New “Renewable” Energy Idea – Barometric Pressure Power

June 7th, 2011
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When it comes to “renewable energy” some ideas work better than others. At least with wind and solar power energy can be generated – it’s expensive and you don’t get much of it, but working poorly is at least better than not working at all. There are other ideas which just plain won’t work. Some of these fall into the category of free energy or perpetual motion. Others are somewhere between unworkable and impossible.

Here’s a new one (at least to me): barometric pressure energy. Point of fact you could gather a tiny amount of energy from changes in local barometric pressure, if you had a large enough piston to move every time the air pressure changes. This idea, however, is based on the concept of using pipelines to connect distant areas. (and I don’t mean wind power, which in a sense, does work in this manner) When these areas have different barometric pressure, air will flow through the pipeline and spin a turbine.

Or at least that’s the idea…

Via “Cold Energy Technology”:

ACM is a system for the generation of energy based upon differences in the atmospheric pressure at geographically spaced sites, and comprises at least one long conduit – in the order of many miles long. In operation, the air flow in the conduit will accelerate to a high velocity wind without the consumption of any materials and without the use of any mechanical moving parts. A power converter, such as a wind turbine, in the conduit converts the high wind velocity generated by even small pressure differences into energy of any desired type.

The opposite open ends of the conduit are located at geographically spaced sites, selected on the basis of historical information indicating a useful difference in barometric pressure. A plurality of conduits, each having open ends in different geographically spaced sites, may be interconnected to maximize the existing pressure differences, and will produce higher and more consistent levels of energy production. The ACM conduit configuration of the invention can transform even barometric pressure differences in the order of one tenth pound per square inch into wind velocities in the sonic range.

Now who wants to explain why this absolutely will not work?


This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 at 7:22 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Enviornment, Misc, Not Even Wrong. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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32 Responses to “New “Renewable” Energy Idea – Barometric Pressure Power”

  1. 1
    brian Says:

    LOL, Check this diagram
    http://docs.engineeringtoolbox.com/documents/328/air-ducts-friction-loss-diagram-2.png


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  2. 2
    Andrew Jaremko Says:

    Being nearly the first to have a go at this is a little intimidating – I think I’ll follow the Mary Poppins rule (after all, it was good enough for Arthur C. Clarke): “I never explain anything”. I’ll just note two things:

    Natural gas pipelines have high pressure at one end, created by compressors. There’s lower pressure at the other end of the pipe, where the gas is delivered. If the Cold Energy Technology idea worked, we could have a nifty perpetual motion machine of the first kind because the gas would accelerate down the pipe. Instead of needing booster compressors on the line, we could have turbines for extracting energy.

    We already have ‘barometric pressure energy’. Wind blows from high pressure areas to low pressure ones, modified by momentum and Coriolis forces once the air is moving. The energy density of small masses of air confined in a pipe is ludicrous even at ‘high velocities’. Though the Solar updraft tower is a related notion that actually has working prototypes around the world.

    The Cold Energy Technology site proudly notes that their patent was awarded a ‘no prior art’ patent in 2004. I think there’s a very good reason there’s no prior art. Anyone want to apply for a ‘vortex energy’ patent to extract energy from tornadoes?


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  3. 3
    Andrew Jaremko Says:

    Hey, I just realized – there’s a more reliable way! And it’ll work everywhere in the world, day and night! Air at ground level – it doesn’t matter what altitude you start at – is at higher pressure than air one kilometer up! Just build a tall pipe with a turbine in it, and a wind will blow from bottom to top. And it won’t take anywhere near the surface footprint of a long horizontal pipe. Now why didn’t Cold Energy Technology think of that?


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  4. 4
    Q Says:

    Air already flows from high to low pressure. Hence we have winds. The atomsphere is always equalizing pressure. The reason we have different pressures is that other natural forces create pressure changes (uneven heating, moisture and stuff)

    The pipeline provides no better a path for the pressure to equalize than does the already wide open atmosphere.

    So it won’t work. The air moves no faster than wind, actually it moves slower because the pipe has resistance.


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  5. 5
    Jason Ribeiro Says:

    I can’t explain why this won’t work, but it sounds like a bad idea from the get-go. The piezoelectric sidewalk seems like a brilliant idea compared to this.


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  6. 6
    Arcanyn Says:

    It seems to me like just a really, really inefficient form of wind power, which restricts itself to extracting energy from a very minescule volume of air.


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  7. 7
    Shawn Says:

    Is it just me or does their logo look like a euro? Perhaps its a sign of their intentions :P


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  8. 8
    BMS Says:

    Two words are all that’s required: head loss.


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  9. 9
    Engineering Edgar Says:

    The pipe does not provide any better path to equalize pressure than the open air. Hence, even if wind flows through it, it will be no faster than the wind in the atmosphere and probably slower because the pipe is more restrictive.

    BTW, regarding the statement that tiny amounts of energy can be generated by changes in pressure, there are devices that do this. They are usually in the form of clocks, because clocks need little energy and therefore are good to demonstrate such miniscule sources. A little chamber of gas expands and contracts depending on ambient pressure and temperature (which in most locations varies enough for this purpose). Every time it moves it winds a spring.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmos_clock

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Clock


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  10. 10
    Bryan Says:

    Yeah… that’s funny. My father in-law had a similar idea, based on an old childhood trope of mine.

    The trope is, “How long would it take to vacuum florida?”

    His response was, “Hey, hook a tube up to space, and vacuum it all out that way!”

    Why it wouldn’t work is similar to why this wouldn’t work. The presence of a tube doesn’t fundamentally change the forces acting on the fluid in it. For the space vacuum, there’s still gravity acting on the air in the tube. For the barometric connector, there’s already a connection point between the two different areas: the air between them. Adding a tube won’t focus the pressure differential; it’ll just be an expensive bit of plastic.


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  11. 11
    Ray1952 Says:

    Yes, the pipe won’t make the air flow any faster. It’s not a better path for the air to take. It’s a worse one.

    Lets think about what this would mean if it were true. There are very long pipelines all around the world. Oil and gas pipelines for example. Many under ground and others above ground. There are also aqueducts, tunnels etc.

    When a pipeline is being constructed, it’s open, often on both sides. They are still laying in lengths of pipe, so it has not yet been finished and is empty. Think of the Alaska oil pipeline. It was constructed simultaneously in sections that met up to form the final pipeline.

    If this idea were true, once the pipe had been laid a good several miles, air would be rushing out the end of it. When a storm was at one end of the pipe, causing a pressure decease, air would be rushing out one end and being sucked in the other end. Hell, you’d have to be careful or you could get sucked in and spit out the other end by the rushing air.

    Of course, this does not happen. If an oil, gas or water pipeline is depressurized and opened at both ends, air does not rush through it.

    Not only that – long tunnels don’t create their own strong air currents. Very long tunnels like the Channel Tunnel need to have a system of ducts and blowers to ventilate them. If this idea were true this would not be necessary. They would have air rushing through them all the time. This is not the case.


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  12. 12
    Alan Says:

    “Now who wants to explain why this absolutely will not work?”

    Reynolds number!


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  13. 13
    Amoeba Says:

    Some of the questions would-be inventors should always ask themselves are:
    a) Why hasn’t anyone tried this before?
    b) Am I really as smart as I believe myself to be?
    c) What’s wrong with my idea? It’s another form of question a)


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  14. 14
    Anon Says:

            Amoeba said:

    Some of the questions would-be inventors should always ask themselves are:
    a) Why hasn’t anyone tried this before?
    b) Am I really as smart as I believe myself to be?
    c) What’s wrong with my idea? It’s another form of question a)

    They’d make more money if they left that until after the idea has been tried and failed.

    Just like the rest of the renewable energy bubble (of which this is just a really extreme example).


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  15. 15
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Ray1952 said:

    If this idea were true, once the pipe had been laid a good several miles, air would be rushing out the end of it.

    When a storm was at one end of the pipe, causing a pressure decease, air would be rushing out one end and being sucked in the other end.

    Hell, you’d have to be careful or you could get sucked in and spit out the other end by the rushing air.

    Of course, this does not happen.

    If an oil, gas or water pipeline is depressurized and opened at both ends, air does not rush through it.

    HA! Great observation! If this were true, partially completed pipelines would have air rushing through them and if the pressure difference was enough then you’d have to be careful not to get sucked in and blown out the other side! Imagine the danger. Not to mention objects that come near the end of the pipeline being shot out the other end.


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  16. 16
    John ONeill Says:

    I’ve heard that the Homer rail tunnel, through New Zealand’s Southern Alps, has its own weather system, as wet westerly winds can blow through it without being forced up over the mountain and dried out by the foehn effect. Drilling through to a lake and letting the water flow through might give you a more usable power density


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  17. 17
    Anon Says:

    Until the lake runs out of water of course.


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  18. 18
    John ONeill Says:

            Anon said:

    Until the lake runs out of water of course.

    Plenty of rain up that way. See ‘ foehn effect ‘


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  19. 19
    Anon Says:

    Even so there’d still be a limit as to how much you could extract without draining the lake.


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  20. 20
    Amoeba Says:

    “Even so there’d still be a limit as to how much you could extract without draining the lake.”

    Sounds rather like a hydroelectric dam.


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  21. 21
    Anon Says:

    In a way it’d be a hidden version of a hydroelectric dam.


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  22. 22
    Tom (iow) Says:

    What you need is some naturally enclosed higher pressure air which cannot escape for some reason.

    What if you had a large mountain with the wind blowing up against it, and dug a tunnel though it?


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  23. 23
    Arnold Greyling Says:

    COLDENERGYLLC.COM is register to

    Therese Schroeder-Sheker
    PO Box 987
    Mt. Angel, Oregon 97362-0987
    United States

    On the registration info her e-mail address is given as webmaster@chaliceofrepose.org
    http://chaliceofrepose.org is a website promoting something called Music-Thanatology

    The website description:
    Beauty, Intimacy, Reverence in end of life palliative and pastoral care

    “Music-Thanatology is a sub-specialty of palliative medicine, and derives profound spiritual inspiration and meaning from the Benedictine Cluniac tradition of monastic medicine. In that light, every moment, person, condition and event is one in which we can turn to greet, receive and meet one another “in a new and living way.””

    I smell scam, probably by getting naive people to invest in the so called “revolutionary” technology. At least the energy scam is not taking money from people on their deathbeds.


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  24. 24
    drbuzz0 Says:

            John ONeill said:

    I’ve heard that the Homer rail tunnel, through New Zealand’s Southern Alps, has its own weather system, as wet westerly winds can blow through it without being forced up over the mountain and dried out by the foehn effect.

    Yeah, not quite the same. Basically you have a “wind dam” where wind is unable to get through an area except through a single narrow area – in this case artificial, but in many other circumstances mountains channel wind to be forced through narrow valleys. The same thing can happen in cities where large buildings and skyscrapers block wind and cause very strong gusts through allies and streets.

            John ONeill said:

    Drilling through to a lake and letting the water flow through might give you a more usable power density

    Yep, just a hydroelectric system then. Not all hydro projects need dams, btw. Some of them take advantage of natural topography and just provide a bypass route for the water.


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  25. 25
    Annie Says:

    Hmm… My first fuzzy thoughts on how to actually make it work drifted to things like using a non-compressible fluid instead of air, but then I remembered Newton (not to mention Stokes). Then it got me thinking about the venturi effect and mountain passes, although then you’re ditching the tube entirely and I’m guessing that’s already a big factor in siting wind farms. Then I started thinking about harnessing power from barometric changes using piezoelectrics, but then I stopped, because I realized I know next to nothing about them (other than how to spell the word, which I had to look up).

    Oh well. On the plus side, it’s a great teaching moment! Hopefully some good classroom discussions will come of it.


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  26. 26
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

            Annie said:

    Oh well. On the plus side, it’s a great teaching moment! Hopefully some good classroom discussions will come of it.

    Hopefully some [i]really short[/i] classroom discussions will come of it. Either that or kids aren’t as intelligent as I remember.


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  27. 27
    SOLARGEO ENERGY LTD. / DONNY KIM Says:

    i agree to atmosphere pressure is really excellent power as another one of renewable energy. it’s making the artificial-tornado within some of technical system. SOLARGEO ENERGY LTD. had R&D for “HYBRID RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEM with solar-geo storage”. we got the patent,, registerd at KOREA and applied USA
    this system be integrated the *concentrate of solar thermal *photovoltaics of solar light *geothermal(artificially geothermalized for the underground heat storage which is saving of solar heat) *wind power(artificial tornado as updraft wind power with barometric pressure). this hibrid system schould be the generating the power plant with out the generating steam plant for low cost of structure expense. we are confident the barometric pressure that will be the best of renewable energy for future extensive area be available.
    any question?,, may contact to dhk512@hotmail.com


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  28. 28
    Anon Says:

    Can anyone figure out what that previous so-called comment is meant to say?


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  29. 29
    Jason C Says:

    Looks like spam to me.


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  30. 30
    Amoeba Says:

    Now what they really need are more turbo-encabulators.

    http://www.floobydust.com/turbo-encabulator/

    http://www.break.com/index/understanding-the-turbo-encabulator.html


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  31. 31
    Anon Says:

            Jason C said:

    Looks like spam to me.

    Yeah it does, only problem is that there isn’t even a link to follow which makes no sense (why advertise something people can’t find?).

    It’s almost as if every spammer is an idiot.


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  32. 32
    Joe Says:

    We already have a device that harnesses changes in barometric pressure. It’s called a windmill.


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