A number of skeptics have argued that COP greater than one is impossible because it is prohibited by the laws of Thermodynamics, and it constitutes “perpetual motion”.
These objections are invalid for the following reasons:
1) The thermodynamics law quoted (usually the second law) applies to a “closed system” in equilibrium with its environment, and it does not apply to an “open system” far from thermodynamic equilibrium with its environment. Unfortunately, thermodynamics defines a “closed system” as one that is closed only with respect to mass exchange across the system boundary. Hence, energy exchange across the boundary of an energy system far from equilibrium also is permitted in a thermodynamically “closed system”, so long as mass is not exchanged. Thus, it is evident that the thermodynamic definitions of a closed system and an open system are not mutually exclusive, which is a significant non sequitur.
2) The perpetual motion argument is invalid because it implies the creation of energy within the system, which has not been claimed, and in fact, the origins of the energy inputs have been clearly specified.
Furthermore, the thermodynamic definition for a closed system permits energy exchange for a disequilibrium state, which permits a COP greater than one. Rigorously, the discriminator for COP greater than one operation is energy exchange in a disequilibrium state.
Kenneth D. Moore © July 10th, 2002