Every vehicle, whether it’s a locomotive, an automobile or a space ship, requires fuel to function. This is a universal absolute. In order for an object to move (ala Newton), energy must be expended to initiate and maintain that movement. In order to produce energy, some form of material (matter) must be converted into energy. Water (into steam), gasoline, solid rocket fuel, it’s all simply matter converted into energy that propels us to the store, the beach or the moon. I should also mention the alternative energy–solar power, wind power, hydro, etc., are still converting one form of energy into another.
What if there was a form of energy that didn’t require the conversion of fuel to produce it? What if you could simply extract the energy you needed from, as the expression goes, “thin air?” “Nice pipe dream,” you say, “but it’s not going to happen.”
What if it already has? Enter “zero-point energy.”
What is zero-point energy? I’ll let the CAG of SWS Nautilus explain it –
“The way to understand zero-point energy is like this. Space is not just empty vacuum. It contains a lot of potential energy. Say you have a cubic meter of space, and you remove all of the matter from it. Then you drop the temperature to absolute zero or ‘zero-point,’ so that no energetic activity remains. Even at that temperature, there’s still some ambient, residual energy. That’s zero-point energy. It’s the energy left over when all of the other observable energy is removed. That may sound like there’s not much, but there’s a lot more than you might think. Each cubic meter of space contains 10-26 power joules of potential energy. Add to that the fact that space is vast, so that means there’s actually a lot of it.”
(Solar Warden – Book One, by Peter Fuller – pg. 107)
Another way to describe the potential of zero-point energy is to say there is enough potential energy in a cup of coffee to evaporate the world’s oceans. So the potential is enormous, to say the least.
Nikola Tesla had this to say about zero-point energy –
“Throughout space, there is an energy. Is this energy static or kinetic? If static, our hopes are in vain. If kinetic, and we know for certain it is, then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.
“Many generations may pass, but in time our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point in the universe.”
Imagine it. No more cars belching fossil fuel exhaust. No more rockets blasting into space using chemical thrust. No more vehicles limited by how much fuel they can carry, and continually needing to be re-fueled. I can drive in my truck to my daughter’s house to visit her, her husband and my precocious granddaughter, having used ¾ of a tank of gas. In order to return home, I must refuel. But what if I didn’t even need to use gasoline in my truck? What if it contained a device that could collect zero-point energy to power an electric motor, allowing me to continue driving indefinitely? Or what if I could fly in a spaceship headed for, wherever I wanted to go in the universe, and it never ran out of fuel? It simply flew forever?
This is the potential of zero-point energy. “It’s still a pipe dream,” you say. “We may know that zero-point energy exists, but we don’t have the means to use it as a power source, and we may never achieve such a lofty goal.”
Not necessarily so. There are a number of physicists working on developing a system to produce zero-point energy as a viable energy source. In an article by Josh Williams titled, “Zero-Point Energy and Interstellar Travel,” he says, “Just not too long ago, zero-point energy was deemed to be rather elusive since the energy involved came from such a high frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum. By modern conventional methods, we were only able to efficiently convert or extract energy from lower frequencies.
“But now physicists are coming up with ways to harness an energy source that once seemed to be out of reach.” The author goes on to describe several endeavors currently moving towards the development of zero-point collection systems, namely Dr. Fabrizio Pinto (JPL), ZPower Corp. of Phoenix Arizona, and Dr. Thomas Valone. These and others are close to breakthroughs. The article goes on to quote Dr. Hal Puthoff, director of the Institute of Advanced Studies – “I’d say our confidence level of a breakthrough is 50% or better … We’re definitely not stumbling around in the dark anymore. It’s been shown that zero-point energy is real and has real consequences.”
Imagine a time when we no longer need batteries, gas stations, or natural gas to heat our homes. Imagine a time when all you need to do is purchase a zero-point energy collector, and never pay monthly energy bills ever again.
Unlimited, free energy.
Ah, but as Shakespeare said, there’s the rub. Oil and gas is arguably the largest industry in the world–they’re not just going to lay down and capitulate. Too much money is at stake. It’s difficult to say if there will ever be a day when the world will enjoy the benefits of zero-point energy use. With the way today’s power brokers operate, that day will probably not arrive in my lifetime. Until then, the spacecraft in my Solar Warden novels use zero-point energy, never needing to refuel or recharge. Hopefully, one day science fiction will become science fact.