(106d) Unlimited Power From Continental Drift | AIChE

# (106d) Unlimited Power From Continental Drift

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## Authors

Retired E. I. du Pont de Nemours,

Overview Given a place to stand and a long enough lever Archimedes (1) said he could move the world.  Donald I. Garnett (2, 3) observes that anchoring one continent to another with a cable will let the world’s continental drift (4, 5) move you, namely: it will provide all the energy needed to power the entire worlds electrical (6) and other needs.  To capture the energy of the moving continents it will be especially convenient to catenary a cable across a fault line and let the mass of the cable plus any added weights desired be lifted in elevation against gravity by the moving apart of the continents.  Recovery of that energy can be accomplished using an electric generator driven by the pull of the cable in restoring the cables initial position.

Restraining the movement of a continent the size of North America in theory could generate 10^10 times the electrical usage of the United States.  In principle its’ restraint might stop or prevent earthquakes in California, Oregon and Washington.

The magnitude of the energy available exceeds that of tearing down the Rocky Mountains (in cable cars attached to electric motors) and droping the rocks into the Pacific Ocean.  Had the erosion by Nature of the Rocky Mountains not occurred it would be closer to equivalent but still inferior..

While this method may be applicable in many places at continental plate boundaries it is easily visualised for the Rift Valley in Africa.  Places where a cable would acquire tension by continental plate movement being preferred.  Movement at the face of any type fault however can be harnessed.  Lateral, vertical, or oblique plate movement energy recovery can be accommodated by inclusion of a spring in the cable.  Multiple echelon faults energy similarly can be harnessed using a network of spring loaded cables. Methods

The energy associated with the drift of a continent is its ½ *mass * velocity^2 from a given anchor point.  In this discussion the anchor point is another continental plate reachable by a cable.  Across a fault where the movement is “apart” is especially preferred. The velocity is low but the mass is extremely large.  The usual ½ mass times velocity squared is also (½*mass*velocity/410.3Kw)*velocity, or Power*velocity.  With mass of a continent being say 10^22 lbs and velocity of 2.5 cm/year the power available is 10^15Kw or 10^10 times the total U. S. Electrical power.

The anchor points need not be capable of restraining the continent but may be any amount consistent with the intended power output.

The small movement of the continent and the preferred relatively high velocity of the cable driving the generator begs for a velocity enhancement like a block and tackle arrangement or a geared reducer run backwards.  In any event a 1000 fold block and tackle on top of another (for leverage per Archimedes) , etc., etc., will likely be in the final design.  Other methods of energy recovery are possible, including:

1. Spring compression/release
2. Hydraulic lifting of water for use in turbines on release.
3. Gas compression/release.
4. Etc.

Historically of course part of the energy of the continents movement has raised mountains and provides the force multiplier and accumulator of millions of years of potential energy generated by the continents movement.  Recovery of that potential energy is available by tearing down the mountains, for example in cable cars connected to electric generators and dumping the rocks into the oceans continental trench.  The Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Andes and the Himalayas for example are available at present.  Over time both energy and material (mountains) are conserved

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Results

The result of using continental drift for essentially unlimited power for the human race is probably unfathomable, but nearly infinitely describable, including:

1. No green house gases.
2. The hydrogen economy.
3. The elimination of nuclear power plants.
4. Electric cars with no emissions and other transportations.
5. Electric aeroplanes.
6. Unlimited agriculture from electric agro-lights.  Production can become volumetric vice area limited, further postponing Malthus effects.
7. The largest possible scale for energy production ergo least cost.
8. Waste disposal reduced to near zero.
9. Industrial production with only carbon, water and electricity.

CO2 impoundment or removal for its’ carbon content for global climate control.

1. Oxygen supplementation of the atmosphere for enhanced ozone protection of earth.
1. Population explosion from all of the foregoing.
2. Focused power into space.
3. Etc., etc.

Conclusions Unlimited power from continental drift for the human race contains the essentials for future growth and sustainability of the race.

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