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Earth as a generator

Generate electricity at the north and south poles.
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Electricity is generated when you pass a conductor across a magnetic field. As the earth is a 'giant' magnet, why can't we spin a conductor at the north or south poles to generate electricity?
doctorbill, Sep 28 2006

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       "why can't we spin a conductor at the north or south poles to generate electricity?"
Because it would take you more power to spin the conductors than you would get from the magnetic inductance on them.
st3f, Sep 28 2006
  

       There is a way to get "free energy" by lowering a conducting wire from orbit. NASA has looked at this.
theircompetitor, Sep 28 2006
  

       //Electricity is generated when you pass a conductor across a magnetic field// last time I saw a conductor generating electricity was at a Shostakovich concert
xenzag, Sep 28 2006
  

       Just use a couple of skyhooks anchored to the universe to hold the conductor still, and let the earth rotate the magnetic field around it.   

       FREE ENERGY!!! WEEEEEEE
Custardguts, Sep 28 2006
  

       [TC]: That's a fascinating concept which I'd like to know more about. Do you have a handy link? Or can you advise me how to look further into the subject?
jurist, Sep 28 2006
  

       //There is a way to get "free energy" by lowering a conducting wire from orbit.//

It ain't free. It comes at the expense of kinetic energy. That is, it sends you to a lower orbit. Extract enough of this "free energy" and you will burn up in the atmosphere. Yet more free energy!
ldischler, Sep 29 2006
  

       //why can't we spin a conductor // You can, it just isn't going to do any good. For several reasons.   

       As was said above, it would take more energy to spin the thing than you would get out of it. We've seen schemes to harness the earth's rotation at the poles, somehow, but this idea doesn't even try that.   

       And, you wouldn't get much electricity out of it, anyhow. The earth's magnetic field is very weak, even at the magnetic poles. (BTW, the magnetic poles are not at the geographic poles, so your useless generators would be in the wrong place, too.) We don't usually use the earth's magnetic field for anything except compasses, do we? No, as it is far too weak.   

       Oh, and spinning a conductor in a continuous field isn't going to do anything, anyhow. You have to have a difference somewhere to cause current to flow, I think.
baconbrain, Sep 29 2006
  

       North Pole, South Pole, think about how far apart they are, the wire needs to pass thru both fields to produce a current. Earth spins on axis so the rotation doesn't help. Concept can happen but not likely to produce cheap energy.
SuperHole, Oct 01 2006
  

       "the wire needs to pass thru both fields to produce a current."
I think you need to swot up on your physics.
st3f, Oct 02 2006
  

       Erm, isn't this just wind/wave energy? Presumably, and in time, both are helping the Earth's spin to slow... (Hang on, reads post) Oh..   

       [St3f] How about an array of non-geostationary orbiting satellites with wires stretched between them, passing over the poles - Then, every now and again (when their monstrous batteries/capacitors are charged) some lucky location on Earth receives a HUGE lightning strike, or a fleet of space shuttles could harvest them (the capacitors/batteries, that is).
Dub, Oct 02 2006
  
      
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