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I've simplified this down by quite a lot but as far as I understand it, magnetic fields on the Sun's surface twist together and when it gets all a bit too much they release energy.
My question is why can't we twist magnetic fields here on Earth to produce energy?

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The very short answer: twisting a magnetic loop stores energy, it does not produce it. – spencer nelson Jun 15 '11 at 20:34

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

We have conservation of energy to contend with. The magnetic energy being released in the upper layers of the suns atmosphere originated in turbulent convection lower down. So in effect the upper layers of the sun (upper here meaning roughly from the photosphere and downward) are acting as a heat engine putting some energy into the suns magnetic field.

So we can't "twist" magnetic field lines without providing the energy to do so. It would be possible to generate electricity from changes in the earth's magnetic field caused by the impingement of solar wind born magnetic energy on the earths magnetic field. Any change in the total flux of magnetic field going through a current loop, generates a voltage. In fact during geomagnetic storms there is a danger that currents induced in power transmission lines could cause serious damage to th electrical grid system. But this is not a practical way to generate energy, but rather a hazard that our infrastructure has to contend with.

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If we could build a type of deep cycle battery system and attach them to our power lines, we could syphone off cme emissions, as for magnetic fields we us that energy to spin terbines , if we construck sails to collect solr winds , we could use that energy to fuel our international space station. What we realy need to do is build on the moon. But. Twisted magnetic fields , i like ur thinking.

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