Recently someone wrote me an email asking me what I thought of Lutec and the claims made by this group. For those who don’t know, Lutec is an Australian company that several years ago claimed to have created a device capable of generating more power than it consumed, using circuitry connected to a kind of motor-generator. While they never demonstrated the machine running on its own, without external power, they claimed that the input power was considerably less than what was output.
If this were actually true, the machine should be able to power itself and still have power to spare. Even if it needed some kind of external “priming” power, or a power source or some kind of power source to buffer a non-constant power output, this could be easily accomplished with a simple system of capacitors or batteries. Thus, an “energy amplifier” could also be an “energy producer,” if such a device existed.
This remarkable patented technology has many possible applications. It can amplify all existing or new electricity stations production. This is done by simply adding the technology to the existing or new power stations distribution sub stations. It can therefore be applied to and amplify any size power station regardless of the type of fuel being used. It will be equally effective with coal, oil, gas, and solar, wind, and diesel, nuclear or hydro power stations.
The LEA technology can be just as effective in other applications. The input power can be supplied to a LEA system from a normal wall plug outlet, or from other types of generator or battery supply. The input causes synergistic internal events in the patented LEA motor/generator/amplifier system to increase the amount of electricity it receives at no further cost. (See the How It Works page)
The LEA technology is proven to Amplify electricity. Please note the LEA is not the same as the Lutec 1000 generator and although the patents that cover the LEA are applicable to both, the electricity amplifier is quite different from the generator.
Having made some big claims and gotten a fair amount of press, the company and system seem to have gone into a kind of stagnation, probably because the system doesn’t actually work. Still, there are those who cling to the idea and claim that it’s just a matter of putting the Lultec machine into production to end humanity’s energy problems forever.
Unfortunately there’s a big problem: The inventors of this machine made some mistakes and miscalculations. The demonstrations shown on Youtube and elsewhere are probably genuine films of the output of the Lultec machine powering light bulbs or other devices. The problem is that the machine is actually consuming significantly more power to do so than it is outputting.
This video does a pretty good job of showing their mistake…
Now here’s the problem: Determining electrical power in watts by simply multiplying volts times amps works when you’re dealing with a simple purely resistive load and where there’s no inductive or capacitive reactance involved. For example, if you have a light bulb hooked up to a battery, then multiplying amperage by voltage should give you the total wattage.
Unfortunately this will not work with circuits that involve alternating current motors, which have their own internal reactance. What this means is that the actual measure of the current and voltage using simple meters is not a true reflection power. Part of this comes from the fact that reactive loads on an AC circuit can cause the voltage and amperage to cycle at different phases. If this is not complicated enough, it also is worth noting that AC volt meters are generally designed to provide what is known as RMS voltage, but this value may not be completely accurate depending on the circumstances and how much reactive power is present on the line.
Further complicating the calculations is the fact that their input power is AC which goes through a transformer and then a rectifier. This results in what is known as a Non-linear load. Most AC voltage and current meters are designed to provide accurate readings of sinusoidal current and voltage, but non-linear loads will produce a non-sinusoidal voltage curve. When connected to non-linear loads they will not provide accurate readings.
I have to admit that some of the equations and measurements needed to get a truly accurate reflection of true power consumption and production in an a combined AC and DC system go a bit over my hear. However, I can say with certainty that it is more complex than simply multiplying the readings on a simple volt and amp meter.
The fact that the Lutec inventors made a basic mistake in their calculations of power output might well be forgivable if they had admitted to it when it was pointed out. It would be a little embarrassing to face up to having made such a blunder, but it would still be the best way out of it. Instead, those behind Lutec refuse to let go of their claim, even having been debunked by a number of experts who actually do know how to measure the power of complex ac/dc systems.
On the bright side, they did win the 2001 Australian Skeptics’ Bent Spoon Award.
Sorry, but the laws of physics still stand.
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 12th, 2011 at 11:35 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, media, Misc, Not Even Wrong, Obfuscation. 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.
View blog reactions