New Energy Research
Free energy and perpetual motion

©2007 Ing.Xavier Borg

Alternative energy, Perpetual, Overunity, Zero Point and Free energy systems

These days we often hear about these terms, which are mostly used in so called fringe science websites and articles. Most people dismiss the contents of such information as soon as they are presented with one of the above mentioned terms. We do not usually learn much about these terms in any scientific course, nor are they mentioned in most of our textbooks, however, it is very important one knows the correct definitions for such systems, before discrediting what might be a serious article or website content that might really offer something new to our civilisation.

Alternative energy

Hydrogen cell Fossil fuels, are considered to be today's main energy source. These involve the burning of coal or hydrocarbon fuels, which are the remains of the decomposition of plants and animals. Fuel combustion heats water to create steam, which turns a turbine, which, in turn, generates electricity, waste heat, and polluting combustion gas by-products. There are three main types of fossil fuels: coal, petroleum, and natural gas. These are the main fuels used today to power our houses and automobiles.
Alternative energy systems are those systems which aim at finding other ways to source our energy needs (mainly in the electrical form), by converting mostly natural resources instead of fossil fuels. These include hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, wave, biomass, hydrogen, vegetable oil, tidal, solar, and geothermal systems. The problem with most of these systems is that in most cases, energy is not available on demand, and must be stored in order to be used when the source is inactive. Another problem relates to the technology in producing the actual energy converting devices, because some of them require more energy during their production process than all the summed up energy they convert during their whole lifetime!

Perpetual motion and overunity

Perpetual wheels

Pictorial evidence of apparently perpetual machines, mainly of self rotating wheels, are found scattered across the globe in different civilizations, and date back to about 2000 BC. The present definition of perpetual motion refers to a condition in which an object continues to move indefinitely without being driven by an external source of energy. In effect by its very definition, such motion requires a system which consumes and outputs at least 100% of its energy constantly, sustaining ZERO net loss as a result of the laws of thermodynamics. So, by its own definition, perpetual motion would violate either the first or second or both laws of thermodynamics and is thus considered impossible. Perpetual machines are classified in two categories, referred to as class 1 and class 2. A perpetual motion machine of the first kind produces strictly more energy than it uses, thus violating the law of conservation of energy. Over-unity devices, that is, devices with a thermodynamic efficiency greater than 100% (unity), are perpetual motion machines of this kind. A perpetual motion machine of the second kind is a machine which spontaneously converts thermal energy into mechanical work. This need not violate the law of conservation of energy, since the thermal energy may be equivalent to the work done; however it does violate the more subtle second law of thermodynamics. Note that such a machine is different from classical heat engines, which always involve a transfer of heat from a hotter reservoir to a colder one, the latter being warmed up in the process. The signature of a perpetual motion machine of the second kind is that there is only one single heat reservoir involved, which is being spontaneously cooled without involving a transfer of heat to a cooler reservoir, against the law of entropy. This conversion of heat into useful work, without any side effect, is impossible by the second law of thermodynamics. Here I would also like to add an interesting definition of Perpetual motion taken from Ogilvie's old Imperial dictionary. It defines Perpetual motion as follows:

That which generates a power of continuing itself for ever or indefinitely, by means of a mechanism or some application of the force of gravity, not yet discovered. The celebrated problem of a perpetual motion consists in the inventing of a machine which shall have the principle of its motion within itself, and numberless schemes have been proposed for its solution; but unless friction and the resistance of the air, which necessarily retard, and finally stop, the motion of machines, could be removed, a perpetual motion must be impossible from any pure mechanical combination. The problem, when strictly investigated, amounts to this - namely, to find a body which is both heavier and lighter at the same time, or to find a body which is heavier than itself. In speaking of perpetual motion, it is to be understood that from among the forces by which motion may be produced we are to exclude not only air and water, but other agents- as heat, atmosperic changes, etc.. The only admissible agents are the inertia of matter and its attractive forces, which may all be considered of the same kind as gravitation. The planets in their orbits, and in their rotations on their axis, furnish instances of perpetual motion.

Perpetual wheels However, not all machines that 'run forever' fall under the category of perpetual motion. We can give examples of possible ways which can move indefinitely, without breaking any of these two laws. For example, it is possible to design a machine to run on the differences in either barometric pressure, tidal, gravity or temperature shifts between night and day. Such machines have a source of energy, and even if they can do work indefinitely, that is, as long as both machine and the universe exist, they do not fall under the category of perpetual machines, and hence are theoretically possible. The problems arise, when such perpetual machines use a kind of energy which has not yet been identified and accepted in mainstream science, sometimes, even if there is undeniable proof of its existence. Classical examples of such systems include cold fusion, magnetic, and gravity or zero point energy converters. However, even in such cases, there is a source and a sink for energy transfer, and they cannot be categorised as perpetual systems, nor do they break the first or second laws of thermodynamics. All they break is usually a paradigm which makes us assume they are all impossible. The truth is, science in its present state is not able to either deny or confirm the possibility of converting any of these potential energies into useful forms.

Free energy

Wind turbine Free energy does not mean perpetual motion, although perpetual motion does imply free energy. Free energy, are alternative energy conversion systems that tap into naturally and preferably abundant and clean sources of energy. The term 'free' does not usually refer to the cost of the system, which is usually far from being free, but to the cost of 'fuel' keeping it going. In fact, some of the existing alternative energy solutions, fall under the free energy category. These include solar, wind, tide, and geothermal, but also non-conventional ways, which tap into background energy. Unless somebody can first prove that background energy is void of any electromagnitic radiation, extracting power from this vast sea of energy that surrounds us is no more impossible than extracting power from a solar cell. A free energy system, which is not a perpetual system, does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. It is simply a conversion of energy from one form of free 'fuel' into another form that is usable. It may be true that background radiation is a low grade type of energy, but we have a vast reserviour is worth investigating it further. It is very different from perpetual systems, which expect the creation of energy out of nothing. One has to note however, that a free energy system whose type of energy at its input is not recognised, is part of the background radiation and therefore is not easily detected, can sometimes be dismissed as a perpetual energy system.

beware of postulates Before introducing (or revisiting) the most important laws of physics, I feel it is imperative for one to be cautious of a dangerous threat hidden in every law - THE POSTULATE. The term postulate, sometimes also referred to as an axiom, indicates a starting assumption from which other statements are logically derived. It does not have to be self-evident. Some postulates are experimental facts, but some are just assumptions not based on anything. One such example is the constancy of speed of light in Einstein's special relativity theory. All laws and theories have at least one postulate, otherwise, the chain of derivations within it will have no beginning, and would therefore be a circular definition. An example of a circular definition is Einstein's way to describe gravity using the rubber sheet analogy, which describes the particle 'sloping down' in the vicinity of a massive object, due to a force (of gravity) underneath the rubber sheet. So to avoid a circular definition, some initial statements not necessarily following from anything are required to build a logical law or theory. These initial statements are called postulates. Although not always the case, postulates are usually evident from experimental work, but sometimes, they are just based on intuition, or general approval, or perhaps made up for the sole purpose of serving as basis of a new theory. One such example is the cosmic inflation postulate, supporting the Big Bang theory. Unfortunately, many theories and laws are being spoon fed to students without exposing the fundamental postulates on which the same theories have been built, postulates which could make the theory fail in particular applications, or which may result to be plain wrong if scrutinised. So, before blindly applying any law to your problem, make sure you get to know all underlying postulates, and make sure they can be correctly applied to your particular problem.

The laws of Thermodynamics

The Zeroth Law states: If two thermodynamic systems are in thermal equilibrium with a third, they are also in thermal equilibrium with each other. This law has been introduced recently in the 20th century, much later than the other three laws. It basically states that when two systems are put in contact with each other, there will be a net exchange of energy between them unless or until they are in thermal equilibrium.

The first law states: In any process, the total energy of the universe remains constant. It simply means that the amount of energy lost in a steady state process cannot be greater than the amount of energy gained. This is the only thermodynamic law that is not statistical, and thus is considered the only secure law of present science. In physics, this is known as the law of conservation of energy of isolated systems. Notice the hidden postulates: isolated system, and a closed finite universe. Nöether's Theorem, states that if a system has a particular symmetry, there is a quantity associated with that symmetry that is conserved. By this theorem, the principle of conservation of energy is a consequence of invariance under time translations, that is symmetry in time. The conservation of energy law does not apply to systems which are not symmetrical upon time translation or reversal, nor does it apply if the system is not isolated or the universe is not finite.

The second law states: There is no process that, operating in a cycle, produces no other effect than the subtraction of a positive amount of heat from a reservoir and the production of an equal amount of work. This means that energy systems have a tendency to increase their entropy rather than decrease it. It is known however that a microscopic system may exhibit fluctuations of entropy opposite to that dictated by the Second Law, and so, this law is only valid for macroscopic systems or long durations. Quoting Maxwell (who was also a thermodynamicist): 'The truth of the second law is a statistical, not a mathematical, truth, for it depends on the fact that the bodies we deal with consist of millions of molecules. Hence the second law of thermodynamics is continually being violated, and that to a considerable extent, in any sufficiently small group of molecules belonging to a real body.' (J. C. Maxwell, Tait's Thermodynamics II, Nature 17, 278-280 [7 February 1878]).

The third law states: As temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of a system approaches a constant, equal to null.

It is not usually stressed enough, the fact that there is a very fundamental assumption in these laws, even in the first most 'secure' law of thermodynamics, or what we usually refer to as COE (conservation of energy). They ASSUME a closed system, and are born out of pure mathematics or statistical work, unprovable in the real world. Unprovable, because no one has yet been able to isolate a closed system. We are not even sure that the universe as a whole can be regarded as a closed system, which is a strict requirement for the conservation of energy law! In fact principles such as uncertainty, and entanglement, would seem to indicate that either it is impossible for a truly closed system to exist, or that our idea of a closed system is not taking into account other phenomena or energy exchanges which cannot be easily or possibly isolated from our systems. For example, one might consider a mechanical engine as a closed system, and finds out that it's impossible to get two similar efficiency readings. This could for example be due to changes in external ambient temperatures which were not taken into account in the first place. So, in such a case, ambient heat must be taken into account as part of the system. But, still, we find that even at absolute zero Kelvin, the ground state energy does not go to zero, and this means that other yet unknown energy sources must be taken account, or at least have their existence accepted by mainstream science, which is currently not the case. And that's why the list of anomalous effects in science is getting longer year after year.

Conservative force fields and closed loops

A conservative force field is a special kind of vector field that can be represented as the gradient of a potential. A force field is just a construct, which helps us visualise the effect of one object on another. In fact, one easily finds out that the SI units for electric force field, magnetic force field and gravitational force fields are not the same. This means that a force field is not a parameter per se. So, what do all these force fields have in common? It is when one works out the response to any of these fields that he always gets a result with the dimensions of force. That is, if one works out the response of a charge to an electric field, the result is a force vector. Similarly, if one works out the response of a mass to a gravitational field, the result is also a force vector. Again, if one works out the response of a magnetic pole to a magnetic field, the result is still a force vector. The equations used to work out the response of an entity within a field, are known as the equations of motion:

Static electric force vector Fe = qeE
Static magnetic force vector Fm = qmB
Gravitational force vector Fg = mg

Examples of conservative and non-conservative forces
Always conservativeAlways non-conservativeMay be both
Path independent workPath/velocity dependent work

In all cases, the field is always a result of a similar entity, which means that electric fields are due to the presence of electric charges, magnetic fields due to magnetic poles, and gravitational fields due to mass. Note, that I am using the statement 'due to the presence' and not 'sourced by'. The real source of the potential gradient, resides in vacuum electromagnetic energy. This choice of words would seem insignificant for most, but it actually has drastic effects on field equations which assume the response equations to be linear.

ying yang

A conservative force is one that does zero net work on a particle that travels along any closed path in an isolated system. Basic postulates in this definition are the existence of a single point particle or point charge, a closed path, and an isolated system. A conservative force field can be represented as the gradient of a potential. Gravitational forces, electric forces, and magnetic forces are known to be conservative in a time-independent (static) field. Electricity and magnetism are distinct phenomena as long as charges and current are static. The work done in any closed loop shape, by such forces is independent on the path taken by the particle or charge and is equal to zero. This simply means that if a mass, electric charge or magnetic charge travels a closed loop in a static gravitational, electric or magnetic field respectively, it can never gain energy, or do any useful work. The work done in travelling from point X to Y, is always equal and opposite to the work done in travelling from point Y back to X. But if you really think about this, and consider the fact that the earth and solar system are in continuous rotational motion, you find out that the point X from where you started is never the same point in space of point X you returned. In fact, if you return to point X within 1 second from leaving X, you will be off by about 30km from your initial starting position, after just taking into account earth's rotation!

All machines work in a cycle, and so, we learn that for a particle moving under the action of a force field acting in the direction X to Y, there will be a path in the direction Y to X where the force acts against the direction of travel required to get the particle back under the positive influence of the force field. If both force field and the distance travelled by the particle in the direction of the force field are constant, then, the total work done will be zero. The situation can change, if either one of these parameters changes during the particle's way back. That is, if either the force field or the effective space-time distance travelled by the particle during its way back is different than that during its forward path, then, the total work done will have a non zero value. Net work done is also possible if the properties of the particle in motion deviate from that of a theoretical point particle during one closed cycle, in other words, if the system is no longer linear.

Maxwell's demon

maxwells demon Maxwell conceived a thought experiment as a way of furthering the understanding of the second law. His description of the experiment is as follows:

... if we conceive of a being whose faculties are so sharpened that he can follow every molecule in its course, such a being, whose attributes are as essentially finite as our own, would be able to do what is impossible to us. For we have seen that molecules in a vessel full of air at uniform temperature are moving with velocities by no means uniform, though the mean velocity of any great number of them, arbitrarily selected, is almost exactly uniform. Now let us suppose that such a vessel is divided into two portions, A and B, by a division in which there is a small hole, and that a being, who can see the individual molecules, opens and closes this hole, so as to allow only the swifter molecules to pass from A to B, and only the slower molecules to pass from B to A. He will thus, without expenditure of work, raise the temperature of B and lower that of A, in contradiction to the second law of thermodynamics.

It can be shown that the second law of thermodynamics will not actually be violated, if a more complete analysis is made of the whole system including the demon. The essence of the physical argument is to show, by calculation, that any demon must generate more entropy segregating the molecules than it could ever eliminate by the method described. That is, it would take more thermodynamic work to measure the speed of the molecules and selectively allow them to pass through the opening between A and B than the amount of energy gained by the difference of temperature caused by this. Speed detection requires the molecules to come into physical contact with a detector, or interact with photons to sense their properties remotely, and this would consume energy. Information processing by the demon, then, is a process that necessarily consumes energy and equals any work that could be derived from a heat gradient produced by the demon. This led to the introduction of information into the world of thermodynamics, and how order, energy and information were related very closely. In practice, the only way that such a setup can work is to surround the demon by a lower temperature, so that the molecules cannot interfere with its function, but then the contradiction with the second law of thermodynamics also vanishes since we have created a heat gradient. So, for Maxwell's demon to contradict the law, it must be physically disconnected/ isolated from the action of the molecules which it's monitoring while being immersed in them and performing its velocity dependent function.

Nöether's Theorem and Symmetry

In 1915, Emmy Nöether derived what today we know as Nöether's theorem. She was one of the most brilliant mathematicians ever born. Quoting Einstein: 'she is the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of woman began'. His comment is not surprising, given that this theorem was developed specifically to address the problem of energy conservation in his theory of general relativity. One can also understand the reason for which Einstein had no other choice but to stress the fact that universal constants should be time invariant. This powerful theorem allows physicists to predict the physical properties of a system, by just analyzing the symmetry of various transformations in space and time. Three important results of this theorem can be applied to any closed physical system and generalised as follows:

  • invariance with respect to spatial translation gives the law of conservation of linear momentum
  • invariance with respect to rotation gives law of conservation of angular momentum
  • invariance with respect to time translation gives the well known law of conservation of energy

  • The last point simply means that the conservation of energy is a direct consequence of the fact that all laws of physics (including the values of the physical constants as G, h, c, ...) are invariant under translation through time; that is, they are not supposed to change as time passes.(!!) Not all systems have the required time translation symmetry, however and in fact there is no known definition of energy in general relativity for systems which lack the required symmetry.

    Although Nöether's Theorem is not as widely known as the above mentioned laws of thermodynamics, it is much powerful than all of them, as they all can be derived from it by the proper analysis of the symmetry of the system in question. In fact, a break in symmetry can invalidate ALL laws of thermodynamics, and ALL universal constants, but NOT Nöether's Theorem. The most interesting point about it, is that both logic inverse and logic converse of her theorem are also true. This in effect gives us a better understanding of physics, and puts SYMMETRY as a property of ultimate importance in physics. It is thus concluded that symmetry properties should form the basis of any physical theory and that conservation 'laws' should only follow once such properties are known. Unfortunately, Nöether's Theorem was never given the priority it deserves, and we are instead taught the above 3 generalisations as unconditional laws, instead of simply results of Nöether's theorem in the case of confirmed closed symmetrical systems. Instead of applying Nöether's theorem to asymmetrical systems, we just add the effects within these systems to the ever growing list of anomalous effects. As one might conclude after reading the rest of our research, this theorem may ultimately be found to be the only thing left intact of all known physics laws, and that by simply analysing the relationships between physical parameters, as derived in our ST system of units, and the symmetry of the system, all the rest can be derived.

    The Principle Of Virtual Work

    Stevins theory

    This principle, also called as the principle of excluded perpetual motion or Stevin's principle, was the foundation of sciences of electricity, heat and chemical energy. The method starts by imagining a virtual displacement of the system, then calculate the work that would be done by each force during this virtual motion. This is called the virtual work. If the sum of the work done by the virtual forces is zero, the system is in equilibrium, and will not accelerate. In practice the analysis is usually carried out by imagining very small displacements. This principle was admired by Mach. In his works 'Conservation of energy' and 'Mechanics', Mach showed the important role which the principle of virtual work had played in the development of mechanics. The endless chain of Stevinus could be used to determine the relationship between the incline of the plane and the weight held in equilibrium, Galileo's principle that a body must rise to the same height from which it fell was used to deduce the principle of inertia, Huygen's principle of centre of oscillation for systems of bodies and rigid connections set the general conditions of equilibrium. In each case, a deduction from symmetry is attempted, but as Mach patiently showed, in every case the symmetry involved is that of the capacity of the system for work in the two configurations of the system that are considered symmetrical, the principle involved that a weight shall not rise of itself, or that it shall not be able to raise another equal or greater weight as a mere result of falling. Thus, the great natural investigators always applied this implicit principle whenever they applied the principle of excluded perpetual motion. Mach's conclusion is that despite the principle of the excluded perpetual motion being the the foundation for mechanics everywhere, it is never proved, or provable, within mechanics itself. Quoting Mach: 'The whole of mechanics is thus based upon an idea, which, though unequivocal, is yet unwonted and not coequal with the other principles and axioms of mechanics. Every student of mechanics, at some stage of his progress, feels the uncomfortableness of this state of affairs; everyone wishes it removed; but seldom is the diffuculty stated in words.'

    Vacuum energy and ZPE

    These two terms have been defined since a long time ago, and are part of mainstream physics. I still find comments like 'I do not believe in ZPE' or 'Vacuum is void of energy' in some discussions taking place over the web. Note that the point where mainstream and non-mainstream scientists disagree, is NOT about the existence of vacuum energy, but on the possible extraction of such energy to do useful work. Vacuum energy is defined as an underlying background energy that exists in space even when devoid of matter. Although the idea of empty space having a nonzero energy associated with it may at first seem a bit strange, this idea is at the root of the cosmological constant, a constant introduced into Einstein's GR field equations in order to provide a supplement to gravity. If positive (repulsive), it counteracts gravity, while if negative (attractive), it augments gravity. It can be interpreted physically as an energy density associated with space itself, that is, the energy density in vacuum. This is also directly evident from our ST system of units, which shows that the ratio of time per unit length, or if you wish, the aspect ratio of the space time fabric, is equal to vacuum energy itself. This energy density results in all the fundamental forces and all their effects, and is experimentally observed in various ways, like the spontaneous emission of electromagnetic radiation, the Casimir effect, Van-Der Waals bonds and Lamb shift. We learn that of all properties of vacuum, all may average out to a null value, with the exception of the vacuum energy, whose lowest energy level is a non zero value, called the Zero-point energy. The lowest value for such energy is NOT zero, and is given by:

    ZPE = hf/2

    This means that vacuum vibrations in even the smallest volume of space, have an energy close to Planck energy which is huge. The well known physicists Richard Feynman and John Wheeler once calculated that the quantity of vacuum energy contained in a single light bulb would be in the range from 1036 to 1070 Joules/m3, enough to boil all the world's oceans. So, why is a non-null vacuum energy named Zero point energy? The answer is more obvious from the definition found on Encyclopedia Britannica, which defines zero-point energy as the “vibrational energy that molecules retain even at the absolute zero of temperature.” Basically, it means that ZPE is the sum of all electromagnetic energy from all frequencies reaching that region in space, at a temperature of absolute zero Kelvin. Whether or not it is practically possible to ever reach absolute zero temperature, is still unknown.
    The existence of vacuum energy form the basis for the theoretical possibility of ZPE free energy machines. And here is where mainstream science mainly disagrees with anyone trying to exploit such energy to do useful work. Quantum theory predicts the existence of vacuum energy, but it also seems to predict that it can never be removed to do work because by definition, ZPE is the lowest possible energy state of vacuum - the ground state. Yet, experiments like the Casimir, evidently show that one can shield a number of oscillatory modes present in ZPE, and so offset the zero point level to a level lower than the surrounding ZPE value.

    degenerate ZPE

    If the Casimir plate experiment is performed at zero Kelvin, the energy within its plates would still be lower than that of the surrounding space which is at an energy level equal to ZPE. Different vacuum energy levels, would imply changes in all so called universal constants, such as speed of light and gravitational constant. Using my ST system of units, the relation between background energy (T/S) and speed of light (S/T) is crystal clear. Simply decrease (or shadow) the background energy, and you get a faster speed for light. In fact, this effect has been mathematically derived for the Scharnhorst effect, which is a hypothetical phenomenon in which the speed of light is slightly greater between two closely-spaced conducting plates than it is in a normal vacuum. It was predicted by Klaus Scharnhorst of the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, and Gabriel Barton of the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. Hence the energy level between the Casimir plates at zero Kelvin must be lower than that given by the same definition of ZPE, and this would break down the primary definition of ZPE as being the lowest energy level that a quantum mechanical physical system may possess. It is this energy 'potential difference' which gives the possibility to extract useful work from the vacuum energy. One must understand, that the force acting upon the Casimir plates is not simply due to vacuum fluctuations, randomly pushing the plates towards each other, but it is the presence of an imbalance of ZPE energy levels, which generates a radiation pressure imbalance with that surrounding the plates at a higher level than that within the plates. It logically follows that the ZPE energy outside the plates is NOT the lowest possible energy state of vacuum, and that vacuum energy can be engineered to produce useful work. How can this be? Actually, there is a small loop hole in the quantum mechanics definition of a ground state, also called the vacuum state. In fact it is well known that more than one ground state can exist, and such states are said to be degenerate. The entropy of such degenerate ground states is no longer required to be at zero level, and to your surprise, entropy is simply defined as a measure of the availability of a system’s energy to do work. Entropy goes to zero, only in the case where the system has no more energy to give up, that is when the ZPE ground state reaches a non degenerate state, having a value of true zero.

    Science and Belief

    Science is all about arriving to the most correct theory through a logic process. Belief is about accepting the truth through direct experience, or one that comes to us from reputable, respectful and thrustworthy sources. Without any kind of believe or faith, one would have to go through all logic behind the issue and confirm that the logic is really correct. This may be time consuming but most of the time worth the trouble to eliminate some hidden believe residing at the foundations of a new theory. When one accepts an idea, either because it's printed all over his physics textbooks, or because his favourite mad scientist declared it as true, or for whatever other plausible reason, one is said to believe in that statement. Believing does not require a person to understand the concept. As one may correctly argue, such beliefs might range from the most false to the most correct logic, and sometimes it may not be easy to discriminate between these two unless one does not apply some reliable method to do so. For example, until someone does not come up with a way to prove the logic behind the theory, science cannot explain whether it's the chicken or the egg that came first, so to date we can either believe there once existed a very first egg, a very first chicken, and even make up our own theories, but such theories will only obtain the status of hypothesis unless they are logically proven in a scientific way. Such a way has been used over the years to discriminate between good and bad science, and if properly implemented may be used to draw the line between science which is or is not consistent with reality. This is called the scientific method. It basically consists of four simple stages: observation, hypothesis, prediction, replicability. The order of these stages will also affect the 'strength' of the idea, for if the observation follows a theoretical prediction, then, that same prediction gets even stronger than one that had to be made up to explain some previously unexplained observed anomaly. In both cases, however, an idea validated using all four stages of the scientific method becomes part of science, and is no longer just a hypothesis or believe.

    Before applying the scientific method, predictions can only be treated as potentially good hypothesis, but which can also be disproved depending on the outcome of further experimentation. Experiments are the most important tool to detect completely wrong hypothesis, and thus stop wasting any more time and money on the wrong track. If experimental data shows that there might be something that agrees with our original prediction, then, it would be a good sign and encourages the scientist to proceed with the following stages, and may also be used to refine the original theory. Even if experimental data shows to be 100% consistent with the predicted effects, data on its own is not enough for the idea to cross the line between belief and science. This stage applies both for ideas undergoing such analysis as well to well established theories, in which case such theory may get downgraded or completely erased from science. For example, if one simple experiment shows results which are incompatible with the most revered theory of our present science, that theory automatically gets downgraded to belief status. In history we have seen well established theories which were later found to be completely wrong, and others which have been found to be incomplete. A well known example of the latter are Newton's laws which break down at relativistic speeds. If prediction was not the first stage in the validating process, then, the experimental results should at that stage be used to attain some sort of theory which logically explains the hypothesis taken in the first stage, and must preferably be used to obtain further predictions which pass all stages within the scientific method. If all started off from a theoretical prediction, than the more credible becomes the original theory. The more predicted results become experimentally validated, the closer a theory gets to real science. The final stage is to draw up a concise description for all independent experimenters to properly perform at least one experiment which should show that the original prediction or hypothesis was correct, and is no longer to be treated as a pet theory, freak anolamy or belief. If the predicted results are not consistently reproduced by others, than, the theory cannot be part of science, and other ways have to be deviced in order to succesfully go through the replication stage. For this reason it is very important for the scientist to explain in great detail the procedure and equipment used during the experimentation stage which had originally shown positive results. As we have said, even with all the weight of experimental evidence from experiments and predictions, a scientific theory can never obtain the status of absolute truth and can be disproved at anytime using the same method. When a theory is introduced to students in such a way that its collapse or downgrade is not to be considered as scientifically possible, or that even speaking of such a possibility may be considered as a heresy, then that theory would unfortunately have obtained the status of a scientific dogma. Sometimes scientific dogmas and paradigmes are the weapons used by science 'politics' to keep a new valid theory from being exposed to the scientific community. If you reached these pages because you are a science explorer, then, applying the scientific method yourself might be the only way left for you to decide whether what you read here are just hypothesis or valid theories.

    Newton's questions on magnetic and gravitational fields

    Almost completely unknown, is the fact that Newton did serious considerations on the topic of free energy from background currents of what he considered as invisible matter. This he expected to manifest itself in both magnetic and gravitational fields. In one of his unpublished documents 'Questiones quædam Philosophiæ' he listed several experimental enquiries. Newton regarded gravity as caused by the descent of a subtle invisible matter striking all bodies, carrying them down.

    Newton perpetual motion - gravitational class

    Newton's enquiries regarding perpetual gravitational motion

    "Try whither the weight of a body may be altered by heate or cold, by dilatation or condensition, beating , powdering, transfering to severall places or severall heights or placing a hot or heavy body over it or under it or by magnetisme whither leade or its dust spread abroade, whither a plate flat ways or edg ways isn heaviest, whither the rays of gravity may bee stopped by refecting or refracting them, if so a perpetuall motion may bee made one of these two ways.
    The gravity of bodys is as their solidity, because all body{s} descend equall spaces in equal {times} consideration being had to the Resistance of the aire."

    Under the heading of magnetism, we again find similar proposals. Most material he mentioned in 'Questiones' are in fact the problems which he later focused on during his career in science, and was a brief description of how he would attack each problem. Unfortunately, no documented records exist showing whether Newton did in fact follow up these matters.

    Newton perpetual motion - magnetic class

    Newton's enquiries regarding magnetic perpetual motion

    1. The motion of any magneticall ray may bee knowne by attracting a needle in a corke on water.
    2. Whither a magneticall pendulum is perpendicular to the Horizon or not, & whither iron is heaviest when impregnated, or when the north pole or southpole is upmost. Coroll. A perpetuall motion .
    3. Whither magneticall rays will blow a candle move a red hot copper or iron needle, or passe through a red hot plate of copper or iron
    4. A perpetuall motion .
    5. Whither a loadestone will not turne around a red hot iron fashioned like wind mill sailes as the wind doth them. Perhaps cold iron may reflect the magn: rays with that pole which shuns the lodestone.

    It's quite amazing that Newton recognized the possibility of extracting energy from such gravitational 'rays', even though momentum exchange from electromagnetic waves had not yet been theorized. Once this free work extraction possibility is accepted, background vacuum energy has to be taken into account, and form part of the closed system being analysed. According to today's physics, the zero-point energy is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical physical system may possess (at zero Kelvin) and is the energy of the ground state of the system, wrongly assumed to be of a non-degenerate kind. We also learn that since zero point energy is the lowest possible energy a system can have, this energy cannot be removed from the system and no useful work can be done. Here are a few quotes to ponder upon:

    'Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point in the universe. The idea is not novel...we find it in the delightful might of Antheus, who derives power from the Earth; we find it through the subtle speculations of on of your spendid mathematicians. Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic? If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic and this we know it is for certain, then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheel work of nature.'
    Nikola Tesla, 1932

    'It is possible, and even probable, that there will be, in time, other resources of energy opened up, of which we have no knowledge now. We may even find ways of applying forces such as magnetism or gravity for driving machinery without using any other means. Such realizations, though highly improbable, are not impossible. An example will best convey an idea of what we can hope to attain and what we can never attain. Imagine a disk of some homogeneous material turned perfectly true and arranged to turn in frictionless bearings on a horizontal shaft above the ground. This disk, being under the above conditions perfectly balanced, would rest in any position. Now, it is possible that we may learn how to make such a disk rotate continuously and perform work by the force of gravity without any further effort on our part; but it is perfectly impossible for the disk to turn and to do work without any force from the outside. If it could do so, it would be what is designated scientifically as a "perpetuum mobile," a machine creating its own motive power. To make the disk rotate by the force of gravity we have only to invent a screen against this force. By such a screen we could prevent this force from acting on one half of the disk, and the rotation of the latter would follow. At least, we cannot deny such a possibility until we know exactly the nature of the force of gravity. Suppose that this force were due to a movement comparable to that of a stream of air passing from above toward the center of the earth. The effect of such a stream upon both halves of the disk would be equal, and the latter would not rotate ordinarily; but if one half should be guarded by a plate arresting the movement, then it would turn..'
    Nikola Tesla, 1900

    'The attractive features of the cosmic rays is their constancy. They shower down on us throughout the whole 24 hours, and if a power plant is developed to use their power it will not require devices for storing energy as would be necessary with devices using wind, tide or sunlight.'
    Nikola Tesla, 1932

    'There are types of energy which lie outside the electromagnetic spectrum. Unfortunately, these research efforts have not been given recognition. For the most part, they have been performed by individuals without any support, whose work lies at the threshold of present-day science, and who are years ahead of science which is already established.'
    Edgar Dean Mitchell, Ph.D, astronaut in Apollo 14 mission

    'In our search for a new energy source, many of us know that the aether with its hidden energy is the only hope we have of succeeding in that quest. Modern physics views the vacuum of empty space not as a void but as a plenum of randomly fluctuating electromagnetic fields known as the zero-point energy'
    Dr. Harold Aspden

    'In the second place our result shows that, according to the general theory of relativity, the law of the constancy of the velocity of light in vacuo, which constitutes one of the two fundamental assumptions in the special theory of relativity and to which we have already frequently referred, cannot claim any unlimited validity. A curvature of rays of light can only take place when the velocity of propagation of light varies with position'
    Albert Einstein

    'Therefore I thought in 1905 that in physics one should not speak of the ether at all. This judgement was too radical though as we shall see with the next considerations about the general theory of relativity. It moreover remains, as before, allowed to assume a space-filling medium if one can refer to electromagnetic fields (and thus also for sure matter) as the condition thereof'.
    Albert Einstein - Grundgedanken und Methoden der Relativitätstheorie in ihrer Entwicklung dargestellt, 1920

    'A material Particle: A body so small that, for the purpose of our investigation, the distances between its different parts maybe neglected, is called a material particle. Thus in certain astronomical investigations the planets, and even the sun, maybe regarded each as a material particle, because the difference of the actions of different parts of these bodies does not come to our notice. But we cannot treat them as material particles when we investigate their rotation. Even an atom, when we consider it as capable of rotation, must be regarded as consisting of many material particles. The diagram of a particle is of course a mathematical point, which has no configuration.'.
    Maxwell Clerk - Matter and motion,1920

    'I believe that I have really found the relationship between gravitation and electricity, assuming that the Miller experiments are based on a fundamental error. Otherwise, the whole relativity theory collapses like a house of cards.'
    Albert Einstein, in a letter to Robert Millikan, June 1921

    'My opinion about Miller's experiments is the following. ... Should the positive result be confirmed, then the special theory of relativity and with it the general theory of relativity, in its current form, would be invalid. Experimentum summus judex. Only the equivalence of inertia and gravitation would remain, however, they would have to lead to a significantly different theory.'
    Albert Einstein, in a letter to Edwin E. Slosson, July 1925

    'The effect of ether-drift has persisted throughout. After considering all the possible sources of error, there always remained a positive effect.'
    Dayton Miller,1928

    'The principal attraction of the theory of relativity is that it constitutes a logical unity. If any single one of its consequences proves to be inexact, it must be abandoned'
    Albert Einstein - How I see the World, 1939

    'Whenever a physical theory is revised or transformed, it is revealed that, nearly always, the observation of one or several facts which could not fit within the framework of the theory in its then current form is at the base of the changes. The facts always remain the keystone on which the stability of any theory depends, no matter how important it may be...For a theoretician really worth of the name, it may be said in passing that nothing could be more interesting than a fact which runs counter to a theory until then held to be sound; for him, the real work begins at that point.'
    Max Planck - Introduction to Physics, 1941

    'You imagine that I look back on my life's work with calm satisfaction. But from nearby it looks quite different. There is not a single concept of which I am convinced that it will stand firm, and I feel uncertain whether I am in general on the right track.'
    Albert Einstein, on his 70th birthday, in a letter to Maurice Solovine, 28 March 1949

    'I have now struggled with this basic problem of electricity for more than twenty years, and have become quite discouraged, though without being able to let go of it. I am convinced that a completely new and enlightening inspiration is needed... We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them'
    Albert Einstein

    The following quotes show how paradigms can affect even the most brilliant minds:

    'There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. The glib supposition of utilizing atomic energy when our coal has run out is a completely unscientific Utopian dream, a childish bug-a-boo. Nature has introduced a few fool-proof devices into the great majority of elements that constitute the bulk of the world, and they have no energy to give up in the process of disintegration.'
    Robert A. Millikan, 1928 in his speech to the Chemists Club NY

    'Any one who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine'
    Ernest Rutherford, 1933

    'One should not take this vacuum energy too literally, however, because the free-field theory is just a mathematical tool to help us understand what we are really interested in: the interacting theory. Only the interacting theory is supposed to correspond directly to reality. Because the vacuum state of the interacting theory is the state of least energy in reality, there is no way to extract the vacuum energy and use it for anything.'
    John Baez, 1997 on SciAm board

    So, here are the answers which by now you should be able to answer yourself:

    Is overunity possible? - Absolutely NOT.
    Is perpetual motion possible? - NO. If you think otherwise, it shows lack of understanding of your energy source.
    Are free energy machines a reality? -YES, of course! examples: Solar panels, wind turbines and others in which the energy source is free.
    Is it theoretically possible to tap vacuum energy? -YES. examples: stars and atoms, but no man made devices yet!