Sean McCarthy believes his small Irish high-tech company has overturned one of physics’ most fundamental laws.
It happened by accident, he says. His company Steorn was looking for an efficient way to power closed-circuit TVs that spy on ATMs, and instead stumbled on a technique they think produces more energy than it consumes.
The company hasn’t released specific details about the process, other than to say it involves magnetic fields configured in precisely the right way. Using the magnets results in a motor that’s more than 100 percent efficient — essentially creating energy, McCarthy says.
For scientists and engineers, this is the equivalent of a perpetual motion machine, and is almost unanimously viewed as flat-out impossible. McCarthy, an affable former energy company engineer, knows just how preposterous his claims sound. So, he advertised in this week’s Economist for a panel of the “most cynical possible” physicists to help validate them.