Zero-point energy is the lowest form of energy in a physical mechanical system, remaining constant when all other energy is absent. This combats previous definitions of the vacuum, as space devoid of matter, re-defining the black space of the universe as an invisible and constant quantum interaction.
To put this in perspective, application of energy that is constant and infinitely available would flip every major energy source industry on its head.
Can you really get something from nothing?
The concept of zero-point energy can be traced back over a century to 1891 when Nikola Tesla stated “Throughout space there is energy…If this energy is kinetic then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the wheel-work of nature…Many generations may pass, but in time our machinery will be driven by energy available at any point of the universe.”
Although hinted at by imagination, it wasn’t until 1927 when Physicist Werner Heisenberg determined that the (a) movement and (b) exact position of particles remain uncertain due to the impossibility of accurately isolating both variables simultaneously. In an article published by the Scientific American, Phillip Yam writes that if a system was stagnant completely at absolute zero, both variables (a) and (b) would be accurately known. Heisenberg’s law validated the existence of infinite and invisible energy, making calculating both variables impossible and metaphorically dropkicking notions of “empty space”.
More concrete evidence surfaced in 1947 when Hendrik Casimir discovered that in the gap between perfectly conducting parallel plates, parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are excluded. These discounted wavelengths create a pressure outside the plates that acts as a force pushing them inward. This is known as the Casimir Effect.
Zero-point energy can be witnessed by the continuous liquid state of Helium, which remains constant regardless of atmospheric temperature. Physically, zero-point energy can be felt when going around a curve due to the resistance of inertia.
Physicist Robert Forward theorized actual application of this discovery in 1984. His theory concerned the transformation of zero-point energy into usable electric energy via the construction of a “vacuum fluctuation battery” based on the conductive plate design of the Casimir Force. Forward stated that allowing the force to transcend—thereby pushing the plates to contact—would create enough energy to transform zero-point energy to electric energy.
The implications of zero-point energy would be paradigm shift in a global economy leaning on finite fuels and the industrialist principles of supply and demand. It is for this same reason that the timeline of scientific development may have been so slow— if a zero-point generator were built, it would be a one-time investment.
A major objection by some science communities is the second law of thermodynamics. Nobel Prize winner, Ilya Prigogine has shown that the second law of thermodynamics can be expanded to include non-equilibrium systems that evolve to increasing order. This expansion makes the second law compatible— in theory.
The potential application of zero-point energy by the public, should it be allowed to enter the global marketplace, would serve as a potential solution to some of the greatest modern problems facing humanity. Employing zero-point energy would mean a clean and sustainable alternative, reducing the climate changing effects of global warming.
The prospect of infinite energy developed on a mass scale could work to democratize transportation and electric technology in a social landscape burdened by economic disparity, and connectedly, the digital divide. This could combat the social archetype of the “have” and the “have not”.
Outside our own atmosphere, unlimited energy implies an unrestrained possibility of exploration in a universe that is constantly expanding as a result of vacuum fluctuations.
In a more metaphysical implication, the cyclic and permanent nature of energy may give deeper and more scientifically sound insight into movement of life-force-energy after death and into the relationship between movement and consciousness.
The free-energy initiative becomes increasingly relevant in light of worsening circumstance, as zero-point energy presents us with the potential of freedom from technology fastened to finite resource. When the conventional framework of consumer driven science has poisoned prospect, original scientific pathways must become the new frontier. The zero-point energy initiative should become a more central focus in the scientific communities should humanity wish to secure its uncertain future and fulfil its egotistic and seemingly intrinsic impulse to achieve god-like self-autonomy.