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Q & A: energy from Earth's field

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Most recent answer: 07/29/2010
Q:
Since earth is a big magnet and has huge magnetic field to protect us from Sun.Can this magnetic field can be used to generate electricity ?
- Arunkumar (age 28)
Fremont, CA
A:
The total energy in the magnetic field (which is quite weak) doesn't amount to much compared to our yearly energy usage. Even if there were a way to tap into it, we really wouldn't want to reduce that field since it protects us from radiation.

There are some schemes to use the field to help satellites generate electricity using their rockets rather than separate generators. It's unclear whether there's any value even to that specialized niche application.

Mike W.

(published on 07/29/2010)

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