A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Not Funding The Impossible

Posted by apgaylard on October 19, 2007

I recently commented on the Daily Mail‘s coverage of Ecowatts‘ “Thermal Energy Cell“.  This device was said to violate almost “…every known law of physics ...” and to produce “…150 to 200 per cent more energy …” than is put in without much difficulty.  Nice.  Nobel Prizes to follow in due course then?

Aside from the small matter of the sleight against the first law of thermodynamics, one of the comments in the article that concerned me was: “…The project, which has cost the company £1.4million, has the backing of the Department of Trade and Industry, which is keen to help poorer families without traditional central heating or who cannot afford rocketing fuel bills …”

Now if people want to waste their own money tilting at the first law of thermodynamics, that’s up to them.  However, I do mind if my money (via taxation) is funding their quixotic fantasy.  So, I put in a request to the DTI, under the Freedom of Information Act, (FOIA) for details of the alleged “backing“.

This is what I have been told (Letter dated 15th October 2007):

“… At the request of Mr Calver officials from the DTI’s energy group met with him last year to discuss potential sources of funding for the device developed by the company.

It was explained that two government funded programmes were potentially available; –

1)  The DTI’s Technology Programme which offered support for pre-commercial, collaborative research and development projects; and

2)  The DTI’s Hydrogen, Fuel Cell, Carbon Abatement Technology Programme (HFCCAT) which offered support for technology demonstrations.

It was explained that for both programmes project proposals were assessed on their merits, against the published criteria, by a panel of independent assessors.  I can confirm that, to date, no such project proposal has come forward from either “Ecowatts” or “Gardener Watts” for funding and therefore they are not receiving funding support under these programmes.”

[bold added by me for emphasis.  See here for a pdf of the complete letter.]

This is very good news indeed.  At least taxpayers are not funding the impossible.  Quite what the Daily Mail meant by “backing” from the DTI, I don’t know.  It does seem to give the “project” a little more credibility though doesn’t it?

It just goes to show that, in this case at least, you cannot trust what you read in the Daily Mail.  It also exposes as false an attempted appeal to authority.  I think I’ll be using the FOIA again!

So, to recap:  regardless of blandishments to the contrary, Ecowatts’ “Thermal Energy Cell” is unsupported by both the laws of physics and the DTI.

2 Responses to “Not Funding The Impossible”

  1. Thats good news. Thanks for making the FOI request.

  2. apgaylard said

    Thanks. It’s the first time I’ve done this. It was very easy. I am learning to try to dig into some of these pieces.

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