Friday, January 17, 2003
1. FIRST LAW: SELF-POWERED FUEL-LESS
GENERATOR AVAILABLE ON ebay.
Machines that violate the First Law of Thermodynamics are not new, they
are perpetual (WN 5 Apr 02). A sharp-eyed
WN reader spotted a classic on ebay. This fully-portable generator is
described as a 3 cubic foot "black box" (what else?) with three
standard 120-volt electrical outlets to plug home appliances into. It
will generate 700 watts continuously...forever. Or so it says. This is
not some wild claim about zero-point energy or anti-gravity; the device
simply uses an electric motor to spin an alternator that supplies the
power to drive the motor. I know, you’re going to say the alternator
can’t possibly supply enough power to run the motor plus a bunch
of appliances. But a schematic shows the inventor thought about that –
a bicycle chain connects the motor to FIVE alternators. That should do
2. MORE FIRST LAW: GENESIS PROJECT SHUNS
Genesis World Energy (WN 13 Dec 02)
proposes to free the world from fossil fuel dependence by “harnessing
energy from the molecular structure of water”. The idea is deceptively
simple: use electrolysis to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen and
then use a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity. I know, you’re
going to say it will take more electricity to split the water than the
fuel cell can generate. We’ve got to think outside the black box.
The Genesis people say they assembled a team of 400 top scientists. You
think these guys never heard of the conservation of energy? “For
security purposes,” Genesis explains, “the Genesis Team has
elected to disclose little about the science behind the technology. In
the absence of detailed information, it is not possible to understand
how Genesis’ stated results were achieved. Therefore, the scientific
community at large will analyze the Genesis Project based on conventional
thinking.” OK, I’m busted! I’ve been relying on the
First Law of Thermodynamics, which is about as conventional as you can
3. HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS: STILL LOOKING
FOR A HYDROGEN WELL.
A year ago, the Bush Administration announced the “Freedom Car”
program to reduce reliance on foreign oil by stimulating development of
hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The media gushed that only water would be
released into the environment. Hydrogen is generated by electrolysis of
water, and 65% of our electricity is generated by power plants that burn
fossil fuels. WN asked rhetorically if Spencer Abraham had discovered
a hydrogen well (WN 18 Jan 02)?
WN has now learned that, meanwhile, selected deep-pocket investors were
approached by Genesis to bankroll their secretive Project (see above).
The criteria was that they be millionaires. They could save the world
and become even richer in the process.
4. ROLL OVER: DETROIT IS LOOKING FOR
REALLY BIG FUEL CELLS.
Don’t look for a big drop in fuel consumption when Detroit turns
out its first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. What’s coming out first
will be monster SUV’s, a market Detroit is loath to cut into. Meanwhile,
however, the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Administration
warned that SUVs pose a threat to lighter vehicles and have a dangerous
propensity to roll over. A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences
found the death rate for SUV occupants to be higher than that of passenger