A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Energy by Motion

Posted by apgaylard on January 5, 2008

 I’ve just come across the concept of “Energy By Motion“.  A Hungarian company (Gamma Manager) is claiming that an electromagnetic motor they have designed produces more electricity than is required to run it.

In fact PESWiki reports that the company “…allegedly has a working 10 MW (continuous, self-sustaining, usable) prototype that is ready to go commercial…”.

They apparantly claim that 10MW of input will get you 15MW of electrical output.

Gamma Manager’s website makes the following claims about their generator:

Free Energy

We are routinely producing with our EBM Power Plants several kilowatts well over unity without any pollution and emissions whatsoever!

All our EBM Plants are scaled for manufacturing from 1.5 to 225 MW

Who said we cannot save the environment?”

Fantastic; how is this device claimed to work?  This is a difficult question to answer.  The information available focuses on cost-models for the technology and signed testimonials, rather than the boring science bit.

There are some hints on Gamma Manager’s blog.  It seems that their president “Professor L. I. Szabó” has derived a “differential equation” that shows “magnetic fields do contain “extra energy” which can be harnessed“.  This is exploited by the EBM generator; an application for a Canadian patent provides the following ‘explanation’:

This invention relates to an asymmetrical, electro-mechanical device comprising a geometricallymagnetically-asymmetrical [sic] stator and a rotor which move with respect to each other. There is a stator air gap which makes the stator asymmetrical. The continuous magnetic flux path is still substantially planar. The magnetic flux passing from the rotor to the stator is interrupted when the rotor passes by the stator air gap. The stator has two faces with armature conductors on both faces and the rotor has two faces which successively interact with the two stator faces. In a further embodiment, the electromechanical device comprises a plurality of stators and rotor faces, each being substantially interchangeable. The invention is able to achieve improvements over the prior art electro-mechanical devices, particularly in respect of efficiency.”

The “improved efficiency” mentioned at the end of this abstract modestly refers to the claim of 150% (relative to the electricity used to drive the device) mentioned earlier.  This sounds like a claim to produce energy from nowhere, violating the first law of thermodynamics.  Actually Szabó is claiming to have found some “extra” energy lurking in magnetic fields that his machine can extract economically enough for a net energy gain.

If you think that this sounds unlikely, you’d be right: it is.  This extra energy is unknown to science.  Szabó claims that his ‘discovery’ is ‘confirmed’ by “Einstein-Cartan-Evans Theory” (ECE).  Don’t worry; I’d never heard of it either.

‘ECE Theory’ is the work of the “well known” scientist ‘Professor’ Myron Evans.  He seems to be a controversial character to say the least.  He has his own research institute and likes to refer to himself as the “Civil List Scientist“, because he receives a small pension from the UK Civil List.  It is a pension; not a title or position.  However, this spurious title seems to have impressed Szabó.

Rather than trying any amateur debunking of this theory I’ll just report what the winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in physics, Gerard’t Hooft, has said.  Referring to Evan’s theory, he stated that it “…remained limited to personal web pages and are absent from the standard electronic archives, while no reference to ECE theory can be spotted in any of the peer reviewed scientific journals…” (Here is a rather full debunking page)

So, once again we have grand claims founded on theoretical sand.

How come Gamma Manager’s website contains signed “Statutory Declarations” from scientists who say that the claims are true?  I’d rather not speculate: it would be better if there were detailed descriptions of experiments and data.  This all boils down to a dressed up version of the logical fallacy: argument by authority.

What’s my conclusion?  Claims to have accessed “extra energy” predicted by a crank ‘Grand Covariant Unified Field Theory’ are highly unlikely to come to anything; violating the first law of thermodynamics is even less likely.  After all, if these claims are true you’d be able to get one of these generators going, connect its output to its input, and hey presto: perpetual motion.

It would be nice if this were true, unfortunately reality will catch up with this idea at some point.  Any investors would be wise to look for less risky opportunities: play a lottery or bet on horse racing for example.

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2 Responses to “Energy by Motion”

  1. gewis said

    Odd how you attack Gamma Manager (I haven’t looked at their particular claims, so this doesn’t amount to a defense) for using argument by authority, and what does your argument boil down to? “‘t Hooft and Bruhn say so!” Granted, the authority you cite probably carries more weight, but it is still argument by authority. Hypocrisy is still hypocrisy.

  2. apgaylard said

    Gewis:

    Thanks for taking the time to make a comment. However, I suggest that you need to think a little more carefully about your position. It’s easy to accuse people of hypocricy; not such a good idea when you’ve not thought things through.

    Have I really used a fallacious argument by authority? No; and here are two reasons why not.

    First, my reference to Bruhn’s debunking of ECE theory relies on the strength of Bruhn’s scientific work, rather than Bruhn’s authority as an expert. This work is freely available for anyone to check over and criticise.

    Also, ‘t Hooft’s comment is just used to establish that ECE Theory stands outside of the body of scientific knowledge. He offers no opinion, just an observation. You could check it if you were so minded.

    Neither of these references require anyone to accept criticisms of ECE Theory on anyone’s say-so: absolutely no fallacious argument by authority here!

    Second, an appeal to authority is by common assent not always fallacious. Here are some common criteria that can make such a reference appropriate (I have discussed this at some length here):

    1. The person has sufficient expertise in the subject matter in question.

    2. The claim being made by the person is within her area(s) of expertise.

    3. There is an adequate degree of agreement among the other experts in the subject in question.

    4. The person in question is not significantly biased.

    5. The area of expertise is a legitimate area or discipline.

    6. The authority in question must be identified.

    My judgement is that ‘t Hooft and Bruhn score highly on these and that Gamma Manager’s experts and Myron Evans do not.

    You may disagree, but you would need to come up with some evidence.

    All this piece does is try to weigh the evidence for an extraordinary claim for which no data or detailed description of experiments have been made available. If we are to accept that we are a few months away from perpetual motion it can only be on the say-so of some less than convincing ‘experts’.

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