Steorn prospects dim — investors told to chip in more or lose it all

The Irish Sunday Business Post published an article about Steorn yesterday. It’s behind a paywall, so I’ll summarize it here. The short version is: it doesn’t look good.

According to the article, Steorn, which has raised 23 million euros from private investors so far, has told its shareholders that it is “out of cash and facing wind-up unless it raises yet more money.”

Last month, in a letter to shareholders, it told investors that it would be withdrawing from the sale of two consumer products it had launched before Christmas, the no-frills phone called the O-Phone (costing €480) and a USB charger called the O-Cube (costing €1,200).

A large proportion of the shipped products didn’t work, according to correspondence seen by The Sunday Business Post.

In fact, there are no known reports of shipped products that did work. The OPhones given to Steorn’s friends Rachel Wallace and Jennifer Roe were known to have failed, before reports on their progress abruptly ended. The OCube tested by Frank Acland failed, as did the OPhone internals sent to him after that. There were occasional comments left on Steorn’s Facebook page purporting to be from users whose products failed or who asked for a refund. The closest thing to a positive review of a Steorn product came before they began to ship, when Steorn investor Pat Corbett stated that an OCube had charged his phone repeatedly over the course of a month.

The article goes on:

The company admitted in the letter to shareholders that it “has, again, failed to meet the expectations that we have set with investors and we have, again, failed to effectively communicate with our investors”.

Management confessed in the letter that Steorn was “a prospect that has been oversold to its investors. . . based on a naive optimism on time frames for tasks to be completed”.

A more realistic time-frame for creating its battery technology would be seven to ten years from now, it told its investors.

These statements essentially put an end to any hope that Steorn will again attempt to ship a product in the near future, if ever. They concede that Steorn has acted in a way that shows incredible incompetence — developing, producing and even shipping a product before testing it well enough to find out that it is deeply flawed and incapable of working as designed in most, if not all, cases. Claiming that it would take seven to ten years to create the technology they were on the verge of shipping six months ago, seems tantamount to saying that they have nothing. By projecting such a long time frame, they may in effect be asking investors to give up on them and let the company fail. The main question that remains unanswered at this point is whether their behavior truly was driven by staggering ineptitude, or if this is just a cover story for the long con that so many of Steorn’s critics believe they’ve been engaging in all these years.

The article goes on to report that Shaun McCarthy is being replaced as CEO by Kilian McGrath, currently chief executive of Liquid Solutions, the e-cigarette company that Steorn had previously revealed that they were working with on an Orbo powered e-cigarette. McCarthy remains with the company as operations officer.

Steorn has also appointed James Meenan, a former vice president with Merrill Lynch, as their investor liason. McGrath and Meenan are expected to meet with shareholders in an attempt to raise the funds that Steorn will need to survive. This step of hiring someone with high level experience in investment banking seems to me to indicate that, despite the stated 7 to 10 year time frame, they may actually be making an honest attempt to raise more money, rather than giving up.

The article also has some interesting, and equally dispiriting, news about Steorn spin-off company HephaHeat. Last we had heard about them, they were said to have signed contracts worth 25 million euros per year with two of the biggest water heater manufacturers in the world. Now, HephaHeat has told its shareholders that “because of our company size we are challenged by [scarce] capital and human resources” and that it remained “dependent on support from its shareholders for its continued existence.” On a positive note, though down a few pegs from their former 25 million euro glory, HephaHeat “has joined up with Sony and celebrity chef Kevin Dundon to launch a sous vide cooker co-designed by Dundon, built to work in conjunction with an app designed by Sony for use on its Xperia phones. The app was launched at the Taste of Ireland food festival earlier this month.” (See 1, 2, neither of which mention HephaHeat.)

In my view, Steorn has long been a fascinating conundrum. They were either incompetent and deluded, nefarious con artists, or inventors of a revolutionary free energy source. None of these explanations seemed to fit all the facts. In the run up to their attempt to ship the OCube, the biggest reason I allowed myself some hope that they had what they said they had was the amount of confidence and reckless abandon with which they were working to bring it to market. If you see a car zooming toward a brick wall in a public performance, you’ve got to believe they’ve tested this car and know something non-obvious about that wall’s weakness, because the alternative is that they’re suicidal.

Then Steorn hit the metaphorical wall, in a spectacular, fiery blaze. The products that they explained as being so simple and reliable in their videos, the products that they paid to have thousands of Orbo powerpacks produced for and at least dozens of aluminum cases — these products turned out to contain increasingly complex multi-tiered setups involving 9 volt batteries and covered in epoxy goop, and they altogether failed to work. Somehow, Steorn had allowed themselves to spend lavish amounts of money designing, producing, promoting, and beginning to ship products that, it appears, were entirely useless. How could this have happened? It’s either a breathtaking degree of incompetence coupled with naive overconfidence, or outright criminal fraud.

At this point, I’m not closed to the possibility that they have something that works, or produces some unusual effect, but with the level of incompetence we’ve witnessed, I think the chance of that is very slim. More likely they’ve been seeing some sort of effect that through a combination of ignorance and starry-eyed optimism, they just don’t understand yet. It may be that one or more people at Steorn are engaging in fraud, but to my eyes it’s not likely that many of them are; there were just too many signs of them putting in an honest, confident effort in their run-up to launch. There are even some signs that strike me as indicating that Shaun McCarthy isn’t involved in fraud here; for example, the way he was forthright, chatty and casually confident on social media right up until around the time Frank Acland’s tests on his second device started failing. Then he disappeared from all social media, both company and personal. I may be wrong, but I interpret that as a sign that he was suddenly taken by surprise by the vast failure unfolding in front of him.

But these are just speculations, informed by what we’ve seen and by my own biases. In truth we still don’t know what’s going on with Steorn. I wonder if anyone does, even among those who work there. All we can do is continue to wait, and it’s looking more likely than ever that this story approaches its end.

(Edit 7/13/16: A reader pointed out that in the financial services world, the position of vice president is bestowed very liberally. Therefore Steorn’s new investor liason, James Meenan, probably did not hold a senior executive position with Merrill Lynch. His LinkedIn profile indicates that after 20 years with Merrill Lynch, he founded what appears to be a sort of consulting firm for investors. It’s likely in this capacity, rather than as an employee of Steorn, that he will be mediating between Steorn and its investors.) 

38 thoughts on “Steorn prospects dim — investors told to chip in more or lose it all

  1. Libel: “LAW
    a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.”

  2. Looking at Google Maps, Steorn’s offices are ~60m from a GSM tower. Even if it is not the cell tower, I suspect that they are picking up stray EMF signals from a strong, leaky source nearby to their factory, and this produces a local effect of generating electricity with a particular ‘lucky’ setup. It may only ever work near cell towers or sub stations, so they may have been truly convinced that it works, until the technology left their premises.

    • I’ve only just seen this but in all the years that I’ve been following this story, this has been the most plausible explanation for everything. They accidentally created a radiative far-field receiver ( and went all in, no doubt discovering their mistake later on after having created the whole hoopla, but it was too late to back out. It certainly fits with the events and timelines.

      McCarthy’s behaviour doesn’t indicate to me that he had an earnest belief in the technology after the initial circus (I don’t want to phrase anything potentially libellous here); maybe the later devices were actually attempts to be genuine radiative far-field receivers (which again would explain the odd behaviour).

  3. What annoys me most of all is I’m playing Pokemon Go and my battery keeps running out!!

    Thanks for ruining Pokemon Go – Steorn. All I wanted was a battery with unlimited power to catch ’em all!!!

  4. I checked the Sunday Business Post yesterday and it was not in the print edition. I thought it would be. They seem to only have the article on the website. I don’t see anything about them in any other Irish press or website. You would think some other paper or website would pick up on this (at least The Economist should!!)

    It does appear to be over. I can’t see several hundred people agreeing to fund them for another 10 years. Steorn certainly did talk the talk – but they never walked the walk. Do they really need 25 years to do this?

  5. Around 20 years ago an electrical engineer friend of mine (I’m also an electrical engineer) told me about Dennis Lee and his free electricity machine. Of course I thought it was impossible, but I started listening to him on a radio show (the Jon Galt show) he had and watched his videos, etc. If it was possible, it would be incredible. I thought, “How does anyone know with 100% certainty that it’s impossible?” I’ve probably spent (wasted may be a more appropriate word) thousands of hours thinking and imagining and dreaming of how it might be possible to build a perpetual motion machine. In my opinion, one has to first prove that a perpetual motion machine is possible before one can build a free electricity machine.

    I’ve eagerly looked for “some” – “any” – evidence that a perpetual motion machine is possible over the last 20 years. There are many theories, lots of talk, many claims, many YouTube videos, but, to the best of my knowledge, no actual perpetual motion machine has ever been built by anyone. Academia continues to assert that it is impossible.

    What do we have now after 20 years? As far as I can tell, nothing. To the best of my knowledge, neither Dennis Lee nor Steorn nor anyone else has actually built anything that actually works. These are the only things I know are true.

    I think maybe this situation is like the situation in the Garden of Eden. Eve was told that if she ate from the tree she was commanded not to eat from, she would be like God. Instead, eating the fruit from that tree resulted in her death.

  6. I personally think that this situation is a mirror image of the Eestor story. They seem to just have received further funding last month, and one businessman who gave up everything to get involved (Ian Clifford) still seems to be enamored with the company.

    Steorn was a scam. The way Sean mentioned “the ability of the company to go forward will depend upon the shareholders’ willingness to keep funding us” (or something) **prior to product launch** told me all that I needed to know about whether this was a real product or not. He wanted a job without the pressures of results and that’s what he got. Now he would like to wind it down, go look for something for a couple of years, then retire in peace.

    If he had something, it would be easy as pie to go to the likes of Toyota, have their legal department set up a water tight licencing agreement with the company, and sit back (on a yacht with a blonde around each arm) and relax **and do that for free!!**, but instead he is talking about cash or burn…. hhhmmmm…. dodgy to me.

    I have loved your blog! You’ve been like the Barack Obama professional in the 2016 USA presidential elections. Calm, diplomatic, steady, and a brilliant source to come to. Thank you. (thumbs up)

    • If this is a scam, then it’s a pretty damn good one. Sean should receive an Oscar for his performance.

      On the other hand, as Michael has said, why go to so much trouble? When Steorn did their public demos, they *already had* the investors’ money. It wasn’t necessary to do those demos. That’s what gets me, every time I think about this. There’s an old joke that in business, what you need most of all is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made…

      • I don’t see it that way. I see it more as Steorn giving the demonstrations and selling the ‘products’ to help with closure. If you buy a Mercedes from me and give me the money, and then I just say, “Thanks” and walk away, you’re going to be annoyed and it is clear that I have just stolen money from you. If I take the money, then hand you a Mercedes sans the engine (and you are not experienced enough to look under the hood), then everyone’s a ‘winner’. Yes, most conmen would not give the demonstration but Sean is more a polite conman and didn’t know how to string it on without some ‘event’. It was interesting that they then ‘jumped’ from the mechanical to the electrical (?) to the electro mechanical Orbo. He was just stumbling along with his con never knowing where/when the last straw was. Steorn gave THREE demonstrations and all three failed. That is more than incompetence.

        At least that’s my opinion. There is no way that they have found a ‘phenomenon’. My logic is that – if the LIGO lab is able to measure a percentage of a proton’s width by laser beam at 4km, there is 0% chance that they would have missed this ‘phenomenon’. It’s just inconceivable.

  7. I’m new. Been following this thing since the Economist ad.

    Bob Tavis et al have good points: the evidence is pretty damning by now. There’s just one thing that makes me wonder: conmen as a rule avoid work. Your average conman doesn’t usually run a company and paying salaries and having meetings and so on. He wants to be on a yacht in the Caribbean, lazing in the sun with a blonde on each arm. Steorn most emphatically exists – it has a staff, all of whom have to be paid, it has a premises, on which it pays rent and rates, and it uses utilities (it appears they can’t make their own electricity quite yet). It has a web presence. It has a company structure, a bank account, and at least eight applications for European patents (two of which are still under examination, the others are withdrawn). All of this costs money, and lots of it. Over ten years, it might easily cost 23 million euro.

    To me, it seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to to swindle some investors out of so little (comparatively speaking). Which makes me think: There is something going on, or at least, this is not your average con. One theory I have is that Sean is doing it for the attention. The maverick engineer-scientist who soldiered on in the face of expert dismissals. What do you think, Michael?

    Oh, and can we stop calling Rachel Wallace a stripper, please? She’s not one, and in any case I don’t see how it would disqualify her from observing that her phone charges itself and can still be used, or otherwise. Show a little maturity, please.

    • I agree, Steorn has given many indications over the years of being hard at work honestly trying to make Orbo a success:

      – Several Steorn videos have toured their offices and downstairs workshops, where there’s an impressive array of testing equipment and custom built machines. We know they have offices, and between Facebook and LinkedIn we know they’ve at least had several employees over the years. All of this, together with the lavish publicity stunts, probably costs most of the 23 million euros invested, which would make it a highly inefficient scam.

      – Some members of the SKDB (I’m referring to Jean-Louis Naudin and ‘CLaNZeR’, though there may have been others) were able to replicate parts of the “Orbo effect”, and were able to validate that there was a real effect going on (involving magnetic saturation and hysteresis, and well beyond my engineering know-how), that at least could result in a novel and more efficient motor, though it was never shown by replicators that it could produce more energy than was put in. My point is only that Steorn did have some kind of novel and interesting technology that was at least in the neighborhood of the claims they were making, which is much more than one might expect from a scammer.

      – The confidence with which they would repeatedly approach their demonstrations (and most recently their product launch) only makes sense, to me, if at least some people there thought everything would work out successfully. They would repeatedly go all in, and end up shooting themselves in the foot, doing much more damage to their reputation than if they had proceeded more cautiously. Black Light Power, as a counter example, has never bet everything on a single demonstration or product launch.

      This all makes it a very strange and inefficient con, if it is one. So, if there is a con involved, there must be some idiosyncratic psychological workings behind it. Maybe a desire for attention, like you suggested — though the attention is only sporadic and mostly negative. Maybe it’s all just a narcissistic, entertaining game to someone. Maybe someone thought they had discovered a way to generate free energy several years ago, eventually realized they were wrong, and have been trying to save face, to the rest of the company and everyone else, ever since. Or maybe they’ve also been trying to save face with themselves, unable to admit even to themselves that it doesn’t work. All we can do is speculate.

      I agree with what you said about Rachel Wallace. There’s enough to legitimately criticize about Steorn without having to make false and sexist remarks about the people they hire to do PR.

      • Hi

        What I am wondering about is what happens now. It seems that they have an AGM in August (I think I read that). If have this much experience working in this field maybe they can actually start working on something else and make a different consumer device (more efficient engines etc). If Shaun McCarthy is staying on as Operations officer – are they thinking of keeping it going? The guy is a good speaker, he can probably make a business case.

        But if it is wound up is there any value there at all? It’s hard to believe you could work for 15 years and have nothing.

        I would love to go to the AGM or speak to some of the shareholders. What are they thinking? Chip in more money? Would there be any other investors? The 7-10 year plan is not workable, I believe. They have to do something else to bring in some money.

        A public statement from them about plans for the future would be good.

    • There are a lot of hard working conmen. Bernie Madoff is one example and all of the financial bankers who caused the economic crash of 2007/8. Cons come in all forms and some are just basic grifting or petty scams like three card Monte. Others are quite complex and require a lot of behind the scenes efforts. Stoern has been primarily focused on investors since the beginning and probably all of their endeavors were to target that audience. All of their activities over the last ten years were dog and pony shows to lure new prospects. The fact that failed so many times and yet could still garner funding is a testament to how successful they were in everything but delivering working product. No one who followed them since 2006 believed offering real products was a good idea as it exposed the fundamental flaw: no real technology as claimed. This aspect is perplexing for avoiding offering a real product for ten years was pretty lucrative.

      Overcoming the laws of thermodynamics is by virtually every scientist’s estimate nearly impossible and highly improbable. The door is always open to new discoveries of course but in every case so far the laws of thermodynamics have prevailed 100% of the time. There are literally scores of pseudo-scientists who make the claim of having achieved the improbable and yet no one to date has actually proven their claims.

  8. This is quite a turn-around. Like yourselves I have been following this from the start. I also know some of the original employees. When they first told me I said to them – ‘this is impossible, there is no way that could work’. They were incredible confident of their technology and dismissed my doubt. Over the years they kept the same line – namely that it works and they were just a year or two away from proving it. This never happened.

    Eventually I lost touch with them but followed the story. When they said before Christmas that they were taking orders for products I was stunned. Had they actually succeeded? Then, as usual, there was a delay. The weeks turned into months and now this – it has turned into 7-10 years. How likely is it that the shareholders will now fund them again? I think very, very unlikely. They would have to probably put in the same money again. I think they will close it down and sell off any assets. That 7-10 years will probably turn into 12 years. Then 15. And so on. Personally I hope they do fund it, as it is interesting to follow.

    If they sell off the cubes I would buy one, for maybe €50, as a souvenir. You can see in the video they made for the Irish Times they had hundreds.

    Your blog has been excellent, I’ve always enjoyed reading it. So thanks for all the updates. I would think there is a bit more to be written in the next few months, but that should be all.

  9. Incompetence? I don’t think so. During the whole saga since 2006 they have been told numerous times that they don’t have anything. Their special select jury (a member of which I know) told them they had nothing, the robust enthusiast ClaNzer could not find anything, Phil Watson (an engineer who was a strong Steorn supporter) could find nothing, Panacea University could find nothing, the various developer’s clubs could find nothing, no public demonstration was ever conclusive. Ten years of Steorn claiming one free energy device after another (mechanical and solid state) called Orbo and none of them can be shown to work as claimed.

    People like Frank Ackland, the developers club members and others have spent tremendous amount of time and money trying to replicate what Steorn claimed and not one has been able to do so. And yet Steorn offers testimonies from those close to them like Pat Corbett who say it works fine. This is not incompetence it is lying.

    And Shaun McCarthy has been lying all along. In 2006 he said Orbo tech had been validated by 8 universities and yet they were never named nor did any come forth. At one point he claimed Orbo output of 550BHP at other times he claimed OU output of 130%, 285%, 400%. Shaun claimed patents relative to the tech which in fact do not exist. He claimed Steorn was providing Orbo powered water pumps to African communities (a total lie). He said that Steorn would share exacting details to the developers clubs on how the various Orbo’s worked after jury validation which never happened. He said they found the error with Phil Watson’s test results but never revealed what it was, same with their select jury.

    Shaun said the following in 2007:

    “Steorn will NEVER build a cell phone battery, we will never build a car engine – this is not what we do…. We develop core technologies, others build the products.”

    The fact is, every claim made by Steorn has been a lie. When a decade goes by and no one outside of the company can validate anything they claim nor has Steorn ever been amenable to with working with competent outside engineering/testing companies to provide credence to their claims one cannot come to any other conclusion: they do not have what they claim and they really do not want the tech closely scrutinized. If someone that is not affiliated with Steorn has a shred of evidence that the tech is valid then they have never spoken. And NDA’s notwithstanding, it would have been in Steorn’s best interest to allow such results to be revealed especially if the company is in dire straits.

    And the whole time critics of Steorn have been labelled cynics, pseudoskeptics, pathoskeptics, etc. The truth is not one critic denies the significance of any valid technology that would alleviate our energy problems. It would be the greatest invention in human history. No one would disavow the importance if true. And all that was needed was proper vetting of the tech by a professional, unbiased and unaffiliated engineering company. Something that many companies engage in who do have what they claim. But Steorn cannot and will not do such a thing because the whole thing is bogus and they know it.

    • I agree that it is possible that every statement of Steorn’s that you claim was a lie, was actually a lie. But there are also alternative explanations for each of them, and I don’t think we have enough information to discern what the reality of the situation is.

      There were several independent testers who, correctly or not, corroborated Steorn’s claims (Thieu Knapen was one of them), but those kinds of testimonials don’t get any traction… several of these testers were dismissed by critics as the “blind mice”.

      If Steorn had anything worthwhile, I think their biggest mistake was not releasing all of the information they had to both the SKDB and the jury, under NDA. The fact that they didn’t do this could be interpreted as meaning that they really had nothing, but it could also have been the result of extreme caution to prevent losing control over their intellectual property.

      • 10 years, $23 million, 5 different versions of Orbo, and not any credible outside parties affirming the claim and yet you give them the benefit of the doubt. Sorry, but my crap detector says otherwise. They could have patented the tech for protection if it even existed. The NDA’s were pointless if nothing was revealed of any substance. At one point Shaun said there were hundreds of people in the developer’s clubs and yet nothing was really accomplished. The jury, the SKDB, Frank Ackland can all attest to Steorn foot dragging and not being forthcoming with vital information. One has to wonder why bother with all of these if the aim was to keep people uninformed.

  10. Damn shame!!!
    Well the technology is legit.
    And if Shaun would have been smart and work with the man who figured dark matter out (one Mr. David Richard Sannes, Google him “The History of Dark Matter Motor) in the first place,(and coach him on how to do it) he would of got it right the fist time, made his investors money, and become a billionaire many times over instead of trying to hog it all for himself. Sad!

    • On what basis do you assess the technology being legit? Do you have some information that no one is aware of? If so I would love to hear it.

  11. In this blog, Michael Ferrier is more than generous of spirit in my opinion. He says, “At this point, I’m not closed to the possibility that they have something that works, or produces some unusual effect”.

    I’m more than convinced that Shaun McCarty is indeed a very skilled conman; whether his associates are is another question. I’d also include stripper Rachel Wallace as an accomplice in the fraud, and who blatantly lied (and was probably paid by McCarthy) when she claimed her OPhone “drained about three times, and powered off, and then a couple of minutes later, sometimes taking a bit longer, some less, it’s turned itself back on, and when it comes back on, it has full battery”. Barmaid Jennifer Roe was also an obvious part of the fraud; she said that “if the OPhone’s battery is depleted, it will recharge itself when left to sit for a couple of hours”.

    How could it be that these women could check out a phone that didn’t exist in the real world, and where are those purported working prototypes now? And let’s face it—what better individuals to publicly check out astounding, unique new technology than a stripper and a barmaid? Far better than the dodgy qualifications of an engineer or an electrician or a science teacher [sic].

    The “something that works” is invariably people’s gullibility and the ease with which they naively open their wallets in order to make a quick buck. The “unusual effect” is that even after hundreds of years and thousands of snake-oil salesmen coming and going, these frauds still work—to the tune of millions of disappearing dollars.

  12. Thanks for this update, despite this being quite terrible. Okay, so, here’s my best guess. You can tell me what you think. The Steorn dudes really did run across a revolutionary effect back in the early- to mid-aughties. However, they did not understand, and STILL do not understand, how it works. Because of this, these Orbo Power Packs that they developed started interacting with the other electronic parts of their devices in unexpected ways. They should have studied and tested a LOT more than they did because of this, but, like so many companies, they decided to try to rush their product into the market. Now it is blowing up in their faces. This sounds like it makes the most sense, to me, especially in light of Frank Acland’s testing. I feel compelled to make the point that, while the OCube internals that Frank had, overall, did not work as advertised, one part of the OCube DID seem to work the way that the Steorn dudes said that it would, according to Frank. That part is The Orbo Power Pack. It DOES seem to put out energy, but making use of this energy without causing all kinds of issues with the other electronic parts seems to be where the problem lies. The whole thing is such a shame. I’m really hoping that the secret comes out, so others can try to succeed where these clowns failed. There was a dude who posted on Frank’s site who thought that we could replicate The Orbo Effect with a more “normal” electret. I think that attempts to replicate would be the way to go, at this point.

    So, to sum up, I think that a bunch of incompetent clowns really did stumble (in one of their few good stumbles…) across something revolutionary, but their incompetence caused them to fail to convert. Such a shame…

    Also, this is the kind of time when pseudoskeptics love to come out of the woodwork, so I would strongly encourage you to not allow this site to become a pseudoskeptic insult ground.

    By the way, are they giving you your money back?

    • Sorry Mark, but I think you’re being overly charitable in thinking that the Orbo power pack SEEMS to produce some sort of “effect”. What effect, specifically, did you have in mind? And I don’t think you can realistically say they “rushed” their product into the market considering that this sorry saga started more than a decade ago. Bear in mind too that as of today, there is zero physical evidence of these devices—either working prototypes or functional, fully-finished models ready for sale.

      We’re talking about an imaginary device providing imaginary energy, utilising an imaginary theory.

      • This ain’t complex, son. Frank Acland claimed that he had evidence that The Orbo Power Pack was working according to how Shaun said it would work. If you think that Frank Acland was in on the conspiracy, then say so, but try to keep in mind that there are libel laws in existence…

        I’m going to reiterate my suggestion to Michael to not allow this to become a place where pseudoskeptics post crap.

        • I don’t see how you derived that as Frank said explicitly: “No, it does not perform as it was supposed to.”

          I don’t think anyone thinks Frank was in on any conspiracy so that is a straw man. He did what he could for over two months and was promised by Shaun to get a new Orbo power cell but never did. And the fact that no one outside of Steorn has stated that either the Ocube or the Ophone worked as claimed indicates 100% failure.

    • Hi Mark,

      What I recall about Frank Acland’s testing was that the power pack would gradually climb up to the expected voltage so long as no current was being drawn from it, but as soon as a little current was drawn the voltage would rapidly fall again. The result was that only very small amounts of power could be drawn from it, not nearly enough to demonstrate that any unusual physics was going on. Am I mis-remembering this? Did the power pack produce more interesting results toward the end?

      Regarding your theory of Steorn’s history, I agree that it could have happened that way, but I don’t think we know enough to come to a conclusion. One thing that’s indisputable at this point is that they showed enormous incompetence… at the very least by attempting to release a product that clearly had barely been tested. Given that they’re capable of that level of incompetence, if I had to guess whether they stumbled upon a supposedly impossible physical effect, or just mistakenly thought they had, I would have to find the later possibility more credible.

      I agree, if Steorn falls apart, it would be great if they would release their “trade secrets” so that others can investigate any anomalies involved on their own.

      As for pseudoskeptics, I agree that I wouldn’t want to host a forum for libel, trolling, and insults, but as long as the discourse can remain civil I wouldn’t want to exclude anyone from the conversation just because of their beliefs, whether pro- or anti-Steorn.

      I haven’t asked for a refund for the OCube I ordered. Given the experiences of others who’ve asked for a refund, I doubt that I would get it. And, I’d rather that Steorn still owe me an OCube, if they do manage to survive this episode somehow. I paid them knowing full well that it was a gamble.

      • Yes, Michael, with all due respect, I think that the testing DID get more interesting towards the end. Frank seems to be having trouble with his website, so if I post the link, directly, it will probably not work. I will go ahead and post the link that will probably not work, just for good measure, but, afterwards, I will give instructions on how to get to the page. Here is the link:

        Okay, here’s how to get to that page. Go to – the main page, at least, works – and scroll down while looking at the right side of the page. You should see a smaller link that says: Older Posts. Click that link, and it will take you to a page with a chronological listing of posts on Now, you will have to scroll down a bit to get to the link that says this: ECW Orbo Testing — Orbo Cell Now Behaving According to Steorn’s Claims (New Video Posted). Please read that article, if you have time.

        You also said that you don’t want to host a forum for libel. Well, you might be close to doing that by allowing Bob Tavis to post here. Take a look at what he said in response to me, and then compare it to the article, or just the title of the article, even. Also, there is another Bob Tavis that posted on that article that I want you to read, if you have time. IF they are the same person, then I would say that Bob Tavis probably knows better than to post what he is posting about me somehow misunderstanding Frank’s words. At the very least, he SHOULD know better, which is enough for libel in some countries…but not the United States…unless it is libel per se. Well, I’m not a lawyer. Whatever the case, I think that he is sleazy for posting what he posted.

        Wait! As I was typing, I just saw some of his comments disappear! Did you do that, Michael? If so, thanks for that!

        • Thank you for the link. However, what I see there is pretty much as I remembered it. Frank wrote, “I have found that after a discharge, the cell will gradually climb to around 3.69-3.70 volts on its own.” Later in a comment, he wrote, “I had left the cell to recuperate for a day and a night, and put on the 77.7k Ohm resistor It dropped pretty hard for the first couple of hours, hitting below 1.5 volts, and this afternoon and evening it has been climbing, now over 1.8 volts.” So, after recuperating for a day and a night, the cell dropped from say 3.7 to 1.5 volts by doing work with a 77.7k Ohm resistor for a couple of hours. Let’s say that the cell’s average voltage during those couple hours was 3 volts. 3 volts with a 77.7k Ohm resistor does (according to the handy calculator here: 0.0001158 watts of work. Over two hours that’s 0.0002316 watt hours of work. A 9 volt battery can store about 5 watt hours of energy. So at that rate it would take over 20,000 of these charge/discharge cycles to show that the Orbo cell could output more energy than a 9 volt battery.

          • I’ll defer to what you say, Michael, because you know more about this than I do. Still, I have a few questions – if I haven’t already made too much of a pain in the ass of myself:

            1) There was some talk about using an X-ray machine to “look inside” of The Orbo Power Pack to try to rule out the possibility that it is a “normal” battery. Do you think that this would be possible?

            2) I find it interesting that Frank has not posted about this on his website, yet. I don’t know this, but it might be possible that Frank is tired of dealing with Steorn. If he is not interested in dealing with them, anymore, would you, Michael, be interested in running your own tests on those OCube internals, if Frank would give them to you?

          • Actually, quoting someone verbatim CAN be libelous if it is misleading. You can find the whole conversation in the comments section at the link that I posted above. Here is the key part:

            Frank Acland: Well I wouldn’t say the cell we are looking at is non-working. It exhibits some interesting behavior, enough to keep me interested in continued testing. But some people aren’t that impressed, so feel free to ignore.

            Bob Tavis: So, it performs as advertised? Then why would Steorn be sending a new device (or component)? It is not a matter of being impressed it is a matter of it meeting expectations. Does what Steorn provided meet your expectations?

            Like I said, I applaud your efforts going on three months now. If you personally feel this is worthwhile that is fine. But I am not sure the objective is clear to everyone.

            Frank Acland: No, it does not perform as it was supposed to. But I’ve found a way to do some testing on an Orbo cell, which is better than nothing, but not ideal, of course.

            Bob Tavis: Thank you.

            So, there you have it. Frank CLEARLY believes that The Orbo Power Pack was working the way that the dudes at Steorn said that it would. Bob Tavis doesn’t have to believe Frank, but it is not okay for Bob Tavis to mislead people by trying to oversimplify the whole conversation and focusing on whether or not the whole OCube works, rather than discussing the individual parts. I won’t post about Bob Tavis, again. I am going to ask you, one last time, Michael, to please not allow Bob Tavis to do this kind of crap. Take his comments down, or I’ll lose respect for you. (all right, you probably don’t care whether or not I respect you, but I’m just stating it, for the record) I’ll leave you with an article from a few years back:


          • Mark I don’t know what your problem is but Frank saying it doesn’t perform as it was supposed to means just that. What testing he could do with a dysfunctional unit proves nothing about the claim of performance by Steorn. You can fool around with a broken radio but if you can’t tune in a station it is kind of pointless.

            And quoting someone all or partially is not libelous. The point was made regardless of what noodling Frank did with unit in lieu of a fully functioning unit. He never indicated that he clearly believed the Orbo power pack worked the way the dudes at Steorn said it would. Otherwise why would Steorn offer to send him another unit? If it worked, case closed. Frank’s statement was emphatic – it didn’t work, period. And if it worked Steorn wouldn’t be in the mess they are in currently in. Frank was clearly trying to salvage three months of effort and basically grasping at straws.

            And I am not posting crap just the facts. You’re posting your opinion or spin on it all. Big difference.

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