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Thread: Using tectonic plate movement as energy source

  1. #1 Using tectonic plate movement as energy source 
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    Hello,

    Some time ago, i suddenly had this crazy idea, and i wondered if it would be manageable.
    Tectonic plate movement involves huge amounts of energy, since it can push continents apart.
    I was thinking, what if you'd put a structure spanning the edge of two plates, to harness the energy of this process?
    By having the two plates pull something apart, this should be possible, i guess?
    The major problem i think, is the slow movement. It moves about 3cm/year, wich isn't a lot of course.

    So, tell me what you think! Would it be feasable?

    Should i have it patented? : P


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    tectonic movement is on the order of centimeters or less per year, how long can you wait for it to produce any power? further more it would have to be HUGE.
    Patent? Sure just take your working model in to the patent office.
    bottom line -a pipe dream


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  4. #3  
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    I know it's a small movement, but with the right equipment it could be enhanced.
    For example, i multiple pulleys were placed alternately left and right of the rift, a cable going around the pulleys would be stretched multiple times!
    Also, once something'd move, it could transfer the energy to a flywheel for example. so it doesn't have to be an intermittent energy source, as long as you make good use of the moments something moves.
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  5. #4  
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    give it up- there are alot more practicle sources of energy.
    good day
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  6. #5  
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    anyone else with something more constructive maybe? i said myself it was a crazy idea, i don't need that repeated,thank you.
    I just want to hear how you guys would imagine something like this could work!
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  7. #6  
    Comet Dust Collector Moderator
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    I think it's pretty clear the universal response is that it can't work.
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  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I think the bottom line is that we cannot imagine how it would work. This is not because we lack imagination, but because there seems no practical way to make it work.
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  9. #8  
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    hmm, ok, since you guys are saying the same. Maybe i have too much imagination. It's good to think outside the box though, no?
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  10. #9  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Absolutely a good idea to think outside the box, but also very important to know the size, location, orientation and construction of the box. In other words let the imagination work on some very solid understanding of what we currently know.
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  11. #10  
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    Just to give you an idea what you are up against, consider the following. The work done (energy) is equal to the force multiplied by the distance. Let's say we want to generate 1 kilowatt, which is enough to run a hair dryer. 1 kilowatt is 60,000 joules per minute. In a year that adds up to 3 *10^10 joules. The distance of 3 centimeters which your fault moves in a year is equal to 0.03 meters, so then you need a force of 3/.03*10^10 = 1*10^12 newtons to generate a kilowatt. If you convert 10^12 newtons to metric tons that is 101 million metric tons. Your piers which you sink into either side of the fault and the gears to transmit the force would have to withstand that amount of force and remain quite rigid.
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  12. #11  
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    ahh, thanks a lot, it's nice to have it presented like that, makes more sense!
    Now, the thing is, it doesn't have to whitstand that much force, if you set something up like you can see in my exquisitely bad drawing:
    Untitled.jpg
    But the thing is, seeing as they don't withstand the amount of force needed,you would have to place a lot of them to harvest 1 kilowatt of energy constantly, right?
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  13. #12  
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    Well actually you weren't the first person to have this idea. A website I found suggest that it is at least theoretically possible and even has a video with diagrams for a proposed machine that uses a hydraulic magnification mechanism (you could probably find it if you googled "energy from continental drift"). But while it is possible, I doubt you could patent it.
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  14. #13  
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    Maybe more within reach is harnessing tide power - I mean the rise and fall of oceans not wave power. We have massive docks in place now that rise and fall like clockwork around solid pilings, often in remote locations where connection to the grid is too expensive. Lighted buoys even.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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