Jul 4, 2007
As I think I’ve mentioned before, I get a lot of emails from people claiming to have solved all the world’s environmental problems through some perpetual motion device or similar. These are not the usual run-of-the-mill spam messages, they are usually targeted at me as a science journalist and talk of big solutions.
Some of these claims seem to reach global proportions as we saw with the Steorn research, which didn’t bear fruit. In fact, I created a new section on SciScoop to cover and discuss just such controversial conjectures; I highlighted several odd scientific claims some time ago on Sciencebase too.
Anyway, Thane Heins, of Potential Difference Inc, contacted me recently with the claim that he has developed a device based on a bi-toroid transformer prototype that in tests proved to be 7000% efficient. Just for comparison’s sake, engineers operating everyday electrical apparatus usually see efficiencies of a few dozen percent at most. 7000% is an outstandingly high value of efficiency and one might suggest way beyond the realm of known physics.
“This past weekend we gave a product demonstration (generator and transformer) to an international transformer manufacturer,” Heins told me, “Our transformer used 0.2 Watts in the primary and produced 14 watts through a 180 ohm – 25 watt resistor. We will be producing 1 – 7000 Watt toroids in the near future and even larger industrial ones.”
Heins claims to have reproducible evidence to support his claims. “We have third-party data,” he told me. Moreover, “the power dissipation calculations are very simple and can be verified by anyone.”
Heins confessed that he is still trying to get the physics aspect of the technology, which he refers to as the Perepiteia Transformer, evaluated and published by a university.
Heins also sent me comments from various academics who have looked at the work. One of them states, “Your claims seem to violate the law of conservation of energy and Maxwell’s equations of electro-magnetics.” Heins perceives this as a positive statement, “It is very positive and rare for someone to actually put that in writing – very brave in my book,” he told me. However, Heins adds that the academic in question has not been able to take physical readings on the transformer prototype, and to my mind it sounds more like a skeptic’s voice rather than a supportive comment.
Another academic describes the technology as “a new source of electric power” but then goes on to advise Heins: “Do not explain the physics – stay with explaining ONLY the electrical POWER measurements – it will keep you out of a lot of media trouble.” That sounds like a sneaky and cynical response, if you ask me.
That correspondent “was responding to the press release not the transformer data or diagrams/explanations,” retorts Heins, [he] did not understand at the time that the back EMF that would otherwise couple back to the primary is now diverted into secondary coil 2 doing real work, I assume that [he] thought that I didn’t know where the extra power is coming from but I do and designed things to work as they do.”
Heins talks of how the technology is “Based on the unique theory of leveraging back EMF and upsetting the power balancing mutual coupling coefficients”, his company has apparently “developed and produced an operational transformer which exceeds 100% efficiency.”
“Any skeptic can recreate the same transformer in about 8 hours and get virtually identical results,” Heins adds, “I wound ours by hand so I know.” He concedes that it is hard to comprehend and says he was skeptical at first. “For a transformer the Law of Conservation of Energy can ONLY APPLY if mutual coupling exists from the secondary back to the primary. The Bi-Toroid diagram shows how this cannot happen and how the Law of Conservation of Energy is violated by simply employing Lenz’s Law and Maxwell’s Equations and controlling flux path magnetic reluctance.”
Heins adds that he has “coupling from the primary to the secondary. The reluctance flux path in the secondary is lower because either the secondary core area is greater or because we employ core material with a higher relative permeability which results in a decrease in reluctance. When the secondary reluctance is lower – back EMF induced flux from secondary coil 1 must follow the path of least reluctance into secondary 2 and not back to the primary. The primary operates only at magnetizing current levels (reactive current only) and does not draw any non-reactive current from the source. The law of conservation of energy for a transformer requires secondary back EMF to be able to mutually couple back to the primary – but if this flux path is higher it will not be able to do so.”
I’d be interested to see comments on these claims from the physicists among you, although better still it would be educational if someone were to reconstruct the device, test it and post their results. Can the laws of physics cope with a 7000% efficient transformer? Can we really get more energy out than in by diverting magnetic reluctance? I suspect that this really is simply one for the Controversial Conjectures folder once again.
It seems that one possible explanation of Heins’ observations is that his device is simply a brake and that when the circuit is shorted the brake is released and the wheel accelerates. “The changes in mechanical drag are due to changes in inductance and hysteresis,” explains Peter Lindemann.
In February 2008 Lindemann explained: “I have reviewed all seven video links. In all fairness, I would like to say that Thane has built some nice demonstrations and spent a lot of time running experiments. That said, the films show nothing important. First of all, the films do not show enough detailed information to evaluate the demonstrations. Second, no free energy is shown. In fact, the generators are never shown producing any useful outputs. They are either shown producing voltage in “open circuit” mode, or they are shown in “short circuit” mode, where the generated voltage drops below one volt. So, ZERO WATTS are produced in either case.”