Chapter Self Powered Engines

We have been raised with the idea that it is necessary to burn a fuel to produce power which we can use. We are sold coal, coke, timber, paraffin/kerosene, petrol/gasoline, diesel, propane, etc. for us to burn in order to "get" energy. While it is perfectly true that burning these things will indeed result in energy in a form which we find convenient to use in heating, cooling, powering engines, etc. what is carefully avoided is the fact that it is not at all necessary to burn a fuel in order to power the things which we want to power. This 'inconvenient' fact has been concealed and denied for more than fifty years now (very surprisingly, by the people who want to sell us these fuels to burn - do you perhaps think that they may have some motive for this, other than our best interests which they no doubt are very concerned about?).

This chapter is about 'self-powered' motors. Strictly speaking, they are not 'self-powered' but as they don't burn a fuel of any kind, in everyday language they can be described as 'self-powered'. In the same way that a solar panel in sunlight uses no fuel and yet puts out electrical power, these motors draw energy from the environment and provide us with mechanical power. In actual fact, power is never "used up" but just converted from one form into another. In the case of our trusty solar panel, some 17% of the radiation from the sun (mainly ultraviolet) is converted into electrical power and 83% goes in heating and other losses, but as we don't have to supply the sunlight, and the solar panel pours out the electricity which we want without us having to do anything to make it happen, we really don't care very much about its extremely low efficiency. As far as we are concerned, the electricity flowing from the panel is "free-energy".

It is really amazing that we have been persuaded that we must burn a fuel in order to get power. Take the case of a heavy-displacement sailing yacht. The skipper can voyage using his inboard diesel engine:

Energy Displacement Devices

This matches perfectly with the thinking that you need to burn a fuel in order to get power as the yacht is moving along, pushed by the engine which is powered by burning diesel fuel. But, what if the skipper decides to switch the engine off and set the sails?:

Solar Power

Solar Power

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