Ask Hackaday: Global Energy Transmission – Can It Work?

global transmission logo with earth in the background

Atop a small mountain in Colorado Springs sat the small, makeshift laboratory of Nikola Tesla. He chose this location because the air was thinner, and therefor more conductive. Tesla had come to believe that he could use the Earth as a conductor, and use it to send electrical power without the need for wires. Though some facts are forever lost, it is said that on a clear, moonless night, Tesla flipped the switch that fed millions of volts into a large coil that towered high into the air. He cackled maniacally as an eerie blue corona formed around the crackling instruments, while some 200 florescent bulbs began to glow over 25 miles away.

A magnificent feat took place in the hills of Colorado that night. A feat that surely would change the world in how it harnessed electricity. A feat that if brought to its full potential, could provide wireless power to every point on the globe. A feat that took place almost one hundred and twenty years ago…

 

men standing in field of light bulbs

J.P. Morgan, who was locked in a battle with John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie to see who had the largest private parts, probably cared little about the implications of Tesla’s big idea of wireless power transmission when he contacted him. After reading a page out of Century Magazine about the experiment, Morgan took interest in its profitability and offered Tesla some much needed funding.

This brings us to the well known Wardenclyffe Tower, which was built on Long Island, NY in 1901. Tesla told Morgan that he could transmit information all the way to Europe. Long story short – it didn’t work. Some guy across the pond by the name of Guglielmo Marconi, while making use of some 17 of Telsa’s patents, made the worlds first functioning radio. And at a cost far cheaper than Tesla’s tower.

Tesla's tower on long island, NY

So here we are, a century later, and two Russian engineers want to do what Nikola Tesla could not. What we want to know is: is it possible. They claim that it is, of course. They’ve already made some headway with a small amount of funding. Now they want to build it. Build it again. They want to build another “Wardenclyffe Tower” with modern technology, including an Arduino. The original tower was over 60 tons. Theirs will only be two tons. They say they can put these towers all over the world, and get wireless power to the global population. But will it work?

So break out your calculators and physics books. We want to know – is it possible?

Comments

  1. arachnidster says:

    Slight bit of editorialising with the cackling and blue glow, perhaps? ;)

    I like the use of a shot from The Prestige, though. That’s a truly excellent movie.

  2. Simon says:

    lol, literally at at the Arduino comment :D

  3. mha says:
    • not-a-chance says:

      ^Seconded – simple calculus is enough to disprove any widespread usefulness.

      • strevo says:

        Agreed, this was my senior design project, outputting 5Watts of energy created 2-3nW at a distance of 10-15 feet depending on environment.

        To power the world, we would have already needed fusion power.

        • camerin says:

          And no one ever mentions that Tesla fried a power plant an one point trying to do this.. Frying a power plant to light a few kW of lights doesn’t seem to counter the inverse squared law… It also seems about as intelligent as solar roadways… (inefficiently use 40W solar panels and expect them to light 80 W of leds/ heaters.

          • ” (inefficiently use 40W solar panels and expect them to light 80 W of leds/ heaters.”

            Pretty sure they arnt proposing the heaters/LED’s are turned on all the time on all the panels.

        • shmuu says:

          for all those that “know” how electricity works…… this is from those fringe loonies at that mad science shack they call MIT.

          would have loved to hear some of my profs stumble over explaining this one.

          • TinBane says:

            Troll comment? I don’t think any of your professors would have struggled to explain the generation of static electricity, or the storage of it as a dielectric charge. If it’s the propensity of these kind of systems to light up bulbs briefly (the video doesn’t work for me) then it’s still subject to the inverse distance law – you need more power to transmit useable charge further. Holding a bulb between some points on a wimshurst machine, and getting a sputtering light from the excitation of the mercury vapour, is not the same as transmitting useable energy in any real quantity, any real distance.

      • Les Moore says:

        I think Edison said something amazingly similar about Tesla’s AC current

    • Pat says:

      Note: I think this project is complete garbage. That being said…

      The inverse-square law comes about because you’re taking finite power, and spreading it out evenly in 3 dimensions. If you’re a distance “r” from the source, you could capture all of the power by wrapping the source in a big ball, which would have surface area (4*pi*r^2). Therefore the power at any given distance drops as 1/r^2.

      Here, they’re not talking about spreading it out evenly. They’re talking about spreading it out over the Earth’s surface. If you spread the power out evenly through the Earth’s atmosphere, it wouldn’t drop as 1/r^2, it’d drop as 1/r, since the surface area enclosed is (2*pi*r*(height of the atmosphere)).

      1/r power falloff still sucks, though – however the argument in a comment below, that economically, this would never work because you can’t control the loads – is a better criticism of *any* idea like this.

      • camerin says:

        Inverse square law applies to directional antennas as well. It simply starts at a higher “Gain” then attenuates at the same rate. There is no such thing as “Ray Engery” The energy will still spread in 2 dimensions (phi and theta).while traveling in the third. Your assumption that it does not expand upward is wrong. It still expands in that direction.

        • Pat says:

          You’re thinking of this as a transmitted radio wave. It’s not. If you’re effectively doing near-field coupling, the energy does not have to drop off as 1/r^2.

        • tekkieneet says:

          Near field only applies to a *limited distance* from the antenna. So once you are far away, the 1/r^2 applies.

          • Pat says:

            That’s right. And in fact, the distance depends on the size of the effective transmitting region. So if the effective transmitting region is, oh, *the atmosphere*, the entire planet is near field.

          • tekkieneet says:

            Just saying that the entire Earth is near field is too simplistic an answer for me. What are the real parameters to make the entire Earth a medium for near field?

            How tall/large the transmitter antenna has to be? Can that be built with current technology? What is frequency of the transmission? Which sort of related to how large the individual receiver/antenna has to be to get power?

            Even if you can treat it as 1/r, as r gets big and the Earth is quite large, you are still dealing with a very tiny amount of power that can be received.

          • Pat says:

            Regarding the near-field stuff, it doesn’t have to be large at all. Near field goes as the (length of the antenna)^2 divided by lambda. Essentially, you don’t get 1/r^2 until the antenna starts looking like a point. And that can be very, very far.

            But you don’t need the entire Earth to be near field from one tower, just the receiving region for that tower. But it’s not just the actual tower that’s the antenna – you’re using the Earth’s atmosphere (the ionosphere) as part of the conductor. So like I said, this isn’t really an electromagnetic wave transmission, and more an electric field problem.

            “Even if you can treat it as 1/r, as r gets big and the Earth is quite large, you are still dealing with a very tiny amount of power that can be received.”

            Yeah, you might’ve missed my first comment where I clearly said that I think this is complete garbage, and 1/r still sucks.

          • Jared says:

            As IrritableGourmet makes reference to below, Tesla’s “Free Energy Broadcaster” system is a Wave-Guide/Transmission-Line technology, NOT a Broadcast technology, so the vertical component is only relevant to a certain distance (the ionosphere perhaps? I forget, and it probably depends on the frequency anyways).

            As for the frequency, I think that there’s a couple that you might be able to use, depending on precisely what you’re aiming for. You can use an Earth-Atmosphere resonance on some frequencies… in fact, this is actually used for some radio frequencies. There’s another frequency which uses the INTERIOR of the Earth as a resonant chamber (a SOLID resonator: don’t see that every day), and I think there’s another that uses the SURFACE of the Earth as a fiber-“optic” core, and the atmosphere as the light-bending sheathing.

            That last one, incidentally, would likely be prone to such absolutely un-terrifying side-effects as producing Saint Elmo’s Fire on any sharp corner that’s grounded… such as Everest, El Capitan… and probably most copper-clad roofs, as well as TREES. Same thing happens when you bend fiber-optics too far, they “leak” (unless they break). Also, both the frequencies for that and those for the Earth-Atmosphere resonance are already allocated to the best of my knowledge, for long-distance radio communications in both cases.

            In closing, as some college student once said in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics, “Antenna design is a black art”.

      • IrritableGourmet says:

        If you read his documentation, he was attempting to set up a VLF standing wave in the Schumann cavity (ground to ionosphere) which acts as a natural waveguide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schumann_resonances). The ground would serve as the return, like single-wire earth return systems already in use (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-wire_earth_return). Unfortunately, there are still problems with this approach.

        • John U says:

          +1 for RTFMing, this is the first time I’ve seen anyone (commenter OR writer) explain the mechanism he was actually trying to exploit.

        • Michael says:

          Assuming it works – would i be right in assuming the end result would be that only one ‘system’ could be in operation? And a second party building an additional transmission tower could completely disrupt the system?

  4. 0c says:

    No.

  5. Dodo says:

    If you are happy with a few nW, sure it will work fine across a long distance. Probably it will blow up electronics nearby…

    • Greenaum says:

      Still, after a certain distance inverse-square more or less flattens off. So if you used a humungous transmitter, powering low-powered Bluetooth lozenges, for example…

  6. garym53 says:

    Yes! definitely possible.

    BTW Anyone interested in buying the Sydney Harbour Bridge? or maybe Tasmania? Going cheap!

    • Z00111111 says:

      THEY’RE NOT YOURS TO SELL DAMNIT ABBOTT.

      Does Indiegogo actually allow legitimate things? Or is it restricted to scammers?

      • garym53 says:

        Ok if you don’t like those how about Juliar Gillard? Sleeps with anyone, lies like a pig in muck, should be out of jail in about 5 years, comes with a free straw broom… Will exchange for a set of steak knives… in fact forget the steak knives…

        • WorthyAdversary says:

          Shouldn’t engage but I can’t help myself…

          Jules was 1000* more palatable than our current bible thumping, xenophobic, homophobic jerk-off of a PM and most of the public now agrees… Not to mention he is completely inept on the international stage and nothing short of an embarrassment.

          On topic, it’s a cool project regardless of its plausibility.

          • garym53 says:

            Yep says words like “hyperbowl”, falls flat on his face whilst in India, eats his own ear wax, breaks out in a filth laden rant when he can’t get his Mandarin right, shreds the details on the rape of a 14 year old girl, sets up a slush fund to pay for his renovations, uses union members funds to pay for prostitutes, pilfers $20 million from the HSU, introduces a lame duck roof insulation scheme that kills 4 young men, introduces a boat policy that drowns over 1400 people- gawd quite a lad our Tony… oh wait! that was the other side wasn’t it? …and I haven’t even scratched the surface…

          • WorthyAdversary says:

            Fuck it, in for a penny in for a pound/
            garym53 can’t reply to you directly/

            ‘Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.’

            ‘The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.’

            ‘I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons’

            ‘What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…’

            As everyone in Australia will be painfully aware, I could go on.
            You will probably concede that the man is potently unlikable, as Keating said, a real flat-earther (can’t find the actual quote) and say party policy is more important….

            To your point of drowning 1400 people. This is not at all black and white, granted, but the solution cannot be to return the people to the country they are fleeing (possibly even illegal). Also note that the (disgustingly named) ‘boat people’ are now living in misery and squalor in detention (remember that the UN says the overwhelming majority have done nothing wrong- people have a right to flee persecution and Australia is mandated to accept them (we have ratified the convention)) in countries that do not acknowledge many basic rights… Labor did effectively the same thing in the end (under duress) but, importantly, did not effectively gag the press.

            NBN, arguably Labors most important policy – eviscerated.
            Health/education funding slashed – justified by a demonstratively dishonest ‘budget crisis’… All so miners can continue to get 120k for holding a hose for 12hrs a day- bullshit!
            Using his idiotic beliefs to justify state discrimination against a large minority – again Labor did the same thing but were not overtly homophobic about it (paradoxically)- at least couched it in some secular bullshit…

            In a nutshell, I am no fan of either major party (slightly prefer Labor) – I do think that the PM should be somewhat charismatic and able to talk for five minutes without saying something to offend most of the population… Basically, Tony Abott is a bible thumping, xenophobic, homophobic jerk-off!

          • RUDD says:

            Wow those comments are truly moronic.

            So he swears? Most of our prime ministers have at some point or another. Yeah the rape thing was bad, but the slush fund? Wasn’t him. The prostitues? Wasn’t him. The $20million? Wasn’t him. The home insulation scheme? That was great, green initiative that created an industry in the middle of an economic crisis and got insulation into thousands of homes at a time when consumer confidence and spending was at an all time low. 4 dodgy operators killed 4 young man. Refugees tried to come to Australia right when shit went south in the middle east? You don’t say!

            He was no angle, but he is a godsend compared to the shit we have now. You’re right. You haven’t scratched the surface… or even made a coherent argument. Now please take your tongue out of Tony Abbot’s ass, the man is homophobic and may get freaked out, more so than he did at the realisation that you can get elected without actually saying a single truth during the entire election campaign.

            Good old no cuts Tony. Yep.

          • Frank says:

            “Basically, Tony Abott is a bible thumping, xenophobic, homophobic jerk-off!”

            And even if he was, who cares if you don’t have to meet the guy. So what if gays can’t marry yet – it’s no different to what it was before anyway and it’s certainly not worth letting economic morons at the levers for either.

            Fact is, Labor got their ass handed to them at the last election because they’re a bunch of clowns. If Kevin07 didn’t get elected to begin with, we’d have had a Liberal government that wouldn’t have set a trend to spend us into oblivion and we sure as shit wouldn’t be talking about boats. All this Keynesian stupidity does nothing but burn money (quite literally thanks to the pink bats nonsense) for no good reason. And now you lot whinge about cuts – Labor spent the money; sorry.

            “I am no fan of either major party (slightly prefer Labor)”

            Yeah, i can tell; you make the Greens your first preference at every election no doubt.

          • WorthyAdversary says:

            Frank,

            1 I care because I do in fact have to meet the man almost on a weekly basis, his public persona at least & I find a lot of what he says embarrassing. Who cares about state sectioned discrimination? Lots of people – the overwhelming majority of my generation for instance!

            2 Spend into oblivion? Little thing called the GFC, not to mention Australia’s deficit is negligible and by no means constitutes a ‘crisis’. Lots of countries operate happily on a deficit and do not slash funding for Health/Education/critical services – when they do, people riot in the streets. If you want a surplus, tax the fucking mining industry a reasonable amount – I was all for KRudds super profits tax.

            3 Fact is this happens all the time – think Howard, a much more likable PM than Tony – though still not likable. Jules got screwed over – Australia under labor was, ostensibly, going quite well, building infrastructure, funding schools/hospitals and attempting to curb emissions- and indisputably trending towards surplus.

            4 No, I do not support the Greens at all, I preference labor first – though I am not a huge fan they are the lesser of two evils if you will.

            Oh, and to return the favour. Middle aged? menial job? conservative church goer? longing for the 50s when men were men, women were in the kitchen and faggots were beaten on Saturdays?

            I do enjoy arguing in comment sections!

          • Frank says:

            Meh. You’re only embarrassed by TA because you’re a lefty and i’d fully expect you to be following a lefty narrative. I wasn’t embarrassed by KRudd or Julia “hyperbowl” Gillard so really it’s just a nonsense argument. After all, you think Howard is unlikable so what else would i expect?

            Lots of countries do the wrong thing as well – doesn’t mean we have to do the same. Taxing and spending needs to be kept at a minimum for us to prosper. The US is a basket case, the EU is a basket case and lefties use that to tell us we don’t have problems because we’re not as bad as them…. yet.

            “Middle aged?” Nope.

            “menial job?” Nope. I’m sure most people who frequent HaD don’t have “menial” jobs whatever that means and it’s nice that you reveal yourself in this way. Clearly you hold some members of the working community with contempt.

            “conservative church goer?” I wish! But i’m an atheist, so no.

            “longing for the 50s when men were men, women were in the kitchen and faggots were beaten on Saturdays?” Nice of you to hold such a romantic view of the years gone by and attribute them to current conservatives. Typical straw-man tactics of a typical lefty once again following a typical lefty narrative! They should teach “how to be a typical lefty” as a university course… Oh wait…

            If you must know, i’m a liberal in the true sense of the word. Closely aligned with David Leyonhjelm in the LDP i guess although i hate guns.

            “To burn money literally would be to take a match to some cash!” My bad; i’ll concede there. Although it’s _almost_ literally given that they were brand new bats worth money.

          • WorthyAdversary says:

            And, unless there were piles of cash in the ceiling, you still mean figuratively! To burn money literally would be to take a match to some cash!

          • Baughb says:

            I didn’t realize GW Bush had moved down under.

          • JimmyNeutron111 says:

            Aw, don’t stop. I’m lovin’ this Aussie sh*t! We sometimes get the British House of Commons over here on the tube (I mean normal T.V., for you younger folks), but I’ve never gotten to hear much about the goings on “Down Under”.

          • regrev says:

            If you can watch Question Time here – http://www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/Watch_Parliament
            you’re in for a treat! Dunno if it needs a proxy though if you’re overseas. I sometimes watch it for a little bit when i’m at work and it’s nothing short of champaign comedy! :)

          • WorthyAdversary says:

            @Frank,

            Interesting choice but I would propose the new topic be the Royal Commission into kiddie-fiddling priests; euphemistically titled the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse…

            “I wish! But i’m an atheist, so no.” Why oh why would you possibly wish to be a church-goer then!? Not happy with your two functioning neurons:)

            The US is not! a basket case, the EU is best described as a cluster-fuck though. “Taxing and spending needs to be kept at a minimum for us to prosper”? Bullshit! Don’t get me started on the legitimacy of ‘happiness’ studies, but, these almost invariably rank socialist countries at the top. Also remember that all serious technological revolution stems from government programs – NASA/DARPA!!!!! Your man Tony wants GST increased by the state (fucking over the poor again) and spending slashed, this helps nobody and serves to retard progress (&CSIRO funding slashed). As I’ve said, taxing the mining industry is the best solution – right now we are giving all of the profits to fat retards who lucked into their money – Clive & Gina.

            I don’t know what this ‘narrative’ you keep talking about is. I can only guess that you mean ‘lefties’ don’t think for themselves – a criticism I thought was usually reserved for conservatives? I wouldn’t have considered myself a member of any party or even the left for that matter – though in most regards I am liberal (not capital l) I guess. I do think that the poor should be given a feed and a roof and that access to health services and education are inalienable human rights- but I also resent frivolous spending- the arts and soft-sciences should not be funded by the state…

            “They should teach “how to be a typical lefty” as a university course… Oh wait…”
            Yeah! fucking book-learnin’ c**ts.

            As a conservative (don’t kid yourself), you will ultimately be proven wrong – conservatism is just railing against inevitable change…

          • Frank says:

            “invariably rank socialist countries at the top”
            “or even the left for that matter”
            LOLLOOLOL!!11lolocopter that’s funny :) You’re funny :)

            “I also resent frivolous spending- the arts and soft-sciences should not be funded by the state”

            Alright! A lefty who quite possibly agrees that we should abolish the ALPBC! Excellent!

            “As a conservative (don’t kid yourself)” Well, let’s face it – i don’t mind being tarred as a conservative. In fact, i quite like it a lot better than being accused of being a lefty! I’m just a regular conservative who’s pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro-drugs, pro-euthanasia for whatever reason and anti-gun. Yep, i’m as conservative as they get!

            “access to health services and education are inalienable human rights” Translation: You think it’s an inalienable human right to take by force and you scream “health and education” when really it’s all about control of other people’s money.

          • WorthyAdversary says:

            Don’t be so quick to dismiss: Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands – also don’t forget that relativistically (compared to countries you really don’t want to visit), the US/UK and Australia have very robust ‘safety nets’. Yes, some of your money should be taken to help out the people who have been dealt a bad hand. Also, if you (Liberal Party) won’t play ball on social services, why should anyone accept laws imposed on them or any other social contract? The whole point of living in a ‘tribe’ (society) is to increase the chances of survival for the peoples – through the poor some of your scraps/

            “I’m just a regular conservative who’s pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro-drugs, pro-euthanasia for whatever reason and anti-gun. Yep, i’m as conservative as they get!”
            Maybe you’re not a lost cause. How can you stand behind Abbott though, a man who embodies all the things you apparently hold with contempt and disdain? -Anti gay marriage, pro-lifer, anti euthanasia, anti-drug, not sure about his stance on gun control? Thankfully there is no way he can undo Howards good work even if he wanted to.

            It seems you have been taken in by Liberal party propaganda. There is no budget crisis, hence, no reason to support someone you apparently fundamentally disagree with on many issues. Also, this idea that the ALP is economically inept is complete BS- in recent memory, Keating floated the dollar and Rudd did a got job through the GFC- look at countries that did not do stimulus packages.

          • Frank says:

            “How can you stand behind Abbott though” That’s a disingenuous question. By the same token, i could ask Penny Wong how she could stand behind the Labor party who was against gay marriage right up until the last election?

            Like i said, I’m more closely aligned with David Leyonhjelm in the LDP with the exception that he’s pro-gun.

            “some of your scraps” I’d hardly call the amount of tax we pay “scraps”.

            Anyway, this has been fun going way off topic on HaD. Have a nice day!

          • WorthyAdversary says:

            *throw

          • John U says:

            Oi, Aussies, go play with the spiders and stop clogging up the comments!

          • anonymouse says:

            Why is everyone argueing on the internet. Can’t you guys talk in person, it’s nice because you don’t have a display to hide your smart-ass LIKE A REAL HUMAN

    • Bob says:

      Hey! I am getting email alerts for this thread. If the main topic was political the I would NOT have subscribed!

      Let it die already!

      • Frank says:

        Aw come on! It’s all good! We should start talking about the Royal Commission into union corruption!

        The Royal Commission, what a show!
        The Royal Commission, here we go!
        You keep wishin’, that we’d go awaaaayyy!
        But the Royal Commission’s here and it’s here to stayyyyy!

        • Scott says:

          Politics and the Royal Commission I’m sure are important… somewhere else. Since neither of these topics constitute relevant content, and do not pertain in the slightest to the original purpose of this article, I’d be pretty great to refrain from detracting from an amazing concept with noisy Australian political drivel…
          much appreciated…

          • Just So says:

            Scott, normally I would agree with you wholeheartedly – but this is a comments column discussing Tesla’s power transmission system, which means that anything goes, the cow jumped over the moon and some good old Aussie political sledging is more relevant than half remembered EM propagation classes.

          • @Just So – Scott is right. Also “half remembered”? The topic is a plea for money to make a NEW one (or actually 13 I think). So why would we Seppo’s give a rat’s arse about OZ-politics? You blokes can’t even figure out what happened to your PM back in ’67.

          • @Just So – Also you of all people should be interested in this TESLA subject matter. Why? Consider what’s going on near Perth WA. What the bloody hell is going on up at Exmouth Station and in the outback 400-miles northeast of Perth with all of that Tesla “plasma physics” stuff? You’re getting us Seppos (Yanks) all in a twitter and we want to find out what the deal is.

            21-year old story

            http://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/21/science/seismic-mystery-in-australia-quake-meteor-or-nuclear-blast.html

  7. bram says:

    If it should work then they will lose a lot of energy I think. But how do the wireless power things work that they already sell?

    • daid303 says:

      Usually done with “inductive coupling”. Which isn’t that efficient, but people don’t care.

      • uc says:

        This about sums it up.

      • Pat says:

        That’s not completely true. Resonant inductive coupling can reach high efficiency (70-80%) over short distances. Granted physical coupling reaches essentially 100%, so I guess it depends on how you define “high efficiency”.

        • camerin says:

          Inductive coupling is only efficient at really really short distances. (like .05 mm). And efficiency can be calculated in funny ways, like neglecting path loss the efficiency is 95%, This is valid because you are calculating coupling efficiency not system efficiency. Much like antenna efficiency can collect energy at 90% eff. but the problem is that the power drops off with any distance.

  8. Jim Turner says:

    lets pretend this was feasible.

    how would it affect the air we breathe?
    how would it affect migratory animals?
    how would it affect the atmosphere? Would we be more susceptible to cosmic rays?
    how would it affect air travel?
    how would it affect wireless communication?
    how would it affect satellites?

    • garym53 says:

      Sigh… mere details… don’t sweat the small stuff ;-)

    • pcf11 says:

      All wireless communication is based on Tesla’s work. It’s called radio now.

    • camerin says:

      The same way that the radio station does…… As it is the same physics that governs it. If you argue that the powers will be higher, simply move closer to the tower to see. Radio waves are quite a bit larger than a cell, they don’t have the same issues as nuclear radiation (ionizing DNA).

      • Rob says:

        Except that radio transmissions rely on signal levels at the microvolt level at the receiver which are then amplified with local electricity in order to render them as audible sounds/acoustic energy. Broadcasting electricity and then having to amplify it locally with, well, local electricity in order to derive wireless power seems a bit silly, no? Two very different things.

        • jam555 says:

          The common hobbyist AM crystal radio set provides AM frequency reception without ANY amplification therefor demonstrating that the broadcast of a radio wave is IDENTICAL with the wireless broadcast of electrical AC power. The difference lies entirely in magnitudes and treatments. Wireless power systems all work by increasing the magnitude at the BROADCAST SOURCE, thereby eliminating the need for amplification.

          I don’t think we’ll get world-wide wireless electricity from this, though: I don’t believe for a moment that the economics make sense.

  9. rorold says:

    So I reckon the basic idea is that it pulls charge out of the air and puts it in the ground, effectively using the earth and the atmosphere as two plates of a really huge capacitor. Which is possible, I suppose, and maybe even works over a few miles, but I’m guessing that in practice you’d get a big lightning discharge long before you transmitted any power across the Atlantic.

    Still, an atmospheric lightning generator is a pretty cool idea too.

  10. @jim : you do realise big oil + gas pretty much directly influences your first 4 points in a negative way and we happily keep on fracking anyway…

  11. slacker247 says:
    • Slegiar says:

      but those were claiming workability from the data and various wireless signals used by phones and tv networks and the like. this is actively pumping power into a…field (for lack of better term in the morning) designed for such a purpose. kind of a disconnect there methinks.

      • strevo says:

        right, but I am very familiar with this technology, and there ISNT enough energy on any of those bandwidths to even power BLE: http://www.powercastco.com/PDF/P2110-datasheet.pdf

        That claims 50mA of output, yes, only after collecting it for 5-10 minutes, and you need a graphene supercap that doesn’t drain naturally fast enough to store said energy, THEN you can turn on a BLE chip for a second, but mind you, this system is about the size of a credit card, AND it needs a nice antenna!

  12. daro says:

    arduino XD

  13. What do you think of messing with the entire planet ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r-3FNtgOFM (13:42 to 14:42 and 15+ about the tower…). We already have Wifi, Cellphones, Radios… wich are already dangerous ( http://www.pakalertpress.com/2014/07/06/wifi-an-invisible-but-ubiquitous-threat-to-the-future-of-the-species/ ).

    It’s possible but too dangerous.

    imho solar panels and windmills FTW.
    \m/,

    • arachnidster says:

      Wifi is not dangerous. There is neither any good evidence nor a plausible mechanism of action for non-ionising radiation to be harmful to living tissue at any dose below the point where heating becomes an issue.

      • “To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the direct impact of laptop use on human spermatozoa. Ex vivo exposure of human spermatozoa to a wireless internet-connected laptop ***decreased*** motility and induced DNA fragmentation by a nonthermal effect.”

        http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282%2811%2902678-1/abstract

        (any news about that?)

        • arachnidster says:

          That’s one study, ex vivo (_outside_ the body), with little to no information about the quality of the controls available without the full text, which I don’t have access to.

          In contrast, how about this WHO meta-analysis of EMF exposure to phone base stations: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/88/12/09-071852/en/

          “In total, 134 potentially relevant publications were identified; 117 articles were excluded as they did not meet our inclusion criteria (Fig. 1). Of the 17 articles included in the analyses, 5 were randomized trials and 12 were epidemiological or field intervention studies. The majority of the studies examined non-specific symptoms.”

          (Surprise! Most research on this is low quality, because the whole premise is basically quackery!)

          “In conclusion, our review does not indicate an association between any health outcome and radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure from MPBSs at levels typically encountered in people’s everyday environment. The evidence that no relationship exists between MPBS exposure and acute symptom development can be considered strong according to the GRADE approach16 because it is based on randomized trials applying controlled exposure conditions in a laboratory.”

        • hadl 101 Intro to critical thinking says:

          Heat kills sperm, thus why male genitalia evolved to be outside the body and at a significantly lower temperature. Laptops are quite warm, even moreso when running wifi.

          Use your brain and all becomes clear. Wifi is entirely irrelevant.

          IF A THEN B

          A = warmer temperatures

          B = unhealthy sperm

  14. Chris C. says:

    I wish I had Randall Munroe’s skills to demonstrate that it is possible, yet completely impractical, in XKCD’s “What If?” style.

    Suffice it to say that while resonant transmission of energy through the Earth works in theory, losses are probably incredibly high. Let’s say if 99% is wasted, the remaining 1% then costs about $10 per KW/h. Well, that might still be worth it in specialized situations and locations where other energy sources aren’t readily available. Assuming the power density is high enough that the receivers aren’t too large and expensive.

    Thing is, there is absolutely no way to control who accesses the energy. Which is still finite, and not “free energy”; you can only get out a portion of what is put in. If I were to build a DIY receiver capable of drawing off 1KW/h for free, then the transmitter must put in an additional 100KW/h to compensate and prevent loss of available energy to legitimate, paying customers of the service. Furthermore, there would be no way to determine the location of my unauthorized receiver, at least not with any accuracy due to the long wavelength of 10hz.

    This prevents commercialization of the concept, even if efficiency were not an issue. The more it’s scaled up, and the higher the power density, the more attractive theft becomes.

    As for it being environmentally friendly. Weren’t there anecdotal reports of corona discharges from objects like water faucets and butterfly wings for miles around, during Tesla’s tests? And that’s likely at many orders of magnitude smaller than the power required to provide a meaningful energy source. Doesn’t sound too friendly to me!

    Worst case scenario: The folks running the campaign take the money and run.

    Best case scenario: It will be a cool modern replication of an old experiment. The creators will have fun building the world’s largest Tesla coil. Experiments will be run and results will be shared. Then the coil will be torn down and sold for scrap metal, leaving the creators with a fair portion of the money that went into it, and some awesome experiences all paid for with other people’s money. If those people were willing to pay just to share in a bit of the fun and awesomeness, then no harm done.

    But let’s be clear – under no scenario will this result in, or advance, wireless global power distribution. Leading folks to believe otherwise in order to gather contributions is dishonest.

    • Pat says:

      “Thing is, there is absolutely no way to control who accesses the energy. ”

      You know, I saw this before, and thought this was the most damning criticism of even a theoretical perfect technology like this… but now I’m not sure it’s true.

      Imagine if your ability to access the transmitted power depended very strongly on what frequency your tuned circuit was resonant to. For argument’s sake you could imagine that it’s perfectly selective, which means if you’re on that frequency, you can access the power, and if you’re not, you get zero power. I don’t think this is physically realizable, but it’s at least theoretically possible, I guess.

      In that case, you may be able to restrict access cryptographically by frequency modulation. The transmitter tells its own receivers where the next frequency will be and when the shift will come, and anyone who’s not a legitimate, paying user won’t know, and so only taps power for a brief time. With a wide enough parameter space, it could be impractical to actually tap power.

      • The people first marketing FM radio were claiming that it was secure – no-one could listen without knowing the frequency. This led a really funny hack, but that’s not the point. The point is that people would just “scan” and find the right frequency. Of course, this is assuming the thing will actually work (which it won’t).

        • Pat says:

          Sure, but the FM radio people didn’t have the technology we have now. The US military already uses something like this to prevent radio jamming (e.g. HQ/SINCGARS), which functionally is the same problem (unauthorized user of transmissions).

          You can ‘scan’ and find the right frequency… for one brief moment. And then it’s another frequency, that you don’t know. So effectively, if the parameter space is large enough, you wouldn’t be able to tap power efficiently.

          “Of course, this is assuming the thing will actually work (which it won’t).”

          Agreed, this is totally a thought experiment.

          • dan says:

            I suspect that the idea of frequency shifting to try to avoid snooping only applies when you’re trying to snoop.
            a tuned loop will not “only” pick up frequencies it’s tuned to, it will best pick up frequencies it’s tuned to, consider the single dipole aerial, it’s able to pick up all frequencies, the tuning devices help to tune out noise rather than specifically amplify signal.

            At the end of the day you can switch frequencies as much as you like, the single wire/diode/cap will always be able to leech some energy, -i.e steal.

            it’s not that stealing necessarily is a bad thing per-say. assuming that the infrastructure is built with the intention to allow this, and assuming it’s renewable energy used.
            e.g. in sunny place, you make the tower powered by the sun (through solar panels or solar furnace) in a colder climate like the UK you power by wind wave or tide (as the Britain has 360 degrees of coast)

            e.g. you need to go into the project with the understanding that the energy source must be able to be universally accessed at the same price, (flat taxation). and that the other big problem with energy production (the pollution) must also be controlled, -who will want a coal powered station in their country to provide free energy to another?

            The real issue with this isn’t that it can’t be done, (ostensibly it CAN – Lots of simple AM radios are proof of this!) it’s that it’s very inefficient. very low power received compared to power in.
            This of course can be made more useful with new lower energy technology.
            but if you remove energy bills with free access to energy there is no longer a motivation to “upgrade” to lower power items.

            At the moment, the cost of a 100W bulb to run 24/7 is £105 per year (@0.12p p KWh)
            so the cost of a 100W bulb in a northern climate house, (assume avg 4 hours use per day is £17. -moving to an 11w cfl bulb at a cost of £2 per bulb means that the bulb pays for itself in the couple of months (more or less) and the rest of the year you save money (as it’s about £2 per year to run). if I don’t pay for the energy at all, then why should I move to CFL? -with shorter life span, less immediate light etc, why should I “suffer” to improve the free infrastructure? my neighbours ostensibly won’t.

            My favourite bit about this is that they keep saying it’s “clean energy”. clean exactly how?

            more like the whole world will end up looking like their picture. huge smoke billowing power stations, next to a network of these towers that’s end up spaced much closer together than these guys think if they ever want to see usable amounts of energy past lighting a single LED or getting a crystal set radio to work!

      • Ian Oliver says:

        It’s called FHSS. Bluetooth uses it. Bonus fact: It was co-invented by Hedy Lamarr.

      • Chris C. says:

        Frequency hopping is an interesting idea. I’m not sure if it would be helpful in this case, though.

        If the reports of Tesla’s tests are correct (and if I remember them correctly), building up sufficiently powerful standing waves in something as massive as the Earth takes a while. That would severely limit the hop rate, maybe to no more than once or twice per minute. Whereas detecting the current frequency could be done much more quickly, and would be trivial on such a slow signal using current DSP techniques.

        There would likely only be a few useful frequencies available anyway, those that are natural harmonics of the resonator (Earth).

        The receiver itself is just a huge LC circuit, tuned to the correct frequency. Strictly 1900’s brute force tech. Could be made tunable by using a tapped inductor and a few relays, or a sliding coil contact like those still used in variacs. Again, too easy to defeat.

      • @Chris C. – Actually wireless power today is in the microwave region. It only works for a few miles. It is selective because the transmitter is either using a parabolic reflector or a Yagi-Uda antenna. The receiver would not only have to have the correct microwave frequency but also have the correct power conversion circuitry.

        Tesla never meant for his version to be based on paid subscription as it was to be free if worked (which it couldn’t as the science was all wrong). You could tell that Tesla didn’t want to charge money for it by JP Morgan’s very legitimate question: “But where do you put the power meter?” Tesla probably responded “I see you don’t understand.” As if he really did himself.

        Of course he could blow smoke at these rich retards as all they knew was MONEY MONEY and MORE MONEY. Science was an alien concept to them. However, there where much smarter people around or near Tesla who better understood what was going on. And that was NOT Edison! Westinghouse was one of them and he suckered Tesla out of MILLIONS! Now look what Westinghouse is doing today. More military industrial complex contracts than anyone can even comprehend. And couple that with consumer appliances too.

        Tesla was not SMART! He was just super-lucky but super-dumb about big finance and corporate strategy. He should have teamed up with Westinghouse and just decimated Edison, Morgan, and Rockefeller. He could have used his gadgets to overwhelm them but he stupidly gave it all to George Westinghouse Jr.

  15. Joseph says:

    Reminds me of stories I’ve heard about the old VLF transmitter (NSS) in Annapolis, MD (USA). While I have no personal experience of this, it was said there were no light bulbs in the maintenance shed at the base of the tower, just an umbrella stand full of fluorescent bulbs. You grabbed one as you went in and the energy from the transmitter would light it for you.

    • strevo says:
    • eriklscott says:

      The Navy had some radars in the vietnam era that could light up fluorescent bulbs on land from 2 miles offshore. These days – talk about giving away your position… :-)

    • Rob says:

      You can do this with AM radio transmitters as well… have to defeat the interlock and open the cabinet while it’s running, but it makes for great amazement when an elementary school field trip visits their local radio station. Of course, you can also use this RF excitation for other exciting things (like cauterizing fingers if you leave your ring(s) on while reaching into the cabinet… lovely stuff!), but those probably aren’t suggested viewing for the visitors to the station.

      • Bob says:

        I used to work at a 5KW AM transmitter station. The output stage was room with a 4 foot high (1.2m) valve with integrated water cooling. The door to the room was the interlock and would cut the power to the output stage. Defeating this interlock and entering the room would be certain death!

        They had a policy of of keeping **ALL** maintenance spare parts on-site. This included fluorescent tubes. They would be light when in the storage room. By the time you used them to replace a fixed light, they didn’t have much life left.

        We probably had about 120 fluorescent light fixtures and kept about over 1000 spare tubes to compensate for the high failure rate ie reduced in fixture life span.

        The stupidity of situation is simple maths. Because the life of the tube starts when it arrives on-site and not when it goes into a fixture, then the in fixture life is a function of the ratio of fixtures to in storage tubes. That is – the more you have in storage, the longer they will be there and the shorter they will live in a fixture. This is equally offset by the high in fixture failure rate causing the tubes to re replace (from storage) at a higher rate. This higher replacement rate results in an **accountants** decision to increase storage capacity.

        That is – there were so many in storage ie they got to 1000 odd tubes in the storage room before someone realised that the faster you change out faulty tubes, the faster you **need** to replace faulty tubes. If you spent a week replacing tubes then there would be even more in storage. If you did this for long enough under their policy you would have an infinite number of tubes in storage and they would blow the instant you put it into a fixture. Self defeating!

        In the end ‘tube fanatics’ were frowned at and we all worked on high voltage equipment with very dull minimal lighting.

  16. BillBrasskey says:

    Just build a powermat for each house to sit on lol. It is sad to look at how little has been accomplished in this realm. I was watching a How its Made the other day with some dongs at a lab that were happy about moving 12v three feet. I asked myself, “how much do these goons make? They are not doing anything original-hell can’t even accomplish the original achievements at a fraction.” And yet, they are happily employed and think they are on the cutting edge of technology lol. Any user on HaD could’ve shamed them on an hourly basis and probably had things “working” within a day. It was pretty clown shoes.
    Like some others have said on here, this will always be a startup scam until Walmart sells it as that is the nature of the greedy capiltalist :(
    RIP Nikola Tesla and thank you for all of the wonderful things and ideas you left with mankind and for the wisdom to take some with you.

    • Tonytuba says:

      Well put….especially given that, of course, Bill Brasky is a son of a bitch! I wouldn’t expect anything less from the man that scissor-kicked Angela Lansberry.

      It’s things like this that make me sad for science in general. What happened to science for the sake of science? What happened to trying something, even if it has a high probability of failure , just to see if it could work. Sure, there’s still plenty of experimentation, but what about science at the ragged edge? Given how much more we know now over science’s heyday in the 50’s-60’s, we should be miles ahead of where we are now.

      Here’s the point where i dive into a diatribe about how the government needs to stop limiting research funding to only things that can be weaponized or used in combat, but i’ll just stop here and leave my affiliations to myself.

      • BillBrasskey says:

        Thanks :) I’m glad you got my vibe. There is a lot less of the “shooting from the hip” of yesterday. Take a look at the comments after any HaD post and grubworms like myself, and the EEs on here can find a million reasons that it shouldn’t work lol. I have a device that literally only works gator clamped- any attempt to solder or comp a resistor and it says no. I love it like my own firstborn though, and if that is the only way it will work, then so be it ;) May it grow bigger and stronger than me one day to kick my teeth in and impregnate my unfulfilled wife with a shark it has raised in its belly from a pup. Such is the lab of the Brasskey ;)

  17. Markey1979 says:

    I do not know if it is, or is not, possible. It really looks cool though.

    Nikola Tesla was a very smart man. Some of the things that he brought us were absolutely awesome. He did say, himself, that the system of distribution that he designed was wrong.

    He envisioned that power be transmitted freely to everyone on the planet. I personally have looked at a few of Tesla’s patents too, but I find them hard to understand. He seems to have strategically left out details that prevent people from replicating his work.

    There is a guy that I have been reading, his name is Konstantin Meyl. Just give him a quick search.

    In closing, I do not really want to say the word impossible. With that kind of outlook, we would still be sleeping on dirt, rubbing sticks together for fire. I know that it is difficult to fathom, and modern scientific THEORY says that it is impossible, but hey, we do not really understand gravity either……

    • pcf11 says:

      Sleeping on dirt, and rubbing sticks together were titanic technological feats for our species. We used to live in nests in trees you know? Climate change forced us to evolve though.

    • Kemp says:

      The problem with your point is that theory is generally very good for things we’ve done a lot of work on. Shoving radio waves and similar out of a big transmitter is something we know a little about ;)

      To put it in perspective, your comment could equally be that we should try flapping our arms and flying. We don’t understand gravity fully, therefore it could work.

      In reality, we don’t necessarily understand the *mechanism* by which gravitational force propogates, but we understand the *effects* of it pretty well, and one of those is that people can’t fly unassisted.

  18. Jay says:

    The key is 13 towers, all running in sync and evenly spaced around the globe. Effectlively turning the entire earth into a resonating tank capacitor. You could at any point use the dipole (ground and air) directly, or if in the sky have a resonant rlc circuit to produce power. Until the progression of electrons down a wire is reclassified as an “effect of” and not the actual phenemona of electricity, people will continue to be blind.

    • @Jay – This stuff is pseudo-science. Tesla and these Russians are not “generating” the power they think they are transmitting. There is no global dipole that can be exploited. Yes you can stick a wire into the ionosphere like NASA recently did but the ionosphere is from 53 to 370 miles UP! No tower is that high!

      No if you want REAL science and are thinking of zero-point-energy, try looking up the Casimer Effect. Now that involves capacitors and strange unknown energy. Tesla stumbled onto NOTHING. He could not transmit energy as his frequency was not high enough (into microwaves) and had no receiving equipment to convert it to power. He was simply playing around with high-energy low-frequency spark-gaps and the receiving side was just something that was partially tuned (near-resonate) to the arching of his spark-gap transmitter. It is what is called ELCTROSTATIC energy. It can not propagate thousands of miles like EMF can. He never understood EMF and rejected the physicists explaining it to him.

      The only thing today that comes close to what Tesla was doing is the USN’s old retired once top-secret ELF/VLF submarine global communications systems. However, they used the ground and the sea as conductors only. There was no sky used. They also had several key stations around the world. It had MILLIONS of watts of power but did not send any power to a sub only Morse code.

      Casimer Effect:

      • jam555 says:

        Whether the tower would generate energy, or just transmit energy generated elsewhere, is a valid question. I personally wouldn’t want to live near it if it DID generate electricity from the coil.

        Moving on:

        There’s no indications that vacuum energy can be harnessed for power purposes (it might be usable for motor purposes or sensor purposes, but not all motors can be used as generators).

        Frequency does NOT determine whether you can transmit energy, just what frequency your antenna must be tuned to in order to do a good job of it. Power lines would be decent transmitters of 60 Hz power (pretty much entirely because of their length) if it weren’t for the fact that they always come in coupled sets (this increases transmission along their length, but greatly reduces it parallel to their length).

        You need to learn the definition of electrostatic. Electrostatic is always in reference to static electric fields and charges. The moment that you involve frequency (more specifically, the moment that there’s a meaningful change in charge or field strength over the course of your experiment) you are dealing with electrodynamic behavior, which CAN transmit energy wirelessly.

        Also, as I best recall those VLF antennas weren’t tuned, AND had to transmit through sea water: not a relevant comparison. It would be much more meaningful to see how a tuned antenna & receiver in open air reacted to them.

        • jam555 says:

          Perpendicular to their length, not parallel, perpendicular.

        • @Jam555 – I don’t disagree with you mostly. You are correct mostly. After reading through NASA’s explanation of the Schumann Resonance at, http://image.gsfc.nasa.gov/poetry/ask/q768.html, I have a better understanding for this now.

          It is my understanding that higher frequencies than 60 Hz is more efficient for power generation. Most high-efficiency power supplies on the market operate at much higher than that. The USN used to operate the submarine communications arrays at around 100 KHz or so (and other frequencies). That sounds tuned to me.

          You are correct that I used the word ELECTROSTATIC incorrectly. Tesla used to say “Electrostatic Induction” when he should have said “Electrodynamic Induction”. That’s what I meant. I should have just said NEAR-FIELD and FAR-FIELD energy. Near field is less radiative than far-field. Tesla’s device was NF not FF. FF would be a real radio transmitter capable of sending human intelligence around the world. NF is only good for inducing current into close by objects like coils and such. NF distance is only 1/6 the wave length of the transmitter. That’s not very far.

          The USN used to bury extremely long radial cables in the ground around a ELF/VLF station. You can still see them with Google Earth at Cutler Maine, Chicago Illinois, and Exmouth Station in Northeastern Australia. Some are still operational for other reasons heretofore unknown.

          They transmit millions of watts through the Earth’s crust. The signal gets to seawater indirectly. The submarine has to trail out a 5 NM cable from the stern to pick up the signal. It is only receive-only they can’t respond with it. They get EAM messages (nuclear stuff) with it. But not anymore. Now they use a satellite laser system called SLC. And it is 2-way. Don’t ask me how a laser can work underwater from geosync orbit. I could tell you but… (LOL)

          • jam555 says:

            High-efficiency power supplies operate in the KHz+ range mostly because they can use a smaller inductor that way (specifically, we’re talking about switching-“mode” power supplies: aircraft generators also work above the 60 Hz range for much the same reason: it allows them to use smaller inductors for the same power). To the best of my knowledge the highest frequency power supply operates in the MHz range, and is the product of a fairly recent Kickstarter. The only reason that I KNOW of for why we don’t operate them in the THz range is the lack of conveniently available components (and, maybe, a greater difficulty in controlling EM noise…).

            RADIATIVE power transmission is a little different: if I remember right, higher frequencies (lower wavelengths) get better focusing out of any given size of reflector or refractor, thereby making higher frequencies more desirable for transmission to a specific point over any meaningful distance.

            I understand that it’s difficult to get a given amplitude of wave at a lower frequency, but that doesn’t really effect the efficiency per-say if you’re using tuned antennas and resonators. The trick is that the power is indicated by the total area between the waveform and the x-axis when plotted on a Cartesian plane; I haven’t run the math, but I’m guessing that the area is simply greater for lower frequencies at the same amplitude.

            As for “tuned”, I have in mind a very specific concept in this case: “tank” circuits. Any given tank circuit has a frequency at which it will have it’s lowest resistance: this is the frequency that the tank circuit is tuned for, and if you apply a momentary pulse to the circuit then it will oscillate at that frequency, with the force applied to the current by the inductor and the force applied by the capacitor always being 90 degrees out of phase with each other, thus perpetuating the oscillation, until the resistance of the circuit reduces the current to the level of background noise. Antennas are essentially a type of tank circuit (though I understand that some are more broad-band than others), with the frequency that they naturally resonate at being the one that they detect most easily. This is all rather rare in today’s world, since inductors are something of a nuisance to reliably produce, and thus are preferentially replaced with resistors instead (they don’t exhibit the same characteristics, but with capacitors, transistors, and filters to ground you can get good enough for most purposes). One of the nice things, though, is that if you can simply dump some set amount of charge into the capacitor at the right time, you can leave it up to the coil & cap to get the frequency right: they do it naturally.

            This tank-circuit resonant behavior is what the entire scheme ultimately depends on: you use the ionosphere and ground as the confinement walls of a waveguide/resonant chamber, and use a tank circuit tuned to the correct frequency to accumulate power, storing what isn’t tapped into or lost as “emissions” (heat or otherwise) in the tank resonance: the efficiency of this scheme is limited by:
            1) The resistance of the tank circuit – the higher the resistance, the higher the losses via heat,
            2) (Power lost through the ionosphere + Power lost via absorption by ground, ionosphere, and air) / (Power transmitted), all of these measured per second/minute/hour/whatever.
            As long as the #2 numerator values are low enough, you can get a FAIRLY efficient result, since the wireless power scheme in question calls for the transmitters to be tuned to match the Schumann resonances, which means that you’ll get a very high transmission efficiency. If the #2 numerator values are too high, though, then the whole thing winds up with horrible efficiency, regardless of your receiver efficiency: to the best of my knowledge, this has never been specifically studied by a published paper (Tesla presumably studied it, but the older he got, the more secretive he got, and some of his papers were destroyed during the Wardenclyffe era).

            The big trick is this whole “and generate power!!!1!!1111!!!11!” bit. I can think of ONE method that MIGHT work (artificially induce a lightning bolt between the ground and the ionosphere, with the ground-side emitter being only used to initiate & control the plasma column), but that is one of the few things that I’d NIMBY, due to the (hopefully) phenomenally low but technically existing possibility of a permanent bolt of lightning linking ionosphere & ground forevermore: do it in YOUR backyard FIRST.

            At any rate, the best that I expect to see from this is more attention paid to wireless power transmission in general. We’re making progress on the space industry, but things will REALLY get moving if we have a viable space-based industry, and SPS seems likely to be the “best” at early stages.

            Incidentally, 60 Hz has a wavelength ~3106 miles, giving a near-field range of ~518 miles by your standard, and the basal 7.83 resonance has a wavelength ~23801 miles, for a near-field range of ~3967 miles. Either of those is MASSIVELY further than I travel from home on the average day, and the wavelength of the fundamental is (not surprisingly) of the same order as the size of the Earth itself, which in combination with the Schumann resonances is likely to give a MUCH larger near-field footprint than the ordinary “Euclidean infinite plane” model will suggest.

            And I STILL wouldn’t invest any money in it :p .

  19. thoriumbr says:

    Or you create a Dyson sphere around Earth, made with the “bricks” from Solar Roadways… Use the energy to power lots of wireless chargers (you can buy them on eBay) and broadcast lots of petawatts over our heads…

    You will need a little more money than the original Solar Roadways. Maybe you get a loan from that guy that sued a couple of people asking for “just” $2 undecillion…

    • dan says:

      Dyson sphere?
      you mean the one with no filters except for the filters that you should periodically take out and wash?

      • thoriumbr says:

        No, a hypothetical sphere Freeman Dyson formulated once. It is a sphere of solar panels encompassing the Sun, so it can capture all of the solar power output.

        To it work on Earth, we would need to put some lights pointing down too. Blanketing the Earth from the Sun is not a goot thing to do…

  20. 666blah666 says:

    “the air was thinner, and therefor more conductive”

    LOL

    • Greenaum says:

      Was that bit specifically from Tesla? I dunno, damp air conducts DC electricity better. OTOH thin air is better for radio waves since they’re absorbed by dampness. I could be argued in either direction, but that’s just cos I don’t know the details.

  21. The idea sounds plausible, but do we need more EM waves through the air? Would it be safe and where would the power come from? There’s a lot written about Tesla. No doubt he was a unique genius but without answering critical questions and just “doing it” could be a disaster. http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7521102473

    • phreaknik says:

      I think the concept is really to use the ground as the source of EM waves while the atmosphere is the reference. Basically the opposite of a radio. It would obviously still effect the atmospheric EM environment, but not nearly as much as people are assuming.

    • Greenaum says:

      To be fair, we were doing quite well with copper wire so far, and batteries and generators for distance. So yeah, how much of an advantage is this, never mind necessity?

  22. camerin says:

    Seriously. 5 years ago, i used to come here and be corrected (by the writers) for making stupid comments like ^^ post. Now the writers are making them… seriously i miss the good old days.

    • Mark says:

      I’ll second that.

    • Greenaum says:

      Still, better to discuss WHY things won’t work, even if they’re “just stupid”, we can sometimes learn from it. Indeed the furthest edges of a subject are where big discoveries are most likely hiding. Sure there’s stuff to be found out, and with enough friction maybe we’ll have a spark of genius.

  23. camerin says:

    One more comment, before i duck out of this stupidity. The reason tesla could never make this work is that there is no way to recoup the investment in the infrastructure. There is no way to recoup operational costs. And it is far more expensive and wasteful than transitional techniques So lets do the math assuming it is possible

    Costs more money,
    Makes no money,
    Increases carbon foot print,
    block communication in huge bandwidths (you need broad band energy to make it work).

    How is this a good idea? It is cool, but so is atomic bomb powered space ships ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion) ). but the down sides are too great to justify (in the case of the atomic bomb space ship it is simply killing 1-50 people every time you launch one)

  24. Kris Blouch says:

    There is a reasonable comment above, which is in line with what Tesla had said (although as noted earlier, he was frequently cryptic from having his ideas so regularly stolen in his younger years), but the comment was: “Effectively turning the entire earth into a resonating tank capacitor. You could at any point use the dipole (ground and air) directly, or if in the sky have a resonant rlc circuit to produce power.” (Jay)

    This is the heart of the idea–not a giant radio tower. My question is this: is there anyone reading who knows enough about the elec. mag. properties of the earth to figure out what it’s limits are as a capacitor and it’s use as a resonance circuit? Also, The idea that an action which affects the field on this side of the world would be balanced by an equal effect, basically stimulated, on the opposite side of the earth, thus creating instant power transmission across huge distances makes quite a lot of sense theoretically. But i have no idea if it’s worth thinking about, or just silly, as the losses over that much space are negated by other field effects and an already fluctuating/turbulent field. Also, what’s the potential difference in say 100 ft. of space normal to earth’s field at just above sea level?

    Some very smart comments above, ignoring a diatribe on Aus. politics (it’s hard to be impressed by commentators that can’t figure out A. Hackaday isn’t Yahoo groups and B. what trolling looks like), but, ignoring that, most of the interesting comments relate advances in similar tech, like radio, not in tech based upon fluctuating the earth’s magnetic field.

    Anyone able to weigh in with some more info on this specifically? Thanks!

    • @Kris Blouch – Tesla was a rank neophyte! Physicists of his day knew more about what Tesla was “flying by the seat of his pants”. Einstein, and many others looked on in disbelieve that this guy came up with so many amazing things from “dreams. portents, and trances” and they worked. Yet Tesla could only use his 1st year electrical science knowledge and transformer winding mechanics to try and explain things. He actually uses ONLY the Ohms Law throughout his journals which explains much. He was big wannabe but didn’t want to do the hard work of staying in school. He dropped out of Graz University to team up with some Hindu Swami from Chicago. He actually used the word “ETHER” to explain what we know today as EMF or Photons. Even the scientists of the day knew that ETHER was totally wrong!

      Some say Tesla discovered the Schuman Effect before Schuman did. He did not. His silly Wardenclyffe Tower was NOT tall enough to reach the ionosphere where massive amounts of power exists due to solar radiation hitting our magnetosphere. That explains the Aurora light shows up there. NASA has just tried to tap into it with the TETHER project from the shuttle. The power was massive.

      Tesla idea was sort of like RF ducting I think. Our HAARP station in Alaska is trying to exploit that but their “towers” are smaller and more powerful than Tesla’s joke of a tower at Shoreham NY. It was destroyed by our USN under orders from the POTUS. The BOI (early FBI) discovered that Tesla would have used it to transmit messages to the enemy like he already did with the TELEFUNKEN STATION not that far away from Shoreham. It was what arguably lead to WW1. Look for my posting below – it explains more.

      Tesla was arguably bitter as when he showed off his amazing remote control boats at Madison Square Gardens (controlled by fluorescent lights) around 1898 I think, the US War Department thought it was a joke. Now we have this (go to time stamp 1:00):

  25. Levi says:

    Best comments ever!

  26. shmuu says:

    no one has mentioned here , the most important aspect of this technology. …. Tesla claimed this transmission used what he called “SCALAR waves” he insisted many ties they were not “Hertzian” waves . does the inverse square law apply to scalar waves? Tesla said no.

    Was Tesla stupid? i really doubt it. He invented all kinds of stuff, most of which he never got credit for. (AC power, induction motors , generators, lasers, radio communications. + much more).

    Does it work? no idea… but talking it down before they even try IS stupid, imo.

    • jam555 says:

      While scalar waves do exist for EM, they’re pretty rare (the only example I can immediately recall is something related to NASA plasma source, and some sort of phonon (or was it plasmon?) based sensors or delay lines). For EM at least, Tesla was correct about the inverse square law not applying (EM Scalar waves DO NOT EXIST IN 3D SYSTEMS, only in systems constrained to 2 dimensions, so inverse, but not inverse square), but it’s honestly better to think about resonant chambers, wave guides, and balanced transmission lines, since those are just as likely to provide a working knowledge as anything else.

  27. piotrsko says:

    I recall on the space shuttle long wire experiment generated huge voltages so much so the engineers thought it would fry the shuttle. They had to guillotine the wire to jettison. Tesla knew something, but there was no language to explain it.

  28. rasz_pl says:

    I get the feeling HaD editors got the “talk” from SupplyFrame scu^^^lawyers and are not allowed any longer to call SCAMS for what they are – SCAMS.

    Dear editors, if you cant simply say _this is a scam_ maybe its better to not write about it at all? after all you give them PR, and without clearly stating your position you appear to be endorsing it – just like that second article about dropping the Soap.

    • > Dear editors, if you cant simply say _this is a scam_ maybe its better to not write about it at all?

      This is a scam. Happy now?

      The word ‘scam’ is terribly overused when it comes to kickstarters. I don’t know what it means anymore. Are they reselling stuff you can buy on AliBaba? Are they selling something that violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics in bad faith? Would it still be a scam if they were selling a ‘perpetual motion machine’ in good faith? The word scam is used too much, and there’s a lot more gray to the world then you’re letting on.

      /The SupplyFrame lawyer is actually pretty cool, and we have yet to see if Soap is what you call a scam.

      • dan says:

        >The word ‘scam’ is terribly overused when it comes to kickstarters. I don’t know what it means anymore. Are they reselling stuff you can buy on AliBaba?

        I agree with you that scam is overused but in all your examples it can possibly be a scam.

        Reselling isn’t a scam, claiming to be an inventor of something, or claiming that it’s manufactured in America in order to falsely misrepresent and gain trust would make it a scam. Often-times I’ve bought things on ebay, claiming to be UK based that are actually drop shipped from china, leaving me unexpected import duty to pay.

        >Are they selling something that violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics in bad faith?

        In this case no, but if they set them selves up in a way where they flasly claimed to be authoritative on the subject, in order to gain trust and sold something that they knew wouldn’t work, it’s still a scam.

        >Would it still be a scam if they were selling a ‘perpetual motion machine’ in good faith?
        that depends. in this case they appear to be wanting to act in good faith, but you can still run a scam in good faith. as it is the doubt is whether they are actually able to accomplish what they are doing.

        in this case they’ve written Tesla’s name all over the page, and wrote that they are both graduates from university, this is not a real CV, but a ploy to gain confidence, -you can trust us, and you can trust this world famous well respected inventor.

        In this case I think what they are doing is a scam, on the simple basis that they actually explain nothing of what they are doing.

        and when they do link to their own website.

        http://globalenergytransmission.com/index.php/en/related-docs-en/33-electrical-power-unit-circuit-and-photos-of-some-elements

        you’ll see that they only say that it’s far to complicated to explain. – which on these kick starter sites normally means we don’t know either.

        Additionally in the second comment about capacitors, three weeks ago they said that they still don’t have the capacitors to build the power supply. yet they say that this was done/complete by Q2 of this year (a couple of weeks ago).

        essentially, the misrepresent themselves, misrepresent the technology, misrepresent their progress, avoid questions, and misuse the name of a famous inventor to gain credence with their end goal to sell a technology that they don’t actually know can work…

  29. “He chose this location because the air was thinner, and therefor more conductive.” Huhhh?

  30. Dr.Obscure says:

    No one seems to have mentioned the real reason for Nikola’s towers was to tap into the tremendous power available to us in the Ionosphere, constantly replenished by the Sun via the Solar Wind. Tesla was aware of this power source and how to tap into it, his biggest problem was controlling the power stream once it began. As such, localized wireless power transmission was but one of his applications for this almost unlimited and free energy.. Others have since buried most of the details of this project, however Jame McCanney (jmccsci.com) does offer some in his work. Still, its a shame we waste all this effort and lives fighting over banker’s oil, when free energy is literally floating over our heads for the taking.

  31. barry99705 says:

    Why don’t they spend their time and money figuring out how to capture lightning? Seems like as long as we have weather, we’d have a fairly unlimited supply of power.

  32. Dr.Obscure says:

    Our weather is largely generated via the energy at the Ionosphere.. so yes, capture the lightning, but do it at the source.. the Ionosphere.. again, Tesla had it almost right.. then they (Carnegie, et al) pulled the plug on him and his projects..

    • jam555 says:

      In their defense, I’m not certain we have the right materials to implement an ionospheric tap even now, much less then: you’re basically talking about “space tower” stuff there. And do you know what the total wattage production of the ionosphere is? Because I certainly don’t.

  33. Whatnot says:

    I’m reminded of the secretive HAARP project, which as I understand it is quite extensive and now done by many nations, in secret.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Frequency_Active_Auroral_Research_Program

    And there are many conspiracy theories about it, which often seem daft but all the evidence of secrecy does make you wonder what the hell is going on with that.
    Point being that maybe we already know a lot on the subject because of the research of those projects, but the military keeps it all closed down

    And they also did ionospheric nuke experiments in the old days and then went thousands of miles away with ships to observe the effect on that location, since it creates an effect in the upper atmosphere that comes down to the ground on calculated locations thousands of miles from the detonation. And that too must have given information about the transfer of energy through the atmosphere and over global ranges. But again a lot of that is probably also classified.

    Anyway, I think they should show more constraint with some experiments. Keep it for when humans have bases on other planets maybe.

  34. Richard says:

    The sun already transmits vast amounts of free energy over the planet wirelessly, via EM waves (of a much higher frequency, more commonly known as light). We know how to harness this energy, via solar cells. True, it doesn’t fall on the night side, so some storage would be required to provide a 24/7 solution.

    If this scheme is going to transmit at power densities approaching the density of the solar flux, then we don’t want the environmental consequences of it. Besides, where are we going to get the initial energy to put into a station that would allow it to transmit at such a power density?

    But if it’s going to transmit at power densities many orders of magnitude less, then won’t the receivers have to be enormous, proportionally larger than solar cells, to capture a useful amount of energy? If you needed to capture a kilowatt of energy, wouldn’t it be cheaper to build a tiny receiver to capture it via solar cells than to build a receiver many orders of magnitude bigger to capture it via the Tesla system? I suppose the Tesla system might use a simpler metal antenna that’s cheaper per square meter than a solar photovoltaic cell, but things that are really huge don’t come cheap, so “cheaper per square meter” doesn’t necessarily translate to “cheaper per watt”, if there are very few watts available per square meter.

    I’m aware of the problems, benefits, and issues of solar power, and I hope this post doesn’t provoke a re-hash of all of that. I’m also aware that solar panels have limited efficiency, but my point is such that, if I’m off by a factor of ten, that’s close enough. My point is that the power density available from solar flux is such that rooftop solar power is approximately within an order of magnitude or so of being able to supply a home’s energy needs, more-or-less. If Tesla transmits many orders of magnitude lower power density, a home’s receiver will need to be many orders of magnitude bigger than the home. On the other hand, if Tesla wants to transmit at power densities such that a home-sized receiver can supply a home’s energy needs, Tesla will have to approach the power density of the solar flux. That is not only impractical, but I can’t imagine it being safe.

    A good engineering study would run the numbers, state where the initial power would come from, state the transmitted power density, describe the magnitude of the resulting electric field, show how it would be distributed around the earth, etc. I haven’t seen anything approaching this level of detail. Why should I believe this will work?

    • jam555 says:

      The biggest real-world advantage over solar would be frequency: I believe that a good switching power supply can get into the 80-90% efficiency ballpark, while I believe that solar cells max out around 30% (maybe 50% for high-efficiency stuff? but average-installed-efficiency is really the thing to compare to). Thus, FOR A GOOD FREQUENCY, the Tesla system could provide the same power at a LOWER receiver-side power density.

      This does, however, assume that the frequency would be efficient to use, which is something that I have no real idea about, since I haven’t looked up the frequencys in question lately.

      Also, as I understand it, wavelength of the frequency is either the same as, or twice the value of, the “radial footprint” that an antenna tuned to THAT frequency will cause to that frequency of photons: thus, a tuned antenna can ACT as a larger antenna than it is, when considered in regards to the wavelength that it’s tuned to. An antenna tuned to ~ 1 meter wavelength would produce a maybe 2 meter “footprint” on the frequency in question in the area that it was located in. So, you can simulate a fairly large antenna in a fairly small package if you choose the right frequency. Both “chicken wire” Faraday cages and ordinary antennas (in the later case by way of the physical design of the antenna, instead of via caps & coils) make use of this to optimize their frequency characteristics.

      Now, take that, and imagine for a moment that that you’ve built an array of antennas, with some built into the house, some built into the fence, some in the garage, some in lamp posts that you installed along the sidewalk at the curb, all of them acting as a 1 meter radius pickup. Fairly straightforward to see how this could enable lower power densities for the same load, right? Good luck getting the actual generators enough funding to get this to work, though.

  35. twdarkflame says:

    Why would you even want too anyway?
    We seem pretty darn good at laying cables.

    • jam555 says:

      So you can wire a coil to ground + a suspended plate, and trick yourself into thinking that you aren’t paying for electricity since you’re paying via taxes instead of via cash? It made a lot more sense back then, since there was both a movement towards consolidation (Communism, Fascism, etc.), and the electrical grid was still in it’s early phases of construction.

  36. Toby says:

    It’s only logical: if the voltage goes towards infinity, the required conductor wire goes towards zero. That’s what Spock said :D

  37. theo says:

    Hello I saw some people before me saying that the antenna has to be tall enough in order to make the earth medium for near field .
    Im no expert in electronics but why have an antenna tall enough when you got sattelites? ?

    • jam555 says:

      The frequencies in question would get bounced back by the ionosphere. That’s (part) of why microwave power satellites need frequency experiments: to figure out which frequencies we can even USE to send the power.

  38. capcouillon says:

    IT’LL NEVER WORK !!!!

    Then again, that is what ol’ Thomas Alva Edison said about Tesla’s polyphase transmission of electrical power (you may know it as “AC” power transmission) just before it trashed Edison’s dream of an Edison PowerPlant on ever street corner.

    Research funding in any sector, be it government, corporate, educational institution, or private whack-job is the most cut throat, political, ass kissing, dick wagging, process imaginable. And a good portion of it, while not truely a “Scam” is certainly an exceptional waste of resources and available funding (Google the Ig Nobel prize for a good start) l for one, would rather see project research funded by “Crowd Fund” volunteer contriubtors than by the involuntary donations of US taxpayers via the US Department of Defense (the beloved DARPA grants) Taking money from DARPA is kinda like taking money from the mafia… Once you take their money, they own you.

    As to the original question, “Global Energy Transmission – Can It Work?”; Who knows, that’s why these guys are trying to fund further research. Tesla seemed to think so (See US Patent 645,576 N. Tesla, March 20, 1900) but unfortunately do to lack of funding the Wardenclyffe project had to be scrapped. While the stated primary purpose of Wardenclyffe was trans-atlantic wireless telephony, its secondary purpose was proof-of-concept demonstrations of wireless power transmission. Alas with the introduction of the Italian usurpers wireless system (Guglielmo Marconi) good old JP Morgan pulled his funding, and until now Tesla’s theories on the subject have not been pursued on any large scale. Will there be issues? Of course. Will they be insumountable? Who knows? This is the basic function of research and inovation.

    As to the usefulness of the concept, storage and distribution of electrical power has always been a larger problem than generation. Large scale solar arrays would be more efficient in the Australian ouback than in Northern England, and hydro-electric power is more practical in Niagara Fall than Omaha, the problem of how to get that power to Pago-Pago remains. As an example of a tecno solution to the issue, see Tesla’s polyphasic transmission of power vs Edison’s DC transmission noted above.

    “Listen to the mustn’ts, child.
    Listen to the don’ts.
    Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.
    Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…
    Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” (Shel Silverstein 1970)

    Just because we are not sure it will work, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find out.

    As a final note, for those of you who feel so surperior LOLing about the statement “the air was thinner, and therefor more conductive”. Do a little research before you expose your ignorance in public… The inverse relationship between atmospheric pressure and the conductance of air was empiricaly arrived at by Friedrich Paschen in 1889 (see Paschen’s Law) and also researched by William Crookes (you have heard of him, right? Vacuum tubes and all…..)

    I’m just sayin’

    • arachnidster says:

      Note that this is basically the Galileo Gambit: “They said Galileo was crazy, and they were wrong; therefore when they say I’m crazy, they’re wrong.”

      Or in other terms, just because some crazy ideas turn out to be true doesn’t mean all crazy ideas are true, or even that a given crazy idea is more likely to be true.

    • pcf11 says:

      If you do not like DARPA you might want to get off their Internet.

  39. Scott says:

    Even if it did work, how would you stop people from stealing power?

    • jam555 says:

      I’ve never heard of a voltage-controlled inductor (as in a REAL inductor, rather than a gyrator), or at least one that didn’t require an external power source, which would make this rather futile. I suspect power theft would be inevitable.

  40. HowardC says:

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned the potential environmental problems something like this might cause. Errant shocks and static annoyances aside, if this worked it would essentially magnetize the ionosphere. Birds and bees would have a hell of a time navigating.

    • jam555 says:

      If a bird or bee gets into the ionosphere, then they’re going to suffocate regardless: the ionosphere STARTS about 50 miles up. At any rate, magnetization would likely flip at the same frequency as the electric input, so I suspect there wouldn’t be any problem animals… more likely for humans to have problems, via high-speed magnetometers and changes to the reflectivity/transparency/absorption characteristics of the ionosphere.

  41. white crane says:

    closed gas generator cycle? impossible said the USA’s german based rocket team. Russia then builds them. And of course now they are the most effecient way of gtting to space.

    • Kemp says:

      Correct, there have been some things (usually the same few things that people bring up in these discussions) that were said to be impossible and were then accomplished. It is a logical fallacy to extrapolate from that evidence that any pet theory must be possible if people say it’s not. You also have to take into account the billions of impossible ideas that were exactly as impossible as predicted.

      Attempt things and present the results, that’s great. Just don’t use faulty logic like this, it doesn’t help anyone.

  42. Jim says:

    Almost anything is possible if you throw enough money and manpower at it. Is this economically feasible? I seriously doubt it. I would expect huge inefficiencies. I don’t need a calculator to figure that out.

  43. @William Sweatman – Not only is your lack of knowledge about Nikola Tesla wanting you don’t even know this technology is already OLD by today’s standards. The Japanese (Sony, Panasonic, etc.) have wireless battery chargers for cell phones and other consumer electronics. We also have been doing this for some new technology like secret drone planes that recharge via microwave energy.

    If you think Tesla understood the Schuman Effect you’d be wrong. NASA is now experimenting with it with the TETHER Project. It’s NOTHING like some tower in Long Island NY which was never designed to send power to Tesla’s 180 acre future community which never happened. Little do you and most Tesla-lovers know, the intelligence community of the day was tracking his movements.

    Around the time of the Wardenclyffe Tower he was also helping the German’s to build their TELEFUNKEN STATION not that far away. It was discovered by the early FBI (aka BOI) that Telefunken used this Tesla transmitter to send intel to U-Boats at sea and lead to the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. Also the transmitter was used to transmit commands to the German Embassy in Mexico City to incite the Mexicans to invade USA at Texas. All of this started WW1.

    The to make things worse he sold his turbine engine patents to the Germans. They used those engines in U-Boats, ships, etc. all used against the allies. Was Tesla bitter that the American military thought his remote control toy boats were a joke? Probably. Then he tries to get JP Morgan to invest in a gadget that won’t make JP any money. And of course no one knew President Wilson had JP Morgan’s ear and was telling him all about Tesla’s German Trading with the Enemy.

    Suffice it to say Wilson sent in USN sappers to plant high-explosives on the Wardenclyffe Tower and bring that monstrosity down before Tesla could make more bad deals wit our enemies, That thing was also quite dangerous due to some arching and singing fences and faucets in the area of Shoreham LI NY.

    Just so you know Marconi was NOT across the pond. He was in Cape Cod Massachusetts. Neither he nor Tesla where the inventors of wireless communications. It was Dr. Mahlon Loomis in late 1800’s. He helped set up a 7-mile wide prototype wireless network in Washington DC right after the Civil War. US Congress funded it I believe. Tesla was only 16-years old about to enter and drop out of Graz University at his father’s disappointment.

    And your Colorado Springs story leaves out a major story… he literally destroyed the local power company’s power generators and was forced to repair them for free. Tesla said he could hear thunder from 500-miles away at that shack? Now how’s that when sound doesn’t even travel over the horizon which is only 100-miles away. Don’t think he was entirely truthful about a lot of things.

    • pcf11 says:

      “sound doesn’t even travel over the horizon which is only 100-miles away.”

      Is that so? When Krakaroa erupted in 1883 it was heard in London. Now go find out where Krakatoa is/was in relation to London and tell me all about this horizon sound traveling theory of yours.

      Also, if you were standing on Mount Everest at a height of 29,029 feet altitude the horizon then would be 209 miles away. I really do not think Tesla’s shack was higher than that. You might have been when you left your comment though?

      • @pcf11 – I think you meant “felt” in London as the seismic shockwave probably travelled along the Earth’s crust. And shock waves can be “heard” sometimes. Whales can communicate over 3,000 miles UNDEWATER. So the medium is key here. Atmosphere is NOT the best medium for long distant audio.

        The Earth curves at the horizon which is about 100-miles from any point. Thunder from a Colorado rainstorm may travel over the horizon by reflecting off of clouds. But somehow I think Tesla’s hyperacousis disease was a bit overblown. I don’t think he heard thunder from 500-miles away. That would mean he could hear thunder storms from as far away as South Dakota or Texas – NOT VERY LIKELY!

  44. @William Sweatman – OK Bill (it that’s your real name), I looked through the “Let’s Build a Planetary Energy Transmitter” and here is my assessment:

    1) Tesla’s idea had absolutely NO scientific merit.

    2) The Schuman Cavity can not be accessed from the ground. The ionosphere starts at about 53 miles and stretches upward to over 300 miles.

    3) You do not need to put any energy into it to pull from it. You can just put a tether into it like NASA did and get a whopping amount of voltage and power. But you need a spacecraft to do it.

    4) What Tesla did not know he was doing, nor the two Serbian boys today (Plekhanov ‘s), is that Tesla was dealing with ELECTROSTATIC or near-field-energy. Not radio waves. It can not propagate around the planet no matter how much you try. Radio waves can and have done that but it is in microvolts not megavolts.

    5) Lightning in thunderstorms come from gamma radiation from outer space hitting the top of clouds. They cause a reverse effect called sprites that shoot the other way. I’m sure Tesla and the Serbian boys don’t know this.

    6) I see the two Serbian boys as just being Serbian patriots and Tesla-lovers. There is no merit to this idea. It’s just plain idiotic.

    7) Alex Fedotov is just a “con-artist” in my opinion and not a very good one. He can’t even get his back-story right. He is an Russian-American in Chicago Illinois and is not doing anything close to plasma physics, etc. He can’t even get his universities correct.

    8) Aluminum as a high-voltage conductor? I don’t even think it is even magnetic. It was ruled in America as to be a very dangerous conductor for homes and businesses in the 20th century. Gold is the best but copper will do.

    Trust me I would stay away from these jerks. They drop Elon Musk’s and Richard Branson’s names as if they were on board with this foolishness. Elon loves Tesla but he knows this project is just plain retarded. $800,000 USD for a worldwide power delivery system? And how do you recoup your investment – from subscription charges? As JP Morgan asked Tesla “Where do you put the power meter?”

    SORRY FOR MY FRANK OPINION!

    • jam555 says:

      1) Tesla was well-versed in oscillating fields and resonant cavities, and lots of experiments (you know, those things scientists do to figure stuff out?). He had the knowledge necessary.

      2) The Schumann Cavity starts at the BOTTOM of the ionosphere and goes DOWN, all the way to the ground. You and I walk inside of it every day. Just for reference, there isn’t a Schumann Effect at all, the effect in question is resonance, and has been known of since at least the invention of the pendulum clock (though not in EM form), the Schumann resonances are just an example of the larger class of EM resonances.

      3) NASA was tapping the Earth’s magnetic field, the only involvement of the ionosphere is that it’s plasma was used as the return path of the electrons in the circuit. Tapping the ionosphere for power requires either a tower reaching to space, or an artificial lightning bolt reaching from space to Earth. Tesla did experiments around 1900 that he interpreted as evidence that there was at least one frequency where the Earth had a resonance: the Schumann resonances are precisely the type of thing that he was expecting.

      4) Tesla coils were one of the pivotal ingredients in Marconi’s radio system, and Tesla himself did radio experiments (the Pike’s Peak experiments were mostly focused around radio technology). Frankly, if you take a correctly built Tesla coil, attach an antenna to the end, and electrically stimulate it at the base, you’re going to get a constant-frequency emission from the antenna, it’s quite simply the nature of the beast. Furthermore, simple spark-gap transmitters and receivers had been known since long before, so it was inevitable that he would experiment. The magnitudes are not precisely an issue either, since any emissions on one of the Schumann resonance frequencies will experience a fairly high “half-life” (the losses will be via absorption by the air, and absorption by the surface of the ionosphere and ground, all of which the very existence of the Schumann resonances show to be manageable).

      5) Schumann almost certainly didn’t know where lightning came from, and yet he still predicted the resonances in question. The lightning is honestly a secondary concern, the resonances are where the “magic” is. They allow certain frequencies to be distributed across the Earth without wires and with low losses. The lightning is nothing more than a frequency SOURCE.

      6) There’s no economic value to the idea, certainly. Any successful demonstration is almost certain to result in the idea being declared public-domain, and you can’t successfully charge for the power either.

      7) I don’t care about this.

      8) Per-weight, aluminum is an excellent conductor. The trick is that screw terminal contacts MUST be tightened at least twice, once at the 6-month mark, then at the 12-month mark. After that they’re apparently fine, but before the second occasion they can still develop aluminum oxide, which is nowhere as good of a conductor. Airplanes actually use aluminum instead of copper, due to it’s per-weight conduction superiority. And magnetism doesn’t have anything to do with it, since copper isn’t magnetic.

      At any rate, I don’t think they can make money off of operating it, and it’s very possible they just fell for the blind praises of the Tesla fanboys, so I won’t be investing in it.

      • @jam555 – In an earlier post up there ^^ I basically said that NASA gave me a better understanding of the Schumann Resonance and Cavity. I really didn’t study it well before commenting. However here are my itemized replies:

        1) I will concede that Tesla had a 1st year electrical science understanding before he dropped out of Graz University. He seems to know the Ohm’s Law quite well according to his Col Sprg journals. However, Ohm’s Law is not enough when dealing with high-energy physics. I feel he was only a “dabbler” with some unusual help from a esoteric source. In other words he got lucky that the source took an interest in him. But failed to help him in other ways. In essence he should have taken a different spiritual path in life, like the one his father had planned out for him. Sometimes you have to reject something if it comes from a spiritual source that is not right (or malevolent). Something our intelligence community should do when dealing with certain spooky elements from SRC and SAIC (i.e. saw movie yet MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS (2009)? A real story about Maj Gen Stubblebine and crew). If you’re an atheist I apologize for bending your ear on that… (LOL)

        2) Agreed. NASA corrected me on that a few minutes ago. I get it now.

        3) OK I guess so. I wonder if he had help with that too. Maybe I am too anti-Tesla for my own good. I feel like I know him from my deep-background research. Something is telling me he really didn’t know what the heck he was doing. I think he was flying at the seat of his pants with “gifted” knowledge that was coming at him a mile-a-minute and he was just treading water. Maybe his alleged “source” was just using him as a conduit to introduce otherworldly weapons to mankind so mankind could self-extinct themselves. Many of Tesla’s conceptual “weapons” where developed by Hitler and then later Russia and POTUSA Ronald Raygun (USA SDI initiative?). Resonant frequencies and Tesla? He misuses the theta symbol in his journals. He used some old symbol for omega (Ohms Law?) and W looking symbol or something for frequency. Even physicists of his day knew the difference. He evidently did not. So I wonder if he did know that much about stuff like you say.

        4) This method of RF transmission is just as quick & dirty as spark gap was. The signal is noisy (as some broadcasters found out later) and too wide-band. So that antenna was transmitting far-field energy and not near-field? I don’t think a Tesla coil can transmit power around the world. Distance only about 1/6 whatever wavelength being used. I need to re-read the Shcumann Resonance some more to see if I missed something about a “magic” resonance number for global transmission. I’m having difficulty in buying the concept. I just need to stare at it like I was staring at a goat I guess (LOL)

        5) I’ll study SR some more.

        6) Agreed. Where do you put the power meter?

        7) You should if you put any money into this boondongle.

        8) OK granted. But why is the project talking about winding their coils in Aluminum? Because it’s light-weight? Tesla used copper. Copper is expensive. Aluminum sounds high maintenance as you explain it. Actually they should think about YBCO ceramics super-cooled with liquid Helium. Imagine the yield output with that. Too expensive I know.

        I like your conclusion. I will adopt that phrase know “Tesla fan-boys”, I love it. I would question anything that SERBIANS are involved with. I deal with (i.e. tolerate) them a lot here in USA. They had dealings with very bad people from OUR US government. Namely quasi-criminal para-military sub-contractors who are still on the US payroll today. They really creep me out. PASS!

        • dan says:

          >I like your conclusion. I will adopt that phrase know “Tesla fan-boys”, I love it. I would question anything that SERBIANS are involved with. I deal with (i.e. tolerate) them a lot here in USA. They had dealings with very bad people from OUR US government. Namely quasi-criminal para-military sub-contractors who are still on the US payroll today. They really creep me out. PASS!

          Xenophobia and racism aside, idiots come in all different shapes, sizes and nationalities.

          Often times it happens that I develop a particular dislike and believe it’s a nationality thing, then I come along and find it’s just an idiot problem rather than a country wide problem.

          I baulk in the same way when I hear about how good at hacking some nationality is, as if being born Briazillian/Romainian/Russian some how makes you somehow insanely more clever than the average British or American guy.

          • @dan – The only problem with your contention is that you are not considering the source. When listening to people talking about a particular ethnic group or whatever, you have to know how to “read between the lines”. They are not really saying ALL Bulgarians are the best hackers in the world. They just have a social linguistics problem in expressing themselves correctly.

            The better expression is that “in my dealings with hackers I found that Bulgarians seem to be the best at it.” Now as to my dealings with Serbians. Need I point you to the empirical evidence of the typical day of a Serbian terrorist? Also our government under the Clinton Admin tended to harbor and consort with these cretins. And then our “sub-contractors” set up human trafficking rings and other criminal activity with young men from this area and NO ONE to this day gets punished for it! All Clinton does is import them to US cities and their bad behavior is imported too. So forgive me if I have problems with Serbians and Bosnians too. Not all, only the bad ones…

          • dan says:

            no, I’ve heard the contention many times that, “insert country here” is somehow better than fat white Americans who can just buy whatever they need.

            It is not a language problem, we’re talking about people living and working in good jobs, fluently speaking English daily.

            Usually when people agree with that the reason is that the country is full of people living in shacks -they are doing so much with so little resource. whilst in a lot of cases, this isn’t true,
            The contention that one guy, with a set of facilities is somehow better than another guy working in America who (by means of not being rich) actually has the same access to same equipment, same research etc… -we/they some how attribute more to a guy sat in Bucharest hacking the same thing as a guy sat in Boston.)

            In your case you seem to want to tar all people from the ex Yugoslavian states with the same brush, based on working with a particular and very small subset of a country, you’re probably talking about less than 1% of the set of people from that place who have actually gone to America, which in turn is a fraction of a percent of the people there.
            you talk about Serbian terrorists as if they are some sort of huge threat that needs immediate attention, – which ignores that most “terror” attacks in the US are historically by white Christians…

            Besides which your dealings today with these Serbs have done little other than to colour your opinions of a Serb who lived a hundred years ago. and has nothing to do with this kick start, since the guys were born in Siberia! A place, quite literally half the world away. (probably something like the same distance as New York to Hawaii!)

          • @dan – All I will say is if I dig a little deeper into the Plekhanov brothers back story like I did with Fedorov, I’m sure something BAD will pop up. They are the right age for the bad things that happened in the former Yugoslavian period in later 20th century. I’m sure they have skeletons in their closets they don’t want us to know about. Fedorov could have done a better job of sanitizing his back story.

            Of course I’m not including Tesla in this. His only “sin” (among many) was consorting with America’s enemies at the time – The Germans. He did not need to sell his turbine engine patents to the Kaiser nor did he need to help them build the Telefunken Station near Wardenclyffe Tower which arguably started WW1. His ideas where amazing but if they weren’t wanted there was no reason to go storming off to Europe just to piss off President Wilson et al. It was too early for his gadgets.

            And what happened to his “death ray” plans is not so much a mystery anymore. The FBI didn’t get them from the hotel room safe. The Germans arguably did 2 years before the end of WW2. There is a story that two particular German spies, related to people in USA today, demanded that he open the safe and they smothered him with a pillow in that hotel room. It’s only a rumor but it seems credible as one of them was the infamous spymaster Reinhardt Gehlen. This was obtained from a deathbed confession of the other spy in the late 1990’s.

            Since the alleged “death ray” was based on projected charged mercury at high velocity at airplanes, it is assumed the technology surrounding the NAZI BELL (uncovered by Nick Cook of Janes.com) also used charged mercury. So it can be assumed that the Germans got the technology before the Russians and Americans did.

            Since Russia and USA stole NAZI scientists from Germany after the war, both got plans for a “directed energy weapon” some call a particle beam weapon. These gadgets are operational today but don’t use mercury.

          • dan says:

            First. try reading a little better ,maybe poke your head in a map. these guys are NOT Serbian, they do NOT come from Serbian, and have possibly never been near the former Yugoslavia. they are half a world away!

            If you want to just immediately not trust a person because they don’t come from the same country as you then that’s fine by me.

            However, I’d rather judge a person by criteria other than their race or nationality.

          • @dan – Did you actually read the document William Sweatman supplied here? It says the brothers are from Russia (Serbia). Why say it like that is baffling. It would have been more accurate to say Former Soviet Union (Serbia) or Former CIS (Serbia) but Serbia is not in Russia. So I assumed Bill made a mistake. There names appear to be Slavic and not Serbo-Croation. So are the brothers Russians or Serbian.

            My misgivings about young Serbian men asking Americans for money for specious projects is purely based on empirical data not simple ethnic bigotry. I feel the same way about young men from Romania and Albania. It’s based on EMPIRICALS (stuff I’ve seen personally) not idle conjecture. I am not say hate them. I’m only saying be suspicious and be as cautious as a serpent when dealing with money. Maybe they are OK. But anyone who would team up with Federova must be dishonest. Federova is a liar in my opinion.

          • dan says:

            >Did you actually read the document William Sweatman supplied here? It says the brothers are from Russia (Serbia)

            by document you mean the indigogo project. -he’s not linked another document, then yes.

            if you read it, and read it again properly, you’ll see that the brothers are from SIBERIA, not SERBIA, Siberia being ultimately a huge (and very cold) area of Russia spreading from about halfway along the border with Kazakhstan (also not Russia) all along the top of Mongolia (not China) and bordering with Alaska, (America -though I should include that fact since your geographical knowledge seems so bad).

            Serbia on the other hand is a much smaller completely landlocked country bordering Hungary to the north, then Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia (going around the border clockwise.) and is at around the same latitude as Italy, with similar quite clement weather.

            Having looked around, I see that the “project advisor” Alex Fedotov is living in Chicago, writes software owns a currency exchange website, and has been a researcher at a Russian university since 1979, my inability to read Russian stops me from looking further as to why you think he’s a liar? I suspect that what stops you being able to research more is your inability to discern between words. as said, Serbia, and Siberia are different, Serbia was a part of Yugoslavia, which was administered as a part of the USSR, -actually that’s not strictly true, after the end of WW2 it was on the other side of the Iron Curtain to you.
            so Serbia is not, was not and never has been a part of Russia.

            Now that we establish that they are “literally” a quarter of the way around the globe away from Serbia, can you stop saying that they are young Serbian men.

            Surely any care should be taken when “investing” in any kind of project, Nationality means nothing here!

          • @dan – OK I went back to the website you mentioned. You are right. I need to get my glasses fixed (LOL). It does say SIBERIA. OK I promise to stop saying the brothers are SERBIAN. I didn’t need the geography lesson though, only an eye-chart (LOL).

            I agree financial decisions should not be based on nationality only empirical background checks. I do not presently have any opinions on young Russians or Siberians. Actually I have had good dealings with them here in USA.

            However, Fedotov in the aforementioned web link looks like he is a plasma physicist. He did dabble in it while in college but he is presently NOT in that field of work now. The actual names of his Russian universities DO NOT match the names in the website. And I have seen the ENGLISH equivalents not the Cyrillic versions. And maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me again but I never saw in the website where it mentions he’s now an American living in Chicago Illinois. Why did they leave that out? Do they think it’s a better “selling point” to play the Russian-card here? I am suspicious of Fedotov maybe not so much the brothers now that you have corrected me. The jury is still out as we say in USA.

        • jam555 says:

          1) Tesla was apparently something of a genius, the only reason he didn’t finish college is that he fell into gambling, and failed to study for his final year. The reason why he had so much trouble as time went on is that he spent most of his money on experimenting. Wardenclyffe tower, in fact, was apparently torn down so that the owner of the hotel that he lived in (who had obtained the property through the courts as payment for a few years of unpaid rent) would have an easier time selling it off. Tesla’s “source” was his experiments.

          3) The nature of experimental science is that you NEVER know what you’re doing until you analyze the results afterwards. In some cases you can have theories, and Tesla likely did: he could apparently do some calculus problems in his head during what I understand to have been the Austrian Empire’s version of High School, and he actually accused Edison of “blind fire” experimenting. As for his misuse of symbols, the “W” in question is likely the symbol for Angular Velocity ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angular_velocity ), which he presumably would have known from his days in college. Tesla, I suspect, was too firmly entrenched in the “Newtonian Age” to adapt to the changes in our understanding of physics that were underway in the later part of his life, and presumably had based his terminology at least partially on what training he had in mechanical engineering. This is not the same as saying that he didn’t know what he was doing, as demonstrated that quantum mechanics is not commonly invoked in the design and maintenance of combustion engines.

          4) Spark-gaps can be filtered down so that the unwanted frequencies are removed. Tank circuits can be used to do this while leaving the desired frequency mostly untouched. And TRUE Tesla coils are tank circuits (the big torus on top is apparently one of the capacitor plates: the other is whatever the “ground” of the coil is attached to). As I said, constant-frequency emission is the nature of the beast. AS for a Tesla coil transmitting around the world, if you tune it to a frequency that can make it around the world, and provide a signal path into the correct location, then yes, it can be done. In that respect a Tesla coil is no different from anything else, since any EM oscillator can do that under the right conditions. The “magic” of Schumann resonances is that both the ground and the ionosphere act as reflectors at those frequencies, thus concentrating those frequencies within the atmosphere. The Schumann resonances basically cause certain frequencies to play by a different set of rules than other frequencies play by.

          6) On the transmitter, so that after the transmitter’s owners fail to pay their power bill for long enough, you can get the courts to assign you the rights to the equipment and property :p .

          8) They’re probably using aluminum for cost (I believe that aluminum is a better conductor per-dollar too: that was apparently why they wanted to use it for ordinary power wiring. At any rate, you can deal with those problems via either the correct maintenance, the correct equipment, or by welding the aluminum to a more convenient conductor at the ends. I wouldn’t use superconductors because I’m not certain if they could handle the magnetic flux: the planet’s energy consumption is apparently in the hundred-thousand-terawatt-hour range, which is not small. If air has a magnetic saturation point, I would expect a successful system to run into it.

          • @jam555 – I must admit you are a very brilliant person unlike many I have dealt with. I’m impressed with your knowledge base. I will have to consider your postulations carefully.

            Let me add that Tesla had a Military Border scholarship to attend APS in Graz. He had excellent grades. But he got into a argument with Professor Poeschl over a subject matter arguably the prof knew better than Tesla. One thing led to another and over time somehow he lost the scholarship. Then he took to gambling and eventually he hooked up with the Hindu Swami guy (i.e. Vivekananda aka Narendranath Dutta) from Chicago like many others did (JP Morgan and Rockefeller as followed his teachings). This is where I think he started down the occult-metaphysical path and arguably his financial downfall. “Genius” is a very subjective term.

            The little w symbol is the lowercase OMEGA or Ω. In Tesla’s Colorado Springs journals, I believe he was using the lowercase w for OHMS rather than OMEGA. I’m sure he was not aware that the w was for angular velocity. Angular velocity was not even the subject matter of what he was recording. I think this is typical behavior of a person with “false superiority syndrome” – judging from his ill-advised conflicts with the highly influential Professor Poeschl. I think he was out of his depth and was treading water among sharks. Not Edison, who I view as a very lucky dolt. But people like Westinghouse and others – real geniuses.

            The Wardenclyffe Tower was not torn down. It was demolished with explosives by a USN demolitions (sapper) unit from NYC. They were tasked to do it under orders from the POTUS. The BOI (FBI) was sure it was being used to further communicate with the enemy Germans like how Tesla did with the tower he helped build south of Wardenclyffe called the Telefunken Station. I think you’re right that the hotel got what was left of the property to cover his hotel bill.

          • jam555 says:

            @sonofthunderboanerges: If he was recording frequency with it, then it was entirely RELEVANT, and could have come from observations of permenant-magnet AC generator types which have an inherent angular velocity -> output frequency relationship. That having been said, I can’t be bothered to look the stuff up right now, so it’s not like I’m certain, it’s just too obvious to disregard.

            I’m also not certain how standardized symbols were at the time. I still use that squiggly line for resistors instead of the in-vogue box, and I recall running across mention of some or another specific scientific concept still having two or three symbols in use by different groups. I don’t believe for a moment that Tesla could have done more in the semiconductor realm than “cookbook experiments”, since quantum mechanics apparently DOES start popping up when you want to engineer semiconductor devices. However, as long as things were kept to more conventional realms of science, he apparently had as firm a foundation as most of his contemporaries. The scientific community itself took him seriously enough to name an SI magnetic unit after him, after all.

          • @jam555 – Tesla was not recording anything about his AC generators. If you read the journals available on the Internet, he was taking resistive readings of the soil around the shack and I think in the air (however you do that I don’t know). Instead of writing 200 Ω he would write it as 200 w (which looks like watts but it was the lowercase of Ω). I think he falsely assumed that lowercase of the same letter was the same. As you know it is not,

            Ω was used long before Tesla was even born. So he should have learned this at APS-Graz. Maybe he wasn’t paying attention in class and dreaming of AC generators and dynamos again (LOL). Professor Poeschl : “Nikki! Wake up! Are you going to listen or postulate to the class your wild dreams again?” Tesla; “No sir professor… as usual you are wrong again…” Professor Poeschl : “Harrumpf…!”

            Tesla false superiority syndrome was evident in his dealings with others. He tended to be arrogant and egotistical. He viewed others legitimate scientific work with much derision and scorn. I think he refused to believe in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity theory and thought it was foolish. Tesla chose to believe in ETHER theory which does not exist as he saw it. It does exist as a gas though.

          • @jam555 – “The scientific community itself took him [Tesla] seriously enough to name an SI magnetic unit after him, after all.”

            Yeah those French gave him that honor in 1960. I personally think it should have gone to Wilhelm Eduard Weber but they had given him a unit (Wb) already. So I guess Tesla was the next best thing as he did “dabble” with magnetic flux too I guess. Weber never dropped out of school you know. And was a REAL physicist not just a transformer mechanic who arguably also dabbled in the occult world.

  45. Les Moore says:

    I have a distinct feeling of what Tesla must have faced trying to introduce his idea of AC current, and there are an unlimited number of peole who’ll lineup to tell you what is impossible. Right up to the point it is possible. I don’ subscribe to dea that things are impossible, since that only means, we’ve not learn how to do it. History only uphold that as a fact.

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