Ambient energy surrounds us at all times, the most obvious form is heat. Matter is a storage system for solar heat. Even at 32 degrees F, the freezing point of water, the stored energy exceeds 300 Watts per square meter. This solar energy increases with temperature.
There are numerous ways to utilize ambient energy. Two that have been commercially utilized for decades are the refrigerator (or air conditioner) and the heat pump. Heat pumps are extremely efficient when the outdoor temperature exceeds 40 degrees F. They are air conditioners that run in reverse to pump heat from outdoors into a building. There is abundant heat in cool and cold air.
Heat pumps can extract this warmth and inject it by doing the same thing air conditioners do, in reverse. In hot weather air conditioners take heat from the inside of a building and dispose of it outdoors. When suitably designed they can do the opposite and pull heat from outdoor air.
Air conditioners and heat pumps are heat engines like the refrigerator. They make good use of the high quality and flexibility of electric energy in that they can use one unit of electric energy to transfer more than one unit of energy from a cold area to a hot area. For example, an electric resistance heater using one kilowatt-hour of electric energy can transfer only 1 kWh of energy to heat your house at 100% efficiency. But 1 kWh of energy used in an electric heat pump could “pump” 3 or more kWh of energy from the cooler outside environment into your house for heating. The ratio of the energy transferred to the electric energy used in the process is called its coefficient of performance (COP).
A typical COP for a commercial heat pump is between 3 and 4 units transferred per unit of electric energy supplied.
Ambient heat is around us everywhere at all times and cannot be cut off: It is an untapped giant energy reservoir. We believe it can make a major contribution to reducing our energy problems.
On earth ambient heat is usually a secondary energy source that is powered by the sun. When solar energy hits matter the atoms are forced to oscillate. The faster the atoms oscillate the higher is the temperature of the body (for example, a rock).
The wonderful part of this is that sunshine is conserved in matter (e.g. rocks) as heat and is still available after sunset. Matter acts as an energy storage system for heat and gives biological life the possibility to survive between sunset and sunrise.
Matter also acts as an energy radiator. This can be observed at night when the temperature drops while energy stored during daytime is radiated into space. Heat has other features as well. For example we can transfer energy from a warmer body to a colder one on a molecular level.
Since heat is conserved in matter, it can be used as a storage system for high frequency alternating energy. Furthermore the stored energy is released after sunset (as soon the sun stops feeding energy into the system) or in the case the energy is absorbed. Absorption takes place if heat is converted, for example, into electricity and carried away.
In nature cooling doesn’t require the input of energy. If heat is absorbed and converted into electricity cooling takes place. This is a new cooling principal that doesn’t require the input of energy.
MAGNETIC AMBIENT TEMPERATURE CONVERTERS
We can quantify heat. Breakthrough energy sources are historically associated with changes in temperature. Several unrelated inventors have claimed this common observation: Thermal energy seems to vanish in processes where energy seems to “appear” in magnetic and/or electromagnetic systems.
Since thermal energy is electromagnetic energy, we only need to have a transducer, or a coherer. Engineers in our labs have had experiments where a magnet becomes inexplicably colder while electromagnetic energy “inexplicably” appears. The only thing we can prove right now is a surprising absorption of heat. It is conceivable that these magnetic systems are converting ambient heat (AHE) into electricity or torque.
THERMIONIC AMBIENT TEMPERATURE CONVERTERS
Thermionic converters change heat into electricity, or utilize electric power as solid-state refrigerators. Some examples have been produced. Better ones are under development. Until recently, efficiencies were low. A heat source has always been required for operation.
None of today’s examples can efficiently convert ambient heat into electricity.
Chava is planning to introduce a thermionic converter which will extract ambient heat from the environment and efficiently convert this heat into electrical energy.
At first sight it appears that this system is prohibited by the laws of physics. No power is supplied but, as if by magic, the system pumps heat and transfers it into an electrical load.
Recent work supports this idea. Xin Yong Fu and Zi Tao Fu at Jiao Tong University, in Shanghai, performed an experiment described in their paper: Realization of Maxwell’s Hypothesis.
With no magnetic field present, although electrons thermally emitted from one electrode can reach the other, by symmetry the reverse reaction is true and no detectable current flows. However when a magnetic field was applied current flow from one electrode to the other was observed.
But, where the Chinese device produced only tiny current from the thermal emissions, the Chava AHE Thermionic device is expected to produce significantly higher current, hence much greater power levels.