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Pressure to power

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Clouds result from changing atmospheric pressure
Changes in pressure may be converted to energy.


What is atmospheric pressure?[edit]

  • The pressure exerted by the weight of the atmosphere, which at sea level has a mean value of 101,325 Pascals (roughly 14.6959 pounds per square inch). [1]
  • Atmospheric pressure may be measured using a barometer.

What is a barometer and how does it work?[edit]

  • A barometer is a device used for measuring atmospheric or barometric pressure.[2]
    • This device is powered by barometric pressure.
    • A barometer works by balancing the weight of the mercury against atmospheric pressure using a vacuum.
    • The pressure acts on the basin containing liquid driving the mercury levels in the tube up or down. When we experience lower pressure mercury levels drop. When we experience high pressure mercury levels rise.
  • Evangelista Torricelli, an Italian physicist, developed the first mercury barometer in 1643. Evangelista Torricelli was one of the astronomer Galileo’s assistants.[3]

Cox’s timepiece[edit]

  • James Cox working with John Joseph Merlin developed a timepiece running on changing barometric pressure in the 1760s.[4]
    • The biggest problem in developing this device was preventing the clock from breaking due to over winding. A safety mechanism was developed to waste excess energy the device was unable to store.
    • A mercury barometer was used to power this device by spinning a wheel winding the clock as mercury levels fluctuated.
  • James Cox was an entrepreneur and a goldsmith.[5]
  • John Joseph Merlin was the inventor of inline skates.[6]

Aneroid Barometers[edit]

  • Aneroid barometers were invented by French scientist Lucien Viddie in 1843.[7]
  • An aneroid barometer is another form of barometer that functions without using liquids in the way previously discussed barometers do. These barometers also were substantially less delicate and significantly more durable than standard mercury barometers. [8]
    • These characteristics made them better suited for ocean voyages. Barometers are useful on boats as they may help predict incoming storm systems.
    • Aneroid barometers use a small sealed cell composed of beryllium and copper. These barometers use a spring to prevent them from collapsing.
    • Changing atmospheric pressures cause aneroid barometers to expand or contract adjusting a needle accurately indicating local pressure levels.

More about atmospheric pressure[edit]

  • Changing atmospheric pressure is responsible for our winds and weather patterns.[9]
    • Atmospheric pressure is uneven at different locations on the globe.
    • Elevation and uneven temperatures affect air flow and pressure levels.
    • These pressure levels attempt to normalize. Areas of high pressure will flow to areas of low pressure.

Cold Energy, LLC[edit]

  • In 2004 Cold Energy, LLC obtained a patent for a device deriving its power from differing atmospheric pressures in geographically spaced locations.[10]
  • This device has few moving parts aside from turbines designed to harness wind moving through the pipeline and creates no sort of pollution.[11]
    • The idea involves running a pipeline from an area of relatively high pressure to an area of relatively low pressure allowing air to flow through this pipeline. The way this functions is similar to the way wind appears in low pressure storm systems.
    • Flagstaff and Tuscan Arizona characterized by pressure differences between .5 and .7 psi. Within the past 5 years these pressure differences have not been less than .5 psi.
    • This pressure difference is enough to create 2,500 mph winds through the pipeline. These winds are capable of generating 1,000 to 1,400 Megawatts of electricity.
    • This is enough to power to 250,000 5 Kilowatt homes.
  • Implementing one of these systems that could follow the low point of storms might be interesting.[12]


  • Barometric pressure is a viable and clean source of renewable energy.