The process obeys the laws of black hole mechanics. A consequence of these laws is that if the process is performed repeatedly, the black hole can eventually lose all of its angular momentum, becoming rotationally stationary.
Inside this ergoregion, the time and one of the angular coordinates swap meaning (time becomes angle and angle becomes time) because timelike coordinates have only a single direction (and remember the particle is necessarily rotating with the black hole in a single direction only). Because of this weird and unusual coordinate swap, the energy of the particle can assume both positive and negative values as measured by an observer at infinity.
If particle A enters the ergoregion of a Kerr black hole, then splits into particles B and C, then the consequence (given the assumptions that conservation of energy still holds and one of the particles is allowed to have negative energy) will be that particle B can exit the ergoregion with more energy than particle A while particle C goes into the black hole, i.e. E(A)=E(B)+E(C) and say E(C)<0, then E(B)>E(A).
In this way, rotational energy is extracted from the black hole, resulting in the black hole being spun down to a lower rotational speed. The maximum amount of energy is extracted if the split occurs just outside the event horizon and if particle C is counter-rotating to the greatest extent possible.
In the opposite process, a black hole can be spun up (its rotational speed increased) by sending in particles that do not split up, but instead give their entire angular momentum to the black hole.
The Penrose process has led to speculation that an advanced civilization could generate power by building a city on a fixed structure around the black hole. All their rubbish could be disposed of by sending it in shuttles towards the black hole and ejecting it in the ergoregion. The shuttles could then return to the city with excess energy which could be captured to generate power. (This speculative arrangement does not specify how the shuttles would actually capture the energy, however.)
Extraction of black hole rotational energy by a magnetic field and the formation of relativistic jets. (Reports).
Mar 01, 2002; Relativistic jets have now been discovered in several different classes of astrophysical objects, including active galactic...