  • (Shoulders, 1991) US 5148461[73] Circuits responsive to and controlling charged particles Disclosed are self-contained high electrical charge density entities, generated in electrical discharge production. Apparatus for isolating the high charge density entities, selecting them and manipulating them by various guide techniques are disclosed. Utilizing such apparatus, the paths followed by the entities may be switched, or selectively varied in length, for example, whereby the entities may be extensively manipulated. Additional devices are disclosed for the manipulation and exploitation of these entities, including their use with a camera and also in an oscilloscope, as well as their use in generating RF radiation. A flat panel display is disclosed which is operated by these charge entities, up to the point of their generating electrons to strike a phosphor screen. Also : US 5054047.
  • (Shoulders, 1991) US 5123039[74] Energy conversion using high charge density Disclosed are apparatus and method for obtaining energy from high electrical charge density entities. The energy may be received by the conductor of a traveling wave device positioned along the path which the propagating entities follow. Multiple traveling wave devices may be combined. Energy output from a traveling wave device may also be directed to the generation of a subsequent such entity. Thermal energy may also be obtained from an EV. Also US 5018180.
  • (Shoulders, 1990) US 5054046[75] Method of and apparatus for production and manipulation of high density charge Disclosed are high electrical charge density entities, generated in electrical discharge production. Apparatus for isolating the high charge density entities, selecting them and manipulating them by various guide techniques are disclosed. Utilizing such apparatus, the paths followed by the entities may be switched, or selectively varied in length, for example, whereby the entities may be extensively manipulated. Additional devices are disclosed for the manipulation and exploitation of these entities, including their use with a camera and also in an oscilloscope.
  • (Sprenzel and Mielordt, 1987) DE3541084[76] Device or method for generating a varying Casimir-analogous force and liberating usable energy. The patent subjects two plates in close proximity to a fluctuation which they believe will liberate energy from the zero-point field. "A method is specified to subject the force existing between two closely adjacent essentially parallel conducting surfaces due to the Casimir effect to a fluctuation and to cause the liberation of useful energy from the reservoir of the zero-point energy. For this purpose, in particular, controlled repeated changes or other fluctuations of the reflection/absorption/polarisation/other filter effects or influencing of the propagation of radiation at the conducting surfaces or through surround dielectrics are utilised. A design similar to current semiconductor technology including piezoelectric transducers is proposed."
  • (AT&T, 1985) US 4704622 A[77] Negative transconductance device. Another patent that utilizes a noticeable ZPE effect is the AT&T “Negative Transconductance Device” by inventor, Federico Capasso (US #4,704,622). It is a resonant tunneling device with a one-dimensional quantum well or wire. The important energy consideration involves the additional zero-point energy which is available to the electrons in the extra dimensional quantized band, allowing them to tunnel through the barrier. This solid state, multi-layer, field effect transistor demonstrates that without ZPE, no tunneling would be possible. It is supported by the virtual photon tunnel effect[78]. "A resonant tunneling device having a one-dimensional quantum well comprises a semiconductor region capable of exhibiting one-dimensional quantization. The device comprises source and drain contact regions adjoining such semiconductor region as well as a gate contact for applying a field to such region; the device can be implemented, e.g., by methods of III-V deposition and etching technology. Under suitable source-drain bias conditions the device can function as a transistor having negative transconductance."
  • (Yater, 1977) US 4004210 A[79] Joseph Yater patented his “Reversible Thermoelectric Converter with Power Conversion of Energy Fluctuations” (#4,004,210) in 1977 and also spent years defending it in the literature. In 1974, he published “Power conversion of energy fluctuations”[80]. In 1979, he published an article on the “Relation of the second law of thermodynamics to the power conversion of energy fluctuations”[81] and also a rebuttal to comments on his first article[82]. It is important that he worked so hard to support such a radical idea, since it appears that energy is being brought from a lower temperature reservoir to a higher one, which normally violates the 2nd law. The basic concept is a simple rectification of thermal noise, which also can be found in the Charles Brown patent (#3,890,161) of 1975, “Diode array for rectifying thermal electrical noise.” Many companies are now very interested in such processes for powering nanomachines. While researching this ZPE thesis, I attended the AAAS workshop by IBM on nanotechnology in 2000, where it was learned that R. D. Astumian proposed in 1997 to rectify thermal noise (as if this was a new idea)[83]. This apparently has provoked IBM to begin a “nanorectifier” development program.
  • (Wallace, 1968) US 3626605 A[84] Method and apparatus for generating a secondary gravitational force field Apparatus and method for generating a time variant non-electromagnetic force field due to the dynamic interaction of relatively moving bodies and for transforming such force fields into energy for doing useful work.
  • (Tesla, 1901) US 685957 A[85] Apparatus for the utilization of radiant energy "It is well known that certain radiations such as those of ultra-violet light, cathodic, Roentgen rays, or the like-possess the property of charging and discharging conductors of electricity, the discharge being particularly noticeable when the conductor upon which the rays impinge is negatively electrified. These radiations are generally considered to be ether vibrations of extremely small wave lengths, and in explanation of the phenomena noted it has been assumed by some authorities that they ionize or render conducting the atmosphere through which they are propagated. My own experiments and observations, however, lead me to conclusions more in accord with the theory heretofore advanced by me that sources of such radiant energy throw off with great velocity minute particles of matter which are strongly electrified, and therefore capable of charging an electrical conductor, even if not so, may at any rate discharge an electrified conductor either by carrying off bodily its charge or otherwise. My present application is based upon a discovery which I have made that when rays or radiations of the above kind are permitted to fall upon an insulated conducting-body connected to one of the terminals of a condenser while the other terminal of the same is made by independent means to receive or to carry away electricity a current flows into the condenser so long as theinsulated body is eX- posed to the rays, and under the conditions hereinafter-specified an indefinite accumulation'of electricalcnergy in the condenser takes place. This energy after a suitable time interval, during which the rays are allowed to act, may manifest itself in a powerful discharge, which maybe utilized forthe with the greatest care." Also : US 685958 A[86] Method of utilizing radiant energy.

Ability to be scaled

The energy generation process can be represented as shown in the System Representation. For this technology to be scaled up consideration needs to be given to the input energy source; does it actually work, can energy be continuously extracted? If technologies merely extract heat energy from their ambient surrounding then is it economically viable? How does it compare to other heat pump technologies? If its efficiency was better than that could be useful and scalable. However so much is unknown and dependent on the proposed technologies.

In all of the areas of investigation, so far no known extractions of zero-point energy for useful work have been achieved, though it can be argued that incidental ZPE extraction has manifested itself macroscopically. By exploring the main physical principles underlying the science of zero-point energy, certain modalities for energy conversion achieve prominence while others are regarded as less practical. Applying physics and engineering analysis, a scientific research feasibility study of ZPE extraction, referenced by rigorous physics theory and experiment is generated.  With a comprehensive survey of conversion modalities, new alternate, efficient methods for ZPE extraction are presented and analyzed. Comparing the specific characteristics of zero-point energy with the known methods of energy conversion, the common denominators should offer the most promising feasibility for conversion of zero-point energy into useful work. The advances in nanotechnology are also examined, especially where ZPE effects are already identified as interfering with mechanical and electronic behavior of nanodevices[51].

Environmental impact

The long-term environmental impact of a prospective energy technology should be considered and compared with alternative technologies. One way to do this is to use a Sustainability Scale [87] In theory, this proposed energy source might have no direct environmental impact as it consumes no (conventional energy) resources; so in that case, the environmental impact would be associated with the life-cycle impact of developing, operating and decommissioning the equipment.

Risks associated with a prize in this space

Risks are associated with all radical innovations, and that can be due to several factors. A good technology might not succeed in the marketplace due to poor marketing and promotion. The perceived safety and environmental impact of a technology is also important to successful adoption. [88] [89] [90] It is not clear how people would respond to such a bizarre energy source. Poor implementation of a technology can also prevent successful adoption of a good technology. These are risks that come into effect after the awarding of an energy technology prize, but perhaps the associated challenge can provide post award support to ensure that these risks are reduced. In addition, of course, there can be risks associated with the technical efficacy of the technology itself, and the logistics surrounding its development, operation and decommissioning.

Dr. Steven Greer of the Disclosure Project has stated, “classified above top-secret projects possess fully operational anti-gravity propulsion devices and new energy generation systems, that, if declassified and put to peaceful uses, would empower a new human civilization without want, poverty or environmental damage”[91].

[Caution needs to be taken with this topic; and in particular some of the references on this page contain scientific inaccuracies and errors - to say the least.]

Positive energy tests to evaluate this technology

This is especially crucial for technologies that are as yet untested or have not yet generated large amounts of verifiable performance data. What conditions would need to be met for this technology to be considered unequivocally “verified” or “validated”?

The inputs and outputs for any energy generation process can be represented as shown in the System Representation. The efficiency of the system is represented by the output energy divided by the input energy. Note that all energy inputs should be accounted for, including any internal energy storage within the prototype itself. This internal energy could be in any form, not just electrical energy. This latter point is particularly relevant to this proposed technology. A special effort should also be made in the experiments to identify where any apparent energy is coming from. For example, check for energy collected from ambient energy sources (e.g. heat of the surroundings, or electromagnetic energy). If it were merely an excellent collector of (conventional) ambient energy then that could, potentially, be a useful technology.

Scientific scrutiny is required here, with robust experiments conducted in an independent laboratory by experts. The terms and conditions of the energy challenge should probably state that the Testers reserve the right to dismantle all of the components of the prototype, and to conduct chemical and isotopic composition analysis of those components; plus any other requirements that the Judging Panel deem relevant.

See also the experimental techniques for LENR positive energy testing.

As to whether zero-point energy may become a source of usable energy, this is considered extremely unlikely by most physicists, and none of the claimed devices are taken seriously by the mainstream science community. Nevertheless, SED interpretation of the Bohr orbit (above) does suggest a way whereby energy might be extracted. Based upon this a patent has been issued and experiments have been underway at the University of Colorado. [92]

Zero point energy and zero point oscillations: how they are detected experimentally [93]

Further history

DARPA (2009-2011) The U.S. Defense Department's[94] Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began a two-year Broad Agency Announcement/ research program and invested $10 Million dollars, "encouraging scientists[94] to work on ways to manipulate this quirk of quantum electrodynamics" of the Casimir Effect beginning in 2011. A Scientific America Artitcle: Research in a Vacuum: DARPA Tries to Tap Elusive Casimir Effect for Breakthrough Technology goes through this history of DARPA's research.

Wingate Lambertson and the WIN process (-2010)

Invented by Wingate Lambertson, Phd in Cermic Engineering, the most important part of the WIN process is Lambertson's E-dam, and the most interesting component in the E-dam is cermet. Cermet is a heat-resistant ceramic-and-metal composite invented in 1948 and considered by NASA for rocket nozzles and jet-engine turbine blades. Lambertson, who spent almost his entire career working with advanced ceramics, experimented with the best cermet for his device. The E-dam contains a plate of cermet formed into a round spacer about three inches in diameter, sandwiched between metal plates of the same size. The process starts with switched electrical charge basically, a stream of electrons from a standard high voltage power supply. The charge flows into the E-dam, where it is held in the cermet. According to Lambertson "It stores electrons like a [regular] dam stores water".[95] When the dam is opened, the electrons are released. As they accelerate, the falling electrons gain energy from the space energy that is present in the E-dam. This gain in energy is what allows the device to put out more power than it takes in.[96] This was attributed to the Casimir effect at the sub micron level between the metal oxides and the dielectric used to fabricate the E-dam.

Wingate Lambertson passed away in 2010[97]

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