Infinity Generator [ "Perepitea" ]
The Toronto Star ( Tuesday, February 05, 2008 )

Turning Physics on its Ear

by Tyler Hamilton

Inventor Thane Heins with his electric motor invention, which he has dubbed the Perepiteia, in lab in the basement of his home in Almonte, near Ottawa.

`Holy crap, this is really scary,' inventor says of strange phenomenon.

It all began back in 1985, when Thane Heins, having studied electronics at Heritage College in Gatineau, Quebec, started thinking about how magnets could be used to improve power generators.

Has college dropout done the impossible and created a perpetual motion machine? Thane Heins is nervous and hopeful. It's Jan. 24, a Thursday afternoon, and in four days the Ottawa-area native will travel to Boston where he'll demonstrate an invention that appears "though he doesn't dare say it" to operate as a perpetual motion machine.

The audience, esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Markus Zahn, could either deflate Heins' heretical claims or add momentum to a 20-year obsession that has broken up his marriage and lost him custody of his two young daughters.

Zahn is a leading expert on electromagnetic and electronic systems. In a rare move for any reputable academic, he has agreed to give Heins' creation an open-minded look rather than greet it with outright dismissal.

It's a pivotal moment. The invention, at its very least, could moderately improve the efficiency of induction motors, used in everything from electric cars to ceiling fans. At best it means a way of tapping the mysterious powers of electromagnetic fields to produce more work out of less effort, seemingly creating electricity from nothing.

Such an unbelievable invention would challenge the laws of physics, a no-no in the rigid world of serious science. Imagine a battery system in an all-electric car that can be recharged almost exclusively by braking and accelerating, or what Heins calls "regenerative acceleration."

No charging from the grid. No assistance from gasoline. No cost of fuelling up. No way, say the skeptics.

"It sounds too good to be true," concedes Heins, who formed a company in 2005 called Potential Difference Inc. to develop and market his invention. "We get dismissed pretty quickly sometimes."

It's for this reason the 46-year-old inventor has learned to walk on thin ice when dealing with academics and engineers, who he must win over to be taken seriously. Credibility, after all, can't be invented. It must be earned. "I have to be humble. If you say the wrong thing at the wrong time, you can lose support."

The creation in question is a new kind of generator called the Perepiteia (read related story "Holy crap, this is really scary"), which in Greek theatre means an action that has the opposite effect of what its doer intended. Heins torques up the definition to mean "a sudden reversal of fortune that's a windfall for humanity."

Deep down, Heins has high hopes. But he also realizes that merely using those controversial words "perpetual motion" usually brands a person as batty. In 2006, an Irish company called Steorn placed an advertisement in The Economist calling on all the world's scientists to validate its magnet-based "free energy" technology.

Steorn was met with intense skepticism and accused of being a scam or hoax. Seventeen months later the company has failed, despite worldwide attention, to prove anything under scrutiny. Well-educated people, from Leonardo da Vinci to Harvard-trained engineer Bruce De Palma (older brother of film director Brian De Palma), have made similar claims of perpetual motion only to be slammed down by the mainstream scientific community.

Heins has an even greater uphill battle. He isn't an engineer. He doesn't have a graduate degrees in physics. He never even finished his electronics program at Heritage College in Gatineau, Quebec. "I have mild dyslexia and don't do well in math, so I didn't do very well in school," he says.

What he does have is a chef's diploma, and spent time as chef at the Canadian Museum of Civilization before launching his own restaurant in Renfrew called the Old Town Hall Tea Room. He has also had political ambitions. In 1999 he ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Green Party of Ontario, deciding a year later to run as an independent in the federal election.

Today, Heins is focused on showing his invention to anybody willing to see it, in hopes that somebody smarter than him will give it credibility. His long-time friend, Kim Cunningham, manager of communications and government relations at the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) is working part-time with Potential Difference to help get the message out.

Together, they have demonstrated the Perepiteia to a number of labs and universities across North America, including the University of Virginia, Michigan State University, the University of Toronto and Queens University.

"It's generally always the same reaction," says Heins. "There's a bit of a scramble on the part of the observer to put what they're seeing into some sort of context with what they know. They can't explain it. They don't know what it is."

He'd be happy if somebody did, even if the news was bad. His wife has kicked him out. He doesn't earn an income. He can't pay child support. The certainty would be welcome. "I've tried to quit many times, and thought if I could just be a normal guy I would have a normal life ... But I had this idea and I believe it works."

Others want to believe --- or at least help out. Cunningham, whose brother is general manager at Angus Glen Golf Club, introduced Heins to the club's president, Kevin Thistle. For two years Thistle has acted as angel investor, providing start-up capital needed to incorporate Potential Difference, file patents and continue research.

Cunningham's boss, OCRI president Jeffrey Dale, helped open doors at the University of Ottawa and make introductions to its dean of engineering. As a result, Heins teamed up last fall with Riadh Habash, a professor at the university's school of information technology and engineering.

"Dr. Habash has essentially rolled out the red carpet," says Heins, explaining that he now has access to a university lab and all the equipment he needs to test and simulate his generator.

In an interview with the Toronto Star, Habash was cautious but matter-of-fact with what he's seen so far. "It accelerates, but when it comes to an explanation, there is no backing theory for it. That's why we're consulting MIT. But at this time we can't support any claim."

In the meantime, Heins has been on a letter-writing campaign to raise money for his mission. He's written former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, Virgin Group founder and billionaire Richard Branson and John Doerr at venture capital powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He's also tried to contact entrepreneur Elon Musk, chairman of electric car upstart Tesla Motors, and the "ReCharge IT" project run by Google's philanthropic arm.

So far no bites, though there have been nibbles. Heins has had discussions with a well-known investor in Oregon, known to many as the "godfather of start-ups," who is apparently flirting with the idea of investing in Potential Difference. "We got the impression ... he's not necessarily interested in making a tonne of money, he just wants to see us succeed."

Just before the big day at MIT, the Star spoke with professor Markus Zahn about what he expected to observe.

"It's hard for me to give an opinion," said Zahn, who admitted he was excited to see the demonstration. "I don't believe it will violate the laws of physics. You're not going to get more energy out than you put in."

He said it's easy for people to set up their tests wrong and misinterpret what they see. "You've got to look closely."

It's now Jan. 28 --- D Day. Heins has modified his test so the effects observed are difficult to deny. He holds a permanent magnet a few centimetres away from the driveshaft of an electric motor, and the magnetic field it creates causes the motor to accelerate. It went well.

Contacted by phone a few hours after the test, Zahn is genuinely stumped --- and surprised. He said the magnet shouldn't cause acceleration. "It's an unusual phenomena I wouldn't have predicted in advance. But I saw it. It's real. Now I'm just trying to figure it out."

There's no talk of perpetual motion. No whisper of broken scientific laws or free energy. Zahn would never go there --- at least not yet. But he does see the potential for making electric motors more efficient, and this itself is no small feat.

"To my mind this is unexpected and new, and it's worth exploring all the possible advantages once you're convinced it's a real effect," he added. "There are an infinite number of induction machines in people's homes and everywhere around the world. If you could make them more efficient, cumulatively, it could make a big difference."

Driving home --- 'he can't afford to fly' --- Heins is exhausted but encouraged. He says Zahn will, and must, evaluate what he saw on his own terms and time. What's preventing the engineer from grasping it right away, he says, is his education, his scientific training.

Step by step, Heins is making progress, but where it will all lead remains uncertain.



Abstract --  The invention provides a means of increasing transformer efficiency above 100%. The transformer consists of a single primary coil and two secondary coils. The t wo secondary coils are set on a secondary core toroid which is designed to be maintained at a lower reluctance than the primary core toroid throughout the transformer's entire operating range. When the transformer secondary delivers current to a load the subsequent induced back EMF is not allowed to couple back to the primary due to the higher reluctance flux path . Instead the secondary coil's induced back EMF follows the path of least reluctance into the adjacent secondary coil.







Abstract --  The invention provides a means of increasing transformer efficiency above 100%. The transformer consists of a single primary coil and two secondary coils. The t wo secondary coils are set on a secondary core toroid which is designed to be maintained at a lower reluctance than the primary core toroid throughout the transformer's entire operating range. When the transformer secondary delivers current to a load the subsequent induced back EMF is not allowed to couple back to the primary due to the higher reluctance flux path . Instead the secondary coil's induced back EMF follows the path of least reluctance into the adjacent secondary coil.

A generating device is disclosed comprising a motor, an axle of the motor projecting from at least one end of the motor, at least one rotor mounted on the axle, at least one magnetic pole mounted on the rotor and a coil mounted in operative proximity with said magnetic pole.


Infinity Generator
Canadian Patent # 2,437,745
( 15 Feb 2005 )

Description of Operation

List of Components ( Figure 1.0 [ Not vailable ] )

4 Permanent magnets; M1, M2, M3, m4
4 Type II High Temperature Superconducting Wire and Coils C1, C2, C3, C4

As the inner coil C1 and C2, rotates around magnets M1 and M2, a current is induced in the wire/coil.

According to Lenz’s Law an electromagnetic force is produced around the wire/coil which acts to stop the rotating action as shown in Figure 1.0 by Force 1 and Force 2 (The Conservation of Energy).

The inner coil C1 and C2, which is surrounded by magnets M1 and M2, dictates the magnitude and direction of current flow, which in turn is determines by faraday’s ;aw;

When a magnet approaches an infinitely long wire or coil an electric voltage is induced in the wire.

The magnitude of induced voltage (Emf) if determined by:

1 --- The number of turns in the coil, N

2 --- The strength of the external magnetic field, B.

3 --- The area perpendicular to the magnetic field or the area of the coil, A.

4 --- The rate (speed) at which the magnet approaches the wire, Delta T.

The inner coil C1 and C2, has a greater number of turns N, a stronger magnetic field strength B and a greater area perpendicular to the magnetic field A than the outer 2 coils C3 and C4 which correspond to Magnets M3 and m4.

As the current I flows out through the outer 2 coils C3 and C4, an electromagnetic field is produced --- Force 3 and Force 4, which encourages the direction of rotation rather than opposing it as was seen by the inner coils and the forces F1 and F2. This can be explained by the Left hand Rule of Electricity for Motors and the right Hand Rule for Electricity respectfully, where the thumb points in the direction of force applied F, the index finger points in the direction of the magnetic field B, and the middle finger in the direction of the current flow I.

Because Type II High Temperature Superconducting Wire/Coils are employed there is no resistance in the wire and no loss of output due to the windings resistance in the exterior coils.

Image 2 details what magnitudes and directions of torques are produced within the generator.

The calculations show that by changing either the magnetic field strength B, or the length of the outer coil L, o the length of the lever are 3 or 4, the complimentary toque produced at the outer coil can be greatly affected and utilized to negate not only the negative emf’s but resistance in the bearings and the wire if a conventional generator design is utilized, i.e., copper or silver wire.

Risks and Uncertainties

There is an assumption being made in this design proposal which suggests that current will flow from the inner coil out through the outer coils and that the outer coils will not generate their own current. If there is an initial current being generated in the outer coils it will be overcome by the current generated by the inner coil because the inner coil will be designed to produce a current of greater magnitude and duration.

Care must be taken to ensure that coils C3 and C4 and the rate (speed) at which the wire/coil approaches magnets M3 and m4 Delta T, does not have a negative effect on the generator’s performance.

Current sensitive switching may be employed if needed to ensure the desired direction of current flow.

From PESWikiDiscussion page for Directory: Perepiteia Generator by Potential Difference Inc ---

Perepiteia Generator Harnesses Back EMF - Thane Heins of Potential Difference Inc stumbled upon a way of making electric induction motors work, at the very least, more efficiently. At most, he may have found a way to manipulate magnetic fields so that instead of slowing down a generator it speeds it up. (PESWiki; Feb. 6, 2008)Comments No Useful OutputOn Feb. 6, 2008, Peter Lindemann, DSc, writes:

I have reviewed all seven video links. In all fairness, I would like to say that Thane has built some nice demonstrations and spent a lot of time running experiments. That said, the films show nothing important. First of all, the films do not show enough detailed information to evaluate the demonstrations. Second, no free energy is shown. In fact, the generators are never shown producing any useful outputs. They are either shown producing voltage in "open circuit" mode, or they are shown in "short circuit" mode, where the generated voltage drops below one volt. So, ZERO WATTS are produced in either case.

The changes in mechanical drag are due to changes in inductance and hysteresis. Back in the 1980's, both John Bedini and I independently worked with "variable reluctance" generators. We both saw that these designs work like an inverse to a standard induction generator. That is, they produce maximum drag in "open circuit" mode, and minimum drag in "short circuit" mode. John found that the point of maximum benefit in this situation is to charge a battery, where the impedance of the generator "sees" the battery as a "near short circuit". Under these circumstances, the generator free-wheels and the battery charges quickly.

Unfortunately, Thane is not showing any useful benefits from the generator output. So, there is no "efficiency" to calculate because there is no output!

The real problem with these demonstrations has to do with his motor drive. The motor driving his system is a single phase induction motor. This type of motor has almost zero starting torque, and only produces its rated power at rated speed. So, the rated speed of his motor is probably in the neighborhood of 1725 RPM. Running this motor in the 100 RPM range converts 98% of the input electric power to HEAT. He says he has a capacitor in the input circuit to the motor, but this is never shown in schematic, so we don't know how it is hooked up. If the capacitor is connected in SERIES with the motor winding, it will act as a current limiter, and skew the power factor of the motor towards reactive power. This is fine, IF you want to limit the mechanical power of the motor as well. If the capacitor is connected in PARALLEL with the motor winding, it will act to produce reactive power for the motor locally, and reduce the amount of power it draws from the wall. But again, this would only be significant at rated speed.

The effect he shows when a magnetic field is applied to the motor shaft would be undetectable if he was operating the motor correctly. It is a very weak effect. It is probably caused by the external magnetic field interfering with the induced magnetic field of the rotor. This would not happen if the motor coils were not being severely current limited and the rotor was not "slipping" severely in the rotating magnetic field of the stator.

My GUESS is that the capacitor is in SERIES with the motor winding. This will limit the current to the motor to a specific maximum. At the speeds he is running these motors, the only other mechanism to hold back the input current would be the resistance of the wire in the motor coils. If that is all he had, the motor would quickly over-heat and melt the insulation right off the wire. The fact that the motor is running hot is proved in the seventh film where a large black fan is shown blowing on the motor!

From the data presented, my best estimate of the efficiency of the demonstrations is that over 90% of the energy going into the motor is converted to heat. The changes in drag of the generators is standard behavior for variable reluctance topologies, so accelerations or decelerations of the motor DO NOT represent energy production, just changes in HYSTERESIS DRAG. Since no output energies are ever measured, the input to output efficiency ratio is ZERO.

Thane Heins may have more important discoveries in his lab, but they are not demonstrated in these videos.

I'm really sorry to have to comment negatively on Thane's work. He is exploring a new effect, and he is pretty brave to put out his data. It took John and I years to figure out what these kinds of generators were really doing and why. It is not obvious, and it takes a lot of experimenting and thinking to work it out.

Thane really needs to show the complete schematic of his test apparatus, including the strength and orientation of the magnets on his generator wheel, as well as the specifications on his drive motor. There is a lot of important data missing from the demos.

Nothing more than a hysteresis brake

Feb. 6, 2008, DMBoss (,4047.msg75615.html#msg75615): Quote from: blindsangamon on Today at 02:45:23 AM It appears that the Perepiteia Motor is nothing more than a hysteresis brake. Placing the steel rods (wound by coils) near the spinning magnets induces alternating magnetic flux within the rods, the resulting magnetic hysteresis causes drag on the rotating disk, and heat losses within the steel rods. Shorting out the coils effectively shields the steel rods from the disk's magnetic field, eliminating the hysteresis drag. This causes the motor to speed up - but not as much as it would if the steel rods were removed completely. BUSTED! Hi:

blindsangamon is correct. This is a common phenomenon regards "generators", but one often not commonly known about if you are not working with AC motors and generators all the time. So the professor at MIT may not have this practical engineering savvy to identify the issues at first glance.

An hysteresis brake is one way to describe the apparently anomalous increase in speed when you short the generator coils. What EVERY ferromagnetic core does when exposed to varying magnetic fields is to have it's domains rock or flip direction in accord with the magnetic field changes impinging on them.

This consumes power in the "friction" between domains as they sort of scrape past each other. It results in the material heating up. In addition to this hystersis "loss" is an eddy current effect within bulk steel from the very same time varying magnetic fields, also making heating of the core. These two effects combined are commonly termed "core loss".

Core loss produces a reaction torque in a generator, in that the domain "friction" resists their aligning with the external field - causing more drag torque. Eddy currents make magnetic fields which oppose the fields making the eddy currents too, making more drag torque.

Now "core loss" in any ferromagnetic core material is directly proportional to the induction, B. Put another way the higher the delta flux density, the more core loss you get. (it is also proportional to the frequency, but let's assume a constant freq here, even though it is not at a constant one - it speeds up and slows down, again a neophyte mistake - you must measure things here at common speeds/freqs to make comparisons accurately)

And the induction, B is then what produces the coil voltage via Faraday/Lenz laws. That is voltage is the time derivative of delta flux. So people, when you short a generator coil and it's voltage drops to near zero, you can be certain that the delta B within the coil's core is also near zero!

So if you started with a delta B of say 1,000 gauss at no load on the coils, and your core material produces say 15 watts of core loss per pound of core (solid steel is in this ballpark, which is why we laminate special steels for transformers which takes the core loss down to about 2 watts per pound) then you'd have some serious drag torque experienced by the drive motor with coils open circuit.

Now if you short the coils and drop the delta B down to say 10 gauss, you have REDUCED the core loss by a factor of 1000/10=100 times less core loss when shorted than when open circuited!

This means 100 times less drag torque felt by the drive motor! (therefore the common shaft speeds up when coils are shorted, duhhhh)

This is amateur hour gone mad - both in the videos and mostly in these lists! Which does nothing but hurt the cause of getting O/U to the masses in my view, as it simply reinforces to the powers that be in the scientific community that it is a bunch of flakes and idiots making these claims!

Now I will also say, that heavily loading certain geometry of generator, can produce some gain. I have several examples on the bench which do. But they are proprietary and I don't care to share this with lists. BUT you have to do proper energy/power balances to measure this gain. And you have to endeavor to reduce core losses to a minimum and account for core loss change when you heavily load the coils too.

I have one which gets a gain in excess of the entire core loss value, both eddy and hysteresis - therefore the gain cannot be from this artifact that plagues all coil/core systems. But it is a modest gain, and yes the rotor does want to speed up. But you have to manage this speed, and measure the loaded and unloaded condition at the same shaft speed, because friction and windage change too when speed changes.

Then you have to measure True power at the shaft input via torque sensing and speed, against True output power, including friction, core loss, coil heating and direct electrical output for a complete energy/power balance. In fact there is an IEEE protocol for doing a complete power balance on motors and generators, which includes all these things.

This person did few if none of these things properly and is delusional about the apparent speed increasing meaning it is O/U. There could be a small amount of gain in his sloppy and amateurish system, but it is completely overriden by mundane, conventional effects as "blindsangamon" correctly points out.

Sorry for being so terse with you folks, but it is very annoying to watch so many people do harm to the cause by spouting off without really having a grasp of conventional ElectroMagnetics. Both amateur's like in these videos, and indeed a large percentage of the armchair critics populating these lists! Do your homework before putting foot in mouth!

There's a few rational voices out there, blindsangamon being one, and most of you then deride these voices with nonsense and blind faith!

here's a simplified protocol for measuring a generator's complete power balance:

Pick or know the optimal final speed of the system. Use only this shaft speed for all measurements.
1 Measure all parameters in a generator "no load" condition including: 2 Friction alone, meaning with no magnets or mag fields acting on the cores. 3 Then include the mag fields and measure the input drag power (torque times angular velocity).

The difference between 3 minus 2 is the core loss at no load.

4 Measure the DC resistance of all coils as they would be connected in a loaded condition (i.e. series or parallel).
5 Load the generator at the same speed as the no load tests.
6 measure input power via torque times speed. (Newton-meters times RPM times 0.1047 = shaft power in watts)
7 measure True output electrical power. Not with DMM's. but with appropriate True Power meters or analyzers.
8 measure coil current, and calculate coil's "Joule heating" via I^2R.
9 measure and compare coil voltage compared to no load voltage for a ratio with which to discount core loss.
Then take the loaded input shaft power in watts as INPUT to system.

Against this Input, you add the following:
a electrical output in watts
b friction in watts
c core loss via no load core loss times the voltage drop ratio (so if no load core loss were 37 watts, and no load voltage was 125V and loaded voltage is 83V, then the ratio is 0.664. Multiply 0.664 times no load core loss of 37 watts to equal 24.57 watts output core loss)
d coil heating via I^2R

Add up item a through d for the total system OUTPUT.

Now divide Output by Input for your COP. (Coefficient of Performance)

Note friction, core loss and coil heat are legitimate outputs.... they heat the room! Useful output is an arbitrary distinction based on subjective criteria. If you want shaft power then heat is not useful. If however you want a heater, then shaft power is not useful! So to know in the absolute sense if a thing is over unity or not, you have to account for ALL outputs in a balance sheet.

That's another pet peeve of mine - those who dismiss everything they deem as "not useful"! Now suppose you had a system which routinely produces 200% more heat output in coil heating and core heating while it turns a shaft as in some newfangled motor. The shaft power COP is only 35%, but overall the system is 200% gainful. These persons I refer to would dismiss this as not being useful because the shaft power is under unity!

When in fact a home heating system would require a heat exchange mechanism to get heat from your machine to the air, thus it requires a pump - moving air or water or both. So you could make "use" of both the excess heating and the shaft power from said system!

My point is at these early stages it is imperative that you measure all aspects even if you may "think" they aren't useful. For complete energy balances and because overunity may not come in the form you wish it to!

The Ottawa Citizen ( March 01, 2008 )

An Internet commotion over 'perpetual motion' -- Almonte inventor hits a nerve with claims.

by Tim Shufelt

In the back of a University of Ottawa engineering lab, inventor Thane Heins will soon be adding light bulbs to his electrical generator, a modest improvement considering he says his device already transcends the basic laws of physics.

The suggestion was made to improve the frequent demonstrations Mr. Heins gives after he and his contraption became Internet sensations attracting worldwide attention.

The 46-year-old from Almonte says the lights will serve as visual cues of the electrical load he already applies to his system, which should, in theory, slow everything down.

Thane Heins says he'll be more careful about how he describes his invention after a storm of controversy erupted on the Internet. ( Photo by Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen)

Instead his electric motor accelerates when the load is applied, in an apparent contradiction of the law of conservation of energy.

Videos of the demonstration have been viewed more than 280,000 times on YouTube in the last four weeks. His story was also featured on Gizmodo, Slashdot, BoingBoing and

That's the buzz you generate when you claim to have stumbled upon the "genesis of perpetual motion."

It's also an example of how the Internet can vault an unknown person to a global audience, said Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor and a specialist in Internet law.

"Some of the most popular online media sites and blogging sites have audiences that in some instances exceed mainstream media," Mr. Geist said.

Mr. Heins said there have been too many phone calls to return from investors the world over who have offered up millions in seed money. Even NASA has expressed interest in what Mr. Heins calls Perepiteia, a variation of a word used in Greek theatre to describe an action that has the opposite effect of what was intended.

But the response on high-tech websites, blogs and chat rooms has been far from charitable.

"This guy seems to be a crook who tries to do his job by letting the victims read between the lines," one user wrote on Slashdot.

"Oh no, not another one of these crackpot ideas" another wrote in a high-tech chat room.

Even those who are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, can't seem to resist taking shots either. "Of course, if it proves genuine, we WILL have to burn him," someone wrote on BoingBoing.

So now Mr. Heins is not just modifying his prototype to make it more understandable, he's also trying to choose his words more carefully to avoid offending mainstream science with tainted concepts like perpetual motion.

"Those dirty words," he said. "We do not use those words, no matter what. Because as soon as you do, you're dead."

That kind of talk has strained his relationship with Markus Khan, an MIT electromagnetics professor, who gave the inventor an audience last month in Boston, Mr. Heins said.

Mr. Khan said he was surprised by the acceleration effect, which he said had the potential to increase the efficiency of electric motors in a wide range of common applications. He was dismayed, however, to see his name linked to reports, many of which characterized the invention as a "perpetual motion machine."

"I can't understand how he can even breathe the words 'perpetual motion.' He plugs it into the wall," Mr. Kahn said, adding he, too, has been flooded with calls and e-mails.

In an e-mail to Mr. Heins, he wrote: "Any talk of perpetual motion, over unity efficiency, etc. discredits you, now me, and your ideas." He added that he would not be interested in endorsing the device until "the foolishness is stopped of hinting that your motor violates fundamental laws of physics."

He said Mr. Heins may have made a valuable discovery that could improve motors, but said a battery of tests is now required to measure the efficiency gains and qualify the science behind the invention.

The key to his model is the interaction of electromagnetic fields with the motor, which speed up a magnetized wheel when it should slow it down.

"With my system, when you load it, the speed goes up, and you actually have to lower the power going to the motor to maintain speed," he said.

It's analogous to using the light and heat produced by a lightbulb to power the bulb itself, with energy to spare, a heretical notion in thermodynamics.

Mr. Heins said he believes Perepiteia could revolutionize the energy industry and reduce global dependence on oil. His next goal is to produce a prototype of an electric car that uses the invention.

A $15-million offer was already put on the table by Jacques Nichols, the Portland-based self-declared "godfather of startups," Mr. Heins said.

The idea of using magnets in this way first came to Mr. Heins in 1985 while he was studying electronics at Heritage College in Gatineau.

Because he was working out of his basement, he used an electrical motor to generate electricity, a counterintuitive method that prevented earlier discovery of the phenomenon.

In 2005 he founded Potential Difference Inc., and a few weeks ago moved his lab into loftier digs at the University of Ottawa

Mr. Heins' personal investment in the device has cost him his marriage, custody of his two daughters, aged 4 and 7, his restaurant and his savings.

But he said is driven by an obligation: "Until we stop killing each other for oil, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. Sooner or later the rest of the world is going to catch up with me."

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008 - Ontario
( February 28, 2009 )

Electric Motor Polarizes Opinion

CHRISTOPHER PIKE // Tyler Hamilton
Ottawa inventor Thane Heins is steadily winning supporters for his electrical motor, which he claims can produce more energy than it consumes. While many are skeptical of the theory, no one has been able to disprove it. (Feb. 12, 2009)
Fierce debate rages around entrepreneur Thane Heins' dogged pursuit of green engine 
Thane Heins, tired and a little grumpy after a long flight from California, walks onto the stage of an Ottawa conference room and begins a sales pitch that usually raises more eyebrows than money.

One of three entrepreneurs chosen earlier this month to present at a "Pitch The Dragons"  contest, a spin on the CBC show Dragons' Den, Heins has invented a technology that he says will put out more energy than it consumes. His invention, he boldly claims, offers a way to make electric cars that can travel hundreds of kilometres from the energy in a small, inexpensive battery.

It's a tough crowd. One of the contest judges is TV-show judge Robert Herjavec, a multimillionaire who just minutes earlier shared with the audience his own story of success and the life it now funds - the fancy gas-guzzling cars, the mansion, the luxurious yacht.

The two men are oil and water. Heins, who wants to help the world kick its fossil-fuel addiction, immediately gets his back up. Herjavec is dismissive from the get-go.

“It turned into a shouting match in front of 300 people," Heins says later that day. "I didn't mind him kicking sand in my face, but the thing that really got me is when he said I don't get it. He pushed me a little too far and I fought back."

It was just another day for this underdog entrepreneur, a man trying to convince mainstream society he has discovered something real, which in this case means it has broken a major law of physics.

The Star first profiled Heins and his controversial invention a year ago. In a nutshell, he had figured out a way to eliminate the electromagnetic friction that typically limits the performance of an electrical generator -- an effect known as "Back EMF".  Not only that, but he also learned how to redirect that magnetic energy so that, instead of causing resistance, it gave an electrical motor connected to the generator a significant boost.

The result, as far as Heins was concerned, violated Lenz's law or what's often called the law of diminishing returns. For many, that equates to a perpetual motion machine, an impossible claim in the conventional field of physics.

Within no time the story spread globally across the Internet, became chatter on blogs, and triggered a flood of email to this reporter's inbox, some praising Heins for his determination, others calling the Star irresponsible for giving credibility to his claim. The story, love it or hate it, was the second-most read article on in 2008.

Much has happened over the past 12 months. Heins still operates out of a lab out at the University of Ottawa, he continues to evolve his invention, and he routinely demonstrates those improvements to the world by posting videos on YouTube.

"The last video I watched still showed evidence of some fundamental misunderstandings of physics, combined with wishful thinking," said Seanna Watson, an electrical engineer who is also a member of a scientific group called Ottawa Skeptics.

Heins gave the group a demonstration of his technology shortly at the Star's story was published. Two months later Watson posted a critique online titled "In This Town We Obey The Law of Thermodynamics." Yes, she admitted, the electrical motor does speed up without any increase in input power, but increased speed does not automatically mean an increase in mechanical work.

"Heins appears earnest and basically honest, but persistently self-deluded," Watson wrote. "While the speed-up behaviour of the generator currently lacks an established explanation, there is no reason to think that it represents any challenge to currently known laws of physics."

It's a criticism Heins has heard before: You haven't proved you're right, so you must be wrong. At the same time, nobody has been able to prove he's wrong.

Some want to believe, or have kept an inquiring mind. Heins has been contacted by NASA, he’s had several investors, entrepreneurs, engineers and academics show up at his lab for a demonstration. Heins always obliges -- he says he has nothing to hide.

At one point last spring, rock legend Neil Young wanted to adapt Heins' invention to power a 1959 Lincoln Continental MK IV, which is being entered into the $10-million automotive X-Prize -- a contest in search of the world's most efficient automobile.

Heins, Young, and his engineer Uli Kruger had much dialogue over email and telephone about the rock star's "LincVolt" project. At one point, Heins sent Young some information by email on the performance of his generator and copied the message to dozens of other people unrelated to Young's project.

Young replied to Heins that he didn't appreciate his private email being broadcast to the world. "Please do not do this again!" he wrote, but then quickly breezed over the incident. "This in no way negates my enthusiasm and curiosity about your project," he assured Heins.

Heins, not one to worship the famous, sent a terse response: "I just sent you an email with proof that my generator violates the Law of Conservation of Energy and you are worried about your private email? Are you serious?"  He accused Toronto-born Young of being shallow.

The relationship eventually fizzled. Two week after that exchange, Young, in an email to the Star, was still gracious in his assessment of Heins'  invention. "I am impressed --  it is on our list of things to watch."

Day by day, bit by bit, Hein'  passion and persistence is steadily gaining him supporters -- people convinced that what they're seeing is important enough to move the technology out of the lab and into real-world applications.

Through his Ottawa-based company Potential Difference Inc., Heins has been in serious talks with a designer of small wind turbines in Montreal, a senior engineer from a large utility in Turkey, and a small manufacturer of electrical equipment in Toronto. He's altered the design of his prototype as well by developing a high-voltage "self-excited"  motor coil.

"We can use it to accelerate (the motor shaft) from 100 revolutions per minute to 3,500 without adding an ounce of power," according to Heins.

His most promising partnership so far is with California Diesel & Power, a $10-million company that sells back-up generators for cellphone towers throughout California. AT&T is one of its largest customers. 

Owen Charles, head of technology at California D&P, viewed Heins' demonstration videos on YouTube last year and was intrigued. He flew to Ottawa for a live demonstration and was convinced the technology worked, at least enough to pursue it further.

"There's acceleration, but what I don't see is being able to harness more power out than power in,"  said Charles during a phone interview. "But Thane is starting to get more and more watts, more power, out of the coil, in addition to the acceleration."

Heins made a prototype for Charles, who's been demonstrating it to customers and contacts throughout California. During a demonstration to some AT&T contacts the motor was spinning at its full rated capacity using only 75 watts of power, when normally it takes 250 watts to do the same work. "To me, that makes the motor a hell of a lot more efficient."

In the diesel generator business, it means Heins' technology  at the very least can be used to get much more work out of a generator using the same amount of fuel. That' s enough for Charles, who wants to license the innovation. "We're trying to become a West Coast hub for this type of technology."

But is it perpetual motion? "It has the potential to be that,"  said Heins. "But there are many hoops we have to jump through before we get there."  Still, he believes that getting there  is achievable. To add credibility to his claim, he plans to pay the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory to evaluate the technology.

It doesn't help, however, that Heins often undermines what credibility he has earned. At times he seems to exaggerate the significance of certain events and relationships. He's written emails to former U.S. vice presidents Dick Cheney and Al Gore claiming he's got a way to eliminate the world's dependence on oil and bring the troops home from Iraq. It's the kind of behaviour that makes people turn away, not pay attention.

He's also working with The Orion Project, a non-profit group founded by conspiracy theorist Steven Greer, who has founded several UFO groups and claims to have been in contact with extraterrestrials. Greer believes the government is aware that perpetual motion machines exist and that there has been a massive global cover-up.

Still, all the doubt and scepticism could vanish if California D&P actually makes a more efficient generator. The company has also entered the automotive X-Prize with plans, like Neil Young once had, to use Heins' generator.

"Within a month or two months, we should have that generator in a car," said Heins. "All we're going to try to do is run the car in the conventional mode, measure the number of miles we get out of it, then put our generator in and see if we can get more miles out."

If it demonstrates the dramatic improvement Heins expects to see, maybe Al Gore will pay attention.

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