Remember the perpetual motion machine called Orbo? It's back!

I've been following news about a company called Steorn for many years now. They claim to have developed a technology that generates more energy than it consumes. Every time they've had a public demonstration, it doesn't work. I'm not surprised.

I thought they'd given up, but they are back. And they have a new video, which appears to be a webinar for investors. Michael Ferrier, who runs a blog about Steorn, has a good recap:

Description of the Orbo PowerCube internals

[Steorn CEO Shaun McCarthy] showed the internal components of a PowerCube, described how the energy generating Orbo power pack works, and even demonstrated the process of manufacturing a simple device of this kind.

The Orbo battery (or power pack) is made up of three components: two dissimilar metals and a layer of chemical gel that sits between them. The two metals can be sheets, or "basically any physical format". Shaun compares the resulting combination of components to a galvanic cell. However, in a galvanic cell, the chemical agent would be chemically eroding the other components; but in the Orbo battery, the chemical layer is completely inert and has no chemical interactions with the magnets.

The process of producing an Orbo battery involves taking these three layers, two dissimilar metals separated by a chemical (the formula of which is "not that simple"), heating them up to just beyond the melting point of the chemical, and then very slowly cooling them, which allows the chemical gel to retain an electric field that is impressed up it. The result is that a permanent electric field is "frozen" into the gel material, with positive and negative poles. This polarized electric field then interacts with the two dissimilar metals to generate an electric current, in a way that is analogous to how the magnetic fields in the "classic" perpetual motion machine Orbo interacted with one another to generate force. The electric field frozen into the gel material works in a way that parallels the frozen magnetic fields of permanent magnets. The term for a device with this sort of permanently frozen electric field is "electret", a portmanteau of "electric" and "magnet".

Shaun states that when polarized the right way, "what you end up with is something that is positive and negative." "It doesn't matter what you do to me, I will always polarize." The Orbo battery is thus an electric field version of the original magnetic Orbo. "So it is consistent, similar, and in many ways an incredibly simple piece of technology."

According to Shaun, Steorn's first battery prototypes were built approximately 2 years ago, and are still outputting power 24/7. Shaun says, "we know theoretically these materials will hold an electric field for circa 800 years."