[Fwd: Casimir effect energy extraction]

From: Michael M. Butler (butler@comp-lib.org)
Date: Sun Jan 30 2000 - 16:33:40 MST

is titled _A Design Manual for Micromachines using Casimir Forces:
Preliminary Considerations_.

Woo HOO! Dig in, y'all!


attached mail follows:

Wow, that is so loony but so great. So I wonder...

<Attention conservation warning: skip this part, they're all obvious to
any zetetic observer of Radical New Energy>

1) will they (will anyone) ever extract a net positive short-term energy
output (ignoring the sunk cost of manufacturing, but not any sensor
excitation)? If not, it's still a kewl sensor for a Tricorder. :)
2) ditto, but the next level up, and what is the positive energy flux
density practically attainable, at what scale of array (including the
net energy budget cost of anything such as element cooling)?... Now we
can talk about things like powering autonomous *deep* space probes &
such. If the energy flux density attainable is high enough, go on to Q.
3) the first hard one: will this stuff, if it gets through #1 and #2, be
able to compete with carbon-oxygen (combustion) energy tech? This
includes all the sunk costs people account for. Most solar tech doesn't
quite get it, yet, but some people are rich enough to do it anyway. This
is where fuel cells are for the time being, but not much longer, we
4) the second hard one: what will the impact be, both of the MEMS
manufacturing (probably manageable) and of massive tapping of the
Casimir force, should it take place? And other typically unaccounted for
costs, if any. Dilithium crystal Superfund site, anyone?

Bonus high weirdness question: what happens to space-time itself if too
much Casimir energy is tapped? Paging Dr. Hawking...


Craig Johnson wrote:
> Apparently, there is a startup company that is designing a MEMS device
> to extract power from the vacuum using the Casimir effect. The company
> was started by a Prof. Jordan Maclay who seems to have reasonable
> credentials. Robert Forward is also involved. They also have a small
> amount of grant funding from NASA. There is isn't a whole lot of
> information on their page http://www.quantumfields.com/ but their
> approach seems realistic both from a physics and a MEMS capability
> viewpoint. In fact, it doesn't seem to require anything more than
> existing (albeit state-of-the-art)engineering. If so, this seems to be
> quite a significant development. Can anyone more familiar with the
> Casimir effect comment ?

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