FREE, INFINITE Energy!! (I promise…)

There are a lot of funky technologies being introduced into the market these days. About once a week, I get emails from people asking me how to commercialize their device.

On the surface, a select few of these ideas are actually pretty good. Many others are not. A large portion of these pitches center around perpetual motion machines, which essentially claim to create energy from nothing. I’m talking about magnet motors, self-acting pumps and even chemical pills that can create gasoline from water. It’s amazing. I get a lot of these.

They often tout a REVOLUTIONARY new concept that will CREATE FREE, INFINITE ENERGY!

The only revolutionary thing about these ideas is that email and the internet makes them easier to spread. We’ve been toying with the idea of infinite energy since the 13th century. But we just can’t seem to get past those pesky laws of thermodynamics. ::continue::

For decades, proponents of perpetual energy have criticized the mainstream scientific community for pushing them to the fringe. Today, with the communication tools available through the internet, it’s a lot easier for these people to go straight to the consumer. That’s a scary thing.

If someone wants to question the first and second law of thermodynamics, that’s their right. I support their attempts to find the answer to the natural limits of energy production. Why not? But when these unproven concepts become consumer pitches, I get very nervous.

My worry is that those claims of FREE, INFINITE ENERGY made louder by the internet will result in another round of mass-scams, damaged livelihoods and severely-undercut public confidence for renewable energy.

I mention this because I got a slew of emails recently from folks claiming to have made such “discoveries.” I’m wondering how many other professionals in the industry get them and, most importantly, what do they think about their potential impact on renewables. Is it a big deal?

What are some of the most overblown claims you’ve ever seen? Do you worry about consumers getting hurt? Do you know anyone who’s had an experience with such technologies?

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I am a reporter with ClimateProgress.org, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in touch through twitter! My profile name is: Stphn_Lacey

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