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Earth Batteries  RSS feed

 
Zach Weiss
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Does anyone out there have any experience with Earth Batteries?

I heard about this technique a couple of years ago while giving a tour of an ecosystem greenhouse. They said that they power the 3 incandescent light bulbs in their off-grid cabin with an Earth Battery. They gave me a brief explanation, what I remember is that you use two dissimilar metals a certain distance apart and the moisture and pH of the earth generates a current between the two diodes.

I have no experience with them. When I first heard about it I did a google search and got nothing. The subject came up today during lunch at the project. I just did a search again and there is now a good deal of info out there, including how to articles. Here's a link to the wikipedia page on Earth Batteries:

Wikipedia - Earth Battery

Does anyone have a better explanation of how these work and the physics involved? Any experience with using these to produce electricity?
 
Michael Cox
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The energy provided is coming from the oxidation reaction of the dissimilar metals - same thing that happens in an ordinary battery to some extent, except that in this case there is no "shell" and the contact between them is made by the soil.

I imagine it would be a very inefficient energy exchange (high resistance in the soil).

A similar concept is used in sacrificial protection of metals (eg ships hulls) - the more reactive metal corrodes faster so oxidises first. Electrons move from the less reactive to the more reactive so you get a small current flow.

Basically, if you have a big enough chunk of zinc to make this work you'd be better off doing something else with it than letting it slowly corrode in the ground to power a bulb or two.
 
Jeff Rash
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I think the idea is way cool, if you can get the metals cheap. But everything I have seen shows me that the amount of current is really weak. Somebody mentioned something called "Tulmeric Lines of the Earth" and tapping into those with this method. Don't know if that's just hippy speak or it is a real deal, but the idea of a passive battery that I can make from junk yard materials is intriguing!!!

Please let us know what you have found, I am always interested.

Now a friend claims he gets mega power from some super high tension lines that cross his property by coiling up wire underneath them. He claims that he gets current from this by the AC switching back and forth. I have seen the trick with the fluorescent tubes lighting up under high tension lines, so maybe that's possible?

I really want to look into that, as there are LOTS of high tension lines marching across the AZ deserts.

Regardless, please link to anything you know about these earth batteries.

YLE
 
Jeff Rash
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Read the wiki, interesting...
 
Dave Turpin
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Location: Groton, CT
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Earth batteries don't work out when you think about energy as a cycle.

Fact is we don't mine pure metals. Metals are found in their oxidized state and are made into pure metals by driving off the oxygen with energy. Smelting.

Smelt some copper and zinc, and you can make a battery. Now you are going to let the metal corrode, returning to its oxidized state. You will get back a tiny fraction of the energy needed to smelt the metal.

Why do batteries work then? Because the reaction is reversible. Put energy back into the discharged battery and the oxides return to metal. They are rechargeable. An earth battery is effectively an alkaline battery. Not rechargeable. Just throw away when done. By definition, not sustainable.
 
Jordan Lowery
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this is the link you need to know more about these "earth batteries" i know several people who have these installed in the greenhouses. one of them lives at 4500ft in the sierra nevadas, they usually get 4-6 ft of snow and near zero temps. this guy was growing peppers and tomatoes and all kinds of stuff inside with just that system. one night inside temps were 39f, outside was 3f. the amazing thing was the soil temp was 65f.

http://www.sunnyjohn.com/indexpages/shcs.htm
 
Simon Brown
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Nathan Stubblefield is worth investigating.

I feel the real secret relies on...

Thermoelectric effect /different work functions of different metals
Magnetohydrodynamics..if i remember correctly..nernst effect or something..bin a long time..lol
Ground currents/ potential difference between earth and sun
The two coils are copper and iron..that gives the thermoelectric effect..but I THINk Stubblefield then SELF RESONATED the two coils.

Small currents ? They said that about thermocouples..but how come the tiny thermocouple in a boiler pilot light keeps a whacking big valve open 16 amps to be precise if memory serves. Thermoelectric current are massive..dont see why earth batteries would not be same. Almost NOTHING published on that anywhere..promise ya !!
 
Len Ovens
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Jordan Lowery wrote:this is the link you need to know more about these "earth batteries" i know several people who have these installed in the greenhouses. one of them lives at 4500ft in the sierra nevadas, they usually get 4-6 ft of snow and near zero temps. this guy was growing peppers and tomatoes and all kinds of stuff inside with just that system. one night inside temps were 39f, outside was 3f. the amazing thing was the soil temp was 65f.

http://www.sunnyjohn.com/indexpages/shcs.htm


I think this is something different. It seems to follow well understood principles. Not electrical current but natural heat pump using air/water absorption cycling. It works for a green house, but not a drier house. However, if the house shared the the same ground mass as the green house it could do some good there too. I would wonder about mould in the in ground part, but maybe in a green house that is not an issue. It relies on growing plants to work. I wonder if the first one was made on purpose...

Great idea. I wonder if it could be used to create a more pronounced mirco climate in the outdoors.
 
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