Steorn Raises the Magnetic Curtain

Today the Irish technology company Steorn, Ltd. announced the first in a new series of unveilings of its energy technology named “Orbo”. The announcement was preceded by the image of a curtain which rose on the new design for their Web site:

Included with their new Web site are a new suite of laboratory and test equipment tools known as “SteornLab” and a passive magnetic bearings technology known as “ZeroF”.  Areas of the new site also include e-learning modules (covering topics such as physics, testing and mathematics for engineers and project management), a sample e-learning module on “Key Concepts in Rotary Systems” and areas for collaboration, commercialization, SKDB environment and licenses (both commercial and non-commercial).

In December of last year CEO Sean McCarthy spoke at the Dublin Institute of Technology and announced a series of upcoming talks to be held at the engineering departments of universities around the world including the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.  This plan includes an invitation to 300 qualified engineers (both individual and corporate) to investigate the claims for themselves at no cost.

Also new for the site and key to their road to rebuilding Steorn’s credibility is a video interview with three distinguished engineers who state that they found repeatable and measurable energy gains in support of Steorn’s claims.

Shaky History

Since August 2006 Steorn has been at the center of a controversy surrounding their claim that Orbo’s magnetic technology can generate sustained work without the input of any other power source and without the degradation of the magnetic components.  A public demonstration planned for July 4, 2007 at the Kinetica Museum in London was a disappointment when their technology failed.  The exhibit was subsequently cancelled.

Almost two years ago Steorn established a private forum for investigating their technology under a Non-Disclosure Agreement.  Its members – physicists, mathematicians, technologists, academics, artists and interested bloggers – have operated under a strict confidentiality clause without compensation.  Now it seems that hundreds of additional engineers will be joining them to view Steorn’s intellectual property under a modified General Public License and draw their own conclusions.

Skeptical Going In…

The three engineers in the video are Phil Watson, BEng, CEng, MIEI; Liam Fennelly, BE, MBA, CEng, MIEI;  and John A.M. Rice, BE, MBA.  Mr. Watson, an electrical engineer and certified engineer manager, stated in the interview, “As I was going in I was intrigued but very, very skeptical.”  But he was impressed with Steorn’s efforts.  “It was quite a rigorous experiment and the checks and balances they put in were very good.  And they probably went beyond what they really needed for what they were trying to prove.”

Fennelly, an instrumentation engineer, was focused upon the measurement tools. “It’s possible to approach anything with an open mind, but generally I fall into the camp that you can’t create or destroy energy… We had a good hard look at the measurement device and the software that was generating the graphs.  And to me they were sound.”

Rice, a consultant engineer who has previously consulted to Sustainable Energy Ireland  (SEI) said, “I was very happy to learn that we were into serious engineering and development.  At the end of it all I posed four questions… so I was quite clear in terms of what we had gone through to be in a position to give an unqualified ‘Yea’ in regard to the tests demonstrating the fact that you could measure the effects, and it was repeatable and credible.”

In the end all three were supportive of Steorn’s claims.  Watson concluded that, “… [for] the experiment that we saw, in the scale that we saw, there appears to be more energy coming out of the system then is actually being put in.  They apparently have a way of producing mechanical energy, a rotational energy which will drive something else – which will be able to generate electricity.”

Private Forum Members Excited

Many members of the private forum operating under the NDA seem similarly impressed with the confidence of the interviewees.  This reporter has also been operating under the Steorn NDA without compensation for over a year.  Some members of that forum have agreed to give their opinions on the possible future impact of Orbo technology.

Camilo Urbina, a resident of Chile, has built his career on innovation.  He has created new companies from technological developments in the agriculture and biotechnology arenas.  He states that, “although the depths of the potential impact of a technology like Orbo in the production of biologically derived products are difficult to fathom, the main impact will be the disappearance of the current [environmental] constraints for cost competition and intensive production.”

Unsure about how all markets will react, he expects that when Orbo becomes available to the world, “complete global scale reconfiguration of the current production scheme for food/biological materials supply is probably the only thing one can say with any reasonable degree of certainty.”

Paul Story is a former RAF officer, engineer in mass spectrometry, novelist and frequent blogger regarding all-things-Steorn. Paul predicts that, “what we are seeing is the tip of an energy revolution that can quite literally take us to the stars.” Certainly the hopes surrounding Steorn’s technology run high.  “I hope they become fabulously wealthy”, Story adds.

Alan Smith, another Brit, reflects on the good timing of a non-polluting carbon-free technology. “One of the biggest factors in persuading me that Orbo is real is that it is a technology whose time has arrived. The world is ready for it now.”

An Important Breakthrough

Orbo will be an important breakthrough for scalable electrical power generation if the indications from the engineers featured in the video hold true during product development.  It gives indications of becoming a game-changer for self-powered wearable electronics, battery-less implantable medical devices, electric vehicles and even residential power generation.

Hybrid applications have especially high potential.  Circuit boards for energy-demanding graphics processor chips could be self-powered.  Automotive batteries could be manufactured with integrated Orbo trickle chargers to extend the range for electric vehicles and tie them to local power grids.  Implantable medical generators could power pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators and TENS pain controllers for the life of a patient as well as non-implanted hearing aids, prosthetics and remote medical transmitters.

Orbo-tech is currently just intellectual property, not a device.  CEO Sean McCarthy states in the new video that, “Our objective is to get the technology into the hands of developers this year, and to create an environment where those developers can rapidly accelerate that into a real-world product.”

If product design and development proceed rapidly and regulatory licensing is fast-tracked then the next ten years of the green power revolution may include magnetic power alongside biofuels, wind and solar.

Related stories:

Challenge Takes ‘The Economist’ by ‘Steorn’ – Irish firm throws down gauntlet

The Coming Era of Magical Physics – breakthroughs defy common experience

Steorn Free Energy – firm announces open-source licensing agreement

Magnetic Fields as Energy Technology – a ‘dark horse’ in the search for carbon neutral power

Originally published February 4, 2009