Plasma engine reproduced; now optimizing for efficiency

This is a power source that mankind needs to have. We need to make a push and get this energy out in the hands of people.Dr. Michael McKubre TeslaTech 2012

A revolutionary new engine powered by the pulsing of plasma has been successfully reproduced from an earlier lost technology and now needs an increase in efficiency to make a usable generator, say engineers from RG Energy, developers of the device.

They’ve launched a fundraising campaign at Indiegogo to accomplish this.

Cross-section from Papp patent; watch historical video at
Cross-section from 1984 Papp patent; watch historical video at

The design is derived from Josef Papp‘s noble gas engine, its secret inert gas mixture lost when he died. Granted a patent in 1984 for his invention, Papp was not explicit about the precise mix required.

Bob Rohner of RG Energy built those engines for Mr. Papp along with his brother Tom and worked closely with Papp over several years beginning in 1979. Owning successful businesses in Iowa, they had experience with large machinery and controls. “I pursued it because it was such a remarkable invention.”

“We’re trying to clean up the environment, we’re trying to get away from carbon-based fuels to clean up our atmosphere. We need to maintain the energy so we can have our quality of life,” Rohner said in a recent interview. [.mp3]

“These engines are capable of operating for long periods of time on charges of inert gases. They’re totally sealed, easy to build, economical to operate, and they’re totally clean,” says Bob, the mechanical engineer of the team.

“They have no emissions whatsoever to the environment.”

“We have proven to ourselves, and to many savvy observers, that we are capable of firing the single-cylinder, the two-cylinder, and a rotary fixture with inert gas pulses for hours on end, lifting large amounts of weight with no heat build-up.”

An astonishing claim, as inert gases do not readily react with other elements, and though a plasma performs work in pushing a piston, there is no exhaust to vent, and no heat generated. The engine appears to defy the laws of thermodynamics and what is known about heat cycles.

“One of my physicists Frank Andres believes there is a kind of re-absorption going on. Myself, I don’t believe heat is ever created to begin with,” attests Bob.

“To drive that piston up against a 300-lb load like I’m doing would take something like 1200-1400 degrees flash heat, and the Teflon insulators have a highest temperature rating of maybe 600 degrees, so it doesn’t appear as if the high-temperature is ever there to begin with. It amazes me that universities aren’t jumping all over this.”

Energy-dense plasma power

Witnesses to demonstrations of Papp’s engines, including aerospace executives, engineers and Navy scientists, have publicly testified to its capability of producing great amounts of power, without knowing exactly how it works.

“When I first heard of the Papp Engine, I was intrigued because it’s clearly impossible,” said Dr. Michael McKubre, a senior scientist at the forefront of research in new energy from metal-hydrides who spoke at TeslaTech 2012 in support of the project.

But after himself interviewing witnesses from Papp’s engine demonstrations where “observations of tests running hours or days in a closed room, no exhaust, with negligible temperature rise,” McKubre got interested.

Bob watched Papp’s engine produce between 5-10 times over-unity on a few ccs of inert gases and an electrical input. He and Tom finally developed the Twin Cylinder Dual Piston Engine as an experimental set-up that has, they believe, reproduced Papp’s process using a mere 200 ccs of a gas mixture.

The power generated by the inert gas plasma is convertible, meaning power can be extracted as electricity or mechanical force, depending on how the inputs are adjusted, but now they must increase the efficiency of the engine.

“We’re quite confident we can complete the recovery of this technology,” says Rohner, “our progress is steady and much has been achieved, but we have essentially three major items to complete yet.”

1 Build Papp’s gas mixer

One time Bob started the motor and got a huge amount of power; the next time, not nearly as much. It’s been hypothesized that impurities in the gas mixture prevent a full reaction.

“I didn’t believe it at first, but small amounts of contamination will have a stark effect on power output,” says Rohner.

Pre-mixed gas fuel canisters have 5% inaccuracy
Pre-mixed gas canisters are accurate to about 5%

“It turns out that 1/10,000 contamination has a major effect on plasma formation. Now it’s time to make a fuel mixture more accurate and clean.”

Papp’s last patent was for an apparatus that apparently filtered the gases as well as made sure the mixture was exactly correct. When the Rohners first went to Florida, they saw Papp’s glass-tube mixer “all busted-up on the floor”, damaged from shipping. For years afterwards, Bob didn’t think much of it.

“About six months ago, I found a bunch of these old pictures and started going through them, and I realized Papp had not only replaced that mixer once, he actually built two new ones. Nobody has adequately researched or rebuilt this fuel mixing apparatus yet, and it’s looking like a worthwhile thing, probably the most important element to get completed as soon as possible.”

2 Big step with the crossover

“It was described in Papp’s patent that the engine could run as one-cylinder, but only in an inefficient manner, and the evidence is proving that statement correct. To run efficiently you always have to be in pairs,” says Bob. “You can’t be on a teeter-totter with one person, you got to have both.”

Twin Engine
The Twin Cylinder will have crossover

With electrical crossover, one cylinder powers the other, and vice-versa.

“As the plasma collapses in one cylinder, it generates a large amount of electricity, and as the piston travels through the coils, it creates a back EMF. The back EMF and this generated electricity needs to be transferred at the proper time to the opposite cylinder, to one, excite the gases, and two, trigger the plasma pulse in the opposite cylinder.”

3 Re-assemble the original Papp engine

Videos of Papp’s original engine running on the dynos are posted online, but the machine that Bob and Tom built years ago now sits in their workshop waiting resurrection. Results of electrical crossover on the Twin Cylinder will be applied to Papp’s original to complete a serial engine.

“It’s perfectly capable of handling several hundred HP, which is what we need to do. The structure is good, it needs the electrics re-built and some of the stainless sleeves re-honed. Everything on the engine is custom, so it’s very expensive to do.”

Help wanted

Classic photo of Tom Rohner and early plasma engine
Tom Rohner and early plasma engine.

Bob’s brother Tom Rohner had a career as a Chief Software Architect at both Compaq and HP Computers besides working on plasma engines. A year and a half ago, Tom succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Bob lost his best friend as well as Tom’s extensive skills as a computer and electrical engineer.

RG Energy is now looking for a talented full-time Electrical Engineer to complete the sophisticated Twin Cylinder crossover.

“Buckets have to switch from being both anodes to being an anode-cathode, at certain times you’re handing 1000 Volts and at other times you’re handling 40 Volts at high currents, and so this stuff is precise. We’re looking for somebody to fill Tom’s shoes.”

Experienced electrical engineer needed for crossover
Experienced electrical engineer needed for crossover
With a good electrical engineer, it should take 8-12 months to get the gas mixer, the cross over and the build of the serial model completed. These engines could then penetrate the market quickly, complementing cold fusion technology.

Bob adds, “This is a compact energy source that can be mobile, it can run in outer space or the bottom of the ocean. The difference between this engine and cold fusion is that cold fusion is heat-driven. To generate electricity you instantly drop to a 30- 40% loss in production. Then you have to take that electricity to some storage source, to batteries, and yet, here’s a generator that you can run for thousands of hours on one charge. The flexibility of this power source is more important than anything.”

“I hope cold fusion is developed, but to base our future on one solution isn’t that smart.”

“We have odd electricity and odd energy, both real and I believe, coupled,” says Michael McKubre. “To really do the job well, we need a well-equipped lab and able experts willing to suspend disbelief. I’ve been following Bob around ever since, waiting for him to produce his machine, and he’s getting close.”

Learn more about this project at the Gyrokinetic Plasma Engine on IndieGoGo


Bob Rhoner special guest on Wide Awake News Monday May 6 Hour 1 [download .mp3] on the Rense Network.

The Mystery and Legacy of Joseph Papp’s Noble Gas Engine by Eugene Mallove Infinite Energy Magazine


Heinz Klostermann on the Papp engine: “There should be a Marshall Plan to support this”

Infinite Energy #51 September/October 2003Infinite Energy Magazine issue #51 Joseph Papp’s Noble Gas Engine Rises from September/October 2003 reports comprehensively on the events surrounding the Hungarian-born Josef Papp‘s creation of an engine powered by plasma sparked from small amounts of noble gases.

Many credible witnesses to the demonstrations, including aerospace engineers, defense contractors, and Navy researchers, were skeptical of the claims about this “wonder engine”, at first.

They came to be convinced the claims were true by the indisputable experimental facts before them: a lot of energy was being created, with no heat, no toxic emissions, and no understanding of how it was operating.

Joseph Papp with Noble Gas Engine courtesy Rohner Group
Joseph Papp with Noble Gas Engine courtesy Rohner Group
But mainstream interest vaporized after an explosion at one demonstration attended by Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman, who apparently went to the event in order to disprove the technology.

According to Papp, it was Feynman’s pulling of a plug that caused the deadly explosion, though Feynman speculated it might have been conventional explosives planted in the device.

Feynman was represented with his employer in the ensuing litigation and science institutional giant Caltech settled, never finding any evidence of any explosive material, chemical or otherwise. Caltech claims to no longer have records on the tragedy.

For a full story on the noble gas engine and its controversial inventor, read The Mystery and Legacy of Joseph Papp’s Noble Gas Engine by Eugene Mallove from IE issue #51.

Heinz Klostermann in plasma pulse lab in Palo Alto, California
Heinz Klostermann in plasma pulse lab in Palo Alto, California
Today, Heinz Klostermann is one of an increasing number of individuals around the world pursuing the secret of Papp’s engine in an attempt to bring a revolutionary clean energy technology to commercial potential. Klostermann, who originally designed and sold x-ray imaging equipment, first heard about the engine in 1999 and has been involved in developing a plasma-driven piston-generator based on Papp’s principles ever since.

The German-born engineer now lives in California and works with inventor Tamerlane Sanchez developing a line of multi-cylinder engines based on the pulsing of plasma generated from plain air. They call their core technology the Pulser.

Lightning Harnessed by Heinz Klostermann from IE #51 describes his engine design and how it differs from Papp’s.

The reaction begins when air molecules are momentarily ionized into a plasma and then hypothesized to collapse back to air molecules. A small 12Volt battery charges a capacitor providing 500 Volts across a pair of electrodes. When the air between the electrodes is ionized, the plasma allows current to pass through the electrodes, discharging the capacitor with each pulse.

Klostermann and Sanchez maintain that high-frequency cycling of this process up to the Megaherz range causes “plasma shockwaves” that translate into kinetic energy to move a piston. A moving piston can produce power for transportation or electricity.

“Controlling the plasma shockwave is the key, because then you have the ‘push’”, says Klostermann.

Heinz Klostermann's Flying piston diagram
Heinz Klostermann’s Flying piston diagram
Patent US7076950 Internal explosion engine and generator using non-combustible gases was granted for one version of the Pulser engine in 2006.

One afternoon in the end of August, I visited their lab in Palo Alto, California. Klostermann and Sanchez demonstrated a plasma engine core test unit, shooting a free piston outwards.

Flying alongside a board with squares, the speed of the piston could be computed, giving an estimate of its energy out of the chamber.

Klostermann believes the Pulser is over-unity, but admits that “more instrumentation is needed” before he “can definitely show it”.

Opening the door to new energy possibilities beyond cold fusion reveals an array of exotic technologies designed to extract energy from our surroundings. Some utilize magnets and gravity, some work to capture virtual photons from the quantum vacuum, and some use circuits and plasma sparks. Harvesting this always-available energy located in our ambient environment is the focus of “free energy” research.

While cold fusion may be the closest to becoming a usable product by the public-at-large, plasma pulse generators based on the work of Joseph Papp are closely paralleling development.

Like cold fusion, the lack of funding hampers efforts needed to both scale up and control the Papp reaction into a commercial product.

The lack of innovative and usable energy solutions from the current hardware monopolies are driving interest elsewhere, and the handful of companies currently working to make new energy generators a commercial reality are finding renewed interest and support.

The grassroots public is slowly awakening to aid the field with buzz and crowd-funding, replacing what should have been a Marshall Plan with a decentralized but spreading meme: There are an array of solutions to our energy problems, and we choose them now.

Related Links

The Dream Machine by David Ansley San Jose Mercury News August 1989 courtesy Rohner Group

Cold Fusion Now UPdate by Ruby Carat September 13, 2012