Free Energy Isn’t. Surprise!

Last year, a company based in Ireland called Steorn announced that they were building a working model of a free energy machine using magnet-based technology they termed “Orbo.” This claim was, of course, met with skepticism and a big fat “yeah whatever” from the rest of the world.

The company planned to reveal their magical machine on July 4 2007 in London before a panel of scientists and a streaming web video. Because, you know, historically that’s how most laws of physics are overturned. Wait . . . now that I think of it, this is much more reminiscent of the way King Louis XVI’s committee of academics told Mesmer to STFU re: animal magnetism.

Anyway, Wednesday was July 4 if you didn’t notice, and Steorn’s free energy machine was unveiled, found to work perfectly, instantly destroyed everything we know about the universe, drove the entire energy industry into the ground, and ended the war in Iraq.

Hold on . . . I’m sorry, that was just a beautiful daydream I experienced while waiting for Steorn’s demonstration to start (and taking vast amounts of mescaline). What actually happened was that the light bulbs in the display area made the machine too warm, causing a Goldbergian chain reaction leading to total failure. From the Steorn site:

Steorn announcement: Kinetica Demonstration Further to Steorn’s announcement yesterday (5th July) regarding the technical difficulties experienced during the installation of its “Orbo” technology at the Kinentica Museum in London, Steorn has decided to postpone the demonstration until further notice.

Sean McCarthy CEO stated that “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.”

He continued that “we apologise for the inconvenience caused to all the people who had made arrangements to visit the demonstration or were planning on viewing the demonstration online.”

Over the next few weeks the company will explore alternative dates for the public demonstration.

Whoops! Oh well, I guess the most groundbreaking discovery mankind has ever stumbled upon will just have to wait until the UK finally figures out air conditioning.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Hang on. I'm no materials scientist, but it's just weird that this thing would be damaged by the heat from display lighting. What's their device made of, Camembert?

  2. I think it's axiomatic that free-energy schemes work best in the dark, just as an open wallet is best for catching the vibrations of healing life-force.

  3. How pathetic. Yet another crew of loonjobs to further weaken the credibility of real science and research.

  4. You see it was developed in Steorn's dublin office, and the weather we have here is very different to London, so with all the atmospheric conditions and all it's no wonder it didn't work. Also, it's a big fake.

    There are some interesting comments on the Steorn forum:

    my favourite is:

    "My family laughed at me last year. I wonder why. :( "

    Lots of former believers are having a bit of doubt…

  5. So wait, the amount of heat produced by *lights* is enough to take out something that generates *energy*? I'm no rocket surgeon, but I am pretty sure that any process of producing energy will involve non-trivial amounts of heat.

    Any potential investor that doesn't see this as a pure scam is too stupid to have money.

  6. "Free energy isn't free…

    It costs folks like you and me.

    And if we don't all chip in,

    We'll never pay that bill.

    Free energy isn't free…

    No, there's a hefty f***in' fee.

    And if you don't throw in your buck 'o five,

    Who will?

    Oooh buck 'o five

    Free energy costs a buck 'o five…"

    Shamelessly adapted from Team America: World Police

  7. Actually, you'd think that ANY free energy machine would actually work better with the input of some external energy, in whatever form (like heat from overhead lamps).

    Those of us who actually abide to the laws of physics know that with no external input at all, there's not going to be any output either.

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