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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

James Cox developed a timepiece powered by a barometer.

Acknowledging barometric pressure as a source of power

Cox's timepiece is an example of how changing barometric pressure may be used to do useful work [1]

The problem with this piece:

  • Material components degrade over time
  • Excess energy is wasted not stored

Project Goals

Bringing about an object with the purpose of powering society rather than keeping time using longer lasting materials and a correct vessel for energy storage may be beneficial. Benefits may include:

  • Freedom from negative aspects associated with many other power sources.
    • No polution
    • No reshaping of the environment
    • No unsightly constructions
    • No material spent in process

Drawbacks may include:

  • Potential catastrophic changes of weather patterns in the distant future due to removing otherwise naturally balanced energy from the current cycle. Low pressure brings about storm systems. If a device like the one being described was used on a large enough scale to lower atmospheric pressure, locations it operated in could experience storm systems resulting from the lowered pressure.[2]

Things we need to make such a device:

  1. Appropriately sized and sensitive barometer
  2. A location that experiences changing atmospheric pressure
  3. Power storage vessel
    • A series of flywheels using magnetic bearings may be an appropriate vessel to capture energy with little machine wear.
      • Flywheels with magnetic bearings in a vacuum can work with up to 97% efficiency and little to no maintenance for the 20 year life of the mechanical portion and are constructed of carbon-fiber with no loss of capacity or usefulness over time like is sometimes seen in a battery.[3]

Potential questions

  • May I somehow better understand how a barometer is constructed?
  • What pray tell is a barometer?
    • A barometer is a device for measuring levels of atmospheric pressure.[5]
  • How is this done?
    • To learn how to use a barometer check here. [6]


Merging a barometer similar in design to the one engineered by James Cox and those close to him with an appropriate power storage vessel could potentially harness more efficiently than a wind turbine otherwise untapped atmospheric pressure.


The largest cost of this device would be mercury assuming we are using a mercury barometer like James Cox. Mercury sells for ~~$1950/flask as of 2011 on the free market. [7]

  • A flask is 34.7kg[8]

Apparrently if we do not care about being fancy you can make a barometer using water too.[9]

  • Water is at least 100% cheaper


Build lots of these. Everywhere. Make it rain forever.