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posted by requerdanos on Sunday January 24 2021, @12:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-rush-though dept.

Could we harness energy from black holes?:

A remarkable prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity -- the theory that connects space, time and gravity -- is that rotating black holes have enormous amounts of energy available to be tapped.

[...] [Now] physicists Luca Comisso of Columbia University and Felipe Asenjo of the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile have found a new way to extract energy from black holes by breaking and rejoining magnetic field lines near the event horizon, the point at which nothing, not even light, can escape a black hole's gravitational pull.

"Black holes are commonly surrounded by a hot 'soup' of plasma particles that carry a magnetic field," said Comisso. "Our theory shows that when magnetic field lines disconnect and reconnect in just the right way, they can accelerate plasma particles to negative energies, and large amounts of black hole energy can be extracted."

The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded research results could allow astronomers to better estimate the spin of black holes and possibly discover a source of energy for the needs of an advanced civilization, Comisso said.

[...] "Thousands or millions of years from now, humanity might be able to survive around a black hole without harnessing energy from stars," Comisso said. "It is essentially a technological problem. If we look at the physics, there is nothing that prevents it."

Journal Reference:
Luca Comisso, Felipe A. Asenjo. Magnetic reconnection as a mechanism for energy extraction from rotating black holes, Physical Review D (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.103.023014)

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  • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Monday January 25 2021, @03:04PM (2 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Monday January 25 2021, @03:04PM (#1104729)

    Oh, and just to put that power output in context:

    That cruise ship would be putting out roughly 4x as much power as reaches the entire Earth from the sun.

    The shipping container would be putting out almost 1/1000th of the sun's total power.

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  • (Score: 2) by Muad'Dave on Tuesday January 26 2021, @12:32PM (1 child)

    by Muad'Dave (1413) on Tuesday January 26 2021, @12:32PM (#1105099)

    Thank you for your informative replies to my questions!

    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday January 26 2021, @02:16PM

      by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday January 26 2021, @02:16PM (#1105124)

      You're welcome. You got me curious as to where exactly the tipping point was.