by Thomas Valone
June 12, 2010
“The first World System power plant
be in operation in nine months.”
– Nikola Tesla, 1904
The Wireless electricity transmission system pioneered by Dr
Nikola Tesla has the potential to meet our future
global energy needs, if only the funding and organizational
structures can be put in place as a matter of urgency.
Nikola Tesla, the father of AC electricity, is responsible for
recognizing that an atmospheric and a terrestrial storage battery
already exists everywhere on Earth, for the benefit of mankind. A
century later, only a few visionary scientists recognize the
untapped renewable reservoir of terawatts of electrical power (3,000
gigawatts) that sits dormant above us, waiting to be utilized.
The fateful decision in 1905 by J.P. Morgan to abandon
Wardenclyffe Tower project on Long Island (after investing
US$150,000 - in 1905 dollars) was the result of learning that it
would be designed mainly for wireless transmission of electrical
power rather than for telegraphy.
No more money was forthcoming for the
project that Morgan initiated, even when the equipment alone cost
Morgan believed that he would,
“have nothing to sell except
antennas [and refused] to contribute to that charity.”
Tesla tried and tried for years until,
in 1917, the US government blew up the abandoned Wardenclyffe Tower
because suspected German spies were seen ‘lurking’ around it.
With Edison as his willing ally, Morgan
even publicly discredited Tesla’s name, so that all of the five
school textbook publishers of the time removed any reference to him.
Is it any wonder why, even today - more than 100 years later -
hardly anyone knows who Tesla is?
The rest of this article will present a physics and electrical
engineering argument for a subsequently forgotten engineering
alternative for energy generation and transmission.
As Tesla experimented with a 1.5 megawatt system in 1899 at Colorado
Springs, he was amazed to find that pulses of electricity he sent
out passed across the entire globe and returned with “undiminished
“It was a result so unbelievable
that the revelation at first almost stunned me.”
[Note: Compared with
this ‘undiminished strength”, more than two-thirds of current-day
electrical power disappears and is totally wasted, due to
transmission losses and other factors between current-day power
stations and the electricity consumer - Ed]
This verified the tremendous efficiency of his peculiar method of
pumping current into a spherical ball to charge it up, before
discharging it as a pulse of electrical energy:
a ‘longitudinal’ acoustic type of
compression wave, rather than an electromagnetic Hertzian type
of transverse wave. It was therefore more akin to electrostatic
discharge than wave mechanics.
Tesla also planned to include a
stationary resonant wave creation globally, within the
Earth-ionosphere cavity, as part of the wireless transmission of
Examining the pair of 1900 patents,
#649,621 (each using the same figure on the first
page), we find in the first patent that Tesla designed a
quarter-wave antenna (fifty miles of secondary wire for a 200-mile
More important is the sphere on the top which is
supposed to be a conductive surface on a balloon, raised high enough
to be radiating in “rarified air”.
As Tesla stated:
“That communication without wires to
any point on the globe is practical with such apparatus would
need no demonstration, but through a discovery which I made I
obtained absolute certitude.
Popularly explained, it is exactly
this: When we raise the voce and hear an echo in reply, we know
that the sound of the voice must have reached a distant wall, or
boundary, and must have been reflected from the same.
Exactly as the sound, so an
electrical wave is reflected, and the same evidence which is
afforded by an echo is offered by an electrical phenomenon known
as a ‘stationary’ wave - that is, a wave with fixed nodal and
Instead of sending sound vibrations
toward a distant wall, I have sent electrical vibrations toward
the remote boundaries of the Earth, and instead of the wall the
Earth has replied. In place of an echo I have obtained a
stationary electrical wave, a wave reflected from afar.”
[Note: Reflected from
the antipodean point on the far side of the globe - Ed]
Nikola Tesla’s discovery of pulsed
propagation of energy does not resemble the standard transverse
electromagnetic waves so familiar to electrical engineers
Many engineers and physicists have
dismissed Tesla’s wireless energy transmission as unscientific,
without examining the unusual characteristics and benefits of
longitudinal waves - which are the z-component solutions of
“That electrical energy can be
economically transmitted without wires to any terrestrial
distance, I have unmistakably established in numerous
observations, experiments and measurements, qualitative and
These have demonstrated that it is
practicable to distribute power from a central plant in
unlimited amounts, with a loss not exceeding a small fraction of
one percent in the transmission, even to the greatest distance,
12,000 miles - to the opposite end of the globe.”
Tesla was an electrical genius who
revolutionized our world with AC power in a way that DC power could
never have accomplished, since the resistance of any transmission
lines (except, perhaps for superconductive ones) is prohibitive for
He deserved much better treatment from
the tycoons of his age, than to spend the last forty years of his
life in abject poverty.
However, he was too much of a gentleman
to hold a grudge. Instead, regarding the magnifying transmitter,
Tesla wrote in
“I am unwilling to accord to some
small-minded and jealous individuals the satisfaction of having
thwarted my efforts. These men are to me nothing more than
microbes of a nasty disease.
My project was retarded by laws of
nature. The world was not prepared for it. It was too far ahead
of time. But the same laws will prevail in the end and make it a
Tesla’s ‘world system’ was conceptually based on three of his
The Tesla Transformer (Tesla
The Magnifying Transmitter
(transformer adapted to excite the Earth)
The Wireless System (efficient
transmission of electrical energy without wires)
“The first World System power plant
can be in operation in nine months. With this power plant it
will be practicable to attain electrical activities of up to ten
million horsepower (7.5 billion watts), and it is designed to
serve for as many technical achievements as are possible without
Tesla’s calculated power levels have
been conservatively estimated and recently updated with contemporary
physics calculations by Dr Elizabeth Rauscher.
For example, Professor Rauscher shows
that the Earth’s ionosphere and magnetosphere contain sufficient
potential energy, at least three billion kilowatts (three terawatts)
respectively, so that the resonant excitation of the Earth-ionoshere
cavity can reasonably be expected to increase the amplitude of
natural ‘Schumann’ frequencies, facilitating the capture of useful
Tesla knew that the earth could be treated as one big spherical
conductor and the ionosphere as another, bigger, spherical
conductor, so that together they have parallel plates and thus
comprise a “spherical capacitor”. Rauscher calculates the
capacitance to be about 15,000 microfarads for the complete
Earth-ionosphere cavity capacitor.
W.O. Schumann predicted
the ‘self-oscillations’ of the conducting sphere of the Earth,
surrounded by an air layer and ionosphere, without knowing that
Tesla had found the Earth’s fundamental frequency fifty years
[Note: Close to 7.83
beats per second; light and other energies traveling at local
light-speed wrap around the globe’s circumference roughly 7.83 times
each second, at the level of the ionosphere - Ed]
“All that is necessary,” says Dr
James Corum, “is that Tesla’s transmitter power and carrier
frequency be capable of round-the-world propagation.”
In fact, Tesla (in the Los Angeles
Times, December 1904) stated:
“With my transmitter I actually sent
electrical vibrations around the world and received them again,
and I then went on to develop my machinery.”
Dr Corum notes in an article on Tesla’s
ELF (extremely low frequency) oscillator that the tuned circuit of
Tesla’s magnifying transmitter was the whole Earth-Ionosphere
Corum explains that a mechanical analog of the lumped-circuit Tesla
coil is an easier model for engineers to understand. From a
mechanical engineering viewpoint, the ‘magnifying factor’ can be
successfully applied to such a circuit.
“The circuit is limited by only the
circuit resistance. At resonance, the current through the
circuit rises until the voltage across the resistance is equal
to the source voltage. This circuit was a source of deep
frustration to Edison because voltmeter readings taken around
the loop did not obey Kirchoff’s laws!”
As a result, Edison claimed such a
circuit was only good for electrocution chairs.
Tesla’s World System activates the Earth’s renewable electrical
storage battery, which normally sits dormant except during lightning
Regarding simply the electrostatic
storage capacity of the ionosphere, Dr Oleg Jefimenko, author
of Electrostatic Motors, explains that during one electrical storm,
the atmospheric electric field dissipates at least 0.2 terawatts
(billion kilowatts), indicating that the entire Earth must have even
more total available energy.
Furthermore, the power loss experienced by Tesla’s pulsed
electrostatic discharge mode of propagation was less than five
percent over 25,000 miles.
Dr Van Voorhies states that “path
losses are 0.25 dB/Mm at 10 Hz” - which is so minimal it is
difficult to believe for engineers who are used to transverse waves,
a resistive medium and line-of-sight propagation modes that can
dissipate 10 dB/km at 5 MHz.
The capacitive dome of the Wardenclyffe Tower, like the conductive
balloon of Tesla’s patent
#645,576, is a key to understanding the
Dr Rauscher quotes Tesla:
“Later he compared it to a Van de
He also explained the purpose of Wardenclyffe:
‘…one does not need to be an
expert to understand that a device of this kind is not a
producer of electricity like a dynamo, but merely a receiver
or collector with amplifying qualities'.”
Only a few great physicists, like Dr
Elizabeth Rauscher, Dr James Corum and Dr Konstantin Meyl, have
realized that Tesla was very practical when he proposed the resonant
generation and wireless transmission of useful electrical power.
Tesla’s knowledge of atmospheric
electricity transduction was so extensive and reliable that, said
Jim Corum (who has been funded to continue Tesla’s work):
“You just have to do exactly what
Tesla did and you will consistently get the same results he
After returning from his
Colorado Springs in 1900, Nikola Tesla stated:
“If we use fuel to get our power, we
are living on our capital and exhausting it rapidly. This method
is barbarous and wantonly wasteful and will have to be stopped
in the interests of coming generations.”
In view of our present fossil
fuel-caused [or increased] global warming, Tesla seems very
prophetic from his vantage point of a century ago.
Transmission Integrity and Low Loss
“As to the transmission of power
through space, that is a project which I considered absolutely
certain of success long since.
Years ago I was in the position to
transmit wireless power to any distance without limit other than
that imposed by the physical dimensions of the globe. In my
system it makes no difference what the distance is.
The efficiency of the system can be
as high as 96 or 97 per cent, and there are practically no
losses except such as are inevitable in the running of the
“When there is no receiver, there is no energy consumption
anywhere. When the receiver is put on, it draws power. That is
the exact opposite of the Hertz-wave system. In that case, if
you have a plant of 1,000 horsepower (750kw), it is radiating
all the time whether the energy is received or not; but in my
system no power is lost.
When there are no receivers, that
plant consumes only a few horsepower necessary to maintain the
vibration; it runs idle, as the Edison plant when the lamps and
motors are shut off.”
These amazing facts are explained by
Corum, Spainol and Corum:
“…the distinction between Tesla’s
system and ‘Hertzian’ waves is to be clearly understood.
and others to this day, used the term ‘Hertzian waves’ to
describe what we call today energy transfer by wireless
transverse electromagnetic (TEM) radiation… no-one wants to
stand in front of a high-power radar antenna.
For these, E and H are in phase, the
power flow is a ‘real’ quantity (as opposed to reactive power),
and the surface integral of E x H (Poynting vector) is nonzero.
The case is not so simple in an unloaded power system, an RF
transformer with a tuned secondary; or with a cavity resonator.
“In these situations the fields are in phase quadrature, the
circulating power is reactive and the average Poynting flux is
zero - unless a load is applied. They deliver no power without a
These are clearly the power systems
which Tesla created. The polyphase power distribution system was
created by him in the 1880s and inaugurated at Niagara Falls in
1995. The RF transformer was invented and patented by him in the
He discovered terrestrial resonances
experimentally at the turn of the century, and for the next
forty years he tried to bring this global power system through
to commercial reality. Today, millions of us have working scale
models of it in our kitchens, while the larger version sits
(from “Concerning Cavity Q”,
Proceedings of the 1988 International Tesla Symposium, pp. 3-15)
Note that for a spherical electrostatic
pulse discharge, E is radial and H is helical since J is radial
(longitudinal or irrotational current).
This is total anathema to transverse
wave physics textbook images of E and H, which are normally
perpendicular to each other.
Another common criticism of the Tesla wireless power system is
regarding its possible biological effects.
Calculating the circulating reactive
power, the Corums and Spainol find a density of a microvar per cubic
meter at 7.8 Hertz, which is quite small, while it is well known
that such a frequency is very biologically compatible. The authors
also look at the present 100 V/m Earth-ionosphere field and again
find that raising it by a factor of 4 to 10 will pose no ill effects
(thunderstorms do it all the time around the world).
In terms of economic theory, many countries will benefit from this
Only private, dispersed receiving
stations will be needed. Just like television and radio, a single
resonant energy receiver is required, which may eventually be built
into appliances so that no power cord will be necessary!
monthly electric utility bills from old fashioned, fossil-fuelled,
high-loss electrified wire-grid delivery services will be optional,
much as cable TV is today.
In the 21st century, “Direct TV” is the
rage, which is an exact parallel of Tesla’s “Direct Electricity”.
Let us fulfill this prophecy of Tesla, making it a “triumphant
success” by supporting a philanthropic, international wireless power
station installed on a remote island to electrify the whole world.
The benefits of immediately making
direct electricity available everywhere are too numerous to count.