Sometimes it's worth questioning just what someone's intentions are in the green energy biz. Forbes did just that a while back with Zap and a British company, Steorn, is getting some attention these last few days because of a failed public performance of their supposedly amazing Orbo free energy technology.
Here's the deal: Last year, two Irish businessmen, Sean McCarthy and Richard Walshe, and 28 Steorn investors took out an ad in the Economist announcing their free-energy system and invited scientists to join a 12-member jury to double-check the machine (?) and the numbers behind it. As you can probably guess, a lot of scientists signed up.
The Orbo is supposedly a system of magnets so positioned as to keep a central wheel spinning and produces like 285 percent more energy than what was used to run the machine. There's not a whole lot more publicly available than this, because Steorn folk are talking about legal issues and wanting to make sure the science is valid before releasing the full details. What Steorn will say is that, "Orbo is the brand name of our free energy technology. Orbo is a technology that produces free, clean and constant energy. It can be applied to power products ranging from portable music players to cars."
Read more about this Steorn and Orbo after the jump.
Steorn also describes Orbo this way:
Orbo produces free, clean and constant energy - that is our claim. By free we mean that the energy produced is done so without recourse to external source. By clean we mean that during operation the technology produces no emissions. By constant we mean that with the exception of mechanical failure the technology will continue to operate indefinitely.
Last week, Steorn was supposed to do a public demonstration of the Orbo at the Kinentica Museum in London. But, wouldn't you know it, the unfortunate happened and Steorn has postponed the demonstration until further notice. The reason given by Sean McCarthy CEO? "Technical problems arose during the installation of the demonstration unit in the display case on Wednesday evening. These problems were primarily due to excessive heat from the lighting in the main display area. Attempts to replace those parts affected by the heat led to further failures and as a result we have to postpone the public demonstration until a future date."
Maybe this has to do with the disclaimer on Steorn's website: "This Site is controlled by Steorn from its offices in Dublin, Ireland. Steorn makes no representation that Materials or Ideas in the Site are appropriate or available for use in other locations, and access to them from territories where their content or use is illegal is prohibited." One way to read that is that it says, um, the ideas presented on the site (i.e., Orbo's free energy) might only work in that one office? I see.
All right, maybe you've heard enough to scoff. I scoff with you. TerraPass calls Steorn's hoax-like announcements and website as a promise of ponies for everyone. I haven't spent a lot of time there (because I can't figure out how to access them), but the Steorn forums are apparently a place ripe with claims and counter-claims. It goes without saying really that we'd all love a car that will not only get you where you want to go but also have more power in the battery when you got home than when you left. There's just no reason to believe this is actually possible. Yet. Or ever.