Irish 'energy for nothing' gizmo fails jury vetting


A MUCH-TRUMPETED plan for limitless supplies of free energy has been dashed by the revelation that something cannot be produced from nothing.

An Irish company had promised it could deliver non-polluting, virtually cost-free power but an international jury said yesterday it did not work.

However the verdict has not deterred the company, Steorn Ltd, from continuing to develop a magnetism-based technology it calls “Orbo”. “It is a disappointment, but we had seen this coming for quite a while,” chief executive Seán McCarthy said yesterday.

“The jury hasn’t found they support the claims. We would dispute that.”

Based in Dublin’s Docklands near the O2 and employing 22 people, Steorn made international headlines almost three years ago when it claimed to have discovered a way to get more energy out of a gizmo than it put in. The excess, they said, could be used to power a mobile phone, run a fridge or make an MP3 player go.

Scientists doubted the claims and, when the company resisted calls to release precise details of how Orbo worked, it asked an international panel of experts to adjudicate on the device.

Steorn organised a panel of 22 independent scientists and engineers from Europe and North America chaired by Ian MacDonald, emeritus professor of electrical engineering at the University of Alberta.

“The situation was we had engaged them in February 2007 and went through a process with them,” Mr McCarthy said. Two years have passed however and the jury clearly decided that enough was enough.

It posted an announcement on its website that it was disbanding.

“The unanimous verdict of the jury is that Steorn’s attempts to demonstrate the claim have not shown the production of energy,” it stated. “The jury is therefore ceasing work.”

The dream lives on, however, as Steorn prepares to begin licensing its Orbo technology “definitely before the end of the year”, Mr McCarthy said.

The company is inviting 300 engineering companies to sign a developer licence agreement, giving them free access to the technology. The call represents a final test of the system, according to the company’s website.