The jury is in: No free energy from Steorn

Steorn became known to the public back in 2006, when they ran a brazen full-page ad in The Economist declaring their discovery of free energy technology, and calling for a jury of scientists to “test our technology and report your findings to the world.” After nearly three long years that jury has reported their findings today, and they do not bode well for Steorn.

The jury, whose identities have not been made public until today, have posted a blog to announce their findings. The announcement reads:

In August 2006 the Irish company Steorn published an advertisement in the Economist announcing the development of “a technology that produces free, clean and constant energy”. Qualified experts were sought to form a “jury” to validate these claims.

Twenty-two independent scientists and engineers were selected by Steorn to form this jury. It has for the past two years examined evidence presented by the company. The unanimous verdict of the Jury is that Steorn’s attempts to demonstrate the claim have not shown the production of energy. The jury is therefore ceasing work.

The jury consists of scientists and engineers in relevant fields from Europe and North America, from industry, universities and government laboratories. Information about individual members can be found at


Chairman, Steorn Jury

Steorn soon issued a rebuttal on their news page:

Steorn today confirmed that the internet ‘blog’ had been posted on behalf of members of the Jury of scientists that Steorn had engaged to conduct an independent review of its Orbo Technology.

In a statement, Steorn CEO, Sean McCarthy said that “he was grateful to the Jury members for the time and effort that they had devoted to the process.”

McCarthy continued on to state that he “fully understood the frustration of the Jury members with respect to the time that the process was taking. Implementing Orbo in a reliable and consistent manner had remained a challenge for the organization, one that we had made no secret of. Due to these difficulties we had focused on providing the Jury with test data relating to the underlying magnetic effect behind Orbo. This work concluded at the end of 2008.”

McCarthy concluded by stating that “during 2009 the company had resolved the key technical problems related to the implementation of Orbo and is now focused on commercial launch towards the end of this year, at which time academic and engineering validation would be released concurrent with public demonstrations”.

As I see it there have always been three possibilities for Steorn: either they truly have free energy technology, or they’re a fraud, or they’re mistaken and delusional. Today’s development can be taken as weighty evidence that they are, in fact, mistaken and delusional.

Some have suggested that the jury never existed, that Steorn had made it all up as part of a scam. This idea has been refuted, and with such clumsiness on Steorn’s part that it becomes clear that they had little idea of what they were doing when they commissioned this jury. If after three years they could not present convincing evidence for this effect, then in the best case they were irresponsibly premature in announcing their discovery to the world &mdash and in the worst case, there never was a discovery at all, it was just a series of mistaken measurements.

Steorn now states that they’ve solved the technical problems (or rather just the “key technical problems”, meaning there may well be others left unsolved) standing in the way of implementing Orbo in a “reliable and consistent manner.” Why had they not bothered to address these problems before announcing it to the world and signing up a jury to test it? The fact that Steorn has behaved with such unfounded confidence in the past gives me little comfort that they know what they’re doing now.

With this jury announcement, the clock is ticking for Steorn. Only the most foolish investors would continue to pour millions of dollars into a company that has so thoroughly failed a test that it had set up for itself. Steorn has stated, again today, that they intend to release Orbo commercially toward the end of 2009. If this does not occur, I expect that it is finally the end of the show.

2 thoughts on “The jury is in: No free energy from Steorn

  1. Given the amount of venture capital that some quasi-credible cold fusion “pioneers” seem to generate, it seems like a potentially viable business model to me. It’s just the physicist/scientist/engineer’s version of cashing in on their name. The “cold fusion con” is just another version of what happens when comedians give up and use their name to launch a terrible sitcom starring themselves, or when celebrities give up and start endorsing timeshares, instructional tapes, or exercise products.

  2. Only the most foolish investors would continue to pour millions of dollars into a company that has so thoroughly failed a test that it had set up for itself.
    Exactly. And yet, there will always be believers, which is the really puzzling part. If it were true, it would be pretty easily demonstrated, no? After all, Steorn claimed they had it working, etc etc etc. But oddly enough, it can’t show it working under controlled conditions, which even the most gullible among us should find very, very, suspicious.
    Steorn has stated, again today, that they intend to release Orbo commercially toward the end of 2009.
    Riiiight. And when *that* doesn’t happen, there will be another round of excuses as to why.

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