Will This 'Machine' Work In Theory If Not In Actia;;oty?

At one time I worked with ‘Maurice’ who had been a shift engineer at a large
steam power plant in the mid-west. Following his death his widow gave me a huge
box of his papers and memorabilia of those day with the power plant.
The attached proposal was one of the most intriguing of all. Perhaps you will
find it of interest."


Consider 2 parallel, vertical, ‘mile high’ tubes connected across top and bottom by 2 horizontal tubes, wherein a 2 phase working fluid operates in a closed Rankine cycle. Top tube has a condenser, and bottom tube has a steam engine with conventional heat source. Consider the 2 vertical tubes as 1 liquid and 1 vapor tube. Standing column of Hg in liquid tube passes valve at base, is heated, passed thru engine, up vapor tube to condenser, and back to liquid tube to complete circuit. Are you getting the idea???In this case we will consider a heavy liquid that achieves critical pressure on its own, effectively, stealing this energy later. Theoretically, the Hg releases more heat condensing than required vaporizing. Indeed, this requires a rather long tube, even for Hg, but the back pressure of the vapor column, flow loss, etc. will increase the calculation hours. There is no doubt that this will ever work. It may even lead to an improvement or two elsewhere.

This system operates as a PM when you compute the ratio of specific heat to latent heat at both critical pressure and the pressure at the condenser(0 ?). Hg has a low specific tolatent ratio, and therefore, a smaller amount of heat would vaporize the liquid than released when condensed. Thus, stealing the internal energy from pressure and releases it as heat. Notice the change in specific heat with extreme pressure, that’s an additional aspect. Now, if the Qin at the boiler remains less than Qout at the condenser, presto: PM! This avoids the issue of getting Qout back (down) to Qin.

The design calculations start:

  1. Choose a fluid.
  2. Find specific/latent ratio at top of liquid tube.
  3. Find specific/latent ratio at bottom of liquid tube.
  4. Play the ends against the middle.

If Qin remains less than Qout you have a simple PM; if Qin is more than Qout you still have Overunity. Thinking through the design forces consideration of a better definition of PM and Overunity. We are forced to think conceptually, in total energy terms then divide things back to reality.

As calculations continue, reality complicates the simplicity of this insane idea, as we continue.

  1. Vapor column has pressure gradient with back pressure on engine
  2. Under these pressures the vapor flow is non uniform, tremendously
    complicating flow friction calculations.
  3. A long flow with pressure gradient(s) is very delicate.

NOTE: Natural gas line companies have a tough problem increasing the flow rate beyond a certain point without inducing a further .08 work loss from adiabatic compressions/expansions which heat or cool the gas, isothermally, through the pipe.

March 31, 1954


The whole setup sounds something like a thermal siphon…heating/vaporising one side and cooling/condensing the other to create a flow.

I’ve read of similar (non-crackpot) ideas for underwater systems. It isn’t perpetual motion at all.

The idea is that the temperature up high in the atmosphere (or down on the sea floor) is different from that at the surface, and the energy represented by that termperature difference can be exploited to run a powerplant. As you suck the energy out of the sea or atmosphere you’re cooling it, but not enough so’s anyone would notice on the scale of the Earth.

The engineering challenge is that a normal powerplant uses temperature differences of a couple hundred to a few hundred degrees, so the volume of working fluid needed is small and operating pressures are high. That makes for small-ish and relatively easy-to-build machines, ie machines the size & complexity of modern powerplants .

This new sort of power plant would be working with temperature differences of 20 or 30 degress C, 40 to 60 degrees F. And it’d have to be huge to extract much energy. So thermal losses must be tiny. Building a 99.9999% perfectly insulated pipeline 50 feet in diameter and extending straight up into the sky for a mile or two is a non-trivial engineering feet.

Ditto extending down a mile or two into the deep ocean, necessarilly far from shore.

The “fuel” may cost nothing, but the plant would cost a bazillion dollars. Or at least the first one would. Which is why they’re not commonplace … yet.

It’s also a non-trivial engineering feat. D’oh!!