[The Rotation of the Earth via Creative Commons.]

New advances in tidal power hint at the massive amount of rotational energy located within the earth. As early as the 1970s, the Soviet Union was exploring methods to harness this rotational energy directly. The prominence of the current energy crisis has sparked new research by physicists to test the ability to tap into this resource.

The amount of energy in the earth is vast - the kinetic energy of rotation alone is 2.137 x 1029 Joules. Channeling this energy would require a slowing in the rotational force of the earth. This process is continually transpiring due to frictional losses from ocean tides and tidal power. Assuming we harnessed a fraction of the earth’s rotational energy, increasing the length of a day by a mere one second, it would consistently yield 2.5848 x 1024 Joules (approximate and assumes losses to friction) of energy.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s 2006 statistics, the total American energy usage (comprising of residential, commercial and industrial) is 1.0989 x 1018 Joules per month, a fraction of the energy available in the earth’s rotation. Although these numbers are approximate, most physicists agree that the amount of rotational energy is vast if we can manage a way to harness it.

[The Equational Ingredients for Rotational Energy.]
[An equation of Ingredients for Energy Production: rotation and a mega-gyroscope.]

In most energy production, one form of energy is converted to another via gears, pulleys, magnets, etc. If we consider the earth’s rotation as a form of energy, to harness it, we would need to create a ring of resistance that would covert this to electricity. Gyroscopes are privileged devices in this manner because they maintain their orientation in space. According to Physicist, C Johnson, if one could build a massive ferris-wheel type gyroscope on the North Pole, there would theoretically be a potential to harness this energy. The gyroscope would initially be started with a motor and once in motion, it would spin endlessly. Further, the gyroscope would have to be fixed to the earth – the difference between the earth’s rotation and the gyroscope would create a torque, or moment force as Johnson posits, “The Earth's rotation would externally directly drive the gear train, using the gyroscope simply as a fixed object to push against.”

[Satellite image of the North Pole revealing NW Passage. The next site for a mega-energy project?]

Johnson’s research builds on twenty years of experiments carried out by the Soviet Union during the 1970s. The Soviet experiments were not successful because they were incurring dramatic energy loss through a system of gears that ‘speed up’ the motion of the earth. Although, Johnson’s research has fewer losses (he calculates a constant production of 587 watts), there is still a long way to go before realizing his device. There are other nascent devices that operate on similar principles but a great deal of research needs to occur due to large frictional losses and the mega scale of the mechanisms involved.

Although not technically a renewal resource of energy, the amount of kinetic energy in the earth’s rotation is abundant and would last for thousands of years. Further, it would create no pollution, greenhouse gases or deplete natural resources. It would, however, make the days and nights longer, but that doesn’t seem to be too large of a trade-off.


COMMENTS / 2 COMMENTS

Our country is in deep economical trouble and it just amazes me how little credit has been given to the high cost of fuel this past year. That one single factor alone has been solely responsible for putting more businesses out of business and more homeowners out of their home than any other factor. The historically high cost of gas affects every single aspect of our economy and society. Most family's went broke filling up at the pump alone. Then added to the burden was the higher cost of every consumer product because the increased production and shipping cost due to the higher fuel was passed on to the consumer. Let me ask you this, have you seen the price of groceries come down since the price of gas came back down. NOOO! Freddie and Fannie are taking most of the blame for homes being lost. Of all the homes I have seen lost in my area of the country S FL and I have seen many and many more in the process, not one was due to an adjustable rate mortgage. It was due to lack of work. When we pay more for gas and products we naturally cut back spending, that is a domino effect, less consumer spending = more jobs lost. We seriously need to get on about the business of becoming energy independent. Jeff Wilson just released a book called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence NOW. He outlines all our uses of oil, things I never even considered. Our depletion, which is even scarier, this is a finite source of energy. It will run totally out and not in the too distant future. We have so much available to us, wind and solar which are free, we just need to harness them. And plug in car technology. It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents a gallon to charge an electric car with the average home electric rates. That is insanely cheap. That electricity to charge the car could be generated from wind or solar. A company called Better Place in Palo Alto CA is in the beginning stages of setting up the infrastructures needed to support electric car use in the bay area in CA and now in Hawaii. WE need to take some of these billions and get ourselves out from under our dependence on foreign countries supplying our main source of energy. I encourage you to read this book http://www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com. I also have quickly become a "Better Place" junkie and applauded their work as they move our country forward and away from our dependence on foreign oil. Check out their web site as well. http://www.betterplace.com/ click on their get involved button on the top right side of the main page. You can sign a petition there. WE have to move this country forward. Use some of that stimulus money to bail us out of our dependence on foreign oil. Create badly needed new green collar jobs and at the same time provide clean , cheap energy. There is no one single factor that effects our economy more than the cost of our main source of energy. This past year is a testimony to that!

sherry added these pithy words on Dec 07 08 at 3:39 pm

Awesome blog. Will come back

home made wind generators added these pithy words on Jun 27 09 at 4:00 am

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