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German Student Creates Device That Harvests Energy From Air

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shehan
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Re: Cool, but it's stealing
shehan   3/26/2013 10:31:44 PM
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@warren – I wonder how the farmer got caught, as you said we are talking of millions of kilowatts. I think it was the word of mouth or someone might have seen wires connected to the towers from his house. 

shehan
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Re: Cool, but it's stealing
shehan   3/26/2013 10:33:54 PM
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@Elizabeth - Thanks, I think collecting / harvesting this energy is not a crime. If not harvesting is a chime and a waste. At least the electricity companies need to set up stations to harvest this energy.

shehan
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Re: Cool, but it's stealing
shehan   3/26/2013 10:51:22 PM
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@jhankwitz – I wonder why the farmers setup was expensive, are these large devices (large transformers) ? How could it be more efficient, did it have any problems with the functionality?

jhankwitz
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Platinum
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
jhankwitz   3/27/2013 8:47:02 AM
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The farmer's setup was expensive because of the cost of the miles of highly insulated copper wire he had to run multiple times around the perimeter of his lot. It operated as the primary winding of a transformer and worked because one side of his lot was close to the high voltage wires and the rest was further away. It was extremely inefficient because this transformer's core was made of air.

warren@fourward.com
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Platinum
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
warren@fourward.com   3/27/2013 9:32:31 AM
There is still a basic misunderstanding of how transformers work.  If we consider a perfect transformer with no load on it, there is only the initial surge as the first magnetic field builds up.  Then the voltage is transferred to the secondary almost simultaneously.  When the field collapses, the current used is put back into the system.  This goes on at 50 or 60 Hz and no energy is consumed.  The power company could do this all day and only have to pay for the generator's friction losses.  It would see no drain on their system- no LOAD, we say.  They would make no money, and they would lose no money, other than the friction losses, payment on the building, maintenance of the equipment, payroll, taxes, fuel, and payoffs to government officials.

But if Mr. Farmer comes along and runs a wire (a secondary, not primary), then when current flows through the voltage buildup in his home-made, extremely inefficient secondary copper skeleton key, the generator would know it, as the collapsing field no longer gives him his current back.  There is a loss.  There is a consuming of the power.  But all his other bills go on with an increase in fuel costs and maintenance costs.

There, I hope that clears things up a bit.  Power generation is only as expensive as the load on the system, minus the losses and bribes.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
Elizabeth M   3/27/2013 10:27:15 AM
Now I like this idea, shehan. If they don't like the idea of other people doing it, they should set up harvesters themselves...that way no precious energy is lost. We could perhaps solve the energy crisis this way. What a good idea.

Watashi
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
Watashi   3/28/2013 3:02:47 PM
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Power is monitored at substations or below, so there are not millions of killowatts being sensed.  If he was stealing enough to power his entire house, they would detect the loss.

The first electric Co-ops were formed in rural areas like Oklahoma when neighbors would pay to run power lines between themselves and a nearby distribution line.  The electric companies didn't want to power scattered rural homes because they would never get a return on the line investment. Even when the small communities ran their own lines, the power companies didn't want to hook them up and become liable for their distribution.

To force the issue, the co-ops would put poles next to the electric company's line for a distance and parasitically power their homes.

The EM field of conductors is NOT wasted energy and any EE should know that.  It is simply the result of passing current through the conductor.  Sheilding is not an option when considering the massive currents involved in power distribution.

You can use these devices all you want behind YOUR power meter where you get charged for the energy you consume.  But using power you are not being charged for, plus causing additional distribution loses to the provider (find your own EE to explain); is increasing the provider's costs and decreasing the available energy to legitimate customers.  IT IS THEFT! period! 

Watashi
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
Watashi   3/28/2013 4:20:41 PM
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If you disrupt the broadcast RF or decrease the coverage area (e.g. by using a very large antenna or array), they might have a case against you.  But it would be much harder for the provider to detect the loss, if you are a distance from the transmitter.

However, it is impractical to use RF energy transmitted at a distance.  Transmitted EM waves follow the Inverse Square Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverse-square_law) which states that the power density of an electromagnetic wave is proportional to the inverse of the square of the distance from a point source. 

The power is reduced in proportion to the square of the distance to the source.  i.e. - If you double the distance to a source, you will only have 1/4 of the power (you lose 3/4 of the power).

Watashi
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
Watashi   3/28/2013 4:22:24 PM
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Why would they load their own lines? 

You aren't an EE are you?

notarboca
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Gold
Re: Cool, but it's stealing
notarboca   3/30/2013 3:34:56 PM
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Thanks for this thought provoking article, Elizabeth.  This has been a lively discussion with good opinions coming from both sides of the debate.

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