By Richard Walters
Subtitle: A promising new alternative energy source, neglected in the U.S., advances in the Far East
Physicist Bruce DePalma has a 100 kilowatt generator, which he invented, sitting in his garage. It could power his whole house, but if he turns it on, the government may confiscate it.
The DePalma generator is essentially a simple magnetized flywheel, ie a magnetized cylindrical conductor rotating at high speed with the help of a motor. His astonishing claim is that the present versions of the N machine can generate up to five times more power than it consumes. This, of course, defies the basic law of the conservation of energy, which says that the output of energy cannot be more than the input. Most physicists simply refuse to look at DePalma's findings and dismiss his theories out of hand. Yet "proof of principle" for his invention was apparently provided when a large N machine, dubbed the Sunburst, was built in 1978 in Santa Barbara California. The Sunburst machine was independently tested by Dr. Robert Kincheloe, professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford University. in his 1986 report (presented to the Society for Scientific Exploration, San Francisco, 6/21/86), Kincheloe noted that the drag of the rotating magnetized gyroscope is only 13 to 20 percent of a conventional generator operating at an ideal 100 percent efficiency, the DePalma N machine could produces electricity at around 500 percent efficiency.
In Kincheloe's cautious summary: "DePalma may have been right in that there is indeed a situation here whereby energy is being obtained from a previously unknown and unexplained source. This is a conclusion that most scientists and engineers would reject out of hand as being a violation of accepted laws of physics and if true has incredible implications".
"The jury is still out on the DePalma N machine," says physicist Harold Puthoff, a senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin, Texas. "It isn't clear where the reported excess energy is coming from--whether out of the elecromagnetic field or as the result of some anomaly associated with rotating bodies in terms of inertia. The DePalma machine needs to be replicated on a broad scale to see if it actually works. Though I'm rather skeptical, I certainly would encourage independent laboratory experimentation. While such a phenomenon would have seemed to absolutely go against the law of energy conservation a number of years ago, we now recognize that the potential for extracting energy out of so called empty space is in fact a reality".
Not So Empty Space
Puthoff, a PhD. from Stanford University, believes that a new, non polluting energy source may be achieved by tapping the force random fluctuations jostling atomic particles within a vacuum. Scientists now know that "empty" space seethes with what are called vacuum fluctuations: huge amounts fo energy that suddenly burst forth, jiggling particles to and fro. Puthoff has developed his own theory, zero point energy, in an attempt to tap the abundant power found in the vacuum of space. He and associates in a new company, Jupiter Technologies, may soon try to manufacture zero-point energy machines. DePalma described his N machine and outlined a theory to explain its workings in a paper, "On the Possibility of Extraction of Electrical Energy Directly From Space", published in the British Science Journal, Speculations in Science and Technology (Sept 1990, Vol 13 No 4). So far, the scientific establishment either has ignored DePalma's controversial claims or remains unaware of them.
Patent *Not* Pending
No one has ever obtained a patent for an N machine in the U.S., although in the San Francisco area alone, there are some 200 patent applications relating to such devices. The U.S. Patent office automatically denies a patent to any gizmo which purports to produce more energy than it consumes, on the grounds that its personnel are not equipped to evaluate such claims. DePalma is quick to point out that the N machine is not a perpetual motion machine, that mythical contraption long sought by frustrated inventors. "The perpetual motion machine is only supposed to run itself. It could never put out five times more power than is put into it. Perpetual motion schemes used conventional energy sources, whereas the N machine is a new way of extracting energy from space". Other scientists-inventors who attempted to build and operate free energy machines have been intimidated and harassed by the U.S. government. At least one inventor had his device confiscated by the Defense Department on the grounds that its free energy technology endangered national security interests. This inventor was put under a gag order, so that he could not even tell the press that his N machine had been confiscated. This is ironic when one considers that the idea for the N machine came directly from a famous experiment performed by Michael Faraday in 1831.
U.S. Not Interested
The U.S. energy monopoly, which pushes for the development of oil, gas, coal, and nuclear power--while defunding solar energy and other non polluting alternatives--apparently does not want to see free energy emerge as a viable option. Meanwhile, other countries, notably India and Japan, are vigorously pursuing what might prove to be a technological breakthrough. (is this yet one more example of the Invented in USA/Made in Japan" syndrome, the outcome of American shortsightedness and vested interests?) In India, eminent engineer Paramahamsa Tewari is currently testing his invention, called the Space Power Generator (SPG), which essentially replicates DePalma's N machine. With 5 kilowatt total input, the SPG is reportedly yielding 30 kilowatt electrical output (correspondence to B. DePalma 8/13/90).
Tewari, a senior engineer with India's Department of Atomic Energy-Nuclear Power Corporation, also directs the Kaiga Project, India's largest atomic power facility, in Karnataka. He freely acknowledges his department to DePalma, who has shared his experimental results with Tewari for many years. According to Tewari, "The electrical power generated by the Space Power Generator is indeed commercially viable and should be brought to the notice of the general public." He has urged India's Atomic Energy Commission to create an independent research group to advance free energy technology. Tewari also credits John Wheeler, the prominent American physicist and discoverer of the black hole, for his steady encouragement. Wheeler, who had been searching for a mathematical theory that would predict free energy, applauded Tewari for his efforts to develop such a theory, and the two scientists corresponded for several years.
The Japan Science Foundation, under Japanese government auspices, awarded grants to two universities and one company to produce models of the N machine and to investigate how it works. Kazama Giken Corporation is commercially supplying small N machines for research and educational purposes . Another Japanese company, Panasonic/National, is also perusing this technology. Shiuji Inomata, PhD, president of the Japan Psychotronics Institute and senior scientist at the Electrotechnical Laboratory in Ibaraki, has been instrumental in sparking the interest of Japan's scientific community in the N machine. "One day man will connect his apparatus to the verty wheelwork of the universe... and the very forces that motivate the planets in their orbits and cause them to rotate will rotate his own machinery," predicted Nikola Tesla, the Croatian born American electrical genius whose discoveries and inventions rival those of Edison. Proponents of the N machine believe that it taps directly into a primordial energy source, meshing with the wheelwork of the cosmos.
A Wrong Turn
"Electrical engineering took a wrong turn 160 years ago," according to Tewari, referring to English scientist Michael Faraday's pioneering work of the world's first dynamo. In 1831, Faraday performed a series of experiments which led to the modern electric induction generator, having two moving parts--a rotor and a stator. Faraday moved a wire near the pole of a magnet, producing an electrical potential across the ends of the wire. This induction principle is used in all the electrical generators we use today. And that's precisely what Tewari means by a "wrong turn." In that same year, 1831, Faraday also performed a simple yet ingenious experiment with a rotating magnetized conductor. The resulting phenomenon (free energy?) has yet to be explained in terms of conventional scientific theory.
By cementing a copper disc on top of a cylinder magnet, and rotating the magnet and disc together, Faraday created an electrical potential. After pondering this phenomenon for many years, he concluded that when a magnet is rotated, its magnetic field remains stationary. Thus, he reasoned, the metal of the magnet moves through its own field, and the relative motion is translated into electrical potential.
Farady's experiments led him to the revolutionary conclusion that a magnetic field is a property of space itself, not something attached to the magnet, which merely serves to induce the field.
Known for over 150 years, the Faraday homopolor generator, as this contraption is called, has been viewed by a handful of visionary inventors as a basis for evoking the free energy latent in space. They see it as the prototype for a generator capable of providing its own motive power with additional energy to spare. When the world embraced Faraday's two piece induction generator, whose drawbacks include mechanical friction and electrical losses, the enormous potential of the Faraday homopolar generator was abandoned, in the opinion of free-energy proponents. Following in Faraday's footsteps, DePalma in 1978 speculated that free energy could be tapped from the matrix of space simply by magnetizing a gyroscope. "I reasoned that the metal of the magnetized gyroscope moving through its own magnetic field, when rotated would produce an electrical potential between the axle and the outer edge of the rotating magnetized flywheel," he explains.
This insight led to his N machine, essentially a one piece rotating magnetized flywheel, "Instead of having a rotor and a stator, as do conventional generators, the n machine only has a rotor.. Half of the flywheel is the north pole, the other half is the south pole. One electrical contact is put on the axle, another contact is placed on the outer edge of the gyroscope, and presto, electricity is taken directly out of the magnet itself.
Idea Put to the Test
For 150 years after Faraday's controversial experiment, no one bothered to see whether or not a rotating magnet generator would have to to the same amount of work as a conventional induction generator in order to produce and identical power output. Then, in 1978, the aforementioned Sunburst homopolar generator was built. Tests determined that is output power greatly exceeded the input needed to run the machine, that it was much more efficient that an induction generator. Opinions differ as to the exact mechanisms by which the N machine generates energy. In 1977 Tewari created a minor sensation when he put forth the theory that space is filled with a dynamic medium whose swirling motion is the source of all matter and energy. In his Space Vortex Theory, more fully developed in his 1984 book, Beyond Matter, the Indian engineer inventor postulated that a void lies at the heart of the electron-- a void whose high speed rotation within a vacuum could produce energy from space. Tewari's theory is based on the assumption that the electron has a definite structure, and is not just a homogeneous "droplet of charge". According to Tewari, the movement of "voids" in the spinning magnetized cylinder of his Space Power Generator liberates free energy out of sthe space between the machine's axis and the magnet. He readily admits that this sounds incredible, by the yardstick of known laws of physics. Tewari says he never would have developed his theory had he been trained as a physicist rather than as an engineer, since his ideas differ so radically from conventional physics.
"Tewari's explanation is perfectly possible," comments DePalma. "He is attempting to conceptualize what's happening between the atoms and where the energy is liberated."
Concept of Magnetism
"My own approach," continues DePalma, "is that space is all around us like the sea of water the fish swim in. The only way you know it's there is to distort it in some way, and the simplest way to distort space is with a magnet." DePalma maintains that his own conception of magnetism as a distortion of a pre-existent homogeneous field is "the first new thought on the fundamental nature of magnetism since Oersted." Having taught at MIT as a lecturer in physics for 15 years, DePalma grew increasingly dissatisfied with mainstream physics' explanation of the way things work. His current view of the universe would strike many conventional scientists as heresy.
For example, modern science says that energy is a constant substance in the universe, and that the conversion of energy from one form to another will lead to the heat-death of the universe eons from now. In contrast, says DePalma, "My cosmos is an open-ended universe, one in which energy can be evoked from space itself. All energy comes from space," he maintains, "and there are various processes which can release this energy, the simplest of which is lighting a match or rubbing two sticks together."
Suppose you light a candle. The heat in the flame derives from the release of latent heat stored in the wax, according to the textbooks. Nonsense says DePalma. "The law of energy conservation is pure assumption," he insists. In his theory, the heat of a lit candle comes from space, and this substrate is slowly consumed by the energy of space flowing through it.
When you drive a car, the heat latent in the gasoline is extracted through burning, which propels the pistons. Right? Wrong says DePalma. His understanding of the process is that the gasoline-air mixture, catalyzed by an electric spark, acts as a "molecular antenna" to release energy from space. Heat energy thus released cooks or burns the substance which is evoking it in the first place, producing exhaust.
Likewise, when a magnet is rotated in the N-machine, DePalma theorizes, the electrical current comes from the space through which the magnet is drawing its energy, not from the magnets mechanical rotation.
DePalma's approaches to other basic phenomena are equally unorthadox. In the mid-1970's he performed the "Spinning Ball Experiment," which purportedly demonstrated that a rotating object will fall faster or go higher than an identical non rotating object with the same initial velocity. If true, these results fly in the face of all knows physics. The experimental procedure is simple: Take a steel ball bearing (the kind used in a pinball machine), set it rotating, drop it, and measure how fast it falls. Compare its time with that of an identical but non-rotating control ball.
DePalma explained his anomalous results in terms of free energy added to the motion of the rotating object. These and other experiments led him to formulate radical new concepts of rotation, gravity, inertia and motion in general building on the work of pioneers in the field. He published his findings on the Spinning Ball Experiment in the British Scientific Research Association Journal in 1976. He also outlined the Spinning Ball Experiment to Dr. Edward Purcell, a Harvard physics professor, one of the most eminent experimental physicists at that time. According to DePalma, Purcell, after contemplating the experiment for several minutes, blurted, "This will change everything."
Applying New Technology
"Applied physics is not engraved in stone," says Don Kelly, president of the Space Energy Association (SEA/US), a group of engineers, scientists, and inventors dedicated to developing free-energy technology. Today's free-energy scene encompasses a bewildering array of devices, including N machine, Russian plasma generators, a Swill hybrid converter (combining free-energy components and solid state methods), permanent magnet motors (PMMs), the multiple-coil Hubbard Generator, and various hydrogen power systems. A standout among the latter group is the "Enerex" H20 unit invented by Yoshiro Nakmatsu, known as the "Edison of Japan." This prolific inventor--father of the floppy disk--claims that his pollution free Enerex unit runs on tap water alone and can generate three times as much power as a standard gasoline engine. An H20 splitter, the Enerex produces hydrogen as the working fuel.
Kelly notes that Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands all have active free-energy research associations, with which SEA/US exhanges information. Nevertheless, he feels that the nascent free energy technology faces opposition in the United States from government agencies, academics, and vested industrial interests. Kelly envisions free energy eventually gaining acceptance and application through a grassroots movement of do-it-yourselfers around the country. SEA/US publishes an interesting quarterly newsleter, available to members. (Space Energy Association/U.S. P.O. Box 11422, Clearwater, FL 34616; phone 813-441-3923; membership dues are $35 per year).
Economics of the N machine
DePalma Energy Corporation has not sold a single machine yet. To build an N machine by hand, the company charges around $500,000. Bruce DePalma claims that, if mass produced, the cost of his machine would drop to a mere $400 to $500. He points out that a typical 100 kilowatt AC generator costs a little over $100,000, and add that an N machine putting out the same amount of power could be manufactured for one third to one half the cost in regular production. His goal is to set up technology sharing agreements with clients who would manufacture his machine. Surveying the variety of electro-magnetic free energy units available or on the drawing boards, Don Kelly concluded that most of them are plagued by fuzzy applied physics, lack of technical and financial support, and "a distinct cost effectiveness problem." However, Kelly singled out the DePalma N machine as "the mainstay for this F/E category" and "the best of the F/E units for its potential today." He gave the N machine a high "KISS rating" (KISS=Keep it simple and stupid) due to the machines simple, one-piece rotor performs better than today's conventional two piece generators," says Kelly.