Steorn CEO Posts Video of New Device [Updated]

As I mentioned a few posts back, I am always interested in what’s going on with Steorn — the Irish company which claims to have developed an energy technology based on a novel use of magnetic interaction (they call it Orbo).

Steorn CEO Shaun McCarthy made some interesting comments on his Facebook page a few days ago, which sounded like the company was going to come out with some interesting news in the coming weeks. Today (McCarthy’s birthday) he posted a short video of something that I have never seen from the company before — a spinning rotor in proximity to what appears to be a single stator magnet. There seems to be at least one magnet inside the rotor.

The video can also be seen here:

Last week, McCarthy wrote on Facebook, “I’m a purist OU man, no wires”, so it seems like this may have been what he was referring to.

Back in 2007 there was supposed to be a demonstration of a device something like this at Kinetica art gallery in London — and the devices they brought to demonstrate simply didn’t work, which was a huge embarrassment to the company, and McCarthy in particular who had pushed for the demonstration even when employees told him they weren’t ready. For many years, people have asked to see a video of an orbo running on ‘pure’ magnet power (no wires attached), but nothing has been forthcoming until now.

It must be stressed that this is a low quality video, only 18 seconds in length, and we have no real details about what is going on here. But it does give a bit of an indication of a type of configuration that Steorn might be working on. If they are going to come out publicly and showcase their technology, they will have to do much more than this to convince most people that they have some kind of novel energy technology — but I think this video is worth noting, as part of the mysterious and erratic Steorn story.

Should this be taken seriously? I suppose that depends on your opinion — Steorn has many critics and it’s not hard to understand why. However, I am one who has an open mind on the company. I am willing to wait for the story to be played out, and will watch for new evidence validating their technology.

There is one document that for me carries some weight in favor of Steorn’s claims. It was a report produced by Irish consulting engineer John A. M. Rice, who examined and tested one of Steorn’s systems, and authored a report in which he concluded that a Steorn device using magnetic interactions did produce a gain of energy that were repeatable and consistent. (See pages 20-21 of the report for Rice’s conclusions).

Since E-Cat World is a site where we cover interesting news in the world of energy technology, I will continue to cover Steorn here as I see developments warrant.

UPDATE (March 7th): This is a brief FB exchange I had this morning with Shaun McCarthy:

FA: A lot of interest in the new video, Shaun. What’s the plan with this configuration? Will you engage the public with this?

SM: No rush to engage at this point – will do once we have a load of other stuff in place

FA: Hephaheat first?

The two things are decoupled – we will put PM Orbo into the public domain when we are fully ready, there is no time pressure on us to do it and we have no deadline or specific schedule, when it happens, it happens.

Note: PM Orbo refers to permanent magnetic orbo — which seems to be what is shown in the video.

  • Bruce Wilner

    You must be joking. I looked at the “report” submitted by this “consulting engineer.” Not only does the fellow have the weakest of credentials (viz., a bare bachelor’s degree), but his report tends to feature such turns of phrase as “in engineering terms . . .” I guess either (a) he is incredibly impressed by his own knowledge and sagacity or (b) he is desperate to ensure that his poor, ignorant audience–bewildered as they may be by his stunning analytical tour-de-force–is forgiven their ignorance by the reassurance that the hard-to-follow concept, such as “What is a newton,” is, after all, “in engineering terms.”

    I’m reminded of, who was it, John Bedini, who claimed some nonsense about a “one-pole” magnet, his “rationale being that the second pole was “hidden” by some diamagnetic insulator. Talk about abject misunderstanding of basic concepts! I guess, if I “hide” one electrode of a battery behind, say, a quadrillion-ohm resistor, that makes it a one-electrode battery.

    I guess I give the “consulting engineer” far too much credit. One-half paragraph into a randomly selected page, he states that, “The force under consideration is torque.” I was unaware that torque was a force. I always thought that torque was torque, and force, force. But, heck, I could be a Luddite.

    What a lot of incompetent hogwash!

  • HappyHighwayman

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    • Bruce Wilner

      Simply put, HappyH, and simply correct. Steorn’s engineering justification consists of calling people Luddites and, where that fails, stamping of feet.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    Another magnet motor (found on PESWiki):

    I’m somewhat puzzled. That man doesn’t look to me like a swindler.

    • bachcole

      I agree. But it just doesn’t make any sense. But you couldn’t count all of the times that I have done something based upon a belief in something that doesn’t make any sense, like a belief in God or believing some goof-ball thing that my wife has said. If we only acted on things that we believed in and knew to be true, we wouldn’t get anywhere and our relationships would be in shambles. I would be happy to investigate this, but I would need a unit in front of me or in front of someone I knew and trusted, like Mike McKubre or G. Levi etc. But this is very far out stuff. It sort of takes your breath away to think that this could be true. But I will belief it when one of the conditions just mentioned is met.

      So, Andreas, give us your best shot. Give us a link of the very best demo of a magnetic motor.

      If this is true, why is that guy still hooked up to the mains?

      • Andreas Moraitis

        I’m neither saying that it works nor that it doesn’t work. I just abstain from voting. The apparatus looks still too provisional to be driven 24/7, therefore I do not think that the guy could go without the mains, even if it was real. The best idea would be indeed to send an expedition there in order to inspect the device thoroughly.

        • Andreas Moraitis

          BTW, it would not be necessary to involve Levi et al. in this case. You just would have to prove that there are no hidden wires, no batteries or other possible sources of energy.

    • Obvious

      Almost anyone who has tried to power a light bulb with a generator hooked to a bicycle would have a problem with the apparent ease that the magnetic device seems to turn the generator to run the load. Also the sudden increases load seem to not effect the voltage almost at all, which looks suspicious (no obvious dimming: some sort of automatic load speed compensation?). The fan seems to experience a small load effect, though.

  • Daniel Maris

    As for the update: how convenient!

  • Daniel Maris

    Good post Bachcole…but I would say I can imagine a magnetic or gravity device that somehow creates overunity by tapping into micro-variations in gravitational and electromagnetic fields e.g. via positioning. Very vague I know, but I wouldn’t discount that. In other words the planet is doing the work for you.

  • enantiomer2000

    This is the same stuff they were demonstrating in 2008. Doesn’t look like progress to me.

  • Gerard McEk

    I am sorry to say that being an electrical engineer, I do not believe that only permanent magnets can produce OU. With very small powers and hardly any friction you can make something moving for a long time.
    A possible explanation: The cylinder in front could contain a small battery, some simple electronics and a small ferrite coil. When the small permanent magnet at the rotor advances the cylinder, a small voltage is generated in the coil, which is used to trigger a short current though the coil, pushing the magnet in the rotor away when it passes the cylinder, giving the rotor some additional speed.
    But maybe I am wrong and should I also believe in miracles in my own profession.

    • Daniel Maris

      Good points. That’s why Steorn need to sell some of these devices before we believe in them.

  • Obvious

    That might be. Thanks for the link. The magnetic bearing comment below makes more sense to me now.
    When you get a snippet of video like this, it sure makes it hard to tell what is going on, what is supposed to be going on, or even if anything is claimed at all.

    • Asterix

      If this is a magnetic bearing, it also shows that it does not appear to be stable in 3 axes. So nothing new, apparently. Heck, for all we know, the video could be running backwards… 18 seconds just isn’t enough to make any sort of informed decision.

      • Fortyniner

        Many years ago I has a desktop toy that consisted of a cylinder that rested horizontally on a permanent magnetic field so that it was suspended in mid air. A quick flick and it would rotate for several minutes on a horizontal point bearing that bore on an end stop attached to the base. I suppose that these bearings are similar in that they are stable only in 2 dimensions and require physical restraint in the third (an adjustable jewel bearing).

        Likewise here, a quick flick of the rotor would probably allow the device to run for several minutes at least, and a few seconds of video proves nothing. However given Steorn’s, er, ‘mixed’ reputation I think it would probably be business suicide to offer up such a prank, and I find it difficult (but not impossible) to believe that McCarthy could be quite that stupid.

  • Private Citizen

    According to Pascal’s Wager or Gauss’ Dilema, wouldn’t it be most prudent to adhere to fundamentalist Christianity or Islam?: if you are right you live a slightly more moral life, if you are wrong your burn in Hades for infidelity.

    As for science, I’ll adhere to the philosophy of holding unproven and undetermined theories undetermined, rather than invest in pragmatic delusion.

  • Fortyniner

    Hard to tell what the silver cylinder at the front is without any commentary but my guess would be that it includes or is, a power source – perhaps a lithium cell. Although the resin or perspex is presumably transparent it appears to have been finely sanded which makes internal details (if any) hard to make out. Also the ‘bearings’ look overly large and deep for the job – could these be motors of some kind? There also appears to be a single metallic object embedded in the rotor. Bottom line: who knows.

    • Curbina

      Fortyniner, the silver looking cylinder is, if one is to be coherent with the history of Steorn, a Neodimium magnet (or neodidium, as Shaun would say). The bearings are large because of them being magnetic bearings (non contact), of which Steorn also has a patent and a brand (Zerof). The single metalic object in the rotor is presumably some kind of magnet or paramagnetic material. I guess in time we will know further. But if this is not a prank by Shaun, is deeply interesting, at least for us “old Spud club members”.

      • ecatworld

        Thanks Curbina — A good description, and I agree, I don’t believe it’s a prank, but Shaun has the tendency to put stuff like this out and then disappear without further explanation. For a bit of ‘Spud Club history (SKDB which was a member forum connected with Steorn) I own a test rig with a set of those zero contact magnetic bearings that Steorn produced. They’re very cool, although I never got it to do anything like is seen in this video.

        • hempenearth

          Hi Frank,
          I do remember you beat me to third place in a wind down test won by Phil with one of those spud club rigs. I can’t remember who came second.

    • gdaigle

      If this prototype follows from the ones in the past, the silver cell is likely a very strong neodymium magnet. The bearing design would be no surprise to those in the SKDB working under Steorn’s non-disclosure agreement. Many of the members built similar looking “magnetic bearings” with micrometers at each end to fine tune the bearing point, often made of garnet. The more interesting question is what is embedded in the perspex disc.

    • Obvious

      The knurled grip handles on either side to me offers a simpler possible explanation. But it did inspire me to design a perpetual motion machine (actually ultimately powered by gravity, and would need redesign to work on the moon).

    • Fortyniner

      Thanks gdaigle and curbina for the info about the magnetic bearings. So much for that theory! As I remember the Orbo thing, it was (in part, anyway) about allowing a permanent magnet to naturally attract another magnet set in a rotor then cancelling the magnetic attraction momentarily with some kind of elecromagnet so that the rotation continued on past the point where magnetic locking would otherwise occur. Something along those lines anyway – I seem to remember that the energy required to energise the electromagnet was recovered and fed back to the battery when the cancelling field was switched off and collapsed, but it all got too abstract with the oscilloscope ‘demo’ and many people walked away at that point.

      It was the presence of the battery that supposedly powered the ‘switching off’ field that caused the most derision from detractors, so if there really is no longer any power source involved then that would indeed be interesting, to put it mildly. Perhaps we’ll learn more soon.

      • Andreas Moraitis

        If there were permanent magnets which could be switched on and off with little effort, we probably wouldn’t have an energy problem. Magnetism plays also a role in LENR, as we know from Defkalion and others. I recall the radio interview with Dr. Krieg on Rossi’s technology. Maybe an E-Cat or Hyperion has more in common with that little toy in the video than one might expect.

        • Fortyniner

          The field produced by any permanent magnet could I think be briefly cancelled by a suitably designed EM coil when energised, but of course that would cost electrical energy. I’m pretty sure that part of Steorn’s story was that when this EM field was collapsed, much of the energy could be recaptured through back-induction in the cancelling coil (or perhaps another one?). I didn’t pay that much attention at the time as it seemed to me that the presence of a battery obscured whatever was going on, but perhaps someone who followed the discussions more closely could clarify this idea.

          • Andreas Moraitis

            Perhaps one could use a piece of Mu-metal in order to shield the magnetic field, but moving that piece would cost energy as well.

  • Pekka Janhunen

    Is there a claim of anomalous behaviour accompanying the video? At least I didn’t see one yet.

  • malkom700

    Will be very important that for any similar device we know exactly how it works, because for example, if the earth’s magnetic field weakens, it will not be approved.

  • Christina

    I’m sitting here wondering if all those alchemists of yesteryear are watching as our scientists bring their dreams to life quite differently than the alchemists imagined.

    It just seems that at this time in history anything is possible.

    • ecatworld

      We do live in amazing times, Christina, I agree.

  • Daniel Maris

    Hmmmm…one’s suspicions are raised because they haven’t got anything to sell as a device.

    However, it’s an interesting concept and it would be good to learn some more about what they plan.