Lifestyle / The Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com
Toms Brook resident to attempt record-breaking experiment
By Josette Keelor -- email@example.com
TOMS BROOK -- On a recent late afternoon, Toms Brook resident Jerry Blevins was at the Strasburg Park setting up a science experiment.
It looked a little odd, consisting mainly of a wooden trailer holding a network of 24 light bulbs. Nearby, a bicycle stood at the ready, a pole connecting it to the trailer at a pivot point.
The contraption certainly did not look like anything that might set any records or astound any scientists, but that's exactly what Blevins, 61, hopes his experiment will do.
The test was simply for show to simulate what Blevins said he's already accomplished, but next week's test, on Saturday at 4 p.m., is the main event, when Blevins intends to put his name on the grid -- and in the Guinness Book of World Records.
He wants to beat the record of the amount of electricity produced by one person using simple machines, which currently is 3.5 kilowatt hours in 24 hours. The last record-setter produced 125 watts per hour.
Blevins' idea started last year when he was helping a family member raise a deck off the ground using a heavy wooden post as a lever. The process was cumbersome and difficult, and he figured there had to be a better way to expend the amount of force required to produce the energy he needed in that moment.
He realized what he was considering was possible, and he was going to prove it.
"This all started coming together about a month ago," he said. "I had to find the right gear box."
Blevins is no engineer, but four of his brothers are, and Blevins, who used to work in construction, said he understands the laws of physics.
It wasn't long after he started researching whether his idea would work that he realized if it worked he would be breaking the very laws he used to take for granted.
"You cannot create new energy," Blevins quoted as being a law scientists take as gospel. He believes his experiment proves otherwise.
"A machine cannot make more energy than it uses," he recited. "You tell me, what's going on there?" he said, indicating the test he performed last week when he pushed his bike in a wide circle around the trailer platform, generating enough energy to light up the 24 bulbs --12 40-watt bulbs and 12 60-watt bulbs -- within seconds.
"We make more energy than we use," he said. "Right now we're making 11 to one. And it can be more efficient too. This makes the laws of physics outdated."
All that was required to light the bulbs was 25 pounds of force. The 42-coil, 3-circuit unit produces two kilowatts per hour, or 48 kilowatt hours in a day, by multiplying 55 volts by 181⁄2 amps off of each circuit.
But could this form of energy power a house?
"Oh yeah," Blevins said. "Power a city. Depending on how big you want to make the generator."
By using a longer bar to connect the bike to the trailer, he said he can produce more energy using less force.
"The question is how much force do you need," he said. "Do you want to power out five kilowatts an hour or do you want to power out 100 kilowatts an hour?"
Still, he said, the bicycle or another mode of power -- like an electric motor chair, horse or locomotive -- has to move at least three miles per hour to light up the 24 bulbs.
Using 25 pounds of force, Blevins produced 1,700 watts (1.7 kilowatts) in an hour.
Richard Kesler, a project manager with Electric Power Systems Inc. in Salem, verified that Blevins' experiment produces the required 3.5 kilowatt hours in only two hours and 10 minutes.
That's as many watts as two horses can push and more watts than cyclist Lance Armstrong can push on his bicycle, according to Kesler.
In order to verify Blevins' record-breaking attempt, Guinness told him he had two options: Hire a Guinness adjudicator to attend and verify the record-breaking attempt next week or document and compile the evidence himself with a witness and submit it to Guinness' office in London for verification.
Blevins contacted Electric Power Systems to verify his record attempt.
"He basically was looking for a certified testing and engineering firm to take the measurements for him," Kesler said.
It's the first time anyone has come to them to break that particular record, Kesler said.
"We basically did this for no charge," he said. "We found it very interesting." Kesler said he's never seen anything like it. "Not that someone has designed like this."
He thinks Blevins arrived at the conclusion he did partly because of perseverance and need.
"Most individuals probably wouldn't take the time and probably wouldn't have the knowledge," Kesler said. "He's taken a principle that's been around forever," Kesler said.
"It's simple but yet it's complicated. What's he's used is simple, but what he's done is complicated," Kesler said.
Someone from Electric Power Systems will be present next Saturday to witness the experiment and take measurements to confirm the energy output, he said.
"We want to break the laws of physics, you know," Blevins said.
"Most of these laws were made back in the 1600s. Nobody's challenged or changed them," he said.
When he first approached his brothers and other engineers, they told him what he was proposing was impossible.
"They're taught to say that," Blevins said.
"We need to have engineers that's not taught that way, we need to have physics that's not taught that way," he said.
"Everybody's got to start changing to look at things correctly."
Despite potentially replacing everything from wind to nuclear power, his energy process would bring jobs, Blevins said.
"Every new energy should be this," he said.
"I see this replacing every energy source in the United States ... eventually," Blevins said.
Blevins' Guinness Book of World Records record-breaking attempt will take place at Strasburg Park in the parking lot by the pool next Saturday at 4 p.m. For more information, visit Blevins' website, www.jbpowersystems.weebly.com.