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free energy machine

"Dennis Lee has broken a lot of laws, but he hasn't broken the laws of thermodynamics." --Robert Park

Free energy machines are to physics what homeopathy is to chemistry and intelligent design is to biology.

A free energy machine would be a machine that puts out more energy than is needed to run it. There are no free energy machines, despite what Joe Newman and Dennis Lee say.

A free energy machine would violate the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

The first law, also known as the law of the conservation of energy, asserts that the amount of energy is constant and can be neither created nor destroyed, though it can be changed from one form into another.

The second law, also known as the law of entropy, asserts that the amount of energy put into a system will always be more than the amount of energy that system puts out. Put another way, the entropy of an isolated system will tend to increase over time.

Even though free energy machines and perpetual motion machines do not exist, they can be patented both in the United States and in Canada. Neither country requires a working model of a machine as a condition for obtaining a patent. Thus, there is no requirement that the machine actually work. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rule 608.03 Models, Exhibits, Specimens [R-3] - 600 Parts, Form, and Content of Application now states:

"Models or exhibits are generally not admitted as part of an application or patent unless the requirements of 37 CFR 1.91 are satisfied.

With the exception of cases involving perpetual motion, a model is not ordinarily required by the Office to demonstrate the operability of a device. If operability of a device is questioned, the applicant must establish it to the satisfaction of the examiner, but he or she may choose his or her own way of so doing.

See also Hutchison hoax, perpetual motion machine and my review of Dennis Lee's Better World Technologies and United Community Services of America.

further reading

books and articles

Park, Robert L. Voodoo Science: the Road from Foolishness to Fraud (Oxford University Press, 2000).

Van Ness, H. C. Understanding Thermodynamics. (1983). Dover Publications.


The Laws of Nature - A Skeptic's Guide. (2000). Zoran Pazameta. Skeptical Inquirer. September/October.

Zero-point energy

Better World Technologies and United Community Services of America (Dennis Lee)

Entropy Systems (Alex Chiu)

More Free Energy and Hot Air  by Milton Rothman

A Brief History of Energy by John Blanton

"Free energy? It doesn't measure up" by Ben Goldacre,  The Guardian, November 10 2007

The Encyclopedia of American Loons #693: Joel Garbon and the New Energy Movement


Another Energy Scam, by Steven Novella. A Utah company, Manna of Utah, is planning on building a plant in Odessa MO that will, among other things, build generators with magnets for home use....Most skeptics should instantly recognize this description as an utter scam – we are in Dennis Lee and Orbo territory here. You simply cannot generate free energy by cleverly interacting magnets.

Skeptic North It keeps going and going...




news stories

CBS runs free ad for "magic" energy box The Bloom Box is a fuel cell, and the concepts behind it are well-understood. But it's hard to see if CBS's marketing it like woo because that's what turns on venture captialists, or if CBS is simply so stupid that this is the only terminology it can muster to describe complex green energy tech.

Investors win $26M award against Tilleys In 2002, Carl Tilley boasted that he could run a converted DeLorean indefinitely with his free energy technology. At an annual stockholder's meeting, Tilley told shareholders that he had received a phone call from General Electric with an offer of 2 billion dollars to buy the technology "sight unseen." Of course, GE had never heard of Tilley, but that didn't seem to bother investors. Tilley and his wife were found guilty of fraud using "intricate schemes, promises and lies" and engaged in "a pattern of racketeering activity."

'Free energy' machine on display in Dublin "The systems are up, they're running and I'm sure some of them will break - it's a prototype technology," said Steorn CEO Sean McCarthy, proving he's psychic as well as a genius entrepreneur.

Irish 'energy for nothing' gizmo fails jury vetting Three years ago, Steorn, a company based in Dublin, Ireland, claimed it had developed a gizmo it calls Orbo that produces more energy than it uses. A year passed without any confirming evidence, so Steorn set up a panel of 22 independent scientists and engineers from Europe and North America chaired by Ian MacDonald, emeritus professor of electrical engineering at the University of Alberta. That must have satisfied enough investors to keep Steorn going, because it took two years before the panel quit. Although the international jury of scientists has concluded the free energy gizmo doesn't work, Steorn CEO Sean McCarthy promised it could deliver non-polluting, virtually cost-free power and will plod on. He plans a commercial launch toward the end of this year. Stop laughing.

new Steorn Is Now Selling Free-Energy Products, by Steven Novella
"Steorn ... recently announced that they now have two devices available for pre-order. The OCube is a USB charging device that they are selling for €1,200, and the OPhone which is a cell phone that never has to be recharged." I think one commentator hit the perpetual nail on the whack-a-mole head when he wrote: "Make fantastic claims, show images, get payments in advance, announce delays." [/new]

Last updated 16-Dec-2015

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