Clean Energy Drives Ahern
ACTON -- As a high school student at Keith Academy in Lowell, Brian Ahern was inspired by one teacher to become a physicist.
Ahern went on to get a degree in physics at Merrimack College, a master’s degree in physics from the University of Vermont and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Fast forward to present day, the Tewksbury native, and now Acton resident, has been invited to be a speaker at the Conference on Future Energy (COFE) in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Aug. 10 and 11.
For years, Ahern has been working with black powder, and that is how he and Arthur Manelas connected in 2011. Ahern was working with a power supply that needed repairing and Manelas took it to Pelham, N.H. to fix. Ahern had gone to visit Manelas and was couldn’t believe what Manelas had done.
“He pointed to a car, a beautiful, white sports car. It was all battery and in the trunk was a power supply that was powering the car and was recharging it,” Ahern said. “And I said, ‘I’m a physicist. That’s impossible, that can’t happen, but I’ll make measurements.’”
With the device Manelas made, an input 11 watts of energy, the output was 78 watts. They observed and tested the device for a full week.
“And sure enough, it powered itself and it continued to work,” Ahern said. “His key component was powder magnetic material.”
The main piece of the device is a small, four-pound block of black powder wrapped in wire.
Manelas passed away in 2014 from a stroke he suffered in 2012. Before he passed, Manelas left the device for Ahern to continue experimenting. But, he left behind no diagrams for it to be reassembled. He described Manelas as the most talented engineer he has ever met.
Since Manelas’ stroke, Ahern has continued to work research black powder, and is hoping to resurrect the device.
“It’s clean, there’s no greenhouse gases, no radiation, but it’s too good to believe,” Ahern said.
Ahern, who spent more than 20 years working with nanotechnology at the Hanscom Air Force base, hopes a consensus will come from the conference on how to build devices that independently produce energy. He described it as free energy. In addition, he hopes more exposure to the topic will attract people to want to fund the research. Ahern said he would be happy to help anyone who wants to pursue their own research. He said the applications for the device are limitless when considering anything that uses energy, including agriculture.
“It’s ridiculously exciting. It’s better than any buried treasure,” Ahern said. “I think this is the future of energy and it will allow people to have their own power supply at their own home and not need access to the grid.”
Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.