Chapter 18 - On Extracting Energy from the Quantum Vacuum

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Notes by David A Roffman on Chapter 18 of


Chapter by Eric W. Davis, Senior Research Physicist,

and H. E. Puthoff, Director

Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin, Austin Texas



     The quantum vacuum supposedly contains massive amounts of energy.  This chapter considers possible ways to extract that energy.  If the vacuum is considered to energy frequencies up the Planck level (1043 Hz), then the energy density is 10113 J/m3.  Chapter 18 ignores the coupling of the electromagnetic vacuum and the quantum chromodynamic  (QCD) vacuum; both are separated.  The QCD vacuum has a regular vacuum inside (exterior to the hadron), and is immune to quark color.  The interior has gluons that allow color to exist.  By color it is not meant that quarks actually have a color like red or blue.  Instead color refers to charge.  This is not electrical charge (for which there is positive and negative), but is color charge (red, blue, and green). 

     Zero-point field (ZPF) energy causes:  the Lamb shift, spontaneous atomic emission, cold van der Waals forces, Casimir effect, radiation pressure/noise, and the so called “cosmological constant” (according to some). This chapter considers how to extract and use zero-point energy (ZPE) for propulsion.  A vacuum battery can supposedly be built by using the Casimir to do work on a pile of charged conducting plates.  By having a both Casimir plates with the same polarity, a force can oppose the Casimir force.  By having the opposing force slightly weaker than the Casimir force can allow energy to flow out.  Such a battery will need to be recharged at the cost of energy.

    Any such battery would require more input of energy than output, although it does demonstrate ZPF work on matter.  Mead and Nachamkin proposed resonant dielectric spheres be used to obtain electrical power from the vacuum.  If the spheres are slightly detuned from each other, then a beat-frequency downshift of higher energy frequencies should cause energy production.  The converter in this scheme must have a tuner, transformer, and a rectifier.

     Despite the fact that is scheme has been shown to work in Air Force simulations, no one has tested this idea yet.  ZPF is attributed to (usually) the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.  It is this that causes the fuzziness in measurement.  Stochastic electrodynamics theory is another alternative to help explain ZPF.  However, this is a theory with many problems, as mentioned in earlier chapters.  ZPF induced voltage fluctuations have been searched for, and can be detected at frequencies in the 100GHz range (perhaps even the 100MHz range).

    Through this voltage (high), high frequencies, and coils (at colder temperatures), it may be possible to gain energy.  Another proposal is to use ground state energy reduction. There is a paradox (as identified by Boyer and Puthoff) with this topic.  Certain elements emit no radiation, but classical electrodynamics says that all atoms emit radiation.  How can this be?  It has been proposed in quantum mechanics that electrons have zero angular momentum, while SED says the classical orbital velocity of the ground state electron is c/137.  The plan here is to suppress atoms in a microcavity, which may release energy.

    Heavier elements in this scheme will be able to use larger Casimir cavities.  These elements may help to reduce zero-point radiation.  A device could use a cube.  This cube would have billions of tunnel cavities.  The Casimir forces would build up, and be used to generate power.  It’s hard to engineer such a device; cross sections and micro chip procedure would have to be used.  Gas passing though the cavities would bring electrons (and thus, energy).  Hydrogen gas may be used to change this process.

    Although the Casimir force may seem analogous to a non-rechargeable battery, there may be a way to rectify this problem.  Thin-film switchable mirrors may be able to create a rechargeable battery.  Another tunable device would use photonic crystals with a band gap of photons that is able to transmit through a tunable structure.  Tests were performed separately with a hydrogen atmosphere, and resulted in no noticeable difference.  Dimension changes will have no effect on energy production.

     An interesting phenomenon mentioned in this chapter is the electromagnetic vortex.  Plasma vortices are thought to be ball lightning.  Electrons became so concentrated that they seemed to violate the space charge law.  These vortices could pierce metal.  A late name of EVs (electrum validum-strong electron) was given.  Shoulder is a key researcher in this area.  Puthoff and Piestrup have proposed that ZPF (Casimir forces in this case) could be causing the electrons to stay that dense; a 4th power inverse square law.  There were some corrections needed, and they were resolved.

    Despite the fact that EVs can be easily produced in labs, the claim that they can extract vacuum energy has yet to be proven.  There is more research needed in this area.  The second-quantized QED theory applies to the electromagnetic vacuum, and it discusses fluctuations as standing or traveling wave modes.  A problem with the vacuum energy is that it can be 120 orders of magnitude greater than the cosmological constant.  People have tried to ignore vacuum energy, as it is so huge and difficult to rectify, but it must be dealt with.

    Vacuum energy must be degradable in order to be useable for a decent battery.  There are claims against the quantum vacuum.  Some say that the effects can be self fields generated by matter.  Degradable forms of the vacuum include those that are gravitationally squeezed and those that are red-shifted.  Another is melting the vacuum.  Atoms are composed of three quarks.  Quark-gluon plasma energy collisions could yield enormous amounts of energy.  These types are not supported by solid evidence.  Only new particle accelerators and time will tell what works and what doesn’t.