Swede's Dock

Fisherman's Revolutionary

Free Power Generator

Here's an idea that could maybe revolutize the power industry. Or maybe not.

We take a huge flywheel (say 4' in diameter) weighing say 5 tons. (Neither figure is important here. In other words, the flywheel could weigh more or less and the diameter could be more or less.) The important thing is the flywheel be heavy so that once it starts turning it's difficult to stop. (Note, huge flywheels were integral to early engines. Their inertia is what kept the engine turning between firings in the pistons.) The flywheel is mounted on a shaft supported by bearings on each side. (Probably tapered roller bearings which are nearly friction free. They are used in high end racing engines as crank bearings for those interested in that kind of things.)

Image yourself facng the flywheel from one end of the shaft. At the top of the flywheel is a large permanent bar magnet (PBM) that is parallel with the flywheel. ( In other words the positive end points to the left of the shaft and the negative points to the right. Or vice versa).

Surrounding the flywheel is a housing with several equally spaced electro magnets. For purposes of discussion, say at North, East, South, West (N E W S).

Okay, you can see where this is going. The flywheel is started by an external source. When it gets up to a given speed, power is applied sequentially to the electro magnets. Say the PBM is at N, N fires repelling the PBM until the PBM reaches NE (halfway between N & E) then shuts off. When the PBM reaches E, E fires until PBM reaches SE, ... And so on around the compass until PBM reaches N where it starts again.

The power to the electro magnets (EMS) is supplied by a generator attached to the flywheel shaft. The EMS are controlled by switches timed by the rpm of the flywheel.

This is just an outline of an idea. There are any number of variations that can be applied. Maybe dozens of PBMs on the flywheel and dozens of EMS on the housing firing at just the right time.

For this to work the generator ( or more likely an alternator as they are far more efficient) has to put out more than the EMS require to fire. Theorists will say it's impossible to get more energy out than is put in. And they are ALMOST certainly right. On paper this shouldn't work. But I bet it would. Once the inertia of the heavy flywheel got turning it would want to stay turning. As kids we all have set a bycycle wheel spinning and kept it spinning by slapping it as it spins.

And as long as it was turning, it would generate electricity. Whether it would generate enough to keep the EMS firing overcoming the friction inherent in the bearings, etc. and supply a surplus is, in my opinion, anyone's guess. I'm betting it would. And were I in a position to try it, I would. I have in my head building one using an automobile wheel filled with sand and water for a flywheel. Be relatively easy to use an axle as the shaft, etc. just to try it as a concept. Unfortunately I no longer have the resources to build anything or I would do it. ((I once built a battery turning a starter turning an alternator charging the battery. I worked GREAT ... for about 45 seconds, then blew apart. Flimsy bracket rigging I made. But it worked long enough to suit me {grin}. Another time an electric bike using a car battery. Worked pretty good too. about 12 miles on a charge, but killed the wife's bike in the process so that was the end of that. {sigh} Another time ...)

There may be some fundamental flaw in my thinking here but I don't see it. Further, let's say it would run down eventually (laws of friction, energy, cosmos, ..., etc.) and wouldn't/couldn't generate enough surplus to recover whatever original input power was required to start it in the first place. Say it required 10 horsepower to get it started and it only generated 9 "surplus" hp before it ran down. That could still be a winner if it ran long enough (hours or days) and was started during periods of low demand and ran (generated surplus) through periods of high demand. Say started in the morning, and ran through peak demand afternoons.

It would be an ideal adjunct to nuclear power plants, which run most efficiently 24 hours a day at peak power. Off peak production could be "stored" in the flywheels. Or say at manufacturing plants storing lower cost off peak power to use during high cost afternoons. Or ...

If a power plant could store say 500 megawatts during early morning hours (when the value of the output is nil) and then sell say 400 megawatts (assuming a 20% loss) in the afternoons when the value is at its highest, it would be the equivalent of building another power plant at little additional cost (environmentally or financially).

Lots more info on flywheel power storage here.

As far as I can find out (between Google and electrical engineers I have spoken to), no one has ever tried the idea of using magnets to *maintain* a flywheel speed. And from the links above, it appears flywheels are nearly as efficient as batteries for storing energy. The KEY here is using a heavy flywheel, as I see it. Building a "scale" model, using with a flywheel weighing only a few pounds say, I don't think would not work. The flywheel has to be heavy/massive.

Let me know what you think in the Comment box below.

You know, it just occurred to me, this would be a great project for MythBusters. Right up Grant's alley. {grin} As far as I can find, NO ONE has tried this particulat idea.

End Free Power Generator

Comments Received

Free Power Generator,Excellent
Comments-, it reminds me of a couple of idea's that i had for free power.
#1... using a series of spinning copper wrapped magnets built into guardrails that would generate free power as the cars passed by.
#2... build into the tops of highway bridges, wheel shaped air scoop spinners as wind operated generators . or
#3... build drive over kickboards at toll booths that are connected to spinning flywheels for power generation

I feel that all three ideas would generate free power as the cars and trucks passed by, and any effect upon the passings cars mileage would be inperceptable or negligible.
"He can compress the most words
into the smallest idea of any man I know."
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

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