That "impossible" perpetual motion machine? It's (almost) real!

By | July 20, 2012
That "impossible" perpetual motion machine? It's (almost) real!
Try some self-sustaining energy generation

It is possible to create energy out of almost nothing (okay, mass, after all energy has to come from somewhere) – so we can have the perpetual motion machine humanity has been dreaming about for generations, and spooky, green energy. The secret to their production is small-scale fusion: the same source of power that our sun, and other stars, use.

"The 500-terawatt shot on July 5 brings scientists closer to solving a long-standing physics challenge and perhaps the field’s holy grail: getting back more energy than you give."

I certainly hope that scientists find a better way to market their discovery than Death Star destruction energy levels and pictures looking very much like Terminator's eye… because we need positive energy flowing out of the work, not new weapons of destruction.

/via +David Kokua 

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5 thoughts on “That "impossible" perpetual motion machine? It's (almost) real!

  1. Allan Thompson

    "We need positive energy flowing out of the work" I see what you did there. 10 billion dollars is nothing if we manage to build something that can convert more energy than what's used to power it. I don't think most of the public would agree though, that's a lot of money.

    Reply
  2. Sophie Wrobel

    +John Poteet hahaha no, the last physics course I had was in grade school.

    I am aware of the tokomak (and I believe that is what France is building now, on a bigger scale than before), but as you say everything is still in a research (and non-commercially-viable) phase. Either way, getting more energy out than what you put in is a big step forward.

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  3. John Poteet

    Aw c'mon. You passed physics I'm sure. The best combined cycle gas turbine power plants get less that 60% conversion of thermal energy to electricity. Most are around 40%. So this kind of plant has to not only produce momentary break-even for raw energy but produce far more than 150% of input energy, sustained, to justify the expense. 

    FWIW various tokomak and laser shot fusion devices have been able to produce momentary break even energy outputs for at least a decade. 

    This is a great research tool but we have a long ways to go before practical fusion energy is feasible. Hopefully humans learn how to avoid laying waste to the planet before then. 

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  4. Sophie Wrobel

    +John Poteet But, the energy output was greater than the energy input. That's where the potential lies.

    But, until we figure out how to harness that energy and how to get sustainable reactions going, I think your solar panels, tidal power generators, geothermal plants, and everything else is a safer bet for now.

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  5. John Poteet

    Hey, no problem as long as your ignore the $10 billion (guess) research program and the fact that the energy input was in the form of useful electricity and the energy output was almost all low-grade heat. 

    It's really neath though and we learned lots. (i hope)

    I'll stick with solar panels for now. 

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