Electric Power Generation from Earth's Rotation through its Own Magnetic Field

Christopher F. Chyba, Kevin P. Hand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We examine electric power generation from Earth's rotation through its own nonrotating magnetic field (that component of the field symmetric about Earth's rotation axis). There is a simple general proof that this is impossible. However, we identify a loophole in that proof and show that voltage can be continuously generated in a low-magnetic-Reynolds-number conductor rotating with Earth, provided magnetically permeable material is used to ensure curl(v×B0)≠0 within the conductor, where B0 derives from the axially symmetric component of Earth's magnetic flux density, and v is Earth's rotation velocity at the conductor's location. We solve the relevant equations for one laboratory realization, and from this solution, we predict the voltage magnitude and sign dependence on system dimensions and orientation relative to Earth's rotation. The effect, which would be available nearly globally with no intermittency, requires testing and further examination to see if it can be scaled to practical emission-free power generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014017
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 29 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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