Yes, you can get energy from an “Earth Battery” No, it ain’t free

April 29th, 2010

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I received a question today from someone who asked me if I “believe in” earth batteries and whether an earth battery can actually produce energy. Apparently they had read about it online or seen some of the Youtube videos out there. They may have also read the Wikipedia article, which is totally wrong.

An earth battery is pretty simple in principle. Two metal rods are driven into the ground, ideally in soil that is reasonably wet or at least moist and has a slightly acidic pH. The rods are made of dissimilar material, for example iron and zinc or carbon and zinc or copper and iron. If the rods are connected to a voltage meter, you will find that there is a small amount of electricity being produced. The voltage is generally low and the potential amperage is low as well, but if the conditions are descent you can use this current to drive a small load such as an LED or a digital watch.

In theory you could produce a lot more voltage and electrical power if you simply added more and more rods and connected them together. Just like any battery, when connected in series, multiple battery units will produce higher voltages. When connected in parallel, the voltage will remain the same, but the potential maximum amperage will be increased. Therefore, it would be possible to power your house with enough rods stuck in the ground.


However, here’s the big party killer: The electricity is not limitless, it’s not free (although some websites that sell the supplies claim it is) and it’s not even really coming from the ground, but rather from the metal rods. When the rods are placed in ground they undergo a simple chemical reaction – they begin to corrode. If the ground is fairly dry and composed of inert material like sand, then they will corrode slowly, but if it’s moist and composed of more reactive organic matter, they will corrode faster. As they corrode, they an electrical potential is produced. Because the two rods are made of different materials, they corrode at different rates and produce dissimilar electrical potential. When connected, voltage flows between the two. This is why more corrosive soil conditions lead to more electricity being produced.

The soil is just incidental to the reaction. In fact, soil is not a very efficient medium for producing the kind of reaction necessary to produce an electrical current. If you wanted this same setup to produce more electricity and do so more efficiently, you could replace the soil with something zinc chloride, which is basically how a zinc-carbon battery works. You could also replace it with an acid, which is how some other battery types work. These substances have better electrolytic properties.

Unfortunately, the effect is not going to last very long. As the metal rods corrode, the electricity produced will be reduced. This may be remedied (at least temporarily) by pulling the rods out of the ground and grinding off the layers of corrosion that build up on their outside. This will at least bring the raw metal back in contact with the soil and allow it to corrode quickly again, but it’s only a temporary fix, as before long the metal will all be gone and all that will be left is some worthless oxide.

Really, what you’re doing is just powering your stuff on a disposable battery, a very crude, very inefficient battery. You would not try to power your home on AA batteries because it would be astronomically expensive. Doing so with one of these things would be the same deal, only even worse!

There is, however, a practical use for this principle. In the environment, some metals (for example zinc) are more prone to oxidation than other metals (for example iron) and produce a greater electrical potential when they oxidize. By connecting a piece of zinc to an iron structure in a corrosive environment, the zinc will corrode and in the process, produce electrons which give the iron a negative electrical potential. This opposes the oxidation of the iron and acts to slow the rate at which it rusts. It is known as galvanic or cathodic protection.


This entry was posted on Thursday, April 29th, 2010 at 9:57 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Good Science, media, Misc. 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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30 Responses to “Yes, you can get energy from an “Earth Battery” No, it ain’t free”

  1. 1
    Marvin Says:

    Good assessment. Is there any practical application of this at all? I mean, besides galvanic protection, but as an energy source. Is there any circumstance that would make this a good way of powering something?

    I can’t think of any.

    It seems like these people need to start considering some reading on this topic. The whole thing seems a pretty simple reaction that debunks the idea of it being a way of getting free or cheap power.


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  2. 2
    Shafe Says:

    Hmm… Well, I’ll just have to give up on earth batteries and focus on powering my electric car with potato batteries.


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  3. 3
    Franck Says:

    Or you could be wise and use your potatoes to produce biofuel and get back the equivalent of half the oil consumed to grow and deliver the potatoes.
    Sorry, couldn’t resist a friday troll…


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  4. 4
    MrNiceguy Says:

    Or you could use the potatoes to make vodka, and then who cares about driving anywhere?


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  5. 5
    Chem Geek Gregor Says:

    Yeah, using something like zinc and carbon would probably work best. Copper and iron would not provide much voltage. I could easily see how you could power a few LED’s or something if you had the right soil conditions.

    Even if you replaced the soil with a good electrolytic fluid these batteries are not great by modern standards. That is why you rarely see zinc carbide batteries anymore except the very cheap non-alkaline batteries (think of the old Union Carbide Everready batteries.) They still use a variation of this for zinc-air batteries though, but that’s slightly different.

    Although if the conditions were right, you could actually get this to work in alkaline soil, which would be a little bit like an alkaline battery if you used magnesium. It wouldn’t work too well though if you’re basically expecting wet dirt to be the electrolyte.

    This has got to be one of the most expensive ways of making a very low power battery. You’d do better with a cheap AA cell then with 50 bucks worth of metal rod.


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  6. 6
    DV82XL Says:

    There was a similar kind of product on the market I last saw a few years ago that consisted of what looked like a cheap generic beer-cooler with several alternating copper and zinc plates mounted vertically in an array inside. Buss bars connected the plates of similar metals, terminating on the side with two beefy connection posts.

    This was sold as an emergency dry battery that required only sea-water (or urine, although it looked like you would need about twenty liters) to run. No Amp-hour number was given, nor was an FLA, so I have no idea how effective it would be.

    To give the manufacturer credit, there was no nonsense about free, and they offered replacement zinc plates admitting freely that they would be used up in service.


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  7. 7
    Engneering Edgar Says:

    I have a question and please forgive me if it’s stupid, because I really just don’t know. How effective is galvanic protection and sacrificial anode use? It sure as hell doesn’t altogether stop rusting, because I’ve seen some of the reserve fleet ships which have all kinds of anodes and even impregnated current and yet they still turn into rust buckets after a few years without someone to keep everything freshly painted and rust free.

    Also, those zinc galvanized nails and screws, the zinc coating is supposed to corrode and in doing so protect the inner steel, but just the same, I’ve seen those rust away before all the zinc is gone.

    I know the theory is sound, but in the real world, does it really make that big of an impact?


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  8. 8
    Matt Says:

    From the wikipedia article:

    “It can act as a receiver of Telluric radiant energy…”

    As a non-scientist, can I just get a confirmation that that sentence and everything in it is complete rubbish? Having read part of the linked article on Telluric current it certainly seems like it.

    Thanks.


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  9. 9
    Dave G Says:

            Matt said:

    From the wikipedia article:

    “It can act as a receiver of Telluric radiant energy…”

    As a non-scientist, can I just get a confirmation that that sentence and everything in it is complete rubbish? Having read part of the linked article on Telluric current it certainly seems like it.

    Thanks.

    Didn’t the author say that the wikipedia article was totally wrong? It sounds totally wrong.


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  10. 10
    Tesla Fanboy Says:

    Nicola Tesla was ahead of his time. He used earth batteries but it was only one of the methods he used to get radient energy to power all kinds of things and he also demonstrated that you can produce energy freely and infinately from numerous things or receive energy from the earth and retransmit it back into space or to the air to power other things. We’re just learning of what he did one hundred years ago. We’re now working on wireless power when he had it perfected so long ago.

    DON’T BELIEVE WHAT THE FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES AND THE SCIENCE THEY PAY FOR TELLS YOU! ENERGY IS LIMITLESS AND EVERYWHERE IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT!

    Some people have worked to make these a reality and they’re stopped every time. Look up Joseph Newman. He invented a Tesla stile machine to make limitless clean energy and the government stopped him fro getting a patent or selling it. Nobody could prove anything wrong and he still shows the machine working for everyone to see. The government made him submit it to tests and they were rigged.

    Look up John Hutchinson. He is an inventor who has discovered antigravity and free energy. The government thugs came by and then said there was nothing to it. Now they have worked to shut him up for god.

    Look up Stan Meyer. He invented a way of using water to power any car. His invention made it so any car that is already being driven could be modified to use water instead of gasoline. He used a catalyst to turn water into hydrogen in the engine so it would burn like gasoline. Also, burns 100% clean with no pollution. It would be the end for gasoline. Fossil fuel companies tried to stop him but he would not stop. Then he turned up dead. Coincidence?

    Look up Brown’s gas. It’s a gas made from nothing but water and it can provide limitless energy. It also has the ability to end nuclear waste and to make engines more powerful and more clean. It has been kept on the low by fossil fuelers.


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  11. 11
    ddpalmer Says:

            Tesla Fanboy said:

    Nicola Tesla was ahead of his time. He used earth batteries but it was only one of the methods he used to get radient energy to power all kinds of things and he also demonstrated that you can produce energy freely and infinately from numerous things or receive energy from the earth and retransmit it back into space or to the air to power other things. We’re just learning of what he did one hundred years ago.

    We’re now working on wireless power when he had it perfected so long ago.

    DON’T BELIEVE WHAT THE FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES AND THE SCIENCE THEY PAY FOR TELLS YOU!

    ENERGY IS LIMITLESS AND EVERYWHERE IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT!

    Some people have worked to make these a reality and they’re stopped every time.

    Look up Joseph Newman. He invented a Tesla stile machine to make limitless clean energy and the government stopped him fro getting a patent or selling it. Nobody could prove anything wrong and he still shows the machine working for everyone to see. The government made him submit it to tests and they were rigged.

    Look up John Hutchinson.

    He is an inventor who has discovered antigravity and free energy.

    The government thugs came by and then said there was nothing to it. Now they have worked to shut him up for god.

    Look up Stan Meyer.

    He invented a way of using water to power any car. His invention made it so any car that is already being driven could be modified to use water instead of gasoline. He used a catalyst to turn water into hydrogen in the engine so it would burn like gasoline.

    Also, burns 100% clean with no pollution. It would be the end for gasoline.

    Fossil fuel companies tried to stop him but he would not stop. Then he turned up dead. Coincidence?

    Look up Brown’s gas. It’s a gas made from nothing but water and it can provide limitless energy. It also has the ability to end nuclear waste and to make engines more powerful and more clean. It has been kept on the low by fossil fuelers.

    When will they learn that putting internet access in mental institutes is just a bad idea? It just feeds right back into the patient’s psychosis.


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  12. 12
    Shafe Says:

    Uh huh. And what exactly stops these geniuses who apparently only exist in the US from taking their technology to other countries?


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  13. 13
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Tesla Fanboy said:

    Nicola Tesla was ahead of his time.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tesla was a genius, but he was also a bit nutty, especially in his later years.

    In many ways it’s a disservice to his memory to focus only on the questionable claims and pet theories he had. His true genius was the invention of things like the induction motor, three phase current distribution, generator synchronization and regulation systems and so on. These are the ones that actually worked and which he should be remembered for.

    He lived in an era where a lot of the mechanisms behind electromagnetic forces were not totally understood, so he can’t be blamed entirely for some of the shortcomings.

    However, before you start telling me that Tesla was all about free energy, let me point out that he was involved in designing numerous conventional thermal power plants and hydroelectric facilities. Why would he even bother if he could pull power from the air? Why was his laboratory hooked to the grid and why did it pay for power if he could just make it? Why would he advocate deep geothermal power if it could be had from sticking rods in the ground.

            Tesla Fanboy said:

    Look up Joseph Newman. He invented a Tesla stile machine to make limitless clean energy and the government stopped him fro getting a patent or selling it. Nobody could prove anything wrong and he still shows the machine working for everyone to see. The government made him submit it to tests and they were rigged.

    Newman is not a mentally healthy man. He’s more than that, though. He’s a dangerously unstable and potentially violent pedophile with delusions of grandeur. I posted about him before, actually it was one of my earliest posts (so it’s a tad rough) see it here: http://depletedcranium.com/beyond-invention-or-beyond-crazy/

            Tesla Fanboy said:

    Look up John Hutchinson.

    He is an inventor who has discovered antigravity and free energy.

    The government thugs came by and then said there was nothing to it. Now they have worked to shut him up for god.

    Garden variety crackpot

            Tesla Fanboy said:

    Look up Stan Meyer.

    He invented a way of using water to power any car. His invention made it so any car that is already being driven could be modified to use water instead of gasoline. He used a catalyst to turn water into hydrogen in the engine so it would burn like gasoline.

    Also, burns 100% clean with no pollution. It would be the end for gasoline.

    Fossil fuel companies tried to stop him but he would not stop. Then he turned up dead. Coincidence?

    Made a lot of ridiculous claims. Never offered any proof. Died of natural causes.

            Shafe said:

    Uh huh. And what exactly stops these geniuses who apparently only exist in the US from taking their technology to other countries?

    Actually, he was an ethnically Serbian, born in what is not Croatia and was at the time part of the Austrian Empire. Before coming to the United States, he did his research in France. After immigrating to the US, he returned to visit Europe on several occasions and also traveled other areas (I think Brazil, if I’m not mistaken)


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  14. 14
    DV82XL Says:

            Engneering Edgar said:

    I have a question and please forgive me if it’s stupid, because I really just don’t know.

    How effective is galvanic protection and sacrificial anode use?

    I know the theory is sound, but in the real world, does it really make that big of an impact?

    Yes and no. Sacrificial anodes do protect the area around them if the surface of the anode doesn’t become passive, but there is a limit to the size of the area they influence. They can work for a while in water, but on land their effectiveness is limited and dependent on moisture, pH of the ground, and neutral currents in the piece being protected.

    Sacrificial coating are better at over all protection, but as you have noticed, it gets used up very fast. Items like aircraft landing gear and such are dismantled, sandblasted, and re-coated (usually with Cd) at regular intervals. Even then some small corrosion pits develop that have to be ground out before the item is plated and painted.

    So does it work – yes it slows things down to some extent. Is it the be all and end all of corrosion protection – no.


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  15. 15
    drbuzz0 Says:

    That’s the impression I get. It might slow corrosion, but it sure as hell doesn’t completely stop it dead. It’s not a magic bullet.

    Sacrificial coatings seem like a bit of a double edged sword. They protect the underlying material, but they corrode themselves and in the process can cause problems, like making screws and bolts difficult when they’re covered in zinc oxides.

    The best way of dealing with corrosion (and also the most expensive) is to use extremely corrosion resistant materials – high nickle content stainless steel – high grade marine bronze. The props on the Titanic and other old recks have been immersed in salt water for a century and they still have a something of a dull luster left to them. They still shine. They’re not even completely covered in visible oxidation of the copper and tin oxides.

    Of course, bronze can still corrode badly in the right circumstances, like if it’s a long term exposure to an acidic environment and also if the metal has impurities. Still it’s freakin amazing how long high grade bronze will last before getting any significant corrosion.

    There are others that seem to last damn near forever in rough environments – nickle-titanium is another I can think of.


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  16. 16
    Tesla Fanboy Says:

    Hmmm. Interesting. So you accept some of Tesla’s inventions as working and being genius but then say some are no good. The only ones you admit are real are the ones that don’t shake your world view or get in the way of the establishment and the oil and gas companies. You pick what ones are real and what ones are just dismissed.

    “Uh huh. And what exactly stops these geniuses who apparently only exist in the US from taking their technology to other countries?”

    You think oil and coal and gas companies are only rich in the US? they are powerful everywhere. Governments are powerful everywhere. Big corporations are powerful everywhere.

    Plus, you think Tesla had the money to be traveling everywhere to send the truth to everyone? They ruined him and made him poor. It was the companies and Tommy Edison himself! If Tesla had gotten all the inventions built then they would have limitless power everywhere and be able to send radio and television and everything from one area of the world to another.

    You know what that would mean for the power companies if you could pick up it with no lines? They would be out a lot of money. You know what the phone companies would have if there were wireless phones 50 years ago? Ruined too!

    Why do you think they discredited him and forced underground and everything? They even tore down his tower to stop him from making good on the inventions!


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  17. 17
    Shafe Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Actually, he was an ethnically Serbian, born in what is not Croatia and was at the time part of the Austrian Empire.

    Before coming to the United States, he did his research in France. After immigrating to the US, he returned to visit Europe on several occasions and also traveled other areas (I think Brazil, if I’m not mistaken)

    I’m familiar with Tesla. I was referring to the crackpots. Free energy discoverers just can’t seem to make their discoveries unless they’re within easy reach of the oil companies. I guess scientists in Russia, China, and India are incapable of making these same discoveries. Or do those countries have allegiances with Big Oil that trump their own national strategic interests?

    Honestly, these discoveries get made repeatedly, and the inventors are able to build successful prototypes and make presentations to the local news correspondents, but for some reason, once their attempts to patent these technologies get hampered by Big Oil, the technology just disappears. It doesn’t work like that. Once a discovery is made, if you don’t kill the inventor, seize and destroy all his notes and prototypes, and silence anyone he might have told about it, the cat is out of the bag. Once you’ve made it onto the local news, or you’ve written a book, people have heard about you. Amateur scientists and tinkerers would be seeking you out and you would share your discovery. Versions of your free energy machine would be showing up in garages across the country and it would become a phenomenon. The fact that this hasn’t happened anywhere in the world speaks volumes about the validity of these “suppressed” technologies.


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  18. 18
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Shafe said:

    I’m familiar with Tesla. I was referring to the crackpots.

    Oh, well in that case, yeah, they are certainly not all American. Of the ones that “Tesla Fanboy” mentioned, Hutchinson is Canadian. I’ve seen local news reports on “Water Powered Car” from Australia, the UK and elsewhere. There was a guy in Japan selling that tired old scam not long ago.


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  19. 19
    Joe Says:

    “DON’T BELIEVE WHAT THE FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES AND THE SCIENCE THEY PAY FOR TELLS YOU! ENERGY IS LIMITLESS AND EVERYWHERE IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT!”
    It’s called Sol. Biggest power plant in this star system.


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  20. 20
    Joe Says:

    “Hmmm. Interesting. So you accept some of Tesla’s inventions as working and being genius but then say some are no good. The only ones you admit are real are the ones that don’t shake your world view or get in the way of the establishment and the oil and gas companies. You pick what ones are real and what ones are just dismissed.”
    The “real” ones are the ones that actually worked. Yes, this includes radio (wireless transmission) and many other inventions renamed for the profit of book sellers. Wireless power is well known. Rectanna is a good term to look up. Energy weapons based on radio waves also exist but are usually impractical – which explains why he wasn’t selling them by the warehouse to the closest military. Just because the science and technology exists for the core invention, doesn’t mean it’s practical! There’s cooling, powering, safety, weight, expense, and so on… Also, there’s a world of difference between particle weapons (plasma/beta rays) and high-voltage radio-based weapons.

    “Plus, you think Tesla had the money to be traveling everywhere to send the truth to everyone? They ruined him and made him poor. It was the companies and Tommy Edison himself! If Tesla had gotten all the inventions built then they would have limitless power everywhere and be able to send radio and television and everything from one area of the world to another.”
    Edison was an a**, granted. ;) Westinghouse and Edison each owed Tesla a lot.

    “You know what that would mean for the power companies if you could pick up it with no lines? They would be out a lot of money. You know what the phone companies would have if there were wireless phones 50 years ago? Ruined too! ”
    You can, already. It’s called an antenna. Not very powerful but it’s good enough that people in the UK were sued for stealing power from radio stations. Hint: It reduces the signal downstream.

    “Why do you think they discredited him and forced underground and everything? They even tore down his tower to stop him from making good on the inventions!”
    He owed a lot of money and the tower was made of expensive metal…


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  21. 21
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Joe said:

    The “real” ones are the ones that actually worked. Yes, this includes radio (wireless transmission) and many other inventions renamed for the profit of book sellers. Wireless power is well known. Rectanna is a good term to look up.

    I have always thought it was a disservice to Tesla’s memory and legacy to focus on the nutty inventions and claims that didn’t work. The man should be remembered for his very real contributions and inventions that did work.

    Yeah, wireless power is one of them, although really, it’s not as great as it seems given the efficiency and distance limits. It never works like some people seem to make it out to be, that you could power small devices with tiny antennas almost limitless or you could use it rather than the power grid. Wireless power transmission will never replace conventional power lines.

    Tesla basically invented the current power grid. He came up with the idea of three phase power. He invented current regulators, generator synchronization and helped improve and perfected inductive transformers. He invented the induction motor, the Tesla coil, early gas discharge lighting and numerous other innovations.

    Radio is an interesting topic. There’s no doubt that it was developed (to some extent or another) independently by at least a few different inventors. The US courts actually affirmed Tesla as being the inventor over Marconi. Although Marconi was a genius in his own right and there’s no doubt he contributed enormously to radio telegraphy. However, Hertz recognized the effect before either of them, although he didn’t develop it to anything.

            Joe said:

    Edison was an a**, granted. ;) Westinghouse and Edison each owed Tesla a lot.

    Well there was a time when Tesla was on the top of the world and had a well equipped lab with workers and money to spare. He spent nearly every dime he made on buying more equipment and conducting more experiments etc. He became poor after Westinghouse started to go bankrupt and Tesla said he did not want further royalties as he believed that he had much more coming from his new inventions.. which never came to anything.

            Joe said:

    You can, already. It’s called an antenna. Not very powerful but it’s good enough that people in the UK were sued for stealing power from radio stations.

    Yeah, like the “earth battery” it’s not exactly practical. An antenna to gather energy to power anything would be huge. The one device that is powered by ambient radio signals without amplification is a diode/crystal radio. If you’ve ever had one of those (they still sell them as educational kits) you will realize that even with the biggest piece of metal you can find for the antenna, even strong local radio stations are barely audible.

    They actually did this on Mythbusters using a kit. It was basically a very very long length of wire connected to a diode and a little capacitor and inductor. It provided less power than a watch battery.

            Joe said:

    He owed a lot of money and the tower was made of expensive metal…

    Actually, the Wardencliff tower was built at a time when he still had pretty good financing but it was taken down because of the First World War. The government started very strongly enforcing restrictions on radio transmitters above a certain size, and require licensing that the facility didn’t have. It was because of concern that radio transmitters could be used to transmit intelligence to the enemy or that their very existence as transmitters could be used to direction find and navigate attack forces.

    It seems the tower was not rebuilt because the first iteration didn’t really work as well as Tesla had hoped it would. It didn’t work as an energy transmitter and as a radio transmitter, it was unnecessary. HF radio signals don’t propagate by line of sight (they reflect off the ionosphere) so it’s not necessary to have a tall tower. Wire line antennas are just as good.


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  22. 22
    cat Says:

    You can run a car on water. It has been done, and is a known method creating energy in many fields.
    However you must convert the water to Oxygen, and Hydrogen, then separate the Hydrogen, next hydrogen gas is separated by a catalyst at the anode into protons and electrons. The protons pass directly through a proton exchange membrane (PEM), while electrons are forced through an external circuit, causing electric current to flow. When the protons and electrons meet at the cathode, they join with oxygen to form water and heat, which are released as exhaust.

    You can use a cup of water, aluminum foil, and copper rod, apply electrical current to the copper rod, and hold a small container upside down over the aluminum to capture the hydrogen, then use the hydrogen to burn in an engine.

    The first form is currently used as a battery system (very expensive to build), the second form of energy costs much more to create than you can reclaim.


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  23. 23
    drbuzz0 Says:

    You can run a car on hydrogen. This can be done with a fuel cell system or by modifying an internal combustion engine. Yes, gasoline engines can be made to run on hydrogen – although in some cases it does introduce issues as the gasoline provides some lubrication to the fuel injectors and valves, so there may be a need to occasionally run gasoline through it for this reason, depending on the engine type.

    However, you can’t make hydrogen on board the vehicle because that would take significantly more energy than it produces when used in either a fuel cell or internal combustion engine. It must be made ahead of time and stored in a tank like any fuel. Hydrogen also introduces some complications due to the issues with storage. It can be stored as a gas under pressure, a cryonic liquid or a hydrate, but all these methods have drawbacks.

    Producing hydrogen at home from water is possible. You will need more than a battery and a couple of rods. That kind of a table-top setup is fine for science class demonstrations, but for vehicle power you’ll need a very high capacity electrolyzer and a compressor system to capture and store the hydrogen in tanks. If you want to use liquid hydrogen you’ll need very high compression compressors, cryopumps and refrigeration tanks.

    While it can be generated on site (and there are industrial insitu hydrogen generators that can be bought – at a price, mind you) this is a very expensive and uneconomical way of doing it. The process of making large amounts of hydrogen from water is extremely energy intensive. So much so, you’d be better off buying hydrogen in bulk if you need any large amount of it. It’s much cheaper to just buy it.

    Hydrogen can be purchased at any industrial gas supplier or your local welding supply store. There are a couple of places not far from me where I could get hydrogen if I wanted it. One is called “American Compressed Gas” and they’re a place that sells dry ice, welding gas and other such things. You can put a deposit on a tank and buy as much hydrogen as you want at a place like that. Again, much cheaper than making it.

    The reason industrial hydrogen is cheaper is it is not produced from water. It comes from steam reforming of natural gas. Of course, this really doesn’t get you away from fossil fuels, but neither does making it from electricity that is primarily produced by fossil fuels, of course.


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  24. 24
    Free energy batteries? « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog Says:

    [...] is that the energy extracted from this battery actually doesn’t come from the potatoes, but from the corrosion of the electrodes. Yes, you can get energy even from an “Earth Battery”, but no, it ain’t free. If you replace [...]


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  25. 25
    Kevin Says:

    I did experience a couple of catches, but I attribute that to my over agressiveness and lack of sufficient knowledge of this tool on carbide round. I am in a position to see other applications for this toolOver time cutting tools will dull and it is oftentimes] easier to have a part tool abrasive that you may take right to the cutter, The application of a fine diamond file can radically change the top of the pallet for a more effective movement.


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  26. 26
    Endy Says:

    Telluric Current is real.

    It can work even if the two metals used are identical. By itself though it is fairly low power and requires much larger spacing of your poles to harness it effectively.

    to varying degrees Earth batteries have 3 different effects going on:

    Soil ph
    Galvanic corrosion
    Telluric Currents

    for the “classic” design Galvanic and ph do tend to predominate.


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  27. 27
    Alyx sylvr Says:

    I illuminated my moms garden with an earth battery. I drove an old galvanized steel fence post straight down in the center. Left the end up a couple feet to stop the bird bath I put over it from tipping over. I buried a semi circle of old copper water pipe about 6 ft out. Soldered wires to them(tried screws they corrode). Hooked them up to the batteries in solar powered LED garden lights. With auto photo eye on off switches built in
    Now the garden lights stay bright even on overcast days. And burn all night. Without getting dim in the morning.
    Zero cost except for lights we had all ready 1 morning job.
    My mom calls it her flower powered camelot. ( Camelot means circle of lights, how many king Arthur fans knew that. )

    You don’t get much juice but enough to trickle charge small batteries. Works best when soil is wet with fresh manure. So rainy days it makes more power just when sun makes less for solar cells. And in spring with fresh fertilizer makes up for short days. In summer hot and dry makes less. But sun makes more so perfect match

    I thought some smart solar garden light maker could improve lights with two metal strips down the sides of the little plastic stake you push in the ground on garden lights.

    If you make them cause you read this please send me a bunch for the cottage. Thanx


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  28. 28
    Nunya Says:

    You information is incorrect… starting with the fact that you have it backward, corrosion doesn’t generate the electricity, it’s the electricity that causes the corrosion.

    If you read the Wikipedia article you’ll see that corrosion wasn’t the factor.

    “The current produced is highest when the two metals are most widely separated from each other in the electropotential series, and when the material nearer the positive end is to the north, while that at the negative end is towards the south. The plates, one copper and another iron or carbon, are connected above ground by means of a wire with as little resistance as possible. In such an arrangement, the electrodes are not appreciably chemically corroded, even when they are in earth saturated with water, and are connected together by a wire for a long time”

    And that the dissimilar metals aren’t the only factor as there are know natural currents in the earth.

    “However, in the process of installing long telegraph wires, engineers discovered that there were electrical potential differences between most pairs of telegraph stations, resulting from natural electrical currents (called telluric currents[3]) flowing through the ground. Some early experimenters did recognize that these currents were, in fact, partly responsible for extending the earth batteries’ high outputs and long lifetimes.”

    “Lord Kelvin observed that such variables as placement of the electrodes in the magnetic field and the direction of the medium’s flow affected the current output of his device”

    So the placement in the earth’s magnetic field is also a factor as well as other possible sources of natural currents.

    You might make the point that most people don’t have enough land to make this practical or similar concerns don’t make it practical for large scales but it’s as free as catching and eating a fish or hunting and animal or gathering wild plants.

    So yeah, you have to do stuff and have access to items and knowledge.

    You also need to fix the code on your website that loses your post when there’s a problem with your capcha.


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  29. 29
    Nunya Says:

            Shafe said:

    Uh huh. And what exactly stops these geniuses who apparently only exist in the US from taking their technology to other countries?

    People all over the world are using stuff geniuses in the US invented, starting with the internet…. nearly all of you are building stuff we thought of.


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  30. 30
    DV82XL Says:

            Nunya said:

    You information is incorrect… starting with the fact that you have it backward, corrosion doesn’t generate the electricity, it’s the electricity that causes the corrosion.

    If you understood chemistry, (which you clearly do not) you would understand that the reaction at work here is in fact a simple galvanic cell and indeed one of the electrodes is going to dissolve in proportion to the amount of electric current drawn. This is not up for debate, it is a simple fact of the redox reaction that is at work.

    Telluric currents (your natural currents) while real are somewhat more complex and do not require dissimilar metals to detect. They are not terribly impressive either as a source of power. Very, very large installations many miles long would be required to gather useful amounts of electricity and the cost per unit of energy makes this impractical.

    These currents have been known since the 1800′s and several attempts to exploit them have been made. To date the only application is in deep structure geophysical mapping.


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