Today I attended a presentation on "tuning 60 cycles!"
30 years ago when I studied AC theory and power factor correction we would calculate the amount of correction needed to approach a unity power factor, so when an RF engineer told us he could "tune" a 60 Hz circuit and reduce kVAR's I was skeptical to say the least.
After his presentation we did a "live" demonstration. One a 3 phase, 480 volt motor drawing about 24 amps per leg we connected his "tuning" device.(BTW - The device is proprietary and cannot be opened) I watched a power factor meter sitting at about 95% and then - on went the switch for his device. Immediately the load on all three phases dropped by 6 amps and the total KW draw dropped also. The motor continued to hum away - seemingly unaffected!
In the inner city of Saint Louis we have an old utility infrastructure left over from the days of the industrial revolution. Old factories with large inductive loads were fed with 3 phase delta configurations with a grounded B phase. The idea was that if another phase was lost the motors would stop running rather that start "single-phasing" and burn up. Back in those days factories with high inductive loads were fined by the utility company and power factor was an issue.
In my 30 years in the industry I have never implemented the power factor correction techniques I learned in school.
As computers with sporadic intermittent loads and electronic lighting ballasts introduce "triplets," power factor and harmonics once again became an issue. Codes changed to prevent down-sizing neutral conductors, "super neutrals (jacketed cables with over-sized neutral conductors)", and K-rated transformers became the solution of the day for switching loads and harmonics.
Clean power became important again for industries with sensitive electronic equipment and that brings me back full circle to what I witnessed today.
An RF engineer told me today that by tuning the RF energy generated by fluctuating 60 cycle loads- and more specifically - by tuning the RF frequencies generated from the INTERACTION of those 60 cycle loads - that I could reduced the kVAR's required by our utility transformer by 10% or more and save tons on our electric bill!
So, did he hook up big heavy power-rated capacitor banks? Nope, it weighed about 5 pounds and dropped the load by almost 6 amps by "tuning" the 60 cycles....
I saw this with my own eyes, but I am still skeptical...is this snake oil? He has convinced some pretty big factories that his device works...
HERE is his company!