Print Story Proposal: Free Energy From Water
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By PhysicsGenius (Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 01:37:15 AM EST) (all tags)
This is hard, practical, non-blue-sky science.


Water can hold an incredible deal of energy in the form of heat. To raise 1 liter of water 1°C, you need to add 4190 joules of energy. Think of how hot a 100W lightbulb gets--now realize that it would take 42 seconds for that whitehot bulb to raise the temperature of 1 liter of water by 1°. Melting water takes even more energy. If our liter was frozen, it would take 333,000 joules to unfreeze it. Going back to the lightbulb, that's about 55 minutes to melt the whole liter. Vaporizing water is anoter 7 times more energy intensive than that, requiring 2.2 million joules per liter, or over 6 hours with our 100W lightbulb.

Of course, that's energy we'd have to put in to water to raise the temperature--what we really want is to get energy out. What we need then is water that is spontaneously lowering its temperature, freezing, or best of all condensing. Changes of state in this direction emit heat.

This principle is already used in steam radiators. Steam is piped through to the radiator where it condenses, releasing massive amounts of heat to the room. Of course, the steam was previously created in the basement, so there's no theoretical net change of energy. A way must be found of spontaneously lowering the energy state of free steam or water to water or ice.

We now turn to another characteristic of water. Each molecule is an "electric dipole". You can think of this as being kind of like a magnet (which is a "magnetic dipole"). One of the properties of an electric dipole is that it turns to align itself in an electric field (exactly like a magnetic dipole aligns itself to a magnetic field). This principle is famously used in a microwave oven. The oscillating electric field causes the water molecules to flip back and forth, which molecular motion is heat, cooking the food.

But what if the field were not oscillating, or was oscillating in such a way as to destroy the natural movements of the water molecules? They would slow down, right? And once they got slow enough, hydrogen bonding would occur, linking the water molecules together more tightly--i.e., the water would freeze. This state change is accompanied by a release of energy, the same energy requirement calculated above to melt water. A similar arrangment could be applied to atmospheric water vapor, though steam's low density would make using enough of it in a smallish device a bit of a chore.

The only question that remains is to ask how much energy it would take to put this plan into action. If it's equal to or more than the amount of energy we get out, it's pointless. In fact, it takes next to no energy at all. The only requirement is the electric field. An electric field is merely a voltage--no current is required. From electronics, P = IV. With I = 0, the power drawn by this device would be essentially zero.

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Proposal: Free Energy From Water | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Full marks! by Canthros (5.00 / 1) #1 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 01:43:40 AM EST
Look forward to seeing these principles demonstrated in the lab in the near future, and in practical application within five years!

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I'm not here, man.


I didn't understand any of that by Rogerborg (3.00 / 0) #2 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 02:00:00 AM EST
Therefore I would like to invest in your company, pls snd details k thnx.

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A couple errors.. otherwise okay by SpongeBob SquarePants (5.00 / 2) #3 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 02:01:17 AM EST
The problem with hanging your hat on the behaviours of the common dipole have been well documented in that as you get closer to the equator the dipoles lose their strength, on the order of OLog(n), as the earths slower rotation at the equator doesn't provide enough hyper-kinetic energy for the electrons to maintain a constant energy level.

Edison actually discovered this property when he retired and moved to South America and found out that his light bulbs only lasted 1/3 as long as they did at his home in Michigan.

Secondly, all hydrogen bonding takes place with a +/- variance of 32 parsec, which is just enough variance to skew your results in the real world. Oddly enough this was discovered by the Nazi's who tried something similar to this whilst attempting to build a rocket submarine that ran on... you guessed it, water! It's a good thing they failed too, otherwise you and I would both be speaking the Chancellors German right now, if you know what I mean.

Otherwise it looks interesting and if you can work out the bugs you may be onto something here!!

One minor improvement by Herring (3.00 / 0) #4 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 02:16:50 AM EST
explicitly name Van der Waals forces.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Grrrrr [nt] by gazbo (5.00 / 1) #5 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 02:22:26 AM EST


I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
You forgot the effects of pressure on temperature by jw32767 (5.00 / 1) #6 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 02:55:23 AM EST
When considering the formula PV=nRT, it becomes obvious that if you decrease the pressure, the amount of energy you can extract from each liter of water actually increases.  Therefore, if we were to use a bathtub to store the water rather than just a coffee can, we could greatly increase the effinecy of your revolutionary new method.

This is worth considering by gazbo (6.00 / 1) #7 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 03:55:55 AM EST
Many power stations have a long-term goal to increase their effinecy.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
IHBT by DesiredUsername (3.00 / 0) #8 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 05:09:54 AM EST
I know small groups of atoms can be cooled in a similar way via lasers. Can someone explain why this wouldn't work? Or would it? How would the energy actually come out? For that matter, where does the energy go during laser cooling?

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Well, here's half of it by DesiredUsername (3.00 / 0) #9 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 05:42:42 AM EST
In laser cooling, the photons bounce off with more energy than they came in with. What effect does a turning electric dipole have on the source of the electric field?

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[ Parent ]
Hey by gazbo (3.00 / 0) #10 Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 10:12:35 AM EST
If they bounce off with more energy, then can't you use some kind of "laser mirror" (that's "lazer" for Americans) and make it self powering? That would vastly increase efficiency as you wouldn't have to divert energy output to keeping the system going.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
Proposal: Free Energy From Water | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback