The following post has been submitted by Fernando Cobacho
When talking about energy, the first thing that we must realize is how little we know about it. We know so little, in fact, that we can only define it as the capacity to do work. But beyond that, we are unable to describe it in any meaningful terms.
We do know that energy can take many forms (kinetic, thermal, chemical, nuclear, electromagnetic, etc.). We also know that it is a quality of the Universe at least as fundamental as matter, if not more. And we know that energy and matter are closely related and interchangeable to a certain extent (as expressed by Einstein’s most famous equation E = mc^2).
We are also pretty sure that the Law of Conservation of Energy is true. In other words, energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is only transformed. Thus, all of our energy “generation” methods transform one form of energy into another form of energy that is more useful to us (mostly thermal, kinetic, or electric) that we then consume (i.e. dissipate).
For example, the majority of our energy “generation” systems transform into heat the inherent chemical energy of some fuel by means of a chemical reaction (combustion). In some cases, the goal of those systems is simply to produce heat. In other cases, the final goal is to produce kinetic energy (either for performing mechanical work or for electricity generation). This is achieved by further transforming the resultant thermal energy into kinetic energy with the use of an engine or turbine.
Nuclear energy “generation” works in a similar way, except that the fuel’s reaction isn’t chemical, but nuclear fusion or fission instead.
On the other hand, fuel cells transform chemical energy directly into electricity.
Wind, wave, tidal, and hydro transform the kinetic energy of some mass of air or water into electricity via an electric generator.
Geothermal and solar-thermal transform the Earth’s or the Sun’s heat into electricity via a heat exchanger, a working fluid, a turbine, and an electric generator (or a Stirling engine and an electric generator).
Thermoelectric devices transform heat from any source directly into electricity.
Photovoltaic panels and rectennas transform electromagnetic energy of different wavelengths into electricity.
And piezoelectric devices transform kinetic energy into material stress, and then, material stress into electricity.
I may have forgotten some other energy “generation” system. But I think that the ones that I have covered serve the purpose of showing that all energy “generation” is nothing but an energy transformation.
Now, we also know that the quantum vacuum contains an infinite amount of energy in a primordial state or pure form. This infinite amount of energy has been mathematically renormalized into a finite number commonly quoted as 10^113 joules per cubic meter. As Nobel laureate Richard Feynman used to say, “there is enough energy inside the space in this empty cup to boil all the oceans of the world.”
Before him, Nikola Tesla knew this as well, and went even further to say: “Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic! If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic – and this we know it is, for certain – then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.”
If we view the Universe as a closed system, energy is constantly circulating. First, it flows from the quantum vacuum into matter (endowing it with nuclear and chemical potentials, electromagnetic energy, kinetic energy, and thermal energy). Then, as material interactions occur, energy is transformed from one form to another. And finally, all energy is dissipated back into the quantum vacuum.
Therefore, the vacuum itself is acting like an unlimited energy reservoir that powers the Universe and collects all the energy once it is used, without any of it ever being lost. And we, humans, use some of that energy along the way by transforming it to fill our needs before it gets dissipated back into the vacuum.
Now, wouldn’t it be great if we could just transform vacuum energy, instead of some secondary form of energy, directly into heat or electricity (like atoms do)? Well, this is what Nikola Tesla foresaw that would happen some day. And this is what Orbo may be doing.
Note: If you like the ideas expressed in this post, you may also enjoy reading the work of Thomas Bearden, especially his monumental masterpiece Energy from the Vacuum. More information can be found at: cheniere.org