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poisonedantidote's avatar

(Free Energy): Would my crazy free energy machine work?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21611points) January 3rd, 2013

I was just in the bath, when I had something of an idea for a free energy machine, and I am wondering if it would work.

As you know, if you put a drinking straw in a glass of water, you will need to create suction on the straw in order to get the water in to your mouth.

Also, if you put a hose pipe in a bath tub and blow down it, you will create bubbles in the water. The deeper in to the water the hose pipe goes, the harder you will need to blow to create bubbles, as there will be more water pressure to displace.

This is where my idea comes in.

What if, you made a long pipe, that had inside of it an electrical generator that would spin to create electricity, rather like the ones that create electricity in damns by having water flow in the river, a kind of wheel.

Lets say, the generator is designed to spin when you put the equivalent of about 0.5 atmospheres of pressure on to the wheel.

You then make the pipe so long, that it can be placed in to deep water, until it reaches 2 atmospheres of pressure. One end in the water at 2 atmospheres of pressure, and the other out in the air, at 1 atmosphere of pressure.

Would the water not flow up the pipe, through the generator creating electricity, and up in to the air, falling back down in to the ocean?

Here is an Illustration of it.

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14 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

I see I messed up the drawing a little, but I think it is good enough.

The only doubt I have, is if gravity (weight of water) would cause the flow to stop, but perhaps there could be a fix for that if that was the case.

CWOTUS's avatar

In a word, no.

There is no “free energy”, nor any possibility of free energy.

For one thing, the deeper water at higher pressure is at higher pressure solely because of its depth. It has no inducement to rise on its own.

There are inventions / ideas to use thermal differences between shallow and deep water to induce flows that might lead to some power generation – maybe. Nothing like that has been made that could work on a commercial scale yet. It’s doubtful that anything can.

Even if – let’s say “if” – you could find a way to induce natural water flows to generate power, the huge obstacles to transporting the power to shore is dwarfed by the so-far-all-but-insurmountable problem of how to construct something that can simply survive long term in the marine environment.

The cost to produce and deploy the thing, compared against the relatively minuscule power it could generate, makes it very far from “free” energy.

gasman's avatar

The air-filled pipe is submerged about 33 feet underwater, where the water pressure is 1 atmosphere higher than at the surface. The water will shoot up through the pipe (when you open the valve) until it reaches the surface, where it will stop rising. The same thing happens with the drinking straw – the liquid level inside the straw matches the outside. After that the system is static with no water flowing and no work being done.

The second law of thermodynamics is once again saved!

poisonedantidote's avatar

@gasman Yes, that is what I thought would happen.

What if, the pipe was much wider at the bottom of the pipe, and much thinner at the top, so there was less weight pushing down on the water that is pushing up. With say a kind of “cup” round the pipe, to lower the water level by the pipe, but not lower the water level of the total body of water.

Something like this

ninjacolin's avatar

“free engery” is a distracting term. Sounds more like you’re trying to create a power dam in the middle of the ocean.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@ninjacolin Yea, I guess the term “non functional vertical damn” would be more appropriate.

ninjacolin's avatar

The tube is like a reverse river.
Open the hatch and water races to the top of the tube.
Currently, dams seem to work by having the turbines of the generator at the bottom of the water pressure. So, the water all falls down on it instead of expecting it to rise up.


Rarebear's avatar

Without even reading I can tell you 100 percent no. Violates thermodynamics.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Rarebear Thermodynamics was asking for it by dressing like a slut.

gasman's avatar

@poisonedantidote The cross-sectional area of the pipe is irrelevant in hydrostatics – the pressure differential depends only on vertical height.

ETpro's avatar

All the naysayers are right. Free energy won’t be found in soda straws or hoses. Doing so violates the laws of thermodynamics. And unlike human laws, you simply can’t break the laws of physics.

That said, the sun sends Earth enough “free” energy each day to meet our current energy needs for a full year. The tidal pull of our Moon and the Sun on our oceans adds another Tera-watt of daily energy. Kick in wind energy for good measure. And geothermal. There’s plenty of real energy that isn’t free but can be tapped with little ongoing cost. We just have to escape the political gravitational pull of a $40 trillion per year fossil fuel industry intent on using its monetary clout to make sure free energy never is used and its profits go on for as long as fossil fuels remain to be exploited. Escaping that opposing force is the free energy machine to turn your thought process toward.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Thanks for all the answers.

I guessed it would not work, I know enough about science to know certain things are not possible, but as I have very little academic understanding of how pressure works, I thought it would be worth asking.

I knew that with a drinking straw that water would just level out, but a glass is not at 2 atmospheres of pressure, so I wondered what would happen with a deep enough pipe.

I thought perhaps it would still just level out due to the weight of water on top of the pressure, so wondered about what would happen with a wide to narrow pipe to limit the weight, but I now see it is just another pipe dream.

On to the next bird-brained scheme!!!

ETpro's avatar

@poisonedantidote Don’t stop thinking. There are a long litany of things science knew to be impossible before someone figured out how they were possible. Splitting the atom is one. All of quantum mechanics is another. Without quantum mechanics, GPS systems simply wouldn’t work. But hey, I still don’t trust a quantum mechanic to change my oil.

Rarebear's avatar

You might be interested in this Skeptoid episode.

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