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Mark Sullivan Generator Follow Up

Mark Sullivan Generator
Mark Sullivan Generator. In the weeks before his segment aired on Shark Tank, I couldn’t find out a darn thing about him or his invention. He was a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Once Mark Sullivan appeared on Shark Tank, he became easier to find.

In what had to be one of the oddest segments on the show to date, Mr. Sullivan pitched a “product” that he claimed could change the  world. While Mr. Sullivan appears to be a nice guy whose heart is in the right place, I am not sure if he was for real. His “Mark Sullivan Generator,” which he alleges can create energy for free while simultaneously mining gold from seawater is a logistical impossibility. One of our readers commented that in order for it to work, it would need to be a mile high. That seems a bit too large for practical purposes as construction and maintenance would be expensive and, I would assume, prone to catastrophic break down. It would certainly cost more than the $1 million Mr. Sullivan was seeking from the Sharks.

I decided to have my own in-house expert evaluate the Mark Sullivan Generator. My dad is a nuclear engineer who was in the power business for 35 years. We watched the Mark Sullivan segment on DVR and, when he stopped laughing, he told me the machine would never work. He said the power required to generate the Coriolis Effect sufficient enough to create energy would most likely exceed the output of the generator itself. The Mark Sullivan Generator simply would not work.

I explored Mr. Sullivan’s website. He is definitely a smart guy; he’s a member of the Mensa Society. His site lists all sorts of contributions to industry, but there is no documentation of his claims of creating inventions for “diverse industries.” He claims he’s completed post-graduate studies in bio-engineering and physiology, but has no advanced degrees. He did, however, build a pretty kick ass dune buggy.

Mark Sullivan may be smart, and his mission “to leave a legacy of goodness for the world” is certainly admirable, but I think the guy is over evaluating the impact of his “inventiveness.” I believe the Shark Tank producers put the Mark Sullivan Generator on the show for comic relief. It is nice to believe there is a free, renewable source of energy that is yet undiscovered and I truly do hope someone finds something as revolutionary as the Mark Sullivan Generator (that actually works) someday. Unfortunately for Mr. Sullivan, his invention will never work and his legacy will most likely be that of  “the wacky inventor on Shark Tank.”

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob and more.


  1. I checked his website too. Why does he have pictures of ice cream as Visual Arts 1? If that’s art, there are many fine artists at Baskin Robbins.

  2. Being a member of mensa just means he is good at taking tests and solving riddles. Cuban was right when he said that his BS meter was going through the roof

  3. Don’t be so quick to abandon ideas that you can’t understand. We think we understand physics, but ideas that break these assumptions occur all the time. I’m not saying Sullivan’s invention will work, but just because you don’t understand it does not mean it won’t. Many people suffer from the restrictions of education, teaching us that things work a certain way. This has impeded progress over the years.

    Consider the following “impossible” item.

    • I could not agree more. their are many examples of things that should not work, but seem too. Ramanujan is a prime example of someone who was able to create models in physics and math that are some of the basic principals we work with today. Personally i would have asked him to create a 1/16 or 1/32 size model of it to help prove this concept. It has already been proven that you can turn just salt water into energy and that was thought to not be possible.

      • Sullivan is off base. I have spoken with more than one reputable engineer and this machine is the stuff of fantasy. The size it would need to be to create a usable amount of energy would need to be nearly a mile high! It’s just not feasible.

      • I can’t create a 1/32nd sized model of the moon it would be like 68 miles wide and have 1/1000th of the mass of the actual moon and probably stationary so I’m sure it’d be less impressive than a potato producing electricity at a science fair.

  4. Not sure what you mean by saying someone’s “heart” is in the “right place,” but you can certainly find more about him now; he’s involved in a feud regarding his sister and her will and all manner of personal issues. Sister’s last name is Weir, from Texas.

  5. Brian Garrett says

    In fairness to Mr. Sullivan, this article has it wrong: the device was not supposed to produce energy, it was supposed to produce gold from seawater with energy being a by-product. Unfortunately Sullivan vastly underestimates the scale on which these forces operate. The gold content of sea water is about one-thousandth of what it would need to be for the machine to generate as much gold as he claims. Also, the Coriolis effect operates over hundreds of _miles_, not hundreds of feet. High- and low-pressure systems in the atmosphere have their direction of spin influenced by the Coriolis force, but 100-foot-wide tanks? No.

  6. I looked through Sullivan’s website too, and I must say the dune buggy he built is quite rad and brilliant!

  7. I can’t understand why anyone hasn’t picked up on the fact that this gentleman is not okay. I’ve seen many patients display similar delusions. I suppose most people are eager to place him in the ‘genius’ category because they don’t have the technical knowledge to assess his statements. That’s why I didn’t place him as ill until his later statements, specifically the comments about how much money he makes, the details about his background (i.e. heart implant invention). But this paired with his facial expressions and social awkwardness immediately created an impression that I’ve seen many times before.

    It’s only too cliche to assume that geniuses are socially awkward and factually incomprehensible.

    • I’m not competent to diagnose mental illness, but it doesn’t exclude genius and more than it precludes it. If he’s selling a patent as an inventor what does it matter. There are tons of inventors who’ve been mentally ill by societal standards, not social enough, not good at talking to people — just look at Tesla/Edison as the famous example.

  8. C.S. Smith says

    I agree, HRFerguson. The stream of wild remarks to inflate himself, like the claim about inventing the artificial heart, led me to think this was a narcissistic magical thinking.

  9. you all diss him because you are jealous, you wish you could come up with something as grandiose, it may not work, but the idea was made,
    ideas spark reality
    ideas may not Work , but to make something Work, there must be first an Idea.
    and you are idealess!

    • exactly. You first must have the idea, and just because you have an idea it doesn’t mean your the one that could make your idea work. He just needs someone to come along and tell him to change this to that and maybe scale it down and make lots of smaller ones instead of a huge single generator. Maybe like a grid or something. Maybe like how wind farms are set up? Who knows? But sometimes it takes a village.

  10. Shark Tank just aired a repeat of this old episode, and of course I had to google to see what became of the guy. I hope he’s not in an institution. When I watched him, immediately I thought something was wrong, his suit was ill fitting and he was very awkward. His description of the machine seemed incredibly star-trekish, and not something I would expect from a physics major or an engineer. I couldn’t quite understand either if his invention was supposed to extract gold from seawater or “create” gold from elements in the water via a chemical reaction, because he kept talking about a hurricane effect and the investors were asking him about natural hurricanes and “gold” falling out of the sky. I’m sure the ocean itself is filled with lots of dissolved metals and rocks and organic matter… I assume he’s talking about extracting. But this is all bunk because if dredging the oceans created large amounts of gold then mining companies would have done that decades ago, instead of strip mining the earth, they’d dredge the ocean. So only very minimal amounts must be in play here. And that makes total sense, because gold is a rare metal, which is exactly why it’s used as currency, and not, for example, coal, or quartz rocks, or anything else you could dig up from a mountain or the ocean or lakes and rivers.

    • If you ever meet a scientist with a properly fitting suit he’s not a scientist .. he’s a businessman. Scientists wear suits because they understand it to be convention, not to impress — most of them would rather be in a lab understanding a concept that has been eluding them than wasting their time on TV pitching a product. Also — gold is an element. He was marketing it as a precipitate which means to come out of a liquid solution into its solid form. He’s talking about a method which, if it worked, would cycle through such a volume of water without consuming additional resources. It’s not “cost effective” to run pumps to produce this, but if the energy is “free” and you could create a contained hurricane and filter the output then it’s totally reasonable that you could mine the water for elements. IMHO

  11. His suit didn’t fit well?? That’s an obvious test for mental health. What a goofer.

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