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Polaric Energy

Some Assembly Required...
 
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This would obviously require extensive construction work, none the less here it is. It is a means of exploiting the Earths own electromagnetic feild for electricity (I don't know if anyone's already suggested this).

We would first build magnetic-material arreys at the northern and southern poles of the planet, which would have to extend high into the atmosphere (perhaps multiple towers), which would be linked together across the planets curvature by a skeleton of conductive metals through which electric current would spread.

What I know of equilibrium in nature (self-confessed as "not an awful lot") tells me that in order to maintain its EMfeild at the poles, the earth would first need to fill up the proposed skeleton with all the current it could take. Any drain on the system once maximum capacity had been established might be quickly, if not instantly replenished.

Large conductor blocks set beneath cities would also need to be filled up, and from there the cities in question would gain their power supply.

I am of an opinion that the "charge up" time would cause environmental upset.

I'm not sure, really, wither there is all that much land to build such an arrey on at either pole, but the Japanese do practice artificial means of land extension and perhaps this could be used in this case.

arclyte, Apr 08 2003

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       Why not build a version using a small permanent magnet and a wire? You could use it to power a flashlight.   

       I can’t believe nobody has thought of this yet.
AO, Apr 08 2003
  

       If I'm reading this correctly, [arclyte] is suggesting that a conductor connecting the poles of a magnet would have a current flowing in it. Unfortunately, a magnetic field is not the same as an electric current. For a current to be induced, the conductor would need to move *relative to the magnetic field* (emphasized to pre-empt arguments of the form "the conductor moves when the Earth rotates").
A somewhat similar scheme, not fully detailed, formed the background to the novel "Omega" by Stewart Farrar.
angel, Apr 08 2003
  

       What about if we used a conductive gas inside the proposed skeleton? That could be made to move independant of the earths rotation if we fanned it, heated it, or something.
arclyte, Apr 08 2003
  

       I'm pretty sure we can somehow use the fact that the earth is secretly hollow to our advantage here.
snarfyguy, Apr 08 2003
  

       This brings up a curious question that I'm not certain I ever got a proper handle on, (one of the reasons I'm no EE). Is a magnetic field conservative?, meaning, is it 'used up' when an electric field is generated by it? If I had a theoretical magnetic field somehow, if I generated a current, is there a potential magnetic field drop of some sort, that would lower the output of a second induced current?
RayfordSteele, Apr 08 2003
  

       Haven't we done something very similar to this idea recently?
krelnik, Apr 08 2003
  

       arclyte - electromagnetic energy is conserved. i'll go as far as to say energy is conserved, period. (until we start arguing on the quantum level ;-)   

       you *can* generate electricity by cutting Gaia's magnetic field, but not to any degree or in any form that's particularly worthwhile to bother with. (eg. a jet screaming across the magnetic lines will create a current across the wings. you'll sure put a lot more energy into that than you'll get out. it would be more efficient to burn the fuel to power a generator)   

       no croissant, but i'll give you a good effort star ->*<- for "good try". :-)
cameron, Apr 09 2003
  

       [Rayford]: A magnetic field is not conservative, in those terms. The electrical energy generated is a function of the strength of the field and the relative speed of the conductor moving in it (among other things).
angel, Apr 09 2003
  
      
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