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New way to generate electricity?

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I am a 16 year old student (secundary school), working on a project at the Technical Univeristy Eindhoven.

For this project I thought of a new way to generate electricity. I try to solve the question:

Is it possible to generate electricity (positive energy balance) by using gravity and buoyancy?


I would like to know from people if this idea (see below) is feasible.


Feel free to give comments on this idea.

I am curious to hear your tips!


I would also appreciate it if someone could help me with a few other questions:

1. Can the coil be placed inside the magnet?

2. Does someone know what type of linear alternator I should use/ Can someone give some (simple) information on the working of lineair alternators?

3. Does seawater have an effect?




Idea (see attachment)

A linear alternator is placed vertically on the seafloor. De coil of the alternator is facing upwards and has a length of a few hundred meters (to be defined). The necessary magnet is placed around the coil. A ballast tank is permanently attached to the magnet.

The movement of the magnet can be realized by changing the density of the ballast tank / magnet construction. If the ballast tank is partially filled with seawater the magnet will sink when a) the density becomes higher than the density of the surrounding seawater and when it will bridge the further resistance of the system.

When the magnet reaches the sea floor the water is pumped out. The density will decrease and the magnet will go upwards (it must bridge the other resistance of the system as well). During the down- and upward movement electricity will be generated.


©Veerle 2013



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Hi Veerle,


That's an interesting question, and a challenge - where I cannot help you.


I am moving this to the General section, where it might be seen by more people, and has a better chance of generating a response

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Seems to me the energy captured by this syetm would be the gravitational potential energy of the weight differential being transferred up and down. The key step, therefore, is how the relevant mass is added to and subtracted from the magnet system. This entails pumping water in and out, and by definition that will require input of the amount of energy (or more) you are trying to capture.

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Yes, it seems that what you are describing is a perpetual motion machine which by definition is not possible without an external source of power for example from the sun or heat from the ground.


As bigt says the energy created by the linear alternator will not be enough to pump the water in or out.


A better plan would be to have the buoyancy at the top of the system floating on the surface and allow up and down movements to do their work (external power source). Of course then what you have is wave generated power and these are already advanced.

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