Talk:Earth battery

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Any energy derived from an Earth Battery was put in when the metals were smelted, less many inefficiencies - a net loss for Mother Earth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johna (talkcontribs)

Johna, that is incorrect. The energy that can be extracted from an earth battery is a result of the chemical potential of the materials involved. The acidity of the soil and the nobility of the metals contribute to the available energy, NOT "energy put in by smelting". The smelting process is used to purify and shape the metals into useful forms. The metals do not "store" any electrochemical energy from this refining process. (talk) 15:14, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

But using waste/scrap metal can make it "not a loss"... specially if said metal wouldn't be recycled. Anyway, does anyone find it funny that people are patenting putting pieces of metal into the earth ;) -- (talk) 19:28, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

I have examined the patent for the Stubblefield earth cell, and there is no mention of tuned circuits, nor have I seen any mention of tuned circuits in combination with the earth cell in his writings, or in contemporary printed accounts of his work. I propose to remove the reference to tuned circuits unless someone can cite a verifiable source for same by the end of June. Edison 14:30, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Read the other patents, not just stubblefield's. Also this is the general use [in telegraphy and wireless], not just stubblefield's (he's the one most people refer to @ this device though). 19:23, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Error in Article - Operation and utilisation[edit]

Surely what is happening here is similar to a Galvanic Cell. The article clearly states that in a drought the "batteries" are of little use. But this wouls mean that the plate made of the less noble (base) will experience galvanic corrosion. Protecting the base from corrosion will stop the battery from working. In which case the Operation and utilisation section contains many errors and should be corrected. --Dumbo1 21:50, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

They can act as receivers of natural noise sources and telluric currents. 17:33, 26 June 2006 (UTC) (PS. READ THE PATENTS! Not all Earth batteries operate on galvanic corrosion (such as Emil, "U.S. Patent 690151 Method of utilizing electrical earth currents".)

Changed this to "Operating only as electrolytic devices, the devices were not continously reliable owing to drought condition." 17:35, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

There's something fishy here. It does works one way or another; I tested it and achieved 0.6 VDC with a copper and iron pipe spaced 4.5 ft north-south in moist soil. If I'm reading this[1] correctly, galvanic corrosion should only account for 0.3 VDC. The part that I must question is the references being used. theverylastpageoftheinternet's plans, in particular, look suspiciously like something Alex Chiu would write, claiming the device draws ether in addition to conventional electricity. "An Introduction to the Mysteries of Ground Radio" favors calling it geomantic energy. Whether these are correct or not is debatable, but the fact that this article uses references with unverifiable claims casts doubt on its empirical accuracy. Perhaps "External Links and References" should be seperated into "References" and "External Links"?

Edit: the actual context of the plans on theverylastpageoftheinternet is that the site's author obtained the content from an eBay auction, and put the plans up to flag it as a scam. Note the comment at the bottom of page 10[2] and the link explaining galvanic cells. Since the plans are decisively for a galvanic battery, not an earth battery, I have removed it.

~ Eidako 09:27, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Ok. I think about the only thing that can be said about Earth Batteries is that the principle of action is not totally known, and further research is required. The other thing that can be said is that telling someone to READ THE PATENTS is just telling someone to read someones opinion; they are not required to be true, they are not necessarily true, and in a lot of cases, are blatantly untrue. don't hold up a Patent as anything more than it is, which is a written opinionPaganize (talk) 00:09, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Original research, pseudoscience.[edit]

Would be good to remove original research & pseudoscience from the article. If you dig two different metals, you gonna get corrosion, that is well known effect that is practically utilized (e.g. zink plate protecting iron pipe from corrosion). The stuff about magnetic inclination etc doesn't list sources and should be removed. Natural telluric currents generally have very small current density; also them would work with same metals. I don't have much time to do cleanup now, and i don't have time to keep an eye on this page...

Unreferenced material and further work[edit]

As comments above already illustrated, i think it is really necessary to mark this article for Expert attention:

  • the working principle of the earth battery is unclear and confusing, is it an ordinary galvanic cell or does it (also) rely on telluric currents? and how large are the contributions of all different factors (like soil acidity & moisture, type & spacing of the metal electrodes, the local electric field induced by telluric currents, electrode surface, type of metal of the connecting wires,...)?
  • there is no reference to the mentioned work of Lord Kelvin or any other, reliable source
  • many patents are mentioned but these are by no means scientific proof.

The real bicky 08:49, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

There does need to be some references. Changed mark of "expert" to "unreferenced". Will start on that. It is a galvanic cell which also as acts a telluric current recieve. J. D. Redding 17:08, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

It would seem to me that the way to ensure that one wasn't making a galvanic battery would be to use two rods of the same material. If there was still a current, then that would presumably be the telluric current. Rootlet (talk) 04:10, 29 December 2013 (UTC) 04:07, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

This article seems to be borrowed from — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:03, 12 April 2018 (UTC)


Below items shouldbe addressed. Place answer/citation under bullet. J. D. Redding

How large are the contributions of all different factors?

  • soil acidity & moisture
  • type & spacing of the metal electrodes
  • the local electric field induced
  • electrode surface,
  • type of metal


Below items should be addressed. Place answer/citation under bullet. J. D. Redding

  • work of Lord Kelvin
    • Method and apparatus for generating electricity, US Pat. 4153757. Column 1 Line 40 - Column 2 Line 4.
  • Natural telluric current density
  • magnetic inclination
  • Galvanic Cell
  • geomantic energy
  • galvanic corrosion account for VDC
  • telluric current account for VDC
    • Charles P. Marsh, et. al., Freshwater Corrosion in the Duluth – Superior Harbor; Summary of Initial Workshop Findings, 9 September 2004. Page 15 -16 : "[the] source of stray current occasionally observed on long pipelines, although not usually considered significant, is Telluric current. These currents occur below the Earth’s surface as a result of charge flows or rearrangements in the upper atmosphere. Alternating current (AC) is often incorrectly cited as the source of stray current corrosion, but AC does not contribute to corrosion of bur ied or submerged steel structures."
  • telluric currents in general
    • It has been estimated that telluric currents overall during twelve hours in one hemisphere are in range of 100 to 1000 amperes. (from linked article)
  • other scientific proof
  • Potential o metals in soils



I had my eyebrow raised the whole way through this article. The references (practically everything before the 20th century) are suspicious. All the other comments on this discussion page reassure me that my judgment isn't off. It's somewhat convincing that there are large scale electrical effects due to geological forces, but that seems orders of magnitude away from being able to bury some disks anywhere in the world and get free useful current. I'm calling chemical effects on this one. This article needs some attention .froth. (talk) 04:09, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually Telluric currents are very real, especially during active Sunspots (solar storms). Engineers who design earth-return power and signalling systems must be very wary of this. In recent times there is another factor, many industrial processes generate considerable earth current, both AC and DC. I have seen the earth return from an electric Train line melt a thick copper cable which was tying two telephone exchange earths together. Gutta Percha (talk) 04:49, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

Two different devices, one name, much confusion[edit]

There seems to be here, and other places, great confusion on what an earth battery is. In one device, it is a galvanic cell, with the soil used as an electrolyte. This is not very useful, as eventually the electrodes will corrode just like any other battery. The second device is not a galvanic battery. It is not electrochemical. It taps the earth's natural electric currents. This is the true 'telluric' battery. However, the power is very low. Galvanic effects and microbial electron shuttles interact with the battery, strengthening or weaking the current flow. The way to tell if the current being produced has a true 'telluric' component is to reverse the position of the electrodes relative to their north-south placement. But this is not foolproof because the uneven nature of the natural earth electrolyte causes some imbalance between the two electrodes. Physically moving them readjusts the soil, changing the electrolyte and thus the electrolytic current flow. It may be possible to measure this effect more easily in water, because it would form a more evenly distributed electrolyte which is less subject to distortion by continued rearrangement of the electrodes.

The value of a telluric battery may be to measure these currents, or to power a device from them. The power available a purely telluric device will be small. Yet it should be consistent and ever-lasting. The problem is preventing corrosion from galvanic effects and bacterial action. Bobkeyes (talk) 17:32, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

I suspected while reading the article that the power would be very low. How low? Can you quantify, please? I'm guessing that I won't be able to run an air conditioner from a telluric battery. But I'm holding out hope that I could run one or two LED light bulbs. I really have no way of knowing until somebody adds solid figures to the article (e.g., "a typical telluric battery can supply up to 4.7 watts of power"). (talk) 05:18, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

I agree. This article is a disgrace. An Earth Battery using dissimilar metals and ground moisture works on a completely different principle to buried plates which pick up telluric currents. Both effects are well known and are still important today in preventing corrosion and designing earth-return circuits. There is no mystery here.Gutta Percha (talk) 04:40, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

Ignorant Psuedoscience[edit]

This whole article is mainly pseudoscience based on an ignorant misunderstanding of the real science involved. These "earth batteries" have nothing to do with "telluric currents" -- they're just galvanic cells using damp earth for an electrolyte.

Anytime you put two dissimilar metals together you're going to get a current flow; without an electrolyte it's typically going to be very small (try putting one of these in dry sand in the desert, and see what happens). When you add an electrolyte, you increase the rate of reaction and improve the efficiency of the cell. Plain water will work, to some extent; water with mineral salts -- e.g., those found in soil -- will work even better. A strong electrolyte (e.g. an acid like vinegar or sulfuric acid) will work better still. In fact these cells have nothing to do with the "Earth", other than that we make them here.

This article needs one of two things:

1) Correctly recognize the content as dealing with galvanic cells, and merge with the Galvanic cell article;


2) Clearly state in the introduction that this is an article about a branch of psuedoscience (ie., not real science), and then proceed accordingly, throughout.