Astrophysicists have been making several suggestions on how humans can take advantage of blackholes in the future. Since the gravitational pull from black holes is so powerful that nothing can escape its horizon, scientists are beginning to explore the idea of harnessing excess amounts of energy from blackholes.
A newly published study proposes two different methods scientists could use blackholes as energy sources in the future. The study suggested the processes of obtaining energy from black holes through the use of rotational and gravitational properties.
“We know that we can extract energies from black holes, and we also know that we can inject energy into them, which almost sounds like a battery,” lead author Zhan Feng Mai, a postdoctoral researcher at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, told Live Science.
The Two New Methods of Harnessing Powerful Energy Sources from Blackholes according to new study
Scientists suggested two hypothetical methods to use black holes as energy sources. The first method suggests that scientists would charge the black hole by injecting it with an excess amount of electrically charged particles.
These massive charged particles would continue to be sucked into the black hole until the cosmic monster possesses an electric field that will start to repel any extra charges that they attempted to pump into it, the new study explains.
The new research published on Nov. 29 in the journal Physical Review D also suggests that when this electromagnetic repulsion becomes greater than the gravitational pull of the black hole, the team injecting the charged particles will consider the black hole to be fully charged.
Based on Einstein’s theory of general relativity which states that mass can be treated as equivalent to energy, the black hole’s available energy would have to come from a combination of the electrical charges injected into it and also the mass of those charges.
“The black hole battery is transforming the energy of the particle’s mass into charge energy,” Mai said.
The team behind the study also estimated the efficiency of the recharging process to be about 25%. This implies that the black hole batteries could possibly transform about a quarter of the mass injected into available energy as the electric field. This process would likely make the efficiency of the battery to be about 250 times greater than that of an atomic bomb, the researchers concluded.
How The energy will be extracted
The researchers suggested that the energy will be extracted through a process known as superradiance. This process depends on the theory that states that space-time is just dragged around the rotation of a spinning black hole because of its powerful gravitational field. Any gravitational or electromagnetic waves that make their way into this region of rotation would be pulled along as well.
However, if they have not crossed the black hole’s event horizon, some of the waves might get deflected with stronger energy than they carry previously, the scientists noted. This unique process would convert the black hole’s rotational energy into the waves that will be deflected.
The second method to Harness Power from blackholes
The second hypothetical method of extracting energy from a black hole would require harnessing that energy in the form of Schwinger pairs or paired particles that are created in the presence of an electric field.
If scientists start with a fully charged black hole, the electric field closer to the event horizon might be extremely powerful that it would likely create an electron and positron, which exist like an electron, but with an opposite charge, Mai says.
However, if the black hole were charged positively, the positron would be discharged from the black hole because of repulsion. The escaping particle could be hypothetically collected as energy.
Mai suggested that he is not sure if we could ever see a battery like this. However, the theoretical discovery was led by previous attempts made by scientists to theoretically extract energy from black holes.
“We see the black hole as a place where quantum mechanics and gravity have to somehow get together,” Daniele Faccio, a physicist at the University of Glasgow who was not involved in the study, told Live Science. “By looking at them from the perspective of energy mining, we can understand a little more about what’s going on.”