Yesterday, one of you sent an expert’s thoughts on the Borealis electric motor technology. Sure, the Chorus Motor may work in theory, he said. But the expensive inverter required makes it impractical. (Please don’t ask me what an inverter is.)

Herewith, Borealis spokesperson Chris Bourne’s reply:

The assumption that we need an expensive inverter is wrong. Everything in Chorus is built from standard parts available off-the-shelf. Most of the complexity is in the software, but of course an 18-phase motor is physically more complex than a 3-phase motor as well.

But there are some serious cost trade-offs. One is the cost of transistors. Each phase needs a transistor, but in a 3-phase motor they are much larger transistors than in an 18-phase motor. Large transistors are disproportionately expensive compared to smaller ones and the larger the motor, the more economical a Chorus drive becomes. We bring down the cost of power silicon and because we are using harmonic waveforms as well as pure waveform, we don’t mind that the power is dirty – even square wave power can be used. [Is This like being able to pour bourbon into a diesel engine? – A.T.]

In any case our alleged “scam” was operating at the Birmingham UK Drives and Controls show this Summer, going head to head against the exact same motor frame in the form it is sold by a leading motor company, and beating it hands down for start-up torque while maintaining high efficiency for continuous running.

The reason it’s a tough sell is because of people like Mr. Boothe’s father – the industry is full of closed minds who know that there is nothing new under the sun in motor drives. They can’t bear to think they might have missed something. Yes, it is well known that changing the winding configurations dynamically can be beneficial. But he is not going far enough. He is rooted in 3-phase technology and he is so sure it can’t be done economically that he doesn’t bother to follow through on the mathematics and costings at phase counts above 3 – he just assumes it must be more expensive.

We’ve found a way of reaping the benefits without building an expensive motor. I find it odd that people say “oh of course, that’s well known” and “it must therefore be a scam” at the same time. Mr Boothe’s only real objection is that it will be a hard sell. Since he doesn’t know how the changes are done, he doesn’t know how much it will cost. Nevertheless, that’s enough to label us a scam!

☞ Isn’t this fun? You have all promised to buy no more of this crazy speculation than you can painlessly afford to lose – so I won’t feel bad when you lose it. And in case it proves not to be a scam . . . well, be still my heart.

Truthfully, I don’t believe it is a scam – at least not in the sense that, say, the Patent Office has not really issued the patents Borealis claims it has (although I have not personally checked). Or in the sense that the company doesn’t believe what it says (although there is always that chance). What I have no way of knowing is whether their supposed revolutionary technologies will actually work and prove commercial. One has to assume not. But one can hope, can’t one?

(Meanwhile, BOREF closed yesterday at $7, valuing the entire company and all its allegedly world-changing technology at almost as much as a fancy new corporate jet.)


Jay Glynn (building on yesterday‘s strengths): ‘Did you know that the longest common one-syllable word is screeched? That the only English word with a triple letter is goddessship? Or that subbookkeeper is the only word with four double letter pairs in a row? And what about ultrarevolutionaries? You got it – each of the five vowels is used twice.’


Forwarded by my pal Ed Harrington: ‘For those of us getting along in years, here is a little secret for building your arm and shoulder muscles. You might want to adopt this regimen! Three days a week works well. Begin by standing outside behind the house, with a 5-pound potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. If you can reach a full minute, relax. After a few weeks, move up to 10-pound potato sacks and then 50-pound potato sacks, and eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-pound potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. After you feel confident at that level, start putting a couple of potatoes in each of the sacks, but be careful not to overdo it.’

Perhaps more practical advice from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal: Studies suggest that pets can help lengthen people’s lives. ‘Kathleen Neuhoff, a veterinarian in Mishawaka, Ind., tells the story of her grandmother, who announced one day that she planned to be dead within a month. She remained in bed, waiting for the end. Her loved ones decided to get her a dog, which gave her a purpose. She walked the dog every day, and lived six more years.’


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