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German Student Creates Device That Harvests Energy From Air

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HarryB
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Gold
Everything old is new again
HarryB   3/21/2013 10:29:41 AM
NO RATINGS
I remember a crystal radio (schematic) that used two receivers. One was to be tuned to a strong local station... this output was rectified and used as a DC supply to a single transistor amplifier in a second receiver, which you were free to tune to another (presumably distant) station. Voila. Free power.

The real 'free power' is to harvest wasted energy... for example a stack of piezo elements could presumably be used to harvest the energy from bumps in the road as you drive your car over them... rather than wasting that energy as heat in your shock absorbers you put it in your battery.  That is a win-win situation... although I doubt you would choose the bumpiest roads (or pay an exhorbitant initial cost) just to get that 'free power'

ungarata
User Rank
Gold
signal theft?
ungarata   3/21/2013 10:36:05 AM
NO RATINGS
as to wether or not this is theft, consider this:  is it stealing if you build a device to receive, decode, and view the satellite signals that are continuously being beamed to your property?  would DirecTV or Dish Network come after you?  in that light, should the power company do the same?

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
sensor pro   3/21/2013 11:37:28 AM
I completely agree with you. It is not stealing. If the power company wants, they can design large collectors and place them near power lines to collect the power themselves. The issue is abit different. The field is in public domain. Lets say my house near the power lines. Is their field enterms my property illegaly?  It is like my neighbours large tree having branches on my property. I have the righ to rim them as I want. I he produces magnetic field, I can harvest it.

 

In general it is a great idea.

jfs1970
User Rank
Gold
Not a new idea.
jfs1970   3/21/2013 12:08:29 PM
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It seems to me this is no different than Tesla's idea of broadcasting energy.  In fact, the theory sounds identical.

HarryB
User Rank
Gold
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
HarryB   3/21/2013 12:22:22 PM
Well go ahead and try that out. I believe that the power company can prove that your 'inductive' connection is making them ~deliver~ power to you, and you are in fact their customer. You owe them money for the power they have delivered... if you don't pay for a service rendered its called "stealing" (last time I checked). If you are not taking anything (i.e. you have not installed any means to do so) you owe them nothing.

If you want to play with semantics... why don't you get a court to agree that you have a right to the electromagntic space around your property... and argue that the power company is delivering a magnetic field that you ~don't~ want and insist they they either shield you from their (by)product... or pay you for allowing it on your property. Otherwise... they are the primary (source) of an air-core transformer and youi are the secondary (load).

jhankwitz
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
jhankwitz   3/21/2013 12:32:22 PM
Yes, I had a friend that owned a farm about 50 years ago with high-tension lines running on his lot line. He ran a wire looping several times around his acreage on his fence, simulating a very large transformer coil, and ran the two ends through a transformer and rectifier that charged a bank of batteries that ultimately powered his farmhouse. His coil put an extra load on the transmission system which was detectable as a load on the power grid. The power company somehow tracked him down, resulting in heavy fines and prosecution for theft. As mention in other replies, you don't have legal ownership or rights to everything in your "space".

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
sensor pro   3/21/2013 12:38:43 PM
There are many cases where power companies tried o distance themselves from any ownership of he magneic byproduct not to be sued for medical problems of residents next to power lines. I have this feeling that ConEdison will not go after me is I park my car on the street and while having luch, my phone will charge.

On the other hand so much power is being wasted, and this is one little way that some can be used again and again. 

 

jhankwitz
User Rank
Platinum
Much Ado About Nothing
jhankwitz   3/21/2013 12:47:15 PM
NO RATINGS
Guess what.  You can hold up your cell phone and measure the amoount of energy being eaten by your phone at a specific frequency.  Every antenna is designed to pull energy out of thin air at specific frequencies and provide it for amplification by a receiver.  The amount of actual power you can pull out of the air is proportional to the amount of hardware and software you've installed to do it.  Pulling enough power from the grid to power a toaster or other appliance may not be very be cost effective.

woodcous
User Rank
Iron
Free energy
woodcous   3/21/2013 12:53:46 PM
Most of the arguments in the posts have been argued before.  As noted there is no free lunch. As much as I would like to disagree the only "free" energy is that which no one paid to generate initially (e.g. sunlight).  Someone has even already argued that there will be a price paid for the waste heat generated as a result of capturing the additional sunlight.  The one idea I have not seen commented on is that of Tesla. He wished to build a tower that could be used to transmit energy which could be harvested at a distant location. It was started and never completed. There are those today that hope to resurrect the project.  I doubt that this would provide free power, but it might make delivering the power to a remote location easier if it could ever be achieved.

Chuck_IAG
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
Chuck_IAG   3/21/2013 1:17:18 PM
NO RATINGS
@HarryB, you may have hit on the pertinent point in a wider discussion of rights.  If someone hits your car at high speed with their own, they are "delivering" free energy to you. Should they be able to charge you for that?  I think the ability to control the distribution of an energy or information source is critical to whether it might be considered "stolen" or "harvested" (or "imposed" for that matter).  For a power company to attempt to claim ownership of the waste EM energy from power lines would subject them to even more lawsuits from parents who charge that living near a substation caused leukemia in their kids.  I seriously doubt the companies would claim the energy back.  They can't control the energy release.  If your car leaked fuel on the street, and someone came along with a rag and sopped up the fuel with it, could you sue the person to recover the cost of your fuel?

I don't actually know the answer to that, but I tend to doubt that the matter is so clear-cut as to be able to call the energy "stolen".

On the other hand, a year ago I watched a Youtube video (since removed) with a schematic for a device that charges a small battery from radio waves.  The idea was to charge a cell phone in an emergency- in a few hours the guy could turn on his phone (for a brief period).  As others have said, nothing shockingly new here.

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