Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Could the Earth's Magnetic Energy Satisfy Global Electricity Demands?

Jun 04, 2019 06:37 PM EDT

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Supercomputer models of Earth's magnetic field.
(Photo : NASA)
Supercomputer models of Earth's magnetic field.

With the need to cope with the effects of global warming, experts have been searching for alternative resources that can provide clean and sustainable energy to the different corners of the world. Finding the best and most efficient energy source would eliminate the need to burn fossil fuels and could possibly combat global warming altogether.

As hydropower and solar power technologies have continued to improve over the years, some experts lobby the possibility of using the Earth's magnetic energy in creating electricity. However, while the concept of electricity borne out of the planet's magnetic energy is enticing, experts say the concept lacks practicality.

To explain, experts shared insight on the concept of electricity stating that electric current is the flow of electrically-charged particles, much like the behavior of water when it flows in a pipe. Positive charges attract negative charges but particles with the same charge repel each other. Simply put, in electricity, opposite attracts. An electric current is produced by tiny negative charges called the "electrons"; thus, an electric current is produced when an electron leaves their atoms to flow into other atoms.

There are numerous ways an electric current can be produced, one of which is by using magnetic energy. The movement of an electric wire in a magnetic field is the most efficient way to go about magnetic energy. The electrons in the wire won't be able to detect the magnetic force present unless the wire is in motion. To produce enough current to make electric appliances work, a lot of electric wires moving through a magnetic field is needed. This can be done by using a coil with loops of electric wires that move it quickly through a magnetic field.

Machines that are able to do this are called generators. Each time the coil takes a half turn, the electrons get a magnetic kick.

With this, experts disapprove proposals of using the Earth's magnetic energy as it is too weak to even produce and store energy through a generator. To explain, experts pointed out that fridge magnets produce 200 times more magnetic energy than the Earth's stored magnetic energy. 

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