Pedal and amplifier company Electro-Harmonix has shared its intentions to “engage in a round of venture-capital-financing,” in order to actuate its plan to harvest energy from the earth’s magnetosphere. In an email to mailing list subscribers, it has also requested that interested parties get in touch with the company, as to gauge interest in the plan.
- READ MORE: EHX announces plans to harness energy from the Earth’s magnetosphere, leaving pedal fans confused
Now, you might be left with a few questions after that opening paragraph – and understandably so. While the crossover between guitar pedals and magnetic energy from space isn’t exactly a bustling industry, EHX is entirely serious about the plan: it has been of interest to founder Mike Matthews since at least 1999, when he wrote a letter to NASA scientist David Stern, asking him to calculate the energy within the side of the Earth’s magnetosphere that faces the sun
“I won’t calculate it here – it’s long and hard,” Stern wrote back, “but [I’ll] just give you an order of magnitude estimate based on a formula which is really appropriate to a different case, and isn’t even exact there.” The resulting calculation gives 6.9 × 10^14 (690,000,000,000,000) joules.
This figure has been used since by EHX as an estimate of how much untapped energy sits up there in space. It appeared in the subject line of an email sent out to those on Electro-Harmonix’s mailing list last year, which (aside from leaving those interested in upcoming guitar effects a little confused) set out the vague details of the plan and the company’s willingness to take on the challenge of harnessing the energy.
Matthews makes reference to this email in his latest communication, writing: “About a year ago, most of you received an email from me, describing Electro-Harmonix’s plans to tap into the vast amounts of replenishing energy stored in the Earth’s compressed magnetosphere. This energy is created by solar winds and their constant bombardment of the magnetosphere with ions spewing from the Sun at over a million miles an hour.
“I circulated my last email because I wanted to keep customers and fans abreast of innovative projects with which we are involved.
“I was surprised that so many of you asked, ‘Could I invest?’ We are not yet at the stage where we are mobilising investors. But I do want to take this opportunity to survey who, among you, might be interested in investing at the ground level once we engage in a round of venture capital financing.”
Matthews then requested those interested to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Guitar.com, being, well, a guitar website, is not in a position to state whether this method of harnessing energy is viable or not. However, it is important to remember that the figure being used to heavily promote the idea – 6.9 × 10^14 joules – is the product of a rough calculation by a single NASA scientist, done over 22 years ago.
Regardless of the figure’s accuracy, a large amount of energy existing in space does not inherently make for usable energy down here on Earth. The total energy of the magnetosphere is spread out across hundreds of thousands of miles of space. The wider scientific community also does not share EHX’s enthusiasm for the Magnetosphere as a potential energy source.