Ever since the beginning of time, or at least the last millennia, humankind has been trying to build a machine that puts out more energy or work than what was put into it.
None has succeeded, and many people have been duped out of life savings listening to snake oil salesmen who have preached that they have a device that offers "free" energy.
Peter Weisss in his Science News Online article (October 2000 - "Breaking the Law, Can quantum mechanics + thermodynamics = perpetual motion?") says:
"Scientists divide perpetual motion schemes into two categories depending on whether they violate the first or second law of thermodynamics.
"The first law says that energy can't be created or destroyed.
"The second law clamps a strong constraint on physical devices that do useful work by tapping the energy of something hot, like steam or burning fuel. The law requires that some energy must flow from one heat source to something else at a lower temperature. For example, a car engine must cough its exhaust heat into a cooler environment, not a hotter one. The take-home message of the second law is that not all of the heat source's energy can go into doing work. Some must be wasted."
To the right are some Web sites that give great information about claims of Free Energy, Over-Unity Energy, Zero-Point Energy and Perpetual Motion Machines.
Please note, however, a caveat - besides caveat emptor; "let the buyer beware" - there are new theories at the sub-atomic, quantum level that indicate that some laws of physics may not apply at this infinitesimal arena. Does that mean that the claims of free energy are real? No, it means that scientists don't have all the answers. But if someone wants you to invest tens of thousands of dollars in a device that will make all other means of energy production obsolete and will "save the world," you'd better hold onto your wallet!
If You Have a Real Energy Idea
We don't want to discourage people with REAL products and REAL ideas. The Energy Commission has two programs to assist in the research, development and demonstration of new and innovative energy technologies. Please visit our:
- Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program - www.energy.ca.gov/pier
- Energy Innovations Small Grant Program - www.energy.ca.gov/research/innovations