Garret Moddel | Extracting Zero-Point Energy: Does it Violate the Second Law?

Using a Casimir injection process, we have demonstrated continuous electrical power production in thousands of devices. Assuming the source of the power is zero-point fluctuations (ZPFs), does this violate the second law of thermodynamics? The answer depends upon the entropy and which version of the law is invoked, and the origin of the ZPFs: (i) the standard quantum view, in which zero-point energy is a ubiquitous fixture; (ii) stochastics electrodynamics, in which the ZPFs are due to classical electromagnetic fields; or (iii) a model in which the ZPFs are ultimately thermal in origin.

Garret Moddel is a professor of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado. His research group pursues new energy conversion technologies, and other science at the edges of our understanding. Prior to his academic position he worked in a Silicon Valley solar cell start-up, where he caught the entrepreneurial bug that continues to plague him. Garret earned a BSEE degree from Stanford, and MS and PhD degrees in Applied Physics from Harvard.

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Published on March 18, 2022