Gravity-Powered Generator: Real or Fake?

You thought we forgot about your favorite Hackaday comment game, didn’t you? Well, not only is ‘Real or Fake?’ back with a new installment, but this time it concerns everybody’s favorite impossibility: perpetual motion machines! It’s likely that you’ve already seen the photos of Brazilian energy group RAR Energia’s generator “powered exclusively by gravity” (translated). If you’re rolling your eyes and exclaiming “this is so last year..” you might want to scroll down to the bottom of the page; they’re still building this monstrosity and they’ve included some diagram imagesPerhaps someone who reads Portuguese can better translate the claim that the devices are “demonstration models with capacity to generate 30kW.” Oh, didn’t you know? There are two of them now: one in Brazil that is presumably functioning, and a second under construction in Gilman, Illinois.

Now, before you all scream “Photoshopped,” take a gander at a FotoForensics analysis of one of the images, where ELA (error level analysis) seems to indicate consistent levels of compression. EXIF data shows the pictures were shot with a Sony DSC-WX5 and saved in PhotoScape. It may be simpler than that: you can easily recognize the same employees in different shots from different angles, and there are quite a lot of photos. RAR Energia’s most recent endeavor—a second machine in Gilman Illinois—seems to have been erected in the past two months. The Gilman warehouse is located on property belonging to bio-diesel manufacturing firm Incobrasa Industries (named a “Company of the [RAR Energia] group” on the RAR Energia site). Here’s a little internet sleuthing for your consideration: a photo of the completed warehouse and a Google maps link to the location in question (40.763176, -88.012706). Note the distinctly shaped building in the background (another view here, during construction), which can be found due south of the location indicated in the Google maps link. We’re not suggesting that you completely rule out image manipulation, but if it’s Photoshopped, it’s a damned elaborate job.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any videos demonstrating motion or any explanation for how the system works other than vagaries about perpetual energy. So, does this thing exist—and did this company really build two of them? Does it work…or, well, somehow do something?

277 thoughts on “Gravity-Powered Generator: Real or Fake?

  1. If you look at the pics, somethings stand out as photoshop! Some of the pics have the same guys in the same pose or the pose of the person just doesnt fit the picture. The crane in the back is the worst, there is no way its real if you really look at it. The shadows are close but some of the pics have very little ‘tell tail’ errors.

  2. I think it “works”, by means of a cleverly hidden electric linear actuator (or similar) in one or more of the center beams or cams where it will be difficult (or almost imposible) to detect it from outside the machine.

    The noise of that contraption moving will mask the noise of the linear actuator or motor used to drive it.

    So, they show it “working” to one (or more…) unsuspecting investors, get their money and flee away. End of story.

    It reminds me of the “dollar printing machine”. Of course during the demo it “printed” real 100 dollar bills, they were hidden inside the machine from the start.

    When the “fortunate buyer” got alone with his brand new machine, ready to print millions… “Oh, oh… what is this dirty green paper !!!???”

    Let’s see what happens with this. I hope the authorities take note and visit the sites before it is too late…

    Best regards,

    1. Did you read the article? I ask not out of sarcasm, but because I felt my phrasing “everybody’s favorite impossibility” would be clear that we’re not suggesting someone has actually created a functional perpetual motion machine.

      The question isn’t “is it really a perpetual motion machine” but “did someone really invest the time and effort into building not one but two of these, and what does it do?”

      1. Phrasing has nothing to do with it. The topic, perpetual motion, is a waste of space, serves no purpose other to the generate more page views, and doesn’t belong in a a site that people take seriously.

        1. I respectfully disagree. Take a look at at the responses to Adam’s comment, particularly the one by twdarkflame.

          Not only is this worth bringing up because investor(s) have obviously spent money on such a massive production (and thereby raising concern over how that comes to pass, particularly if the investor is a bio-diesel company. I personally think it raises ethical concerns as to the motivations behind such a project. Why would a fuel company act so irresponsibly; is this a publicity stunt?)

          Also, and perhaps most important, as twdarkflame said: look at the sheer number of responses explaining conservation of energy and those who are helping clarify why this is impossible. You probably won’t find a better group of people who can provide this kind of feedback, and like twdarkflame said, this is a great learning opportunity.

  3. This is likely not going to work but I feel the need to point out a possible flaw in many of the arguments here. Energy cannot be created from nothing but there are still many sources of energy that won’t run out soon. For example a solar panel will provide free energy for as long as we have light (from our sun or others). Energy isn’t being created or destroyed here. We’re just tapping into a really huge supply of it (the sun). (Of course most solar pannels will scratch and dull quickly and not keep running forever but you still get my point.)
    It is possible for example to speed up a satellite by slingshotting it around a plannet which is in orbit (like our Earth). Here we are also not creating energy from nothing (Earth will slow down an insainly small amount) however we are still managing to speed up a satelite with “free” energy. Someone will probably tell me why this is a bad example but my point stands. Simply saying that this cannot work because energy cannot be created isn’t really getting to the heart of the matter. If it worked by destroying matter or slowing the earth in some way then it could be totally possible.

    1. “For example a solar panel will provide free energy for as long as we have light (from our sun or others)”

      No they wont. Surface degradation is very real in solar panels and the garbage glass thin film types, like you see sold at Harbor Freight for cheap barely last 2 years and lose 50% of their power generating capacity rapidly. A good mono-crystalline panel can last 20 years but only the top of the line ones built a decade ago do this. Currently most are built as cheaply as possible and will barely last 5 years due to improper sealing, shoddy materials, etc….

      Claiming that solar will work forever and ever is not true, Solar will only work as long as we have the raw materials to constantly remake the panels. and there is a finite limit to the amount of power from solar. 1300 watts per square meter is the absolute limit, you can not extract any more than that as that is all that is hitting the planet. And honestly we are pretty close to the limit that solar cells and panels can convert.

  4. Another possible explanation, from:

    “Ryan Bloom • 4 days ago −
    I am betting this thing is some kind of giant soy bean processing machine. Even it’s locale State-side in the middle of soy fields is suspect.”

    I would add: Brazil is a big soy producer too, so it makes sense for them to have another machine there.

    But forget about “Gravity engine”, “Perpetual motion” and the likes…

  5. And the first entry in the robot clog dancing competition is almost ready for it’s first dance.

    //ok, we’ve all shot to hell the physics, so time to move on to the funny caption contest//

  6. It can work :
    Gravity fields is not a constant – Earth’s iron core is moving creating fluctuation into gravity and thus creating a delta with a certain Gravity_max.
    “Springs ” can be calibrated to be fully retracted by a mass on gravity_max and when gravity change to be lower the springs will be released(expanded) due to the lowered effect of the mass. Connecting those spring to any dynama can transform the motion into then energy.
    Basically the same system than a “tide” electric generator…

    ps: i’m not native english

  7. *sigh* so many ill informed nitwits in this comment section, and here I was thinking HaD was a place for thinkers and tinkers…. I guess its not.

    The DEFINITION of Perpetual motion, is something that can run on its own power without any external forces.


  8. I can’t find it now but a few days ago I saw on a website an electrical generator based on gravity. It is very simple in design a 20 pounds weight pull on a rope winded around a cylinder. The rotating cylinder is coupled to a small generator. This is used in Africa to energize a LED lamp. Every 20 minutes one have to rewind the cylinder. Obviously the electrical energy generated is a fraction of human energy needed to rewind but the children have their hands free for 20 minutes to do their homework.

    1. Yeah, I heard of that. It was flawed from the start, because dropping 20lbs a metre or two just doesn’t create that much energy. The best they got was a tiny LED. Meanwhile you need heavy gearing and a strong cord to survive the stresses. So either it’s very expensive or fails a lot.

      The weight is a bag of dirt, you could always empty it out on the ground, lift it up empty, then shovel the dirt back in.

      If you want to exploit human muscles, there’s better ways then getting people to lift up a weight. That’s only good for things like clocks.

  9. My first impression was also that I want to see it in motion…maybe it would be a good art installation. After all, how can we knock the PM subculture and then take stainless steel deer with gas flame antlers as serious art! Hey, what about seeing this fly pulled by 10 stainless steel deer with gas flame antlers?

  10. A lot of negative comments . A clockwork mechanism runs for weeks on a spring . There seems to be a curved spring on each piece. Perhaps it is started and runs for a week . They say they have a working model ? Would not want to be the oil man on the thing
    The guy who said the fridge magnet does no work is wrong . It stays there defying gravity ! put a jig saw blade on it pointed to the horizon and it will stay so pointed seemingly forever so work must be being done to stop it falling !

  11. The beauty of this device is that it is wonderfully complex, and analysing the forces on the various linkages through a complete revolution would be interesting to say the least. Certainly difficult enough so that the ‘inventor’ would be able to baffle a non-engineer/scientist with scientific-sounding mumbo-jumbo, and convince said sucker that the complex mechanism produces a net surplus of torque in a complete revolution, i.e. it’s the wonderful mechanism that beats consevation of energy.

    I’d love to see it work, but unfortunately, it just ain’t gonna happen.

    Now, where did I put that old Meccano set? There are wallets to be emtied out there…

  12. One of my friends said about projects like theese:
    There’s high chance on people wanting one or two things when they come around with theese kind of projects: a) know why its now working b) money.

  13. it is not a generator and it is not a engine… is a battery you move up the weights and you are saving potential energy. you let the machine move and its transform the potential energy in dynamical energy. there is a lost of energy but this system don’t require of chemical components to save energy.

  14. “Real of fake, back with a new installment”
    The fact that there’s no disagreement whatsoever about the fact that this isn’t a real perpetual motion machine in this thread restores a little bit of my faith in humanity.

  15. I can’t say weather it’ll work or not, I would have to see it in action. Please don’t bomb me, I do not believe in the over unity or perpetual motion machine. I just want to see it move. when it comes to gravity, any weights you have pulling on a bar or lever or what have you, has to be pulled back into position AGAINST gravity and your energy gets lost. you could pass it off to another part of the cycle but you eventually come back to your starting point were the energy has to be made up.

    For an added bonus, you also have a state of near constant acceleration as the shaft appears to turn, and with all the back and forth motion of the machine, friction is going to build up and heat will result. the energy for that heat has to come from somewhere and will slow the machine down even further.

    I truly feel sorry for the person who bankrolled this.

  16. 1) this is claimed to be a “generator”, not a PMM. Important difference.
    2) “Stationary”???? I think not. It is part of a system of moving bodies. It is bolted down to the surface of a sphere that is spinning at a high rate of speed. Said sphere is revolving around another distant body at a mad rate. Said remote body is flying through the ether towards the outskirts of the universe…
    3) There are also other moving bodies in the “vicinity”. There is ample evidence from the ocean’s tides that the relative motion of the moon can “generate” terra watts of energy to move water around on this planet.
    4) In point of fact, man has never invented any kind of a generator. We have invented many different kinds of converters, but never a true generator. Everything on this planet that passes for a “generator” is in fact merely a converter.
    5) Man began inventing “gravity generators” (a.k.a. gravity converters) centuries ago. The first clocks which ran on the energy converted from a slowly falling weight were just as surely a “gravity generator” as this purported thing. The owner of the clock converts the food he has eaten into the ability to apply a force to the chain, which raises the weight on the clock.
    6) IF (a very big if) this “gravity generator” is able to “produce” useable energy, it is doing so by converting previously discounted forms of energy into something we would recognize as useful energy. The laws of thermodynamics are neither bruised nor broken by any such conversion. The energy “stored” in the system of moving celestial bodies need not be considered in any different wise than that stored in the weight of the clock. The fact that you and I were not around to witness the “event” that set them in motion is of no consequence.

  17. Ohh hackaday I see what you did there. Seriously this kind of thing isn’t what people expect from you. There’s enough of this post something controversial so ppl will join the discussion and post comments in normal media. Sure it works but it’s so annoying and this is not what we want

  18. I suppose theoretically it could use tidal forces to generate electricity, and that would in a way be a gravity generator as it uses gravity to extract the energy from a system in motion..
    Basically the same way that satellites use slingshot manoeuvres to gain kinetic energy from planets so could these devices be slowing the earth down? slowing the moon down? we must know IS this a plan to destroy the world by colliding earth with the moon???

    in all honesty I have no idea if this is real or fake, I would lean towards fake….

  19. There was a hoax a number of years back of some guy using LOTS of 9V batteries to somehow build an over unity ‘car’. Somehow the batteries were simply supposed to excite something, and from there it was “free” energy.
    The guy got LOTS of investors for that. Hundreds of thousands of dollars I believe.
    Until he got busted changing out the 9V batteries. Supposedly, the car was just running off the batteries and nothing else.

    So I’m guessing, as stupid as it is (again), that it’s an elaborate hoax. No telling who all is in on it, could be just one guy. But I’m betting a hoax.

  20. Regardless of hoax or not – someone invested LOADS of money in steel and many hours of machining in order to build this monstrous concoction!
    It must weigh a few tonnes for sure and there seem to be a lot of machined parts…

    I’m not a believer of “free energy”, although I’ve “harvested” free-ish energy from a power line in the past, but I would like it to be true one day ;)

    The lack of videos is pathetic and will not fool many… I hope?

  21. Le Sigh.
    So many people right for the wrong reasons.

    Firstly, perpetual motion, may be a misnomer. It may be an attempt to create a “free” energy system. The world is filled with local variations in energy state, and some of that considered “waste” can be harnessed. The question is:
    1. Is there a change in energy state that can be exploited.
    2. Can it be exploited with enough efficiency to produce a useable output?
    3. How much “stuff” (TM) do I need to get that energy.

    If it fails any of these steps, then even if it MIGHT work, it isn’t going to work for a practical application.

    If you can generate the power of a 9V battery, from three million dollars of equipment, then it’s not exactly interesting. It’s in fact only marginally more interesting (to me) than NOT being able to generate the equivalent of a 9V battery.

    Now, I’m not aware of any variations in gravity, which could be exploited to generate motion. If one does exist, this machine may do something*.

    That said, it LOOKS like a machine that is going to have a lot of waste built in, as people have mentioned.

    So, while it’s fun to poo-poo someone else’s work with glib commentary on the laws of thermodynamics. You should be aware that it may well simply be a misleading way of spruiking a free energy machine. But at the end of the day, even free energy machines are generally outmatched in power density by stirling engines. They aren’t going to power your car, but perhaps PERHAPS, they could be used in some kind of long-term ultra low power environment. You know, like solar.

  22. Fake, 3d render and uses repositioned photos of workers also the cleanliness and uniformity of materials used for the construction, when was the last time you set a heavy metallic weight with jagged edges on your car and not ended up with scratches that would not be visible, in addition if the scene was rendered there would be a uniformness to the compression consistent with a non edited photo

  23. wow hackaday you deleted my comment. I wrote that this type of sensational journalism – you know post controversial stuff get people to post comments = profit – is not what we want. You deleted that because that was true ?? Shame on you

    1. I just checked the spam and trashed comments. Couldn’t find it. Then I thought to check the posted comments. It’s right here, man. Chill out. You’re seeing an issue with our terrible comment threading. We’re working on that.

      As far as your argument that Hackaday readers don’t want posts with a lot of comments, I’ll just let you roll that idea around in your head for a while.

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