|Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002
You confuse COP with efficiency, and they are two quite different things. Even many of the textbooks confuse these terms quite often.
Rigorously, the efficiency of a motor or system may be defined as (total useful output) divided by (total energy input from all sources). No inert system can have an efficiency of greater than 100%, for that would be a violation of energy conservation.
The coefficient of performance (COP) of a motor or system may be defined as (total useful output) divided by (energy input by the operator only). If the operator only has to input, say, 10 joules of energy and the active environment freely inputs 90 joules of energy, then the total input is 100 joules. Now suppose that the system has 50% efficiency; i.e., it wastes or "loses" half the energy before it dissipates the rest of it in the load to do useful work. In that case the system outputs 50 joules of work for a total input of 100 joules, but with the operator only inputting 10 of those 100 input joules.
So this system has an efficiency of 50% but a COP =5.0.
A windmill, e.g., may have an efficiency of 30% or less, but its COP approaches infinity because the operator does not have to input any energy at all. He just pays for the siting, building of the windmill, repairs, and maintenance. And hopes his winds hold good.
The common home heatpump is usually not even 50% efficient, but in appropriate conditions it has a maximum COP = 8.22, and any good heatpump will actually produce about COP = 4.0.
In a sailboat, you have to input some energy to move the rudder and steer it, but not nearly so much energy as is used to propel the boat through the water. The wind caught by the sail inputs the rest of it. Yet the sail is a fairly sloppy process also, and unless well-designed will not be nearly as efficient as a well-designed one.
So the trick is to get the active environment to give you a "free wind" so you can have something approaching a windmill. Or as close to that as you can get.
Fortunately, in electrodynamics there are many "free winds" one can make with ease. The simplest one is to just make a common dipole. Lee and Yang received a Nobel Prize in 1957 for their work in broken symmetry and the weak interaction. One of the broken symmetries that was proven was that of opposite charges -- such as are on the ends of a dipole.
The very words "broken symmetry" in power systems implies that something virtual has become observable. In other words, the charges of the dipole continually absorb virtual photons from the seething vacuum (that is proven and well-known, and one does not have to prove it again). The spin of the charges then coherently integrates that absorbed virtual energy into real, observable EM energy. The dipole thus pours out EM energy in all directions at the speed of light. Let it alone and don't destroy it, and it will pour out that energy indefinitely. The dipoles in the original matter in the universe have been doing that for some 14 billion years or so. We used that fact of broken symmetry of opposite charges, together with the known clustering of virtual charges of opposite sign around any "isolated" observable charge, to treat the observable charge as a set of composite dipoles. Hence this finally explained the long-vexing source charge problem: how does a charge just sit there an pour out energy in all directions at the speed of light, establishing its associated fields and potentials and all that energy in them? We explained that in 2000, after a couple or three years work on it.
A simple "free energy system" can be built for a dollar. Just place a charged capacitor (or electret) across a permanent magnet so that the E-field is perpendicular to the H-field of the magnet. That silly thing will sit there and pour out Poynting energy flow S = E x H, so long as you just let it alone. Wait one year, and it will have changed the energy density of a volume of space a light year in radius (reaching out beyond the solar system).
In solving the dipole and source charge problems, it was found that the energy input comes from the time domain into 3-space via the negative charge, and exits 3-space back to the time domain via the positive charge.
In electrical engineering, it is recognized that the source charge pours out the energy to create all its associated fields, but until 2000 there has been no explanation as to what furnished the input energy. In effect, electrical engineering and classical electrodynamicists for more than a century have assumed that every charge in the universe is a perpetual motion machine of the worst kind, creating energy out of nothing.
There is no problem at all in extracting all the energy one wishes from the active vacuum, anywhere in the universe, at any time. Just make a dipole.
The problem is in (1) catching some of that freely gushing EM energy in a circuit containing a load, and (2) dissipating the caught and collected EM energy in that load to power it, without using half the caught energy to destroy the source dipole(s).
That is the ONLY real energy problem on the planet, and always has been.
It is ironic that the National Academy of Science, the National Science Foundation, the great national test labs, the universities, and the private research institutes are not working on the sole energy problem at all.
Hope this helps.