XSF and the XS-NRG Prize (Executive Summary)
Date: Sunday, October 05, 2008 @ 20:00:21 EDT
Unfortunately, the energy crisis is real. It is now widely accepted that the crisis is about to reach the critical point when only a “miracle” can turn the situation around and get us out of the “mess”-- a mess in which our lazy complacency with our own energy technology has pushed us into.
Fortunately we can buy some time by stepping up conservation efforts and by deploying more and improving on existing (some quite old) clean alternative energy technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and ocean wave, etc., switching to cleaner burning fuels such as hydrogen, biofuels, etc., or building improved nuclear reactors, fuel-cells and so on.
Well understood from a scientific and technological point of view, these "evolutionary" developments are necessary to start removing our society from the present addiction to fossil fuels, but none of them represent the quantum-leap clean energy revolution we need to avoid major problems in the near future and guarantee a sustainable development of human civilization for generations to come.
I have examined the “exotic” energy research community for a number of years, with a very open mind but a critical eye. Somebody well said that "an open mind is like an open window...without a good screen you'll get all sorts of weird bugs". I strongly believe that open-mindedness is the hallmark of good science and that central to good scientific practice is the assessment of evidence, even when this assessment may challenge the current scientific paradigm -- the prevailing set of assumptions about how the world works. Certainly, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but the process of acquiring this evidence has proven to be anything but open and easy.
The claimed extraordinary performance of a small number of more or less complex but ingenious non-conventional energy devices remain to this day to be properly confirmed by science and, if proven real, their unusual functioning adequately explained.
The Xtreme Science Foundation (XSF) and the Xcess Energy (XS-NRG) Prize
There is little doubt that some degree of “suppression” of disruptive technologies for economic and/or “national security” reasons is officially happening through the patent office and the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951. There may be valid reasons to delay (not deny!) the immediate release of such revolutionary technologies to the public. But both science and the general public need to know the truth now since, if any one of these claims proves to be real, there is still much work to be done to catch up with the supporting theory and, with the developmental research usually needed to bring these discoveries to the market. The history of science shows that any particular area of breakthrough research can wander randomly with little progress until the correct theory is identified. When it is, then, there is an explosion of progress in that field because a coordinated effort with many contributors becomes feasible. Given the current global crisis conditions, allowing “random wondering” of potentially Earth saving breakthrough research is wrong and does not have to/should not happen, given such easy access to information we all benefit from these days with the advent of the global Internet.
Until science can examine the evidence, through an objective, widely recognized validation process, the verdict on the reality of such technologies is still out there. That uncertainty is exactly what the Xtreme Science Foundation (XSF) and its Xcess Energy (XS-NRG) Prize award will try to remove, with the help of science and all of the responsible people and organizations out there.
By proving or disproving such extraordinary claims, XSF will:
- Help remove the uncertainty -- in the public’s mind and among scientists -- surrounding these devices and, consequently, clean up and speed up the identification and recognition of real, valuable and so much needed breakthrough research in the energy field,
- Protect the public against false claims (fraudulent or not) by XSF becoming a prerequisite test to pass for any such technology before soliciting investment,
- Contribute to leveling the playing field for every inventor (today, maverick inventors struggle outside the mainstream of funding and acknowledgment) by providing everybody with the right to an honest, objective scientific validation of their claims,
Progressive organizations and the general public are invited to support the XSF and the XS-NRG prize in any way they can. Pledged funds will accumulate for a predetermined time (two years, for example) in an escrow account managed by a reputable financial institution. If the legal conditions for awarding the XS-NRG Prize are not met after the established time period for validation is up, the donors can either withdraw their pledged money (most of), or leave them there for the next award cycle. An agreed upon small prorated percentage from the accumulated prize funds will be transferred to the XSF’s operating fund and be used to cover all expenses incurred with the validation process. Funds will be managed openly, and important decisions will be voted democratically by the XSF members and major supporters.
- Encourage out of the box thinking to resolve the great problems we’re facing in our struggle to safeguard a decent future for humankind and all life on Earth by rewarding positive accomplishments with a substantial monetary prize, without any other strings attached to the inventor’s IP or the future development of the invention.
Criteria for winning the XS-NRG prize
Inventors who have a working prototype device of a fuel-less energy generator are invited to apply. Fuel-less means: the generator does not need any conventional fuel for continuous operation beyond what is required for start-up (batteries, super-capacitors or other type of energy storage devices that are alternatively charged and discharged by the device itself during operation, are allowed). The test procedures and passing criteria will be clearly defined and agreed upon with the inventor and the testing entities.
Classes of technologies targeted for the first XS-NRG Prize cycle are primarily electro-magnetic, electro-static or plasma-based "open systems" capable of tapping the vacuum/zero-point/cosmic/ambient energy fields for useful power, with a coefficient of performance (COP) greater than one. These are considered Over-Unity devices (O/U) because, apparently, they put more power out than the operator puts in, by tapping into a yet to be recognized (by the main-stream science) ubiquitous and very dense source of potential energy (such as the quantum vacuum or the so called Zero-Point energy fields, etc.). There are many other types of alleged O/U devices that should be worth investigating, and the XSF will deal with them as well, but, I believe the greatest chance for success and the most societal and scientific benefit will come from examining first those mentioned above.
Candidates must agree to the wide publication of the test results, but nothing else. The fund will cover all their validation-phase expenses. The winner(s) will receive the financial prize (between $1 million to $10 million is the goal, depending on accumulated funds) with no strings attached, i.e. no requirement for release of IP secrets or commitments to go with certain investors to bring the technology to market, etc. The discovery will get widespread media exposure (and the inventor(s), if (s)he/they want it) which, I hope, should also help protect against potential suppression. What the winners do with their newly acquired status and wealth is up to them (the XSF could certainly help, if solicited).
This approach was chosen after the historical failure of other attempts to bring “free-energy” to the people, either through offering substantial prizes to inventors, but with strings attached, or, through the altruistic (but unrealistic) open-source route. Both these strategies were (still are) not able to attract those inventions that the XSF is targeting for validation. I invite them to join forces with the XSF so we can accomplish sooner than later our common goal of breaking the ice for the revolution in the theory and application of breakthrough new energy research.
XSF is envisioned as a not-for-profit organization [501(c) tax exempt status in the US, for example]. Its only mission is to carry out independent, objective, unbiased and widely accepted scientific validation of "private research" in the field of new energy technologies (for now) -- research that the present scientific community and media would otherwise consider an unacceptable departure from the conventional thinking. It will also award the Xcess-Energy Prize (XS-NRG) according to well defined winning criteria.
Proposed Motto: "Supporting people and organizations willing to move beyond what they believe to be possible".
An elected/confirmed board of directors should form the operating committee and adopt its bylaws. The proposed structure (minimal/key positions) of the operating committee could be as follows:
- General Manager (GM) Main Role: coordinate and facilitate the activity of all the directors to accomplish the foundation’s goal over the assessment/validation cycle. Should be a well recognized personality with a strong believe in the foundation’s mission. Preferably is the spokesperson for the foundation.
Director(s) “Technology Assessment” (DTA) (better three: one for the Americas, one for Europe and one for Asia) -- preferably well recognized scientists (maybe FE skeptics) Main Role: manage the Technical Assessment Specialists (members of the XSF or not) from all over the world (or the region, in case of three directors). Coordinate the validation procedure with the inventor and the testing labs/institutions and ensure the process is scientifically sound and fair. Document the validation process and the results for publication and the XS-NRG prize awarding.
- Director Finance and Legal (DFL) Main Role: manage the relation with the banking institution offering the escrow account service and manage the foundation’s own operating account. Ensure all legal aspects related to the operation of the foundation are properly covered by legal council.
Director “Media Relations” (DMR) Main Role: manage the important media link (advertising and fund-raising campaign, publication of test results, etc.) and maintain foundation’s website (IT) (The site name XtremeScienceFoundation.org has been secured).
All the progressive individuals and organizations that could, in one way or another, contribute to the success of the XS Foundation’s mission are being invited to join. The most important ones and their response to this invitation will be listed on the foundation’s web-site.
The Technical Assessment Specialists (TAS) will be the “work horses” of the foundation’s most important activity: finding and first hand evaluating of potential candidate technologies for the XS-NRG prize cycle. These people must have a solid technical background and communication skills to be able to perform efficiently. I hope that once XSF is properly advertised in the media, those genuine inventors not afraid of testing their devices will come to us (not the other way around).
The XSF should try to contact as many as possible of the major Technical Universities that could provide laboratories able to carry out the validation process. Ideal would be to convince these labs to join the XSF and, initially, volunteer to do the testing for such revolutionary technologies. If that may be possible for the first prize cycle when awareness of the XSF is growing and the prize funds accumulate for the first time, once the foundation has sufficient operating funds, it is expected that most/all such services to be properly paid for. I have the same expectation for many other services (such as banking, legal, advertising etc.) that we might obtain for free for the start-up period, before sufficient funds accumulate in the operating account. Certainly, having a generous initial sponsor would be better and make the "birth pain" easier.
XSF, like any other "non-profit" organization, can be operated by either volunteers and/or paid positions. In time, some members could eventually become employed full time once the operating funds reach the required level for proper compensation. It is not envisioned the need for significant non financial assets to be accumulated by the foundation since most of the work can be done by volunteers (in the beginning) and/or contracted out, once operating funds become available.
It would be ideal to find an initial sponsor to help with foundation's start-up. But even without much initial funding, the XSF can still be constituted by a few courageous, visionary people who would consider the cause worthwhile to volunteer their time and skills in the start-up phase. Compensation will come later, once the XSF and the idea behind it are well known (world-wide) and the fund-raising campaign starts giving results. Essentially, all contributors should be paid from the future accumulated operating funds, so everyone on the team is motivated to see the foundation succeed (since operating funds are % of the $ accumulated in the escrow “prize” account). We need people who have experience in such “unusual” start-ups like the XSF is envisioned to be. If you know such capable individuals/organizations who may want to take this challenge, please pass this information to them.
A professionally designed website is essential to all aspects of the XSF constitution and operation. It is estimated that such a site would cost less than $5,000 to design and implement. A webmaster (IT professional) needed to operate and maintain the site and its database is also required (but he/she can be a volunteer during the start-up phase). In the “member recruitment” period, a mock-up website that would explain the XSF/XS-NRG Prize concepts to a target audience may be sufficient. Most of the work in this stage (member recruitment) can be conducted by phone and e-mail, and requires mostly time and communication skills from the XSF founders.
Individuals and organizations promoting powerful and efficient open source Content Management Systems (such as Francisco Burzi, the PHP-Nuke creator, the Mambo Foundation, etc.) are invited to be among the founders of the Xtreme Science Foundation and take the very important task of professionally building and operating/maintaining the XSF site, the organization’s access point and window to the world.
More information on how the idea for the Xtreme Science Foundation came to be and some of my attempts to convince others to join me in the effort to make it happen, can be found in some posts and comments on the main site (search for "XSF"), in the "Special Sections/Xtreme Science Foundation" module of ZPEnergy.com:
and in some more or less recent "Surveys" as well: http://zpenergy.com/modules.php?name=Surveys
There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that, one day, humans will harness, for all their power needs, the vast, dynamic sea of energy that constitutes the fabric of space-time continuum of our material Universe. By proposing the Xtreme Science Foundation project, my intention was/is to bring that day closer.
Ordinary people as well as every genuine scientist must wake up and understand/admit that revolutionary new ideas and breakthrough discoveries are not, and have never been, the exclusive privilege of the academics and the institutionalized science/research groups ... more so these days when access to information and expertise is a “mouse-click” away. Brilliant people are popping up all over the world and we have the opportunity to hear about them and the chance to learn from them and their work almost instantly, through this marvelous world empowering information exchange tool: the Internet’s World Wide Web. This new, vast intellectual resource should be used by all of us like a “distributed brain power”, to resolve the most pressing human, scientific and technological problems we face (same as some projects that require huge computational resources decided to use the idle time of many processors located in PC all over the world to better, faster and more efficiently accomplish their goal). That’s what the Xtreme Science Foundation was envisioned to facilitate, starting with our pressing energy problems, and, why not, extending in time, to other so called “fringe-science” domains such as alternative medicine, gravity control research, exotic chemistry, paranormal phenomena, etc. It will be searching for any valuable truth in a sea of skepticism, instead of waiting for it to surface on its own (history proved, sometimes that can take generations).
This is my proposal as I see it now, but I’ll be happy if some people like the concept, change it for better and “run with it” to make a difference. Please pass this post to all those who you feel may be interested to read it: scientists and Universities, media and Internet discussion lists, IT people and organizations, bankers and lawyers, corporations - as possible sponsors, politicians, etc., any other progressive entities capable of seeing the urgency and the potential huge benefit of such an organization for the rapid advancement of human knowledge. All comments are welcomed (use Feedback – info at zpenergy.com – if necessary). Thank you.
Best wishes and best of luck to all of us.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead, anthropologist