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Thread: concepts for generating power

  1. #1 concepts for generating power 
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    ive been punting some ideas around in my head for some time now about various means for generating electricity.

    while somewhat vague, there are some core concepts which i felt like sharing to see what others thought.

    disclaimer; i am largely a lay-person. i am not highly trained but i do read a lot and consider myself to be informed a little bit - on a lot of topics.
    i am not trying to build a "free-energy" or "perpetual motion" machine. id rather not get flamed about that =)

    two premises:
    1. there are small amounts of energy available ubiquitously.
    here im thinking background EM radiation - "noise" in the EM spectrum.
    a crystal radio essentially receives wireless power from the electromagnetic waves produced @ the transmitter.
    there is also power (relatively small amounts) in the naturally occurring EM radiation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_...ound_radiation

    2. small amounts of energy can be used to generate larger amounts.
    carefully timed/organized and properly directed small amounts of energy can generate large effects.
    simple analogy could be a swing or a carousel. push lightly at the appropriate time and at the appropriate spot -repeatedly- and you can build up a large amount of energy. or in general the concept of leverage, there is an optimal place to apply force based on the desired result.

    so im wondering what kind of results might be possible from attempting to "pickup," via some type of antenna, this background EM radiation and organizing it into a more powerful force.
    i have read about the concept of "resonance" and "electrical-resonance" Resonance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and there are also interesting simple circuits called LC circuits LC circuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which as i understand it are like electrical analogues to crystal resonators.

    then, the concept of "constructive interference" in wave propagation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interfe...e_propagation)
    i wonder about the possibility of doing a sort of recursive loop of constructive interference to boost amplitude of a signal.

    while i have gone more in depth in my research on this, i think i want to start this thread with just the concept and see where it goes...


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  3. #2  
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    Why bother?

    There are gigantic quantities of power available all day every day. Sun and wind practically everywhere. Tides, river flows, geothermal in specific locations.

    Far better to put our effort and our money into working out the most efficient ways to get the most out of what we've already, obviously, got.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Why bother?

    There are gigantic quantities of power available all day every day. Sun and wind practically everywhere. Tides, river flows, geothermal in specific locations.

    Far better to put our effort and our money into working out the most efficient ways to get the most out of what we've already, obviously, got.
    its just intellectual curiosity for me. =)
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0sm View Post

    two premises:
    1. there are small amounts of energy available ubiquitously.
    here im thinking background EM radiation - "noise" in the EM spectrum.
    To evaluate your ideas, you need to be quantitative. In this case, let's compute the amount of noise. Below optical frequencies at room temperature, the background noise is about 4x10^-21 J per Hz of bandwidth. For a 100THz bandwidth, that's a total of 400pW. Not much you can do with that, even if you could capture it. Regrettably, in thermal equilibrium, you can't even capture that amount.

    a crystal radio essentially receives wireless power from the electromagnetic waves produced @ the transmitter.
    That's a more promising source of power, but still quite small. You could increase the captured energy with antennas possessing a larger aperture, but geometric constraints prevent you from going too far with this in practice.

    there is also power (relatively small amounts) in the naturally occurring EM radiation. Cosmic background radiation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    As said above, that isn't available for use. At equilibrium, you merely exchange your own noise for that; no net delivery occurs on average.

    2. small amounts of energy can be used to generate larger amounts.
    No, not on average. That would violate the law of conservation of energy. Read on...

    carefully timed/organized and properly directed small amounts of energy can generate large effects.
    They don't even have to be timed well. Turn a water valve on whenever the impulse overcomes you. Leave the water running. You'll get large effects. But all that is rather irrelevant to the stated aim of generating energy. In this case, the energy comes from the water company.

    simple analogy could be a swing or a carousel. push lightly at the appropriate time and at the appropriate spot -repeatedly- and you can build up a large amount of energy. or in general the concept of leverage, there is an optimal place to apply force based on the desired result.
    Yes, you are "building up large energy" by storing lots of little buckets of energy. You are, in effect, saying that "I can make a million dollars by putting one dollar into the bank a million times." True dat, but you haven't magically generated a million dollars from one dollar -- you generated a million dollars from ... a million dollars.

    so im wondering what kind of results might be possible from attempting to "pickup," via some type of antenna, this background EM radiation and organizing it into a more powerful force.
    See calculations above.

    i have read about the concept of "resonance" and "electrical-resonance" Resonance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and there are also interesting simple circuits called LC circuits LC circuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which as i understand it are like electrical analogues to crystal resonators.
    The swing example is another resonator. The characteristics and limitations are the same, no matter what the underlying resonator technology happens to be. No "new" energy gets generated. In fact, all real systems will dissipate some of it.

    then, the concept of "constructive interference" in wave propagation Interference (wave propagation) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    In constructive interference, you have sources of energy. You still don't get more out than you put in.

    i wonder about the possibility of doing a sort of recursive loop of constructive interference to boost amplitude of a signal.
    Whatever it is that you mean by that, energy is still always conserved. You cannot get out more than you put in.

    while i have gone more in depth in my research on this, i think i want to start this thread with just the concept and see where it goes...
    It's great that you are thinking about these things, but it would be valuable for you to understand more deeply that there is no way to violate energy conservation. You either don't fully acknowledge that it really is a law, or you don't recognize that many of your proposals violate it. And in the case of background (thermal) EM noise, your idea actually violates the second law.
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