Since the last time I wrote about Steorn, nearly two years ago, they haven't proven their Orbo free energy device to the world. They haven't even attempted another public demonstration. To the contrary, they shut down their online forum and development club, stopped releasing updates on their site, and Sean McCarthy (uncharacteristically) started keeping quiet. Their own hand-picked jury of international scientists gave up on Orbo, claiming they were shown nothing that indicated it generates energy. Steorn redesigned their company website, taking some of the emphasis off Orbo and moving it on to something new, a water heating technology called HephaHeat. The HephaHeat page mentions nothing about Orbo or free energy, appearing to present itself as only a modestly more efficient water heater.
So, the great mystery was left hanging: Did Steorn have a revolutionary free energy technology? Or were they simply mistaken, due to a mix of shoddy measurements and wishful thinking? Worse yet, were Sean McCarthy and perhaps others at Steorn perpetrating a nefarious con, bilking first naive investors and then engineers worldwide through their development club?
As time stretched on with no new Orbo developments from Steorn, I was slowly climbing down the "fence" separating the believers and skeptics, and concluding that Orbo was at least an incompetent mistake, and possibly a scam. It seemed that Sean McCarthy & Co. may have finally realized that their goose was never going to lay its golden egg, and had moved on to some more pedestrian heating technology so they could continue paying the bills.
But it suddenly seems that this conclusion may be premature; it may be too early to climb off that fence. Recently Sterling Allen of the site pesn.com completed a worldwide tour of companies that claim to generate energy through unorthodox means. On this trip Sterling stopped by the Steorn offices in Dublin, and what he found there wasn't the defeated remnant of a company that I expected he'd find, busying itself with incremental innovations after having set aside its spectacular delusions. What he found was Sean McCarthy and company, testing white hot Orbo burners, and sitting on signed contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to provide their energy-out-of-nowhere to the largest water heater manufacturers in the world.
Sterling Allen's full report on his interview with Sean McCarthy can be found here. According to Sean, once they had developed the solid state, electromagnetic versions of the Orbo (as opposed to the original, mechanically rotating version that they could never keep stable long enough to demonstrate), a major problem was that the device would generate a lot of heat. It required a power source, but then would put out a lot more energy than it took in, with a significant portion of that energy being put out as heat. This was seen as an obstacle to be overcome, because Steorn's focus was on producing mechanical energy that could be used to generate electricity. But then they made the conceptual leap of deciding to utilize the excess heat, rather than working to eliminate it. This new approach was developed into their HephaHeat technology. A HephaHeat water heater would plug into a standard power outlet, but would transfer several times more heat energy into the water than it uses in electricity.
Does HephaHeat work? Steorn isn't showing their new devices publicly, but Sterling Allen was shown signed contracts with two companies, the largest water heater manufacturers in North America and Europe (whose names Steorn will not announce yet). These contracts together are worth 25 millions Euros per year to Steorn, plus royalties on the sales of products. When will these products be hitting the market? Sean estimates 18 months to 3 years from now.
Once again, Steorn's story is, "amazing things are coming. Just wait a while longer." All the options remain on the table; they may be delusional (though maintaining this delusion for 8 years now would be quite a feat), or scamming investors, or they may still be working on something revolutionary. Only time, eventually, may tell.