Malcolm's review of the theory for Dennis Lee's free energy machine

created 11-14-96 last changed 6/26/97 -this page accessible as http://www.phact.org/e/dennis18.html

A fellow from the other side of the planet took a scientific look at a page posted by one of the most loyal men to Dennis

Source of document being reviewed

  The author of this material wishes people to know that this is personal opinions, that he has not to date examined Mr Lee's writings on his "work" and that he currently doesn't have access to the "Adams patent" to reference page numbers etc. Good morning Eric,
 

 

Please forgive me for the time it has taken to get onto this. I have so many hares running it is difficult to do them all justice. However....

I have studied some of the material you sent me in detail, and I think your instincts are well founded. I see some serious flaws in the Fischer approach. I must say, the chap who was describing this did sound convincing (to a point) and I think was quite sincere. Pity he broke out into discussion on feminism part way through. I have examined two of the posts and have a number of comments to make in addition to pointing out what I see as difficulties in implementing the cycle named above. Some of these thoughts have interesting philosophical implications, although on a more basic level, perhaps I could say that some definitions need to be re-examined. I will periodically (from now on) post to you seemingly at random as I read the pieces and send them back with comments. The first one or two of these will arrive today when I get time to type.

Regards, Malcolm

another post by Malcolm :

Hello Eric, Here is my first post on the topic in. Sorry about repeating all the text but I will comment where appropriate..... Now on with heat engines. Let's look at the physics again of the steam turbines used in electricity production. They use water as the working fluid. Water gets heated up, boiled into steam, then heated beyond the boiling point (called superheating in thermodynamics) to 2,000 F. Then the superheated steam is forced through turbines, producing electricity. Then the steam is cooled down by running it through heat exchangers that are in contact with a body of water, the steam condenses back into liquid, then it is piped back to the boiler to begin the process again. As we saw on our stove-top demonstration, a whole lot of energy goes into making the water boil. In fact the energy that goes into breaking the hydrogen bonds and allowing the water to lift off as steam is the equivalent to about 970 F. (I'm quoting from memory. That may be a few degrees off, but not many.) of water temperature increase. Today's most modern turbines achieve 2,300 F. boiler temperatures, and lets give our hypothetical turbine here the benefit of the doubt, and say it gets that hot. When I looked into it, the specific heat of steam was about 45% of liquid water. Specific heat is a measure of the degrees of temperature a substance will increase versus how much heat it absorbs. Heat and temperature are not the same thing. Heat is a grand total measurement of energy, temperature is a measure of one aspect of heat. If something is at a certain temperature, you have to know how much of it there is, and what its specific heat to find out how much heat it contains. Temperature is one third of the equation. So when you heat up water from 60 F, let's say (the temperature of our ubiquitous body of water),and we heat it up to 2,300 F., how much heat energy did it absorb? Let's calculate it. The specific heat of water is 1.0, and the specific heat of steam in 0.45, and 970 effective degrees go into getting the water beyond the boiling point. (And again, these are rough numbers, but I believe they are materially correct, correct enough to make my point.) The energy to get to a boil is 152 units of heat (212-60). The energy of boiling the water from 212 F. is 970 units. The energy of getting the steam up to 2,300 F. is 940 units ((2300-212) x 0.45) So the units of energy to get the 2,300 F. steam is 2062 units, and 970 of them, or 47% of them, are spent on getting the water to boil and turn to steam. In a steam turbine process there is no condensation of the water in the turbine, the steam is condensed after the turbine. So if the energy that went into the boiling the water was still in the steam when it left the (prime mover) turbine, that energy could not be used by the prime mover. And the fact that the steam had not condensed in the turbine means that the latent heat of vaporization could not be used. So with a steam turbine at those temperatures, it would be impossible to get more than a 53% thermal efficiency, because you are throwing away the latent heat of vaporization in getting the water to turn to steam. The Carnot formula says that a thermal efficiency of those temperatures could yield an efficiency of 81%, but because our working fluid is water, we could never get beyond 53%. That is a real world limitation introduced by our choice of water as our working fluid, the most commonly used working fluid next to air. And in reality we get about 35% efficiency, which means that almost three quarters of our thermal inefficiency is due to the fact that we are boiling water to use as our working fluid, and if you deduct the 47% from the 81%, it is saying that about 100% of our inefficiency is due to the latent heat of water. Dear experts: this is a CPA writing this stuff, and I may be making a mistake or two in this presentation. I solicit any correcting information or theories to this presentation. A part of me resents that I am the one doing this stuff. Vastly more qualified people could do this far more justice than I can, but they are silent for one reason or another, fear by no means the least of them. Here is where we start looking more closely.... And now here comes the Fischer cycle, which might end up upending Carnot, thermodynamics and the rest. Victor Fischer is a brilliant man who worked in a number of fields, including cybernetics, which partly a study of the human brain. He developed some extremely sophisticated computer programs, and in his spare time he decided to try solving a problem with it. And here we will do a limited review of thermodynamic cycles. The Rankine cycle of boiling water, sending it through a turbine, condensing it, and sending it back to the boiler, is a classic cycle, and variations of it are used in making electricity, powering ships, and other applications. The Otto cycle is what powers your auto, pun intended. It is run by the explosion and exhaustion of hot gases. The Stirling cycle heats and compresses gases. Jet engines work off of other cycles, intaking, combusting, and exhausting gases. That is by no means an exhaustive list of all the thermodynamic cycles that have ever been invented, but those comprise the major ones, and you will find what they all have in common is a gas powering the prime mover. Carnot's famous ideal engine was supposed to be independent of what the working fluid was. When Carnot was writing his paper, though, the only kind of engines he had seen were steam engines. And he began his theoretical ideal engine working with an ideal gas. An ideal gas is merely a gas that is sufficiently raised in temperature above its boiling point to have the atoms or molecules all act like an "ideal" gas, which means that the molecules bounce off of each other, do not cling together and begin to form a liquid, and other properties. In Carnot's seminal work he uses his ideal gas as the working fluid for his ideal engine, then he uses mathematical logic to extrapolate that logic to all other working fluids. I have seen the math on that one, and I certainly couldn't see the flaw, as if I could. So Victor Fischer set out deliberately to see if he could find a new thermodynamic cycle. He built a program to do the analysis of all the known thermodynamic cycles, and began loading data from all of them. So the story goes, it didn't take very long before a new cycle suggested itself from the data analysis: a hydraulic heat engine. What is a hydraulic heat engine? you ask. It is an engine that uses a liquid to drive its prime mover. If you look at those other cycles, a gas drives them all. OK, so how does a Fischer (named after his grandfather) cycle work? Here is the bare bones description. In the ones I have seen built, water was the working fluid, but doesn't have to be. In this cycle, the water goes into a boiler and gets heated. But instead of being able to expand and become steam when it boils, this boiler contains the water under pressure, so you have hot water under extreme pressure. The critical temperature of water is a little over 700 F., which means that if water gets heated to that temperature, there is no force known to man to keep it in its liquid state, it will turn to gas. So the Fischer cycle couldn't get a temperature above 700 F. In fact this is a prime mover in volcanoes in my opinion. So the water is in this highly pressurized (up to 3,000 psi) environment, at a high temperature (assume 700 F, here), and it goes down a pipe, to enter a cylinder where it makes contact with a piston head. Then the intake valve is shut and you have 700 F., 3,000 psi water all alone in a cylinder, pressing against a piston head. The piston head is the prime mover of this cycle. The piston head naturally gives backward under the tremendous pressure exerted by the water. As the piston moves back, now there is more room in the cylinder, and not all the water can remain liquid, some of it is forced to vaporize, and as the piston is moving back, the expanding space will by definition lower the pressure in the cylinder. So you have 700 F. water at 3,000 psi being given the opportunity to vaporize, and here is where it gets interesting. If you study water at all, you find it to be a remarkable substance. It has a boiling point far above substances with a similar molecular weight, and the reason is the hydrogen bonding. Hydrogen bonding (in the case of water) is where the hydrogen atom of a water molecule will also be attracted to the oxygen atom of a neighboring water molecule, linking the two molecules. This hydrogen bonding is what makes water the miraculous substance that it is. In this situation in the Fischer cycle, these water molecules at 700 F. and 3,000 psi behave unusually, according to Fischer's theories (which appear to be supported by the data). When the head of the piston moves back, some of the water has to vaporize. But it apparently doesn't vaporize into monomolecular water vapor, but the water forms huge metamolecules, bonded at the hydrogen bonds. This is critical to understanding the thermal efficiencies attainable with the Fischer cycle. As the piston continues its travel down the cylinder, there is work being performed, as the energy in the water gets transferred to the piston and the mechanisms it is attached to. The pressure keeps going down, and so does the temperature. The temperature is going down for two main reasons. One is that the work is being performed, taking energy from the water, the other is as the water vaporizes, that latent heat of vaporization effect kicks in, cooling off the water. When the piston reaches the end of its stroke, what is left in the cylinder is one atmosphere pressure water (about 14 psi), which falls out a hole in the bottom of the cylinder, which goes straight back into the boiler. This cycle does not need a cooled condenser. Okay! Now it is important to note that _any_ pressure relief results in water flashing to steam. So we have a vessel containing superheated water under great pressure at 700 degrees. If we now let some flow to the piston chamber, is there not pressure relief occuring in the heating vessel? To avoid this, there must be either water going in at the same pressure (under force note) or the volume of the heating vessel must be reduced by exactly the amount of the water removed (once again with considerable force applied). I presume from the writer's failure to mention this that this is a simple undertaking and requires no expenditure of energy!! Anyone see a problem here? What maintains that pressure as the water flows through to the piston chamber? Presumably we don't want the water flashing to steam in the pipe conveying it. Perhaps this explains why steam is usually used. You see, in allowing steam to flow to the piston under pressure, more steam is formed in the heating chamber to maintain the pressure. Nothing else needs to be altered (boiler volume, water inflow etc.). Now I can see physicists, engineers, and thermodynamicists jumping up at this point, yelling, "That's impossible!" A number of Fischer cycle engines have been built and run, I have seen them myself in action, and they don't need external condensers. The implications of what I have just stated are awesome. If this was true, you could just about sweep aside every other thermodynamic cycle, it would put them all to shame. Not only are there all sorts of practical aspects of an engine like this that make it vastly superior to every other steam engine ever made (No lake nearby to cool the working fluid, much lower working temperatures, making much easier fabrication and operation of the engines, etc.), there are some crucial thermodynamic aspects that I don't fully understand, but I will make a stab at presenting it. The science of thermodynamics today is more than heat engines and heat pumps, it is the science of the flow of energy, in all energy systems. It still has to do with temperatures and motion though. There is a concept that has been presented, but not given its scientific name yet. It is the concept known as entropy. When Carnot observed the hot always went to cold and wrote about it, that is considered the first Western conceptualization of the entropy concept. This observation became the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Entropy is another term for disorder. The Law states that for any closed system, disorder always increases and never decreases. It is also related to temperatures finding equilibrium, hot going to cold and the two bodies staying at the same temperature, like the soup in your kitchen. We now have to start imagining the atoms and molecules of the substances that are banging around in heat engine and heat pump processes. Let's start with a block of ice, or a grain of salt. When substances are solid, particularly when they in their pure form (all of the same element or molecule), like a grain of salt or an ice cube, the atoms or molecules will arrange themselves in a very orderly fashion. That is because of the geometry of the atoms or molecules themselves. Salt is a compound of sodium and chloride, one atom of each. If you got a grain of salt under a powerful electron microscope, you might see something like the diagram below, taken from one of my cave man paintings. I won't win any graphics arts contests. And now to what I see as a problem in definitions. Entropy. The arrow of time. The inevitable march from hot to cold. The march from order to disorder?? Let's have a think about that. I would consider that an ice crystal displays considerably more order than water, and it is colder. Agree? What about a salt (NaCl is the author's example mentioned elsewhere). Is there more order in the molten state or the frozen state?

It is clear from statements in the next piece I shall comment on that the author is confused and knows it but can't see where the problem is. I suggest it is in the definition of order and disorder. In this piece (above), the author states that "Entropy is another term for disorder. The Law states that for any closed system, disorder always increases and never decreases". But in the next piece, the author contradicts this completely and claims that entropy increases as the system is heated. More shortly, Malcolm

the rest of Malcolm's response

Hello Eric, Continuing..... What I hope comes across from that image is the sense of orderliness the salt grain has. The atoms are aligning up with each other according to the electrical charges of their atoms. In salt, the sodium atom basically gives the atom of its outermost electron shell (A very long class that I won't get into here.) and allows the chlorine atom to fill its outermost shell. The sodium atom then takes on a positive charge because it has one less negatively charged electron in it, making it have one more positively charged proton than it has electrons. The chlorine atom now has an extra electron, and therefore takes on a negative charge. The two atoms are attracted to each other, but the sodium atom is also attracted to the chlorine atom of the neighboring salt molecule, so there is an alignment of the molecules so the positive/negative attractions get fulfilled. And that is how the geometry of the molecules gets set. So salt in its solid state has a very orderly arrangement of its molecules. That arrangement is called a lattice. And that lattice is uniform through and through the salt grain, and that is why if you look at a grain of salt under a magnifying glass, you will find it to have a very definite geometric shape, which is the big version of what the lattice looks like. All crystals have their shapes based on how the molecules are aligning along their electric charges and atomic geometry. Here we have a statement that a crystal of salt is more orderly than its heated molten counterpart. Fair enough. Ice is the same way. But a water molecule isn't shaped as > simply as a salt molecule. Snowflakes are six-sided, which also reflects that microscopic geometry of how the molecules align along their hydrogen bonds. The two hydrogen atoms bond to the oxygen atom at the ends, and a water molecule is shaped kind of like a triangle. And here is a close-up of the hydrogen-bonding, and the hydrogen atoms are attracted to the oxygen atoms of neighboring molecules. I have drawn the water lattice (ice) with space between the molecules due to the way the geometry lines up between the molecules. My drawing is an exaggeration of the way it really is with ice. Ice, we know is less dense than liquid water, which is why it floats. And the reason is literally given in my diagram, as the lattices create space between them as the hydrogen bonds dictate how the molecules align. When you melt ice, or salt (At a very high temperature, don't try that at home!), what is happening is that the increased temperature also increases the molecular vibration, and eventually the vibration becomes so great that some of the hydrogen bonds break. The lattice partially fractures, and the crystal shape collapses. A liquid is a jumble of partially broken lattices. I am making a guess here, trying to remember my chemistry classes of twenty years ago, but I think in liquid water at room temperature, at least three-quarters of the hydrogen bonds are intact. Only some of them have collapsed. The crystalline state is a very orderly one, the liquid state is only slightly less orderly. But in the gaseous state, the molecules are no longer bonded to each other at all, but flying around in a vast space, colliding with each other once in awhile. This takes us back to that concept known as entropy. And what is it? Disorder. And as the lattice of the ice crystal gives way to the partial lattices (as it gets warm enough to melt), entropy is increased. What is called the latent heat of the phase change can be thought of as an increase in entropy. In fact it can be seen as a pure increase in entropy. So we now have an increase in entropy when things are heated?? It is clear that the writer's expressed uncertainty lies with definitions of order and disorder and equating both those things to entropy and with temperature. We cannot have it both ways. Now here is where I start getting a little uncertain about > what I am writing about. It seems that when temperature increases, the temperature increase is what is called a useful increase in available energy (to run a heat engine, etc.), and the increase in the disorder of the molecules is known as entropy, and is energy that went to molecular vibration and disorder, and is considered an unrecoverable waste of useful energy, but it is unavoidable. So when the water in the pot in the kitchen boils, all of that energy going into boiling is increasing the entropy of the water. And that seems to make sense, as the entropy is called unrecoverable energy, dissipated to disorder. That is patently false. The writer is claiming that we cannot recover the heat from heated water in effect. Well I certainly can. If I put a pot into a sink of heated water, I can heat my pot and cool the water. I can then lift the heated pot from the water. I have indeed extracted some of that energy. And as I showed in the steam turbine, the energy that went into turning the water into steam is the main unrecoverable portion of the energy that went into the boiler, as the water is still in its gaseous state when it comes out of the turbine. If the turbine exhausted liquid water, then you might be able to say that the latent heat of vaporization (entropy) was recovered. Let's now go back to the cylinder in the Fischer engine, as the piston is getting driven down by the expanding water. When the expanding water is forced to vaporize, Fischer has theorized that the water is not vaporizing into monomolecular steam, but the hydrogen bonds are staying largely intact, and the steam is in the form of huge metamolecules, bonded at the hydrogen bonds. Fisher named this phenomena Fischer Steam. So the piston keeps traveling backward, and Fischer steam gets created, and work is being performed. That is fair enough, but none of this overcomes the problems of maintaining pressure in the heating vessel. If you think of the metamolecules in your mind's eye, you can see that they are much more orderly than monomolecular steam, which means there is less entropy being created, which also means that more of the energy being expended is going to work, and less to entropy. I think my comments above have shown the obvious confusion in these statements. Fischer says that only about 1% of the water that goes into that cylinder vaporized in that piston cycle. So more of the energy contained in that hot, pressurized water gets converted to work, and less gets wasted in creating entropy. That is why it doesn't need a cooled condenser to take the entropy away: it didn't create much in the first place. There, I think I did it some justice, though I'm sure Fischer or others could have explained it much better, and I think I tripped over myself somewhere in there, but not a major blunder, I hope. So you can maybe now better see how the Fischer engine will have a much higher thermal efficiency than a conventional steam turbine. How much better? I'm not sure, though I saw some of Fischer's numbers. I believe Fischer has stated a thermal efficiency of one third better than the best steam engines of today. But also remember that his engine has a maximum temperature of 700 F. if water is used as the working fluid, and the best turbines operate at 2,300 F. I know the first crude prototype built by Fischer achieved a thermal efficiency of 28%, or was it 30%? I can't remember exactly. At a 700 F. boiler temperature and exhausting to a 70 F. "condenser," the Carnot numbers are 54% maximum, of which 28% is 51%. Over half the Carnot ideal with the first prototype, closer than trillions of dollars of gas engine design and manufacturing got. Not bad. The latest patent I know of by Fischer (He has patented his engine internationally, so the U.S. government can't steal/suppress it, of course invoking national security as a rationale, another time-honored way to bury technology that threatens the corporate status quo.) is U.S. patent number 4,747,271. I have heard Fischer state that he thought his engine wedded to Dennis' heat pump had a chance at making free electricity. But wait, doesn't the Second Law of Thermodynamics say that is impossible? I heard Fischer talking about that once. He went back to Carnot laying awake at night, in his barracks, thinking about his ideal engine. Again, Carnot assumed an ideal gas for his heat engine, then extrapolated that logic to all working fluids. And because stem engines were all he knew, he could be forgiven for not foreseeing liquid heat engines. I believe Fischer said that extrapolation to all working fluids is in error. I agree. BUT, nowhere in this piece can any claim be made that more energy can be extracted than was put in to heating the water in the first place. > Boy, I sure don't know. I am not about to take on the > Second Law of Thermodynamics, not me. Maybe someday Fischer can tell the world his theories in front of the blackboard. I am skeptical free energy can be made with Dennis' heat pump and the Fischer heat engine. I am not saying it can't be done, I'm saying that my understanding of thermodynamics doesn't tell me how it can be done. The Fischer heat engine and The Alternative are both very likely quantum leaps in the heat engine and heat pump technology, together worth trillions of dollars in the world marketplace, and should be replacing everything out there, but I will reserve my judgment whether free electricity is possible with them working in tandem. I have seen other giant minds agree with Fischer on these issues, I just haven't had the benefit of them educating me. From my study of science and its history, stranger things have happened than a two hundred year-old "Law" getting overturned. So I won't laugh at Fischer, and so shouldn't anybody that calls themselves scientifically-minded. If you are truly scientifically-minded, the next step might be investigating this further. Do I think a Dennis Lee heat pump and a Fischer cycle engine are going to be the energy technologies of the 21st century? No. Do I think that because I don't think they are viable? No. They are both quantum leaps beyond what is on today's market in heat engines and heat pumps, of that I have no doubt. But if Dennis and our project can survive the forces of suppression that are being directed at him and so many others, it will open the door for many other suppressed technologies, some of which are hard to believe. A casual review of suppressed free energy brings up name after name, like T. Henry Moray, an American who had an undisputed free energy device, one tested many times by scientists from around the world, disassembled, tested miles from any power source, etc. President Franklin Roosevelt even ordered the Rural Electrification Administration to work with Moray, and then came the Big Boy energy intrigues, people began getting shot at, Moray even had gunfights in his laboratory with agents of the dark ones, and eventually a hammer-swinging agent destroyed his prototype, and Moray is one of a long line of pioneers that have met similar fates. Heat engines and heat pumps are primitive today, and if the forces of darkness are ever removed from their coveted seats of power, humanity will enjoy technologies that we can barely imagine today. Nothing Moray ever produced has come to light as meeting claims of free energy, or even energy extraction e.g. from the Schumann cavity. I am currently examining (with a friend) quantifying possible extractible energy from the cavity, but our methods are totally different to anything attributed to Moray and moreover, at this stage we have no idea how large a collector might have to be to extract, say, 1kW on a continuous basis. As this is the subject of ongoing research I will say no more, but you can be sure that nothing we do will violate known and tested laws of physics. The rest of this post is irrelevant to the discussion. Malcolm

- end of Malcolms rebuttal

start of pro dennis response ................................................................ I believe we are nearing the end of the age of moving part technology. My deep esoteric studies, which I have only briefly touched on in this home page so far, I have studied that stuff far longer and more intensely than all the other subjects presented on this home page put together, and my conclusion of those studies is that we are on the brink of something truly wondrous or ghastly, or both. My understanding is that technology is about to get feminized, and indeed must if we are going to survive on spaceship earth much longer. And that is a huge subject in of itself that I won't get into here. If we survive the coming transition (actually we are taking our baby steps into it today), an age of nurturing, non-invasive and non-destructive technology awaits, an ideal blend of masculine and feminine principles. And I'm sure hardly any of my readers can even begin to imagine what I am talking about, and I can barely imagine what a feminized technology will be like, though I have read plenty of descriptions of it in esoteric literature, the testimony of UFO "abductees" and the like. It is time for women to begin to stand forward in the world society, but not adopting the male model, like the Margaret Thatchers of the world have (Though she and others have played their important roles in blazing a path to allow women to get to the stage at all.), but coming to the world stage fully in touch with their femininity. It is time for women to bring their nurturing selves onto the world stage, after millennia of being subjugated by the paternalistic, chest-beating male culture that has taken this world to the brink of destruction. It is also a time for men to discover their feminine side, one that we all possess, and to discover a balance in all of us where masculinity and femininity each take their equal, honored and essential places. An unbalanced masculinity is dangerous, as is an unbalanced femininity. Androgyny is going to be "in" soon, and those men who cannot get in touch with their emotions and the intuitive and nurturing aspects of themselves (They are there are, just denied and buried deeply in so many of us.) are the biggest group at risk today. It is time to bring the world back into balance. And that is the end of my "feminist" speech and my science lesson, and I hope it was educational. __________________ end of pro-dennis response -------------- Return to the Home Page Eric, Thanks for taking the trouble and no worries about the html content. It is Friday here. I will copy these documents and study them over the weekend. I have expert help I can call on if the ob- vious eludes me or the field is a bit unfamiliar. I will be delighted to personally try and uncover the hidden flaw. Regards, Malcolm > -------- REPLY, End of original message --------

Tom Napiers discussion of heat pumps:

720 words December 18, 1996 Tom Napier Are Heat Pumps the Key to Free Energy?

The claim has been made that, since the electrical energy needed to run a domestic heat pump is about a sixth of the heat energy which it puts out, one could convert some of this heat energy back into electrical form. This would generate enough power to run the heat pump and still leave some over to sell back to the utility company. In free-energy-speak the result would be an "over-unity" device. After all, if the heat pump is 600% efficient it looks as if the conversion back to electricity need only be about 30% efficient to come out well ahead.

Since the early nineteenth century it has been known that the amount of heat energy in something, a gas, a liquid or a solid, is proportional to its temperature, measured on the Kelvin scale. (Zero Kelvin is -273.2 C or -459.8 F) A liquid at the boiling point of water, 373 K, which cools to the freezing point of water, 272 K, still contains 73% (273/373)of its original heat energy. The 27% difference represents how much of its original heat energy was extracted as the liquid cooled.

In principle, an engine with its input maintained at boiling point and its output maintained at freezing point could convert all of this 27% of the input heat energy into useful mechanical energy. The remaining 73% of the input energy is carried away by the cold output and can't be used. No engine running between these two temperatures can, even in theory, convert more than 27% of the input energy into output energy. Of course, any real engine will have a useful output of even less than 27%.

To get an electrical output, one drives a generator with the mechanical output of the heat engine. Luckily generators are quite efficient so almost all of the available mechanical energy can be turned into electrical energy.

The ideal heat engine is reversible, that is, if mechanical energy is put into it, it will output heat energy. A heat pump uses mechanical energy to move heat from a low temperature input to a high temperature output. The output heat energy is equal to the input heat energy plus the input mechanical energy. A heat pump running between the freezing and boiling points of water has an output of 100% for a mechanical input of only 27%. Thus the heat energy output is 3.7 times the mechanical energy input. 73% of the output energy is coming from the cold input.

Using more typical figures, say 40 F for the outside air and 70 F for the room temperature, 94.3% of the heat supplied to the room comes from the outside air. Only 5.7% needs to be supplied by the mechanical energy input. Thus the heat energy supplied is more than seventeen times the mechanical energy put in. In a real heat pump the mechanical energy comes from an electric motor; the heat output would be, perhaps, twelve times the electrical input.

If the same electrical energy were used to generate heat directly, for example, in a convector heater, the heat energy put out would equal the electrical energy put in. Thus a heat pump is a much more efficient way of generating heat than is a convector heater. However, this only means that convector heaters are not the most efficient way of heating your house, not that a heat pump is 1200% efficient.

Suppose, as has been proposed by free energy advocates, we use the heat pump's output to drive a heat engine and a generator. The engine's hot input would be at 70 F and its cold output would be the 40 F outside air. Under ideal conditions, the efficiency of the conversion back to electricity will be 5.7%. That is, the generator will supply exactly as much energy as we put into the heat pump in the first place.

This relationship applies whatever temperatures we chose as input and output. What you gain in the heat pump, you lose in the generator. In any real device the energy out will be less than the energy in and the overall efficiency will, sadly, be well under unity.

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