Cold Fusion Going Commercial!?

Nickel-hydrogen cold fusion press conferenceForeword: I gave Ric Werme permission to do this essay. I don’t have any doubt that the original Cold Fusion research was seriously flawed. That said, this recent new development using a different process is getting some interest, so let’s approach it skeptically to see what merit it has, if any. – Anthony

Cold fusion isn’t usual fare for WUWT, at best it’s not a focus here, at worst it’s sorry science, and we talk about that enough already. However, it never has died, and this week there’s news about it going commercial. Well, it won’t be available for a couple years or so, but the excitement comes from a device that takes 400 watts of electrical power in and produces 12,000 watts of heat out.

Most people regard cold fusion as a black eye on science. It’s credited with the advent of science by press release and its extraordinary claims were hard to reproduce. Yet, unlike the polywater fiasco of the 1970s, cold fusion has never been explained away and several experiments have been successfully reproduced. Neutrons, tritium, and other products kept some researchers working long after others had given up. Even muons (from Svensmark’s Chilling Stars) have been suggested as a catalyst. Everyone agrees that theoretical help would provide a lot of guidance, but for something that flies in the face of accepted theory, little help has come from that.

Grandiose claims of changing the world have been lowered to “show me something that replaces my water heater.” Attempts at scaling up the experiments that could be reproduced all failed. Even had they worked, a lot of systems used palladium. There’s not enough of that to change the world.

As media attention waned, the field stayed alive and new avenues explored. Some people active in the early days of Pons & Fleishman’s press conference are still tracking research, and research has continued around the world. There are publications and journals, and conferences and research by the US Navy. And controversy about a decision to not publish the proceedings of a recent conference.

The term “Cold Fusion” has been deprecated, as focus remains on generating heat, and heat to run a steam turbine efficiently is definitely not cold. Nor is it the 30 million degrees that “Hot Fusion” needs. The preferred terms now are LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) and CANR (Chemically Assisted Nuclear Reactions). I’ll call it cold fusion.

I keep a Google alert for news, and check in from time to time, and last week came across notice of a press conference about a cold fusion system that is going commercial. The reports beforehand and the reports afterward said little useful, but some details are making it out. Whatever is going on is interesting enough to pay attention to, and since WUWT has developed a good record for breaking news, it’s worth a post.

The bottom line is that Italian scientists Sergio Focardi and Andrea Rossi have a unit they claim takes in 400 watts of electricity and, with the assistance of nickel-hydrogen fusion, puts out 12 kilowatts of heat. Okay, that’s interesting and the power amplification doesn’t require some of the extremely careful calorimetry early experiments needed. The elements involved are affordable and if it works, things become interesting. (There are undisclosed “additives” to consider too.) The reactor is going commercial in the next few years, which may or may not mean it’s ready.

Several details have not been disclosed, but there will be a paper out on Monday. Dr. Rossi reports:

Yes, I confirm that Monday Jan 24 the Bologna University Report will be published on the Journal Of Nuclear Physics. I repeat that everybody will be allowed to use it in every kind of publication, online, paper, written, spoken, without need of any permission. It will be not put on it the copyright.

Major caveat – the Journal Of Nuclear Physics is Rossi’s blog. Peer review is:

All the articles published on the Journal Of Nuclear Physics are Peer Reviewed. The Peer Review of every paper is made by at least one University Physics Professor.

So it’s not like they’re getting published in Nature, Scientific American, or even a reputable journal. Still, it ought to be a welcome addition.

The mechanism involved is claimed to be fusion between nickel and hydrogen. This is a bit unusual, as the typical claims are for reactions involving deuterium (proton + one neutron) and tritium (proton + two neutrons) with the gas filtering into a palladium lattice. In this case, it’s reacting with the substrate.

Nickel has several isotopes that naturally occur, the belief is that all participate in the reactions. In http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/files/Rossi-Focardi_paper.pdf discusses finding copper, which has one more proton than nickel, and various isotopes that do not occur in natural nickel. It also observes that gamma radiation is not observed while the reactor was running. Comments in other articles make suggestions about why that is. Apparently they see a short burst of gamma waves when the apparatus is shutdown.

Rossi leaves several hints in his comments, e.g. instability when the pressure of the hydrogen is increased, including explosions. (The commercial unit is designed to need enough electrical power so it can be shut down reliably.)

The best summary of the calorimetry involved is by Jed Rothwell who has been involved since the early days. He notes:

The test run on January 14 lasted for 1 hour. After the first 30 minutes the outlet flow became dry steam. The outlet temperature reached 101°C. The enthalpy during the last 30 minutes can be computed very simply, based on the heat capacity of water (4.2 kJ/kgK) and heat of vaporization of water (2260 kJ/kg):

Mass of water 8.8 kg
Temperature change 87°C
Energy to bring water to 100°C: 87°C*4.2*8.8 kg = 3,216 kJ
Energy to vaporize 8.8 kg of water: 2260*8.8 = 19,888 kJ
Total: 23,107 kJ

Duration 30 minutes = 1800 seconds
Power 12,837 W, minus auxiliary power ~12 kW

There were two potential ways in which input power might have been measured incorrectly: heater power, and the hydrogen, which might have burned if air had been present in the cell.

The heater power was measured at 400 W. It could not have been much higher that this, because it is plugged into an ordinary wall socket, which cannot supply 12 kW. Even if a wall socket could supply 12 kW, the heater electric wire would burn.

During the test runs less than 0.1 g of hydrogen was consumed. 0.1 g of hydrogen is 0.1 mole, which makes 0.05 mole of water. The heat of formation of water is 286 kJ/mole, so if the hydrogen had been burned it would have produced less than 14.3 kJ.

What should we make of all this? In a skeptical group like this, some healthy skepticism is warranted. On the other hand, the energy release is impressive and very hard to explain chemically or as physical storage in a crystal lattice. It will be interesting to see how things develop.

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330 thoughts on “Cold Fusion Going Commercial!?

  1. There has been some discussion of this on various websites that concern themselves with fusion and nuclear energy in general. Lots and lots of skeptics about this. Talk-polywell has a pretty good discussion on this for one.. And Talk-polywell does have some real nuclear scientists that regularly post there. Smart folks over there. I think its worth watching for the next couple months, until we find out if its for real or not. If its for real, all I can say is wow. But it could just be another hydrogen scam all dressed up looking for a sucker too. Time will tell…..

  2. Nickel and Hydrogen interaction is also what happens inside Randell Mills’ implementation (Blacklight Power, although Rossi denies any similarity) which should at least in theory go commercial at some point in the near future. However as of yet, Rossi-Focardi’s seems more promising and likely to see the light soon. I hope it won’t be delayed and delayed again like Mills’ reactor.

    By the way, according to Rossi, a 1-megawatt plant based on his reactor (in a modular fashion) and assembled in the US is going to be demonstrated soon in the coming months.

  3. One reason for cautious optimism is that, although Rossi and Focardi are keenly interested in gaining a theoretical understanding of what’s going on, the device they have developed is based on empirical experimental work. As one with an engineer’s outlook, this suggests a higher likelihood of their work resulting in an actual practical product.

  4. Thanks for the update. I’ve been following the cold fusion stories for years, and at one point even was even tangentially involved in a series of experiments myself. I remain 50% convinced there’s something to it, and 50% convinced it is simply modern alchemy.

  5. The key to science is repeatability. If they can have an independent research group duplicate their results using the same methodology, they will have independent confirmation that they have a real process. They should still be able to protect their IP if they have filed proper disclosures.

  6. Here’s a link to the PhysOrg site,where lots of interesting and knowledgeable comments have been posted. They’re mostly skeptical, but mostly refrain from the usual heavy-duty sneering and name-calling.

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-italian-scientists-cold-fusion-video.html

    The continuing anomalies researchers have found indicate that there is something unexplained going on–something that ought to be the target of a major search, given its economic importance.

  7. Cool post, Ric.

    Cold fusion is like high temperature superconductors. There’s no theory explaining those either so progress can be glacial as all gains are the result of trial and error.

    The Japs never gave up on cold fusion but they gave up on the P&F palladium catalyst process. They’re calling it solid fusion using a nano-scale engineered substrate to bring dueturium atoms into close enough proximity to fuse. If the weird lattices in high temp superconductors can make electrons behave in unexpected, unpredictable ways then I really don’t find the same thing happening with protons to be particularly incredible.

    One might wonder though what the public disclosure would be like if a government funded effort paid off. I don’t really care for indulging in conspiracy theories but the political and economic implications of a nearly cost-free, safe, clean, endless source of energy are enormous. Some very big applecarts would be upset. Oil companies would become worthless overnight. OPEC would become NOPEC overnight. Incredibile upheaval. Apocalyptic, epic, biblical proportion upset to the status quo. I think there’d at least be a very serious attempt to keep a lid on that Pandora’s Box until they can figure out a way to ease the transition without throwing the world order into turmoil.

  8. Anyone who is interested in this topic would do well to read “Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud” by Robert L. Park, Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland.

    You can read about the author here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_L._Park

    “Robert Lee Park (born January 16, 1931), also known as Bob Park, is an emeritus professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park and a former Director of Public Information at the Washington office of the American Physical Society.[1] Park is most noted for his critical commentaries on alternative medicine and other pseudoscience, as well as his criticism of how legitimate science is distorted or ignored by the media, some scientists, and public policy advocates as expressed in his book Voodoo Science.”

  9. Fact that the “Journal of Nuclear Physics” is in fact Dr. Rossi’s proprietary weblog, “peer reviewed” by a single colleague, does not bode well. Since this is purportedly not a chemical but a nuclear reaction, explicating where heat-energy originates in a ratio of 12,000 : 400 watts (300 : 1) would seem apropos. Expanding on the system’s absence of radiation during operation vs. switch-off would be helpful too.

  10. Hmmm, I’ll wait for a ZPF generator and a Casimir anti-gravity drive.

    Any new power generating discovery/invention is not patented/protected
    should be regarded as a suspect headline-grabbing exercise. (IMHO !!)

    On the other hand, how would someone patient something as big as this,
    (or ZPF/Casimir-gravity drive) without been killed for the knowledge?

  11. http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS382US382&q=%22solid+fusion%22+japan

    I was not accurate about the solid fusion process. Arata, Zhang, and Wang of Osaka University Center for Advanced Science and Innovation (better bonafides than the Italian group perhaps) describe a palladium plus two other elements powder which in the presence of high pressure deutrium gas generates excess heat.

    http://iccf15.frascati.enea.it/ICCF15-PRESENTATIONS/S4_O1_Arata.pdf

    PDF has a fair amount of detail. This was presented in 2008 and then afterwards I can find no mention of it.

  12. The environmental movements response to the Cold Fusion breakthrough before the hype had word of is what really turned me into a skeptic. They came out against the very possibility of truly “green” energy!

    Here’s an article from ’89:

    http://articles.latimes.com/1989-04-19/news/vw-2042_1_fusion-uc-berkeley-inexhaustible

    “…given society’s dismal record in managing technology, the prospect of cheap, inexhaustible power from fusion is “like giving a machine gun to an idiot child,” Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich says.

    Laments Washington-based author-activist Jeremy Rifkin, “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.”

    Inexhaustible power, he argues, only gives man an infinite ability to exhaust the planet’s resources, to destroy its fragile balance and create unimaginable human and industrial waste.”

  13. PS: Greenies “ought” to be calling for more cold fusion research funding, given its potential for clean, efficient energy production.

    [snip]

  14. This kind of “experiment” is called “Mizuno-style”. I have debunked this nonsense in 2006, in Usenet, which was reflected in this document of devoted cold-fusionists:

    http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/288chemistry.html

    (search for Tekhasski)

    Jet Rothwell did recognize en error in their “experiments” and acknowledged “wet steam” conditions. Now he writes: “After the first 30 minutes the outlet flow became dry steam.” I wonder, how did he determine this?

    Please note, the entire effect is alleged from calculations alone, as always. There is not a single functional device that could demonstrate any positive work out of this. Still calculations only, like in AGW. I am still confident that most of their water was blown away by violent boiling and not by evaporation, so their calculations are bogus.

  15. asmilwho says:
    January 22, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Anyone who is interested in this topic would do well to read “Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud” by Robert L. Park, …

    Park is fully on-board the conformist/consensus bandwagon along with his conventional-minded fellow-scoftics:

    The level of abuse hurled at renowned scholars by non-entities sometimes has to be seen to be believed. Frederick Sietz, a distinguished physicist, President Emeritus, Rockefeller University, and former president of the National Academy of Sciences, dared to side with the doubters on global warming. He was harangued in the columns of The New York Times (May 2, 1998) by one Robert L Park, a Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, and gratuitously accused of being in the pay of the petroleum industry.

  16. Nik sez:
    Laments Washington-based author-activist Jeremy Rifkin, “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.”

    Worse than death trains hauling coal to power plants? Those two views present a situation that is an awful lot like there’s no possible right thing for people to do regarding energy and the only proper thing to do for the good of Mother Earth is to drink the Kool-aide. If you’re a nutter. I am, however, willing to buy their carbon credits should they decide to do that. No point wasting a good crisis, no matter how small.

  17. What I’m seeing is a “black box” with a 400-watt, input power supply that produces 12 Kw output for a half-hour and then shuts down. Right off hand, I can think of maybe a dozen ways to do that, none of which indicate “cold fusion”. In fact, I can do better than that and deliver a box that produces 12 Kw for a half-hour and requires NO INPUT (at least while you’re allowed to watch).

    I’d really love to be able to believe the claims being made, but I’ve been “round the Horn” too many times to put any credence in “black box” demonstrations of any kind.

  18. There is still a lot of thought that needs to go into the commercial viability of the reactor. It takes a lot of energy to produce hydrogen, assuming they need it in pure form. If it is being sequestered in the process then you have to consider the energy it took to produce that hydrogen.

    The whole process from harvesting the hydrogen to making this contraption work will have to have a net efficiency greater than fossil fuels to be of any real value. In any event, there will still need to be other power plants run on other energy sources, to produce the fuel… what will THEY run on?

    We aren’t breaking the laws of energy conservation no matter how hard we try.

  19. Energy is one of the key tools that we need to lift the billions of humans living in poverty out of poverty. It seems clear that the eco-greens, such as Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich or Jeremy Rifkin or their ilk, have no humanity.

  20. Roger Knights says:
    January 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    PS: Greenies “ought” to be calling for more cold fusion research funding, given its potential for clean, efficient energy production.

    [snip]

    Snip? All I did was quote-without-comment (or attribution) Erlich’s “machine gun” statement!

    [probably would have been better if you'd cited than then, not everyone is familiar with it, and these days almost anything unintended can become Tucsonized - mod]

  21. Money for nothing. Chicks for free. Must violate one of those basic laws of thermodynamics. Call me a conservationist. It’s a fraud.

  22. Climate Science has shown us that Academia will push pretty theories despite the facts. The other side of this is that they will actively hinder research into effects for which there is no established theory.

  23. I’m very hopeful for these developing technologies, Actually reading this, I want to go into my garden shed right now and knock up a makeshift cold fusion reactor, but everyone would laugh at me and ask where my tinfoil hat Is, and I’ll have to tell them again that It’s on my head, you can’t see it for what it is!

    I wonder If they know the enjoyment people get from spending countless hours, weeks, months and maybe years working on a project or two that usually end up not amounting to much?
    I’m inherently skeptical, but a healthy one with an open mind and an active imagination.
    The end result for any device creating cheep and abundant energy will ultimately be exploited as a vehicle for financial profiteers to lobby governments to get subsidies for the energy suppliers to produce less energy, therefore raising the price and artificially drive up profits for those in the non-productive areas, like so many managerial positions in society until we end up with more anti humanitarian megalomaniacs, higher taxes, more useless laws and more restrictions of individual freedoms.

    But I try to remain optimistic! (I apologize If I sound sarcastic but in the back of my mind something doesn’t add up because of a quote I once read about cheep and abundant electricity).

  24. When the results are re-produced it will be interesting. This level of science is much easier to give repeatable results than something like the Earth’s climate.

    This is not the most bizarre news in the past month though. Reports of DNA teleporting itself by a Nobel Prize winner get that award. Once again, repeatability will be needed.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/216767/dna_molecules_can_teleport_nobel_winner_says.html

    John Kehr
    The Inconvenient Skeptic

  25. If it’s “protected by patent in 90 countries”, where is the diagram and full details, including the “additives”, to allow it to be reproduced ?
    If it sounds like a scam, looks like a scam, then …

  26. These Italian scientists may be too smart for their own good as Douglas Adams once suggested:

    “After winning the Galactic Institute’s prize for extreme cleverness, he was later lynched by other scientists who had been trying to make the generator for years, who finally worked out that what they really couldn’t stand was a smart-arse. “

  27. I’ve been following cold fusion off and on since it was first in the news. I think there is something there, but progress has been disappointingly slow. It’s always amazed me why massive amounts of money are thrown at tokamak based designs, which are yet to work, and almost no funding is provided to research LENR except in Japan. If the Italian LENR system really does work, then this will be revolutionary and I want a few units for my home.

    What concerns me about the Italian system is the secrecy regarding their system which doesn’t allow replication of their results. I understand that they have filed a patent on the device and this might explain some of the secrecy. In a case such as this, a fairly dramatic demonstration would be needed.

    It’s already possible for people to do fusion experiments in their basement using a fusor. These devices have been around since the late 1940’s and were originally developed by Farnsworth and Hirsch and there is a company that is attempting to get useable amounts of power out of them. Right now these devices serve as convenient sources of neutrons but, to me, it would seem that a fusor design for a large power plant would be much more likely than tokamaks which have enjoyed lavish funding and produced no practical fusion energy.

  28. I’m a cold fusion old hand and like many who have followed the field I tend to say its neither cold nor is it merely fusion. Even Fleischman and Pons said that on day one. The deuterium deuterium reactions are ruled out as they indicated in the last page of their paper that no-one seems to ever read.

    Its real energy from a new class of nuclear reactions. There were papers from before the F&P announcement in 1989 but few knew of the processes. The question most should ask is: What is the smallest possible particle accelerator design capable of tunnelling positive ions through the coulomb barrier of palladium, nickel or zircon? The answer is 30-60 nm. How do you make a stack of them on the surface of the metal? Elector-chemistry with high hydride loading and stressed but stable geometry (some of the famous failures were with rolled palladium that wont hold up to the stress beyond 80% loading). High pressure loading with hydrogen or deuterium gas also works.

    About 13 teams duplicated the F&P effect in the first months. The claim that it was not replicable was and is outright lie.

    I think the Italian work is good given the limits of the technology. Its fiddly, the delta T is low making steam engines inefficient and it does not work well if there are great changes in thermal conditions. The heat from the reaction can destroy the nano-structures that make the reaction possible. Constant conditions that both create new nano structures while consuming others is how to maintain the reaction. The Italians are buffering the load so that changes in temperature in the cell don’t make it fail.

    The energy is nuclear binding energy but the reaction in this case between Nickel and several protons producing an isotope that fissions back to Ni and He. [Pd + D, or Zr + H] Much more like Muon fusion than plasma fusion in terms of quantum properties and product ratios.

  29. Jryan says:
    January 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    In any event, there will still need to be other power plants run on other energy sources, to produce the fuel… what will THEY run on?

    We aren’t breaking the laws of energy conservation no matter how hard we try.
    ——————————–
    If (and that is a verrry biiiiig “if”) this turns out to be valid, as you ramp up production you reach the point where you have enough of this type of power plant to take over the production of fuel.

    The laws of energy conservation don’t apply to fission/fusion reactions. They both involve the creation of energy by the destruction of matter – remember Einstein?

  30. Anthony, the thing to remember here is that they like us “sceptics” are the heretics of the new science religion which decides what is the orthodoxy, not based on experiments, but the dictates of the high almighty priests of the religion.

    Now having been brought up in the science religion which told me e.g. that photons were waves … except when they were photons … and if they didn’t behave like a wave … it was because they were being a photon, and if they didn’t behave like a photon … it was because they were behaving like a wave. (then replace wave with global cooling and replace photon with global warming, and replace the wave-particle duality with “climate change” … and you might just see why this isn’t the scientific explanation we were all led to believe).

    We are right to be sceptical of cold fusion, just as we are right to be sceptical of manmade global warming, but we should encourage scientific research and experimentation, and if those experiments do show results that contradict the science orthodoxy that we were brought up with, then we should celebrate, because that is how science progresses!

  31. I don’t have sufficient chemistry or nuclear physics background to understand if the referenced paper is credible or is nonsense. If they start out with a pure pile of nickel with a 0% copper content and, after this reaction takes place, end up with a few % of copper, then they are having a nuclear reaction going on. Having a statistically significant change in the proportion of higher neutron count isotopes of Ni is also interesting, if it indeed happens.

    I looked through the paper referenced in the article, but have not found any experimental measurements that show the relative % of the Ni isotopes found in their mechanism before and after this process. Without those numbers, what they have is just theoretical hand-waving credibility of which is well beyond my skill and education to interpret.

  32. http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=360

    Andrea Rossi
    January 22nd, 2011 at 8:34 AM
    Dear Mr Brian Robertson:
    I again want to return on your comment, because it is very important, and I forgot to say a thing that I deem important too.
    The same Professors of the University of Bologna who made the test of the 14th of January, had made a preliminar test, closed doors, on the 17th of December 2010.
    During that preliminar test, made to check the idoneity of their instrumentation, being closed doors we could make a mode of operation that, for safety issues, I cannot make in public, it is they made the reactor go also without the drive of the electric resistance. This preliminar test will also be described in the report that will be published on monday. In that case, we had a production of energy, with no energy at all at the input. The same thing happened in tests we made for our Customers, in the USA and in Europe.
    You know what happens if you put any number upside a line of fraction and zero below the same line.
    This is why this mode is dangerous: before use it we need to know perfectly the theory. Where I need real help is the formulation of a solid theory; books can help, but up to a certain point, here is a new chapter to write. Less than all help comments of imbeciles (from Latin “imbacula”, not an offense at all) who just say “it is impossible” , turn around, and go.
    Warm regards,
    A.R.
    Useless to say that if you make just warmed water instead of steam the output energy calculated is the same.
    Warm Regards,
    A.R.

  33. Great idea. I hope its true and commercially viable.

    But so far it reads like an intelligent student’s A level practical physics notebook, rather than anything more substantial. And though there’s nothing inherently wrong with that per se , these results are very preliminary – based on just one run apparently. So I think it needs quite a lot more work to be taken seriously.

    And it would be a good idea for them to be reported consistently in total energy (joules) terms. Worrying about the average power (watts) can come later once the overall effect has been proved (or not). Mixing and matching units does not improve the reportage.

  34. “So it’s not like they’re getting published in Nature, Scientific American, or even a reputable journal. ”

    I almost don’t care if this proves out or not. This line makes it all worthwhile.

  35. How about a little off-topic essay in reply to Noam Chomsky, the latter-day prophet who has now crawled out of his ivory cave to announce that the new Republican House means, literally, the end of civilization (in The Nation, natch).

    My riposte:

    Well, Noam, you have been wrong before. Or was it some other Noam Chomsky who predicted that three million people would die almost overnight if we invaded your pet Islamofascist régime in Afghanistan?

    The fact is, I and I’m guessing most sane humans on the planet would rather take our chances with a slight rise in overall temperature than give over the running of everyday life to you and the ecofascists who would use sob stories about mythical drowning polar bears to introduce Marxist dictatorship by stealth. 

    As for the US failing to lead the way: the reason this is happening is that the rest of the Gaia-whipped world secretly wants it that way. PC lip service to the nonsensical bumper-sticker philosophy of “live simply that others may simply live” (subscribing to which creed is an infallible sign of economic cretinism) aside, everyone really just wants to be left alone by you freaks so they can get on with life. Except for the ones who stood to gain massive global guilt handouts. Sucks to be them. 

  36. If Reactions can happen in higher energy states where we use higher amounts of energy to produce a higher amount of inefficient energy, then how is it NOT possible to have Reactions happen at lower energy states with a more efficient amount of energy?

    If energy can not be created or destroyed, and we obviously use energy to create energy where’s the problem?

    It’s all relative dear Watt’ Son!

  37. Why bring up Svensmark in regard to muon catalyzed fusion? The idea is much older (Sakharov, If I recall correctly) nor have Svensmark done any work on it.

  38. By the way, can somebody tell me how to register a Disqus account so I can post my Chomsky comment at RawStory? I can’t figure it out.

  39. Half an hour work at 12 kW? So, 6 kWh energy?
    Any high school student knows how to start an exothermic chemical reaction producing this energy. Even with zero wall plug power.

    What has it to do with fusion?

  40. Mike Haseler makes a good point above. The history of physics is that the closer we observe particles the more unpredictable their behaviour appears. When I hear people trying to measure the EARTHS temperature in one year to .o1 of a degree, or sea levels to 1mm, I just throw my hands up…this is Quantum Meteorology!

  41. I’m always skeptical but a plant built on this technology, if valid, actually working… that would be the next generation’s prayers answered.

  42. @Dave Springer:

    Commercially-viable cold fusion wouldn’t destroy the oil industry overnight. Firstly, because there are so many machines in the world that run on hydrocarbon fuels: planes, trains, ships, cars, industrial machinery, lawn mowers, domestic heating and cookers running on natural gas, and so on. It would take a very long time to replace them all with newer models powered by fusion reactors or grid electricity generated in fusion power stations. Secondly, petrochemicals are used to produce a lot of things other than fuel, including asphalt, tar, paraffin wax, lubricating oils and plastics.

    Instead of an apocalypse we’d just see a gradual decline in the size of the oil industry as hydrocarbon fuels were slowly phased out. We’d still need plenty of oil for all its other uses so it would remain a large and important industry, and countries that are heavily-dependent on oil exports would have time to adapt.

  43. in January 22, 2011 at 10:20 pm John Blake said:
    “… originates in a ratio of 12,000 : 400 watts (300 : 1) …”
    should read:
    “… originates in a ratio of 12,000 : 400 watts (30 : 1) …”

  44. Nooooooooooooo! Running this voodoo trash radically lowers my estimation of the WUWT blog. People make mistakes. People get deluded. People lie. Any one of these is a sufficient explanation.

    [Reply: Sifting out the truth through discussion educates a wider audience. ~dbs]

  45. Seems like a lot of confusion here rather than cold fusion.

    Perhaps we need to start at the beginning!

    What is Energy?
    We know that it can neither be created nor destroyed, that in itself leads me to think that it is free by definition but what is it.

    We also know that it can be “transformed” but what does that really mean.

  46. One should at least mention the central websites for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) work, and the recent Widom-Larsen theory that allegedly resolves the controversy. The first stop is —

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/

    where one can find a library of downloadable files. At the least, one sees that the LENR field has developed legs. There are too many positive results for a simple hoax or error in calculation.
    The Widom-Larsen theory is presented at Krivit’s New Energy Times site —

    http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/WL/WLTheory.shtml

    There is now a split between the ‘old school’ cold fusion workers, who think the Coulomb barrier can be overcome by some simple means, and the W-L people, who are conservative by comparison. There is a long essay by Steven B. Krivit on this aspect.

    A number of other new energy concepts, from the conservative to the exotic (or hoax?) level, can be found at the Pure Energy Systems website —

    http://peswiki.com/energy/News

  47. Cold fusion isn’t usual fare for WUWT, at best it’s not a focus here, at worst it’s sorry science, and we talk about that enough already. However, it never has died, and this week there’s news about it going commercial.

    Funny that after it was discredited. However, the US Navy continued to look into the matter.

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/03/navy-scientists/

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,510589,00.html

    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4081892/Cold-fusion-experimentally-confirmed

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/Collections/USNavy.htm

    http://www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue44/navy.html

  48. If cold fusion goes commercial then maybe Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons deserve a long overdue apology as well as a Nobel Prize?

  49. Since Park’s book Voodoo Science has been brought up in the discussion, here is an extract from my review of the book for Times Higher Education:

    “The reader is perhaps beginning to get the general picture. One starts off with an opinion that a belief is wrong and creates an argument to justify this opinion. The arguments spread by word of mouth and are never updated with contrary information that may subsequently arrive, thus becoming the “correct position” to take. It is perilous to say anything that indicates doubt about whether this position is in fact correct (though a certain proportion of scientists look more closely and can see the cracks in the official position). This effectively prevents any work in the areas concerned being published in the major journals where they will be seen by others.

    “Cold fusion — the suggestion that hydrogen nuclei can be made to fuse together and thereby generate considerable energy at near room temperature, using an electrochemical process instead of the usual very high temperatures — was a claim that seemed initially very unlikely to be true, though not totally ruled out. After some workers found themselves unable to reproduce the results initially claimed by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann in 1989, a high degree of scepticism arose in the scientific community, especially after the publication of an official report declaring the absence of any evidence that fusion had taken place.

    It is interesting to look both at Park’s account of the history of cold fusion and at that of the protagonists, presented in a video documentary Cold Fusion: fire from water (available from http://www.infinite-energy.com). Park impresses on the reader the fact that if the process that generates the heat is really fusion then one would expect to see fusion products. He fails to mention here, as the video does, that the small amount of such products anticipated, given the amount of energy generated, was eventually observed, and in just the right quantity. All mention of positive results, such as the experiment where, by what appears to be a sound method, it was found that the energy generated was considerably in excess of anything that could be explained conventionally, is collapsed into a paragraph where Park notes that many claims are soon withdrawn because of errors being found (as also happens in ordinary science).

    “This device legitimises the dismissal of all positive results, and so also the corollary cold fusion is no closer to being proven than it was the day when it was announced. This is a seriously misleading statement.

    “There are scientific arguments against cold fusion, but equally there were arguments against continental drift. The fact that theories have been proposed to provide a mechanism seems not to impress Park as much as the argument made by Douglas Morrison of CERN, that one should be “suspicious” if one cannot get the same result in an experiment every time. Perhaps he would find such a circumstance less suspicious if he were a material scientist rather than a high-energy physicist.”

  50. “excitement comes from a device that takes 400 watts of electrical power in and produces 12,000 watts of heat out”

    Amazing!

    Before the excitement dies down, does anybody want to buy any snake oil?

  51. Even if it works.

    Would there not be waste heat of some sort? Getting rid of it implies some sort of expense or environmental impact.

    The bill at the home is many times per unit of power what it costs to generate. Distribution is much more expensive than generation. The cost of power is more a function of the maximum you would ever want than the average.

  52. I would like to quote from my book: – Electricity as applied to Mining, by A Lupton, GD Parr and H Perkin dated 1903.

    …Up to about the early seventies of the past century, little or no use, as a means of lighting and transmission of power, had been made of the suble agent we are pleased to term ‘electricity’…

    Those Victorian could use words ‘suble agent’.

    Further on in the book …What is electricity? To this but a very indefinite answer can be given. In fact, no one really knows what it is….

    So there you have it, honesty, harnessing of a suble agent, all because the Victorians were humble enough to say …We don’t really know…

    And for those who may not know, the electrical term Volts is of Italian origin.

    As they used to say in the Saturday morning pictures …Continued next week…

  53. Sounds a bit like a NiH battery to me.

    On the other hand, these “out of the box” theories are usually worth looking at, and if anything interesting emerges then independent laboratory experiments can advance the understanding. A similar case in point is the “EMDRIVE” rectionless engine – can it be independently reproduced? Experience tells us that 99% of these new concepts are flawed, or just impossible, but if you don’t look at all of them you cannot find the 1% that might just work.

  54. Since nobody else has mentioned it yet, I thought people might be interested to see the patent application Rossi has made, which provides some details about the experimental setup used. This is available here. The written opinion of the international searching authority (the European patent office) is particularly interesting. It seems unlikely that the application will be granted, at least by the EPO.

  55. This has to be one of the highest quality threads for a long time, in terms of the comments posted. As an investor, I wouldn’t go anywhere near this, even when it has been demonstrated running for a week. On the other hand, I have no doubt that some form of cold fusion is achievable even if we never discover it in a usable form.

  56. Looks interesting but seems to be the mark2 version of a Perpetual Motion Machine. To produce all that power there must be a lot of power in or energy generation approaching that of a nuclear reactor. And no gamma rays. The perfect solution to the nuclear power problem of radioactivity, if it can be made to be stable which this system seems not to be.

  57. In the mechanical age, people looked for perpetual motion machines. In the nuclear age, people look for perpetual motion reactions. The laws of thermodynamics state (in plain English) “you don’t get something for nothing”

    So if I put 400w into a system to get 12000w out, somewhere along the way the system acquired 12000w energy. Maybe it was the mining and processing of the nickel or platinum or complex catalyst, but you can be sure that when the entire system is considered, you don’t get free energy.

  58. Dave Springer says: Oil companies would become worthless overnight

    Not unless you replaced the entire FLEET of all oil powered vehicle overnight.

    This problem, fleet change is also why wind and solar are at best ‘bit players’ even if they were dramatically economical today (and they are not). The average car in America is kept for about a decade (rising each year…) so even a perfect e-car today would take a decade to obsolete oil. Now add that a new technology would take a 1/2 decade minimum to enter commercialization…. and you are looking at 15 years.

    That is the absolute MINIMUM.

  59. Pons & Fleishman got a raw deal. Their calorimetry was state of the art, it is just that the state of the art was found inadequate to support their extraordinary claims. Of course, what they faced was simplicity itself compared to performing calorimetry on the earth. To characterize this community as “skeptical” is an oversimplification, we not only question, but have an awareness of how much is open to question. We can note that the extreme AGW projections require a net positive feedback to CO2 forcing, while evidence still allows that the feedback may actually be negative, and that surprisingly the complexity of quantum mechanics in solid state physics is such that the physicists have found it difficult to conclusively rule out some possibility of low energy nuclear reactions. In both cases we will follow the evidence, and err on the side of having open minds.

  60. The beauty of this is that I don’t have to try and understand the it. If its real, someone will replicate it, and then dozens of people will, and soon it will be obvious that its real – or not, if no one can replicate it.

    Sadly the same is not true of AGW. Hence all the argument.

  61. Popular Science

    http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-01/italian-scientists-claim-dubious-cold-fusion-breakthrough

    So far the only acknowledgement from a source I recognize. Popular Science is nostalgic for me. My first computer design at the first place that hired me out of college made the cover of Popular Science in March 1983. (Lower left, Jonos). I still do a bit of consulting work for the company that made it. Me and one other engineer, not counting a mechanical engineer who did the chassis, did it from the ground up. Back in those days we were still designing printed circuit boards on light tables with mylar and tape at 4x scale then having them photographically reduced to generate the masks used in production. I’m not sure if we’d started using programmable array logic (PALs) by then or not or whether we were still using discrete TTL logic chips. PALs made logic design a whole lot easier. It was right around that time we began using them.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=XARMtUUMxm8C&printsec=frontcover&lr=&rview=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

  62. Patience, mostly. If they can, indeed, produce energy cheaper than today, then everyone can work out the science later. The biggest caution would be to not put more than one of your nickels into their project(s).

  63. Oh gawd! The Popular Science article on this has a caption under the picture of the device:

    Rossi and Focardi’s Cold Fusion Device The future of energy involves tin foil and Dell laptops.

    I was a principle R&D engineer in Dell’s laptop business beginning in 1993. First the Latitude line and then later with the Inspiron line. Both of those lines didn’t exist when I arrived and both are still going today. So I’ve got two odd personal connections into this cold fusion project. I hope it’s for real!

  64. “Mark Twang says:
    January 23, 2011 at 1:16 am

    By the way, can somebody tell me how to register a Disqus account so I can post my Chomsky comment at RawStory? I can’t figure it out.”

    I know the frustration. Most comment pages that require that stupid Disqus and whatnot also enable you to comment anonymously or with a moniker.

    Any web page that demands you have a Disqus and whatnot isn’t worth reading or following. WTF is Disqus, anyway?

    Sorry, mods. OT, I know. Just trying to help.

  65. E.M.Smith says:
    January 23, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Dave Springer says: Oil companies would become worthless overnight

    Not unless you replaced the entire FLEET of all oil powered vehicle overnight.

    ———————

    A bit of an exaggeration there. But if you were an investor and owned stock in an oil company would you be interested in buying more oil company stock or selling off what you had if this cold fusion thing is for real? Panic selling could easily reduce the value of oil companies down to some small fraction of their book value. Exploration equipment and the value of any reserves or fields or leases they owned would be looked at askance. Refineries ditto. Of course they’d still retain the value of office equipment, office buildings, and things of that nature. So not quite worthless and not quite overnight but close enough to say it with literary license.

  66. DeNihilistSo if this works, then back to steam energy?
    JK: Err, most modern electric generation is via steam – coal, natural gas and nuclear all make steam to turn the turbines connected to the alternators. The only difference is the fuel – chemical or nuclear.

    Thanks
    JK

  67. Hypothetical question:

    How long would you keep your current automobile if you could purchase a replacement vehicle at about the same price as a new car today only the replacement never needed refueling? I’m pretty sure I’d want to ditch my gas hogs in short order.

    But the thing is, virtually free clean energy has far reaching implications beyond that. Just about every manufactured item in the world has a large cost component that can be traced back to the price of energy because energy is consumed in just about everything from cement and steel to celery and sausage. Everything would become much less expensive to manufacture including new vehicles with power plants that never needed refueling.

    I’m not sure what all would happen but I’m sure it would cause super-size political and economic disruption that could be fairly called earth-shaking if not earth-shattering.

  68. “thus, 58 g nickel will generate the same energy as that provided by 30,000 ton oil, that is 517 tons/gram.”

    Crikey! Hang on to your small change.

  69. There is much to be cautious about in this story. Cold Fusion, if it were possible, will truly revolutionise the economy and the society. But it sounds too good to be true.

    The only upside to our expectations is that there have been many ‘crank’ scientists who were later proven to be correct.

    I’ll remain skeptical of cold fusion until a year after the first commerical unit is sold and proven to operate as envisioned.

    Nevermind the US Navy’s interest in the research. The military is famous in pursuing and experimenting with quite wacky ideas. This might well be one of them.

  70. Thank you for opening this topic to the world again, Anthony; and my thanks to Ric Werme for being the messenger. “Cold Fusion” has intrigued me since first announced.
        I note again, in case anyone missed it, wesley bruce’s comment (January 22, 2011 at 11:45 pm): “About 13 teams duplicated the F&P effect in the first months. The claim that it was not replicable was and is outright lie.”
        But we are becoming, sadly, used to that.

    And as an educational side note only on Hoser’s comment and Mark T.s I had to check out “bakatare”.
    “It means stoopid or foolish. Its basically the same word as baka.” (Too cynical for me.)

  71. The dilema of Fusion to produce energy

    Thermo-nuclear fusion for power — physics is well understood but engineering is almost impossible

    Cold Fusion — physics (chemistry?) poorly understood, bordering on unscientific but engineering is simple and straightfoward

  72. Uh, David L, you’re getting the energy out through fusion. In other word, it’s not perpetual. I thought that was made pretty clear.

    Mark

  73. I think I know how the trick is done. The paper mentioned above doesn’t have details about the apparatus, but it does sound similar to what BlackLight Power was using and I had major doubts about that.

    Background:
    Stanford and Iris Ovshinsky of Energy Conversion Devices (Ovonics) were featured on PBS’ Scientific American Frontiers (link to the show). These are the people behind United Solar Ovonics (Uni-Solar) which make very good flexible solar cells “by the mile” (show segment link). Earlier in the show, a vehicle of the Ovshinsky’s was featured that used a metal hydride hydrogen storage system (show segment link), aka a Solid Hydrogen Storage System (link to some info and pic).

    What I found very notable was the heat given off when reloading the hydrogen (filling up). The connector used had water line fittings, the storage tank needed circulating cooling water to keep it from overheating. In use, the tank is heated to release the hydrogen.

    Now examine the BlackLight Power process, as in their Solid Fuel Reactor, which uses Sodium Hydride and whatever-else is in their “Solid Fuel.”

    The reactor cell is heated, which would drive out any hydrogen stored in the metal hydride, which likely doesn’t have much if any to begin with. This is “initiating the reaction.” The heater is turned off, the hydrogen is fed in. With removal of the generated heat, the hydride can continue to soak up hydrogen until it’s at saturation for the temperature it’s at. Properly control the rate of heat removal and the incoming hydrogen flow, you could get a nice flat rate of “energy generation.”

    Voila. Assemble the reactor with properly prepared materials, heat, turn off heat and feed in hydrogen, get far more energy out than the heater put in.

    That’s my guess for the BlackLight process using sodium hydride and whatever-else. I’m also guessing this “new” “cold fusion” process uses a hydride somewhere, perhaps in the “special additives.” There may even be a hydride being formed during operation, as part of the initial heating.

    Beyond that, to speculate on what might be happening although I far prefer my previous musings, I wonder if the assembled apparatus could be acting like a battery, specifically something like a nickel-metal hydride battery. Newly put together and heated, it could just be waiting for the introduction of the hydrogen to finish becoming a new ready-to-be-discharged battery, no charging needed, which then self-discharges with elements of physical design and/or substrate composition providing a resistance leading to heat generation at a certain rate. The BlackLight process uses a metal hydride, this new process uses nickel and “special additives.” The possible electro-chemistry seems to be present.

    And in BlackLight’s case, sodium hydride reacts strongly in water, can explode in air, and may be doing interesting heat-producing things to the apparatus and whatever else is in the “solid fuel.”

    Offhand, to me, it looks like a hydride soaking up hydrogen could account for the energy being released, with possible additional reactions making up any deficit. If they get around to releasing at least enough details of this “new cold fusion method” as they have about the BlackLight process, I, and others, can better ascertain if this is the case.

  74. This should be up my alley. What killed cold fusion was the small energy, comparable to the energy needed to create the palladium lattice, and it is chemical in size.

    Here they claim energies that are much larger than available from chemical effects.

    They do not give details of the experiment. They propose explanations by hand waving.

    What are needed are experiments that will prove these propositions.

    If it is electron screening, as they hand wave, that allows the proton to get next to the Ni nucleus and fuse into copper, there are a number of experiments that should be quoted or done to show that the process is happening: detect neutrons, detect gammas, measure isotope composition before and after. Then the check of the energy released per fusion and the amount of Hydrogen consumed, etc .

    Now if they can demonstrate that this works, i.e a hundred fold amplification of energy in to out, there will be experiments galore to study the effect, even if their proposed models are full of holes.

  75. David L says:
    January 23, 2011 at 3:13 am
    In the mechanical age, people looked for perpetual motion machines. In the nuclear age, people look for perpetual motion reactions. The laws of thermodynamics state (in plain English) “you don’t get something for nothing”

    So if I put 400w into a system to get 12000w out, somewhere along the way the system acquired 12000w energy. Maybe it was the mining and processing of the nickel or platinum or complex catalyst, but you can be sure that when the entire system is considered, you don’t get free energy.


    Bet you never took the time to read his paper at:

    http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/files/Rossi-Focardi_paper.pdf

    You should, if he’s credible, which his paper on the surface looks like it is, matter is being transformed to energy, not strickly fusion but a transformation. Might be better not to look too shallow. I see your point if there are not nuclear changes occuring.

  76. This statement “the commercial unit is designed to need enough electrical power so it can be shut down reliably” is a bit ominous given they admit they don’t know the theory behind the mechanism.

  77. Dave Springer says: Oil companies would become worthless overnight”

    The gasoline automobile did not kill the horse industry nor the electric car industry over night. It took decades.

  78. @Dave Springer

    ‘Oil companies would become worthless overnight’

    Well only if they were staffed and led by complete buffoons without an idea in their head beyond ‘ground, dig, oil, money’ would your assertion be true. And they are not. Oil companies employ some very bright people. Especially in science and engineering.

    History suggests that this is not the case, and that they are just as capable of recognising technological change as the next organisation, and strategically repositioning themselves accordingly. And whatever happens, there is good ‘annuity revenue’ from the existing oil product based equipment in service that will last a few decades or more.

    An equally interesting question lies with governments. In UK currently, 63% of the pump price of unleaded petrol is just direct tax. Only 37% of the revenue goes to pay for oil company profits, extraction, refining, distribution and retail. So until they figure out a way to tax any ‘cold fusion’ device at least as effectively as petrol at the pump, then it is in all governments’ interests to continue the status quo. So here, they are in synch with the oil companies.

    In case of any doubt, I have no financial interests in oil companies. And as I don’t keep a car, I rarely directly buy their products.

  79. “The reactor is going commercial in the next few years, which may or may not mean it’s ready.”

    Perhaps the first place to start looking is Dr Rossi’s bank account. How low is it? The above statement seems to me to be a “this is a ground floor opportunity for investors” pitch.

  80. David L says:
    January 23, 2011 at 3:13 am

    In the mechanical age, people looked for perpetual motion machines. In the nuclear age, people look for perpetual motion reactions. The laws of thermodynamics state (in plain English) “you don’t get something for nothing”

    So if I put 400w into a system to get 12000w out, somewhere along the way the system acquired 12000w energy. Maybe it was the mining and processing of the nickel or platinum or complex catalyst, but you can be sure that when the entire system is considered, you don’t get free energy.

    Ever used a solar oven? That’s about as free as free gets. Keep in mind mass and energy different forms of the same thing with the conversion defined as E=MC^2

    The problem is we don’t know how to convert mass to energy in any way that can be practically initiated or controlled. But if there were a way the conversion factor is ridiculously large.

    The energy contained in every gram of matter is 25 million kilowatt hours. That’s enough to power an 18-wheel truck at highway speed for many decades or run a large cement plant for a year. The atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki lost about one gram of matter each which left the scene as energy – all the energy released by the weapon, just a portion of which leveled an entire city, weighed just one gram.

    There is widespread popular belief that state of the art theories in physics can explain everything. This is generally true but only for everyday scales in size larger than a single atom and smaller than a galaxy. The smaller and larger scales stuff is happening that we don’t understand. At the small scale for instance nobody can explain why or how the lattices in high temperature superconductors allow electrons to travel through them with zero resistance. At the large scale no one can explain why galaxy clusters are moving apart at an increasing rate of speed when gravitational attraction should be bringing them closer together at an increasing rate of speed. Gravity turns into a repelling force across vast distances? Some totally unknown force overcomes gravity across vast distances? No one knows.

    My opinion is that if odd atomic lattice structures can enable electrons to somehow flow through them with zero resistance then it isn’t incredible that odd lattice structures can somehow enable protons to fuse. Both are equally mysterious. The only difference is we have empirical knowledge that high temp superconductors actually work while low temp nuclear fusion has yet to be empirically demonstrated to the satisfaction of most people but yet it isn’t quite as physically impossible as most people believe and the efforts to empirically the effect never completely ended after the widespread failure to replicate Pons & Fleichman’s experimental results. It isn’t in the same class as perpetual motion – at least not yet.

  81. Price of oil, might take 15 years to go down significal from todays price, but the price of stocks in oil companies will go down faster.

  82. What, they ran one experiment 10 days ago for one hour and are already talking about building a commercial plant. Is it April the 1st?

  83. The device is a type of Nickel-Metal Hydride pile that produces heat. Replacing the Nickel after its oxidised will be cheap, no?

    Its principal operating mode is Fission, separating Carbon-based meat-puppets from their Au.

  84. From David on January 23, 2011 at 3:03 am:

    Since nobody else has mentioned it yet, I thought people might be interested to see the patent application Rossi has made, which provides some details about the experimental setup used. This is available here.

    Those pages say they are being phased out, check the new system. Here’s that link:

    http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2009125444

    Ah, it gets better and better.

    It uses a tube filled with nickel powder, pressurized and heated. They point to copper in the recovered nickel powder as proof the fusion reaction occurred.

    The tube is made of copper.

  85. Mark T says:
    January 23, 2011 at 4:46 am
    Uh, David L, you’re getting the energy out through fusion. In other word, it’s not perpetual. I thought that was made pretty clear.

    Mark”

    Yeah, I know it’s not the same. I was using a little poetic license to basically say that humans are always seeking something for nothing. Call it fission or fusion, solar or wind power, geothermal, or whatever you want. Bottom line is you’re going to have to work for it, Nothing is for free.

  86. Without reading the details, I can still say that unless one can detect alot of heat and most importantly, high-speed neutrons from the reaction, there’s no useful energy production.

  87. There is not enough information here to decide anything. What was in the box. How much hydrogen, nickel, air, water (assuming the steam came from water and not from burning H2). What is left in the box? How much energy was consumed making the nickel and the hydrogen? I think that wait and see is a good idea.

  88. Lief/Josualdo: –
    Regarding your comment about the length of test, hereto an excerpt from their patent application.
    …A practical embodiment of the inventive apparatus, installed on October 16, 2007, is at present perfectly operating 24 hours per day, and provides an amount of heat sufficient to heat the factory of the
    Company EON of via Carlo Ragazzi 18, at Bondeno
    (Province of Ferrara)

    John Marshall,

    The apparatus that they’ve hooked up changes Nickel into Copper. Now, from an economic point of view that is a bad idea as Nickel is dearer than Copper (Approx US$12 v 4.5 per lb.) Perpetual motion? Hardly the claim.

  89. It would be cool if it worked, but like Leif Svalgaard said above, have it run for a week and then let us know how it went.

    The commercial unit is designed to need enough electrical power so it can be shut down reliably.
    Shutting down an experiment (commercial product?) of this sort should not be a big deal, but I’m a little bit troubled that it doesn’t have a simple on/off switch.

  90. Just a few comments…

    For those who keep on pointing to the laws of thermodynamics…

    First of all, the laws of thermodynamics are not laws at all. They are artificial constructs describing the nature of a closed system. Period.

    They are quite handy in creating ‘machines’ and other ‘artistic’ endeavors, so I am not denigrating their construct or use.

    However, it is impossible to prove that the universe is a closed system. Physicists have been trying to do so for a few centuries, and the actual measured data from the universe keeps humbling them and thwarting all their efforts to do so.

    Actual measured data by astrophysicists keeps pointing to an expanding, continuously creating universe. They seem to try and hide it because they don’t believe it. But the data is really implying there is a source of energy that is ‘outside’ the physical universe feeding it additional energy in some fashion.

    This will one day have to be accepted, in my opinion. Science cannot keep trying to refute data that keeps slapping it back in the face.

    And the implications will be staggering when it is accepted and put to practical use.

    Chemical reactions creating ‘energy’ are more than just ‘chemical reactions’. In Einstein terms, even a chemical reaction is at it’s heart a nuclear reaction. In ANY chemical reaction, matter IS being converted into energy. So, there are many things that are not understood about even a ‘chemical reaction’. So, there can be no hiding behind ‘supposed’ ordinary chemical reactions to try and dispute the possibility of ‘cold fusion’.

    Now, if someone does not believe something is possible, they will not look for it. And they will subconsciously ignore all data that can point to it. I applaud those who are looking. They are not letting ideas of a ‘closed universe’, hence a ‘closed mind’ get in their way.

    Einstein, and others, didn’t. Einstein saw that matter and energy were NOT two different things. He saw that they were simply the same thing, ONE thing, in two different forms. And that expanded our understanding. That led the way to showing how we could dramatically increase our practical creation of energy.

    And there is even more than just matter and energy being interchangeable in the universe, because if one only assumes that, then it is still a ‘closed universe’.

    Looking beyond the “closed universe” idea, there is something else converting itself into either more matter or energy, or both.

    To me, that is where all the data is pointing.

  91. I’m impressed – I knew the the mine field my post had to traverse, but I’m very pleased with the decorum in the replies. I posted the article around 0130, and just got up today, I was worried about any flame fests that might break out overnight.

    There were none, thank you and thank you Anthony.

    Just one comment before breakfast. The one hour test that Jed Rothwell analyzed was the first public demonstration. Testing of the device in general has been going on for many months, and there have been a number long runs. I’ll try to fish out some references, trying to find data on Rossi’s blog is nigh on impossible. A lot of his posts are fairly vague, but the comments are between him and several other scientists and there’s a lot of meat there and even more when read between the lines.

    Okay, another – a fellow New Hampshire Mensan and LENR researcher (he didn’t like me using “cold fusion”), now deceased of natural causes, mentioned to me a year ago to pay attention to an upcoming announcement. That was when I created the Google alert. He did some interesting replicable work with similar to Rossi’s. There are some mentions of New Hampshire in Rossi’s notes, that’s a direction I’ll investigate more.

    There are a lot of loose threads in my post. Had I tied them all up I’d still be writing.

    Just heard I’ve been volunteered to help someone move after breakfast. Won’t be back for a bit.

  92. A couple of dozen university physics departments attempted to replicate the F&P experiment and its results in the month or so after F&P released enough information to do so. Results were mixed. The most highly regarded physics departments could not replicate the effect. Some second or third rate departments could. The better departments did a better job of controlling for confounding variables. Cold fusion buffs, of course, cherry pick the results of the many attempts at replication.

  93. When people talk about the oil industry they think of gasoline and diesel for the production of power. Think about the other products produced by the industry ( “I want to say one word to you. Just one word.: Plastics”). If we stop burning it for power there is probably going to be an explosion (maybe a bad choice of words) of uses for the substance.

    The Greens are going to go nuts since deep down they hate civilization. Cheap energy and even cheaper consumer goods are two of their worst nightmares.

  94. David L said

    Quote

    Bottom line is you’re going to have to work for it, Nothing is for free.

    Unquote

    Thats a religious diktat not science, try telling that to the universe that works.

  95. Looking for the extension cord. Been here before. There will have to be much more before I’m ok with the whole thing. I understand fission quite well. Fusion, not so much. It is another animal and I have doubts about doing it “cold”.

  96. David says:
    January 23, 2011 at 3:03 am

    “Since nobody else has mentioned it yet, I thought people might be interested to see the patent application Rossi has made, which provides some details about the experimental setup used. This is available here. The written opinion of the international searching authority (the European patent office) is particularly interesting. It seems unlikely that the application will be granted, at least by the EPO.”

    Thanks for the link. Part of my job at Dell was a member of the patent committee which consisted of a dozen key senior engineers in mechanical, electrical, and software R&D plus a patent attorney and paralegal. We met once a week to evaluate patent abstracts submitted by employees all over the world, the inventor(s) would appear before us if they wished to explain and answer questions, then we’d evaluate for novelty, obviousness to experts, applicability to corporate operations, and overall value. The committee would then vote on whether or not to pursue an application for a patent. If a majority approved it went forward. The lawyer would usually chime in when anyone objected that the invention was obvious to experts as we experts would tend to view stuff as obvious that would easily pass through the patent office as not obvious.

    In all I reviewed about a thousand patent abstracts about 300 of which were approved by majority vote and to the best of my knowledge all 300 were eventually granted by the patent office. I am the named inventor on four patents myself and none of them had any substantial objections from the patent office. We contracted with IP law firms so each approved invention and inventor had a patent attorney who would generate the claims and so forth and insure that the scope of the invention was as broad as possible which is very important so that competitors can’t make small changes and thus avoid infringement.

    I objected a lot of the time on grounds of the invention not being novel but plenty of patents were eventually granted that I voted down. Getting a patent granted IMO has more to do with the skill of the attorney, the experience of the patent law firm, and the size of the company submitting the invention than the substance of the invention. A cynical but, in my mind, well proven thing. Patent applications I believe get rubber-stamp approval when the source is a multi-billion dollar corporation and the intellectual property law firm is well recognized by the patent examiner.

    In the case of Rossi he doesn’t have behind him what it takes for rubber-stamp approval. If that invention was coming from General Electric or Exon and the application written up by a recognized IP law firm I believe it would be approved without substantial objection and without much technical modification. It’s not the duty of the patent examiner to physically examine the invention to see that it really works. His job is to search the prior art for novelty, determine if it is obvious to an expert, and evaluate the claims for scope that does not exceed the novel aspects of the invention.

    The problem with novelty, in my experience in computer hardware software design, is that I know of a great many inventive things that were employed in early personal computers dating back to the 1970s which were never patented but rather just held as trade secrets by the companies who produced the products. At just barely over 40 years of age at the time I was one of the oldest members of the patent committee and really only had one peer on the committee who had been in the business since the 1970’s. The two of us were notorious for objecting that inventions were not novel. We were outvoted much of the time because everyone, including us, knew the patent examiners would have no knowledge of the prior art and no means of finding it. Patent examiners are not world class experts. World class experts are gainfully employed in much more lucrative positions inside their respective industries. The patent examiners are pretty much limited to searching through the patent database looking for prior art and for things that were never patented in the past they just don’t find any disqualifying prior art. I’m pretty convinced they don’t even spend much time searching for prior art when they recognize the corporation and name of the IP law firm submitting the application – in that case they just rubber stamp it for approval and move on to the next application in their inbox or take a long lunch with the time they saved.

  97. If true, this is dreadful news to us skeptics. As this drives the oil, gas, and coal companies out of business, our massive checks for casting doubt AGW will be at risk. :)

    I will be very happy to buy electricity from the inventors at $0.05 per kw-hr. However, I don’t believe I’ll be be changing my retirement investment from the much more secure MN state lottery. Just today I took the plunge and put the whole lot, my entire retirement fund into Wednesdays drawing. If it pays off, I’ll be set for life. If it doesn’t, I’ll be the fool, and I sure will miss that dollar.

  98. Since I haven’t seen it posted here I will make this one comment. The first law of thermodynamics is about the conservation of energy not the conservation of power. Energy can be stored over a long period of time (low power) and then released over a short period of time (high power). This is how a capacitor based camera flash works. My guess is that the solution to the conundrum lies in this direction, and that we have not been given all the pertinent data.

  99. I have an issue with two comments made in the article.

    1.Most people regard cold fusion as a black eye on science.

    Global Warming, Climate Change or any other name you choose to use and the shoddy, corrupt science behind it has made the Cold Fusion debacle a tempest in a teapot. When I think of scientific scams cold fusion doesn’t even make my radar.

    2.So it’s not like they’re getting published in Nature, Scientific American, or even a reputable journal. Still, it ought to be a welcome addition.

    Given the Global Warming [snip] Nature and Scientific American have published I wouldn’t be so quick to call either of them reputable.

    Other then that, a very interesting article !

  100. The old adage is, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Faster than light travel (through worm holes or warping space), travelling backwards in time, anti-gravity and, on a more mundane level, so-called zero point energy devices that always seem to have a string of current patents open, but never yet achieved anything.

    And yet. . . it is equally true that mainstream science is often blinkered, funneled as it must, through mainstream theory. It was mainstream theory that you need huge amounts of energy to get 2 protons to fuse. This is so reasonable as to count as the bleeding obvious. But the processes are not so clear cut as many dogmatists would have us believe. Quantum tunneling allows particles to overcome energy barriers apparently on their own volition. So LENR may well be possible in the end, and so may polywell fusion -but to conform to the old adage, I suspect it won’t come without a struggle.

  101. Say, what ever happened to the real and truly amazing aluminum-gallium alloy that easily splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. When I first heard about that I thought it would cause a revolution! That was in 2007. I haven’t heard anything about it since. Very disappointing. Did big oil buy the patent and burry it?

    Anyway,

    I think I can make a box with an aluminum-gallium bottom that with a bit of added electricity would burn the hydrogen, add a little more electricity to regenerate the eventual oxidation of the aluminum and it could produce quite a bit of energy. Add a lump of nickel and a little deuterium to act as a distraction… and… voila… A great magic trick! No?

  102. Domenic says:
    January 23, 2011 at 6:29 am

    “Chemical reactions creating ‘energy’ are more than just ‘chemical reactions’. In Einstein terms, even a chemical reaction is at it’s heart a nuclear reaction. In ANY chemical reaction, matter IS being converted into energy. So, there are many things that are not understood about even a ‘chemical reaction’. So, there can be no hiding behind ‘supposed’ ordinary chemical reactions to try and dispute the possibility of ‘cold fusion’.”

    No. Endothermic and exothermic chemical reactions deal with atomic bond energy not nuclear (sub-atomic) bond energy. It’s well known however that chemical reactions alter the mass of the molecules involved. When energy is added or removed to form or break atomic bonds that energy has a mass defined by E=MC^2. The problem is that in chemical reactions the mass of energy involved is immeasurably small. In nuclear reactions where the bond energy is many orders of magnitude greater it opened up the possibility of actually measuring it via experiment rather than just calculate it via theory. As I posted earlier the mass of the energy released by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a mere 1 gram. The byproducts of the fission reaction, if they could somehow be collected and weighed, would be just 1 gram less than the weight of the fissioned atoms. About 1 kilogram of the plutonium in Fat Man actually fissioned and the byproducts would have weighed 999 grams. The missing mass left the scene as energy.

  103. On Sky Discovery Science today a programme about this on Weird Connection: Great Balls of Fire – from experiments in a bathtub to create ball lightning through making the area of water small, teacup or something to JET to French and American money in France on project where they’re looking to produce ten to one. They’re just calling it Fusion. Have set to record.

  104. Those interested in possible exotic – esoteric energy sources should check out http://www.aias.us/ . Is there a mathematical physicist with a moderated blog out there who would seriously review and post his opinions on the hundreds of papers, posts ,books etc on unified field theory linked on this site for the benefit of the blogosphere? The WUWT site is not the plave for it.

  105. From the physorg.com article that Roger Knights linked to above (which quotes the patent application David also cited)

    Rossi and Focardi have applied for a patent that has been partially rejected in a preliminary report. According to the report, “As the invention seems, at least at first, to offend against the generally accepted laws of physics and established theories, the disclosure should be detailed enough to prove to a skilled person conversant with mainstream science and technology that the invention is indeed feasible. … In the present case, the invention does not provide experimental evidence (nor any firm theoretical basis) which would enable the skilled person to assess the viability of the invention. The description is essentially based on general statement and speculations which are not apt to provide a clear and exhaustive technical teaching.”

    If only Dr. Mann had actually filed a patent for his “proprietary” technique.

  106. Dave Springer January 23, 2011 at 5:34 am :

    The problem is we don’t know how to convert mass to energy in any way that can be practically initiated or controlled.

    Care to extend or amend?

    .

  107. Perhaps the Sun is a massive LENR/CANR reactor that is “switched on” via the electrical field of the Universe?…

    (that’s for the Electrical Universe folks to ponder on…;-)…. I’m well read on every theory around….. I’m an ex commercial fisherman…. So I’m allowed….:-)

    …. Final note before I get back to watching the tennis… I hope these Italians are really onto something and not just excitable people on the wrong track…. Anyway, we will wait and watch this space I ‘spose.

    If I can’t mail order my “PowerHouse in a Box” for household use next year, we’ll know it’s been a bust….;-)

  108. There is or is not something here. Every advance was ridiculed at first. Yet look at the
    attempts at Fission reaction finally Fermi got it. Look at Edison a non-scientist who kept trying and trying to get the evil incandescent bulb to work. The world changed at that moment. Not immediately, but it changed, y Cowboy Pop grew up on a ranch with
    no electric lights and a wind charged dry cell radio. then in 1933-Electricity. The day the world changed. Pop was 22.

  109. This is of course total bunkum. Also the attempt to explain it (read the pdf article) is
    junk science. The binding energy per nucleon is at its highest for the elements Fe, Cobalt Nickel. The reaction Ni+p -> Cu is therefore endothermic. Sorry folks, but this paper is clearly due for publication on April 1st.

  110. Anyone caring to disprove LENR must be prepared to explain satisfactorily:

    1) The generation of excess heat 2) and the creation of elements/isotopes not present within the confines of the original ‘experiment’ …

    (Notwithstanding issues with calorimetry, cross-contamination of materials etc)

    .

  111. I think it’s fun to hope that an unconventional idea will pan out in the face of extreme skepticism. Then on the other hand, fools and their ideas are not soon parted.

  112. Just to touch on the idea of oil companies disappearing, Amoco, Shell, and Schlumberger have all worked with CF. Both Amoco and Shell published papers with positive results. They are available on the web.

    I’m sceptical that what is being demonstrated is fusion. I think it may be more likely to be fission based on reported transmutations. There is a theory, Widom-Larson, which used weak-interactions do explain what’s going on. Not being a theoretical physicist, I can’t judge all the subtle possible errors in the theory.

  113. Domenic January 23, 2011 at 6:29 am :

    Chemical reactions creating ‘energy’ are more than just ‘chemical reactions’. In Einstein terms, even a chemical reaction is at it’s heart a nuclear reaction. In ANY chemical reaction, matter IS being converted into energy. …

    I wonder if I could get further amplification, cites, refs on this as well …

    .

  114. This is a truely amazing breakthrough! Think about this: If you connect enough of these things together in a branching configuration (tree) then you can, conceivably, produce infinite output energy from only 400W input. This changes everything!! Even better, the 400W input could be tapped from the infinite output.

    Even greater, just one of these devices connected in a loop configuration should spool itself up to infinite energy. Where do I sign up to invest?

  115. Clearly we do not know everything about the world. If we did,
    why would we have the WUWT blog? As a physicist, I am a
    bit skeptical. But having spent some time in researching a thing
    or two, I know the knowledge of mankind is quite limited.

    There is something going on with “cold fusion”. We just do not know
    what it is. The current state of cold fusion is like LEDs in 1900 or
    so. People were occasionally and accidentally making LEDs out of
    broken silicon carbine and steel needles a century ago. It was 50
    years before there was a good explanation and good reproducibility.
    Today we take LEDs for granted, and can buy many varieties for
    pennies.

    Cold fusion will be nice, but I hope the research also sheds light on
    compact carbon-nickel-hydrogen lattices. When we can store
    hydrogen gas at high density and low pressure lots of opportunities
    open up.

  116. r says

    Say, what ever happened to the real and truly amazing aluminum-gallium alloy that easily splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. When I first heard about that I thought it would cause a revolution! That was in 2007. I haven’t heard anything about it since. Very disappointing. Did big oil buy the patent and burry it?

    Big Oil? If anyone, probably more like “Big Battery” (“Big Electrode?”).

    That’s an energy storage technology, not an energy producing technology. A boat-load of energy needs to be provided to make the alloy, which is then stoichiometrically consumed to make hydrogen “on-demand”. Not a bad idea if you actually have a boat-load of energy going unused someplace and a fleet of vehicles that can use the hydrogen.

    Methinks Big Oil can sleep peacefully a little while longer.

    Personally, I tend to have a “one month rule” on Universtiy press releases and the subsequent fawning hype from the media. They (the press releases) typically either quietly disappear, never to be heard of again, or get shot down in flames. On rare occassions, they survive infancy long enough to be meaningful.

    You can usually get an idea after about a month.

  117. I am not attesting as to the operations of this device or the validity of the claim, but I read in one description of this setup, that in addition to he apparent “absorbtion” of a proton by the nickel nucleus there was a subsequent beta+ decay (positron) radiation that was the supposed source of heat through positron / electron annihilation. That would in fact make this an antimatter reactor. Fantastic if true, but how the proton overcomes the coloumb barrier is still very unclear to me.

  118. The problem with “Cold Fusion”, even if real, is that most experiments only produce a small amount of excess power when one estimate requires at least 10x over input to realize a viable energy source because of the conversion inefficiencies involved in putting the energy to real usage through the intermediate machinery required.
    Some interesting papers from more creditable sources for followers:
    From South West Research Institute:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/McKubreMCHreviewofex.pdf

    And reply:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/StormsEaresponset.pdf

    From Los Alamos National Laboratory:

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/StormsEelectrolyt.pdf

    MIT’s Gene Mallove

    http://www.infinite-energy.com/images/pdfs/mitcfreport.pdf

    I do believe that the hot fusion groups have too much control over grants (which, much like AGW groups, might explain some of the outright hostility) for this kind
    of research and that probably the answers will eventually crop up in something much simpler from an independent sector. Hot fusion has tremendous drawbacks not the least of which is its complexity. I suspect that is why it is always “20 years” to commercial usage. Again something simpler may apply:

    http://focusfusion.org/

    It also always possible that DOD has effective processes or patents under wraps because of classification which puts a stop on release of, or any future work on it by the inventor. In this case, a back door approach that the mainstream physics disparages and could be put in place before it was controlled would be the most effective.

  119. @wayne, Dave Springer

    I read their paper. It is very lacking in details and is impossible to even venture a guess what they are seeing. For example, they say a mass analysis using SIMS at Padua Univ. showed masses in the range 63-65 and they attribute this to copper. I can tell you, I’ve spent a lot of time behind a mass spectrometer. Lots of compounds have fragmentation patterns that yield these masses. They don’t mention nor show the fragementation pattern, which any good science paper would show. Therefore it’s impossible to say if it’s copper or fragments of an organic compound.

    Here’s what I think: they’ve reinvented “Raney nickel ” which is a classic catalyst for hydrogenation. It’s been around since the turn of the 20th century.

    They state in the paper that they use Ni, H, and additives. So if the “additive” has an organic molecule especially with a couple double bonds, you have an exothermic reduction reaction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogenation

    You need some energy to heat up the nickel substrate to a critical temperature (400 watts I gathre), then it takes off and continues until all the hydrogen or “additives” are used up (yielding 12,000 watts). You are not converting mass into energy. It’s simple chemistry known as catalytic reduction.

    Here’s a classic example many college students are shown in intro chemistry classes. Take a large flask and put a few milliliters of methanol into the bottom. Take a piece of platinum wire and heat it red hot. Hang the wire in the flask which is full of methanol vapors. The wire glows red hot for several minutes as the methanol is reduced on the platinum wire. Since the reastion is exothermic the wire stayd red hot. If the flask is big enough you can get the wire to glow the entire lecture.

  120. Svein Utne says:
    January 23, 2011 at 5:46 am

    “Preliminary report from Italy:
    http://22passi.blogspot.com/2011/01/report-ufficiale-esperimento-della.html

    Interesting but so long as the guts of the device remain shrouded from view there’s no assurance that some other power source isn’t concealed within. Given the water cycling through the system and water being the byproduct of hydrogen combustion and no way to measure oxygen consumption (if any) from the ambient air in the room the wary skeptic might suspect there’s a second bottle of hydrogen hidden inside that is being burned to produce the excess heat. Measuring the weight of the entire apparatus instead of just the hydrogen supply bottle might have ruled that out even if the water in and water out were weighed as the weight of the apparatus would have changed due to oxygen being drawn inside to make water from the hydrogen – i.e. the excess water could be hidden inside but it would weigh more than the hydrogen alone. Of course there could also be an oxygen bottle hidden inside so I guess the only real way to assure there’s no deception involved is to take the thing apart and look at everything inside it.

    Or am I missing something that would rule out the possibility of deception?

  121. If energy amplification (more net energy out than in) is possible then some basic laws of Chemistry and Physics are bogus or somehow inapplicable. Is the idea here that the Ni is a “fuel” that stores potential energy – like coal? Or, is the idea that without the necessary input of energy the Ni atom is alchemized into Cu producing fusion energy? Can anyone comment on this?

  122. _Jim says:
    January 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Dave Springer January 23, 2011 at 5:34 am :

    The problem is we don’t know how to convert mass to energy in any way that can be practically initiated or controlled.

    “Care to extend or amend?”

    I suppose I should now that you mention it.

    We don’t know of a practical way to do that via nuclear fusion.

    We do it via nuclear fission in nuclear power plants and radio-isotope thermoelectric generators, and even exothermic chemical reactions technically lose a bit of mass equivalent to the energy released.

    The usable energy produced by the above means is rather costly though. Nuclear power plants are far from the least expensive means of producing electricity and RTGs are so expensive they’re only used in unmanned space exploration where there’s no other practical choice due to the cost of boosting mass to far flung reaches of the solar system.

    Is that sufficiently amended?

  123. In the article this is said:

    “The proof comes with the team’s examination of the nickel material after use – the copper is plainly there – found using an atomic microscope at the University of Bologna.”

    I do research in environmental geochemistry, which often turns out to be a lot of materials science. As a result, I use a lot of electron microscopy in my line of work.

    A) “Atomic microscope” suggests a high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HR-TEM). Only HR-TEM has the resolving power to see down to an “atomic” level, though this is typically on the order of the lattice level, and not so much individual atoms. Though there are microscopes and microscopists out there that can get atomic resolution.

    B) Copper contamination is the most common form of contamination in all forms of TEM and HR-TEM. In fact, carbon coated Cu grids are used to prepare and provide support to samples in the transmitted electron beam. Therefore, unless you use another kind of grid, you’re going to have Cu contamination by default.

    C) Even if you don’t use a Cu support grid, there are myriad other places for Cu contamination. For example, the sample rod used to introduce the samples into the microscope probably is mostly Cu or is some alloy thereof, as it has to be conductive. Plus their are probably all kinds of other components with Cu in them in the microscope because of its conductivity, and the need to make electromagnets to focus the electron beam.

    Conclusion) The fact that they found Cu in their sample with “atomic microscopy” aka electron microscopy, comes as no surprise. We find Cu contamination in every sample we run unless we take care to use gold grids. One can only hope their microscopist controlled for contamination issues it, or they are smart enough to have controlled for contamination.

  124. If any of you have read my comments over the last several weeks wherein I’ve objected to and refuted people denigrating “cold fusion”, all I can say is “I told you so”.

    And practically all of the objections to this phenomenon listed by people above are based on ignorance of the subject–that, or they’re irresponsibly skeptical and ignore the possiblity and obviously don’t do one ounce of study and research. (Guys, the Internet is useful for upgrading your knowledge and it only makes you look silly to make statements that painfully show you’ve taken no effort to do so.)

    I’ve seen several mentions of the lack of gamma ray particles. Guess what–LENR absorbs any gamma rays it produces, making it a near perfect form of nuclear energy production, so citing that as evidence nothing is happening shows you’re woefully misinformed–Requiring a signature of hot fusion as a requirement for LENR fusion is just silly–there’s more than one way to fuse elements together and while hot fusion seems to be the predominant method now working in the universe, it isn’t the only way (there’s also the possibility of using “cold fusion” to destroy radioactive byproducts from nuclear power plants, which would completely eliminate any objection to greatly expanding these power sources).

    The first paragraph says “the original Cold Fusion research was seriously flawed” and I ask what original Cold Fusion research are you referring to? Philo T Farnsworth built spherical devices he used for his cold fusion research that predated the U of U research by decades–one of these devices sits in a museum that features Farnsworth’s other notable achievment not a mile from where I live.

    The tests in the development of high voltage electrical switches nearly a century ago found that helium was a common byproduct. This was rejected out of hand as being “impossible”, but now it is regarded as an example of nuclear fusion at relatively low temperatures–hence in the realm of “cold fusion”.

    Dismissal of the Navy’s research by some here is unfortunate and misinformed–the Navy has painstakingly examined it since anything that might have promise as a phenomenal energy source is worth investigating, especially in light of advancements made in the science by investigators in other countries. It is unfortunate that the hot fusion cabal was able to completely destroy all funding for this phenomenon–requiring that it be replicated 100% of the time is very unfortunate; if it works even part of the time, that should spur additional research into the science (did Edison require 100% success from the get go when developing the light bulb?)

    I’m convinced the LENR/CANR phenomena are real and a potential source of significant energy. There’s enough energy in the heavy water fraction in a cubic mile of seawater to power mankind’s energy demands for the next 1,000 years. That’s certainly worth pursuing; indeed, wouldn’t it be worth $billions in research funds? I say yes, indeed it would. Too bad we’ve thrown $billions away on hot fusion with no promising results–a fraction of that should have been directed toward “cold fusion”. But now the US is woefully behind the rest of the world in what appears to be the most promising energy source imaginable. We won’t benefit from it if we don’t work on it.

  125. Roger Knights says:
    January 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    “Park is fully on-board the conformist/consensus bandwagon along with his conventional-minded fellow-scoftics:”

    Hmm … I wouldn’t assume that being wrong about global warming would automatically make Robert Park wrong about cold fusion.

  126. BarryW says:
    January 23, 2011 at 7:08 am
    “The Greens are going to go nuts since deep down they hate civilization. ”

    Nah, they already are.

  127. John M

    Yes, that’s it precisely. The aluminum-gallium solves the problem of the explosive nature of hydrogen. A car can drive around with a tank of water that is slowly released onto the aluminum- gallium to produce hydrogen on demand. The aluminum-gallium is later recycled with electricity. (Maybe an aluminum-gallium block could be exchanged at a service station to be recharged.) It allows one to use electricity to run a high horse-power hydrogen combustion engine, as opposed to a weak magnetic electric motor.

    Sounds good on paper anyway.

  128. jim karlock says:
    January 23, 2011 at 4:13 am

    DeNihilistSo if this works, then back to steam energy?
    JK: Err, most modern electric generation is via steam – coal, natural gas and nuclear all make steam to turn the turbines connected to the alternators. The only difference is the fuel – chemical or nuclear.

    I think the author may have been thinking about smaller engines suitable for vehicular use. Still probably not steam engines though but rather Stirling engines which have better power-to-weight ratios in small engines and because the working fluid is completely contained so there’d be no exhaust at all no need to carry around a tank of water. The heat generated by the apparatus wouldn’t be extracted via steam but rather something like a liquid salt. I believe that’s what is currently state of the art in small solar-thermal generators. A parabolic dish or fresnel lense is used to heat a crystal salt to very high temperature fluid and the fluid is pumped through the hot side of a Stirling engine the output shaft of which is used to drive an ordinary electrical generator.

  129. Greenies don’t want free, clean energy. They want a 95% reduction in humane beings. Free, clean energy would be the death knell to our planet in their Luddite minds. We are the problem not the clean energy, that’s just a step towards their goal. With fossil fuels banned how many of us could survive on the land when we each get 10 sq. ft., and have no shelter etc. Fossil fuel/AGW is just a means to wipe out humane beings off the earth!

  130. All you do to prove your case is hook a steam turbine to the output and make it self-sustaining. The fact that they come before the public yet again without doing it suggests that it can’t be done and that they are frauds. I would love for this stuff to work, but, these guys don’t seem to have anything but an opportunity for more funding.

  131. wesley bruce says:
    January 22, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Thanks for that write-up. I haven’t followed LENR closely enough to be much more than aware that P&F replication was ambiguous enough that some low-key research into the possibility has been ongoing ever since. In other words reports of the death of LENR are highly exaggerated.

    I wasn’t aware that there was a delta-T limit precluding higher efficiency heat engines and steam turbines. Thanks for the heads up for pointing out that high dT destroys the delicate catalytic substrate. Continuous regeneration of the substrate sounds expensive. Can you elaborate?

  132. Well, it would be easier to convince me had they not claimed no radioactivity found in the Nickel residual.

    Journal of Nuclear Physics (which is not a journal)
    A new energy source from nuclear fusion
    S. Focardi & A. Rossi

    “No radioactivity has been found also in the Nickel residual from the process.”

    Nickel has five stable isotopes with mass numbers 58, 60, 61, 62 & 64. The most abundant one is 58Ni, it is about 68% of it by mass. If it absorbs a proton (Hydrogen nucleus), it becomes 59Cu (a Copper isotope with mass number 59). It is not stable, decays into 59Ni with a halflife of 81.5 sec. Now, 59Ni is not stable either, it decays to 59Co (the only stable isotope of Cobalt), but its halflife is 76,000 years. Therefore, as reaction times are much shorter than that, it inevitably gets enriched in the residual.

    For all other stable isotopes of Nickel the claimed reaction path (n)Ni – (n+1)Cu – [(n+1)Ni] ends in a stable isotope of either Nickel or Copper.

    There may be other unstable isotopes coming from secondary reactions operating on unstable intermediate products, but still, 59Ni must be the most abundant one. I can see no indication this radioactive isotope was found in the Nickel residual, even if it would give much more support to the claim some nuclear reaction is going on indeed than any amount of steam.

    Of course there is no theoretical explanation regarding how the proton is supposed to overcome the Coulomb barrier either. Electron shielding in the crystal lattice or collective lattice modes are only linguistic constructs that may or may not hint at a would-be proper theoretical description of the phenomenon.

    They have filed a patent, that much is true.

    WO/2009/125444 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CARRYING OUT NICKEL AND HYDROGEN EXOTHERMAL REACTIONS

    But the description is vague.

    Anyway, if it is not a hoax, all energy problems are solved for the remaining lifetime of the solar system, as Nickel is pretty abundant in Earth’s crust (about 0.01%, annual production exceeds one million tonnes even now). Also, it looks like replacing heat production units with this Nickel-Hydrogen reactor in existing power plants would be a cheap & easy ride.

    I wonder how the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement or all the other environmentalist schemes to exterminate billions of souls could be justified if it turns out to work as advertised.

  133. It is a pity that there are so many naive customers and investors out there that scams are profitable. In this case everyone is very suspicious. World “knows” that cold fusion is a hoax. Is there money to be made if this is not real? If I buy a boiler to my house, a have to pay it about month after its installation. If it is not working I owe nothing. Additionally I should get a guarantee several years ahead. How could this be different?

    The demo itself proves nothing. There are lots of ways to do it without real stuff starting from editing the video to hiding a fuel tank inside the cover. Wikipedia tells that e.g. gasoline contains 35 MJ/l (13 kWh/kg) which comparable to the energy released in the demo. An obvious reason to arrange a test like this is that the target customers have seen the apparatus and are convinced that it is working as they say. But still, I would like more respect to scientific method including solid measurements.

    Many important claims are thrown but not proven. I understand secrecy but it makes patenting the invention and peer reviewed publishing impossible. Because there is a good comment about patenting above, I skip that now. AGW is not the only area of science where peer review process is flawed. It is really hard to get innovative new stuff approved while press releases spam us with low quality mainstream research.

  134. beng says:
    January 23, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Without reading the details, I can still say that unless one can detect alot of heat and most importantly, high-speed neutrons from the reaction, there’s no useful energy production.

    This gets me jumpy. I mean, I’ve heard about neutron bombs at the end of the cold war. Then I also read that this gadget needs enough energy for a “safe shutdown” or whatever. Should I calm down, or not?

  135. Ed Zuiderwijk says:
    January 23, 2011 at 8:12 am

    This is of course total bunkum. Also the attempt to explain it (read the pdf article) is
    junk science. The binding energy per nucleon is at its highest for the elements Fe, Cobalt Nickel. The reaction Ni+p -> Cu is therefore endothermic. Sorry folks, but this paper is clearly due for publication on April 1st.

    Yes for endothermic,but they are not calling it fusion, they are calling it “capture”. So the title of this post is misleading as far as the mechanism they have in their head.

    Trying to see their thought processes ( hand waving here) : In a shell model of the nucleus the energy level of Cu 59 exists ( resonance scattering? ) above the energy level of Ni58. The proton “shielded” by the electron of Hydrogen has a probability of occupying this level and thus creates a Cu59 which then as unstable decays and gives the decay energies.

    Wishful model I think.

  136. Loodt Pretorius says:
    January 23, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Lief/Josualdo: –
    Regarding your comment about the length of test, hereto an excerpt from their patent application.
    …A practical embodiment of the inventive apparatus, installed on October 16, 2007, is at present perfectly operating 24 hours per day, and provides an amount of heat sufficient to heat the factory of the
    Company EON of via Carlo Ragazzi 18, at Bondeno

    Thanks! This is getting less soft. I mean, if a company is getting heat on that from the past three years, they are unlikely to be wasting their money. Let’s wait for details.

  137. We enjoy the fruits of the the industrial revolution and the information revolution…what we desperately need now is the energy revolution. How I wish our young people directed their intellect and energy toward physics instead of Facebook-ing, Guitar Hero-ing and Halo-ing. So it goes.

    If you’ll tolerate a brief shameless plug, my playful thoughts on this theme are embedded in: Hartz String Theory.

  138. Didn’t see it mentioned or cited, so, below is what caught my attention of this subject a few years back:

    ANOMALOUS EFFECTS IN DEUTERATED SYSTEMS
    by Melvin H. Miles, Benjamin F. Bush, Kendall B. Johnson
    Research and Technology Division
    SEPTEMBER 1996
    NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER WEAPONS DIVISION
    CHINA LAKE, CA 93555-6100

    ANOMALOUS EFFECTS IN DEUTERATED SYSTEMS

    ABSTRACT

    Abstract : Excess power was measured in 28 out of 94 electrochemical experiments conducted using palladium or palladium alloy cathodes in heavy water. Reproducibility continues to be the major problem in this controversial research area. Based on our experiments, this lack of reproducibility stems from unknown variables in the palladium metal. The best reproducibility for excess power was obtained using palladium boron materials supplied by the Naval Research Laboratory.

    Our basic isoperibolic calorimeters were capable of measuring excess power with a sensitivity of +/- 1% of the input power or +/- 20 mW, whichever was larger. Calorimeters that are capable of detecting excess power levels of 1 watt per cubic centimeter of palladium are essential for research in this field. Results from our laboratory indicate that helium-4 is the missing nuclear product accompanying the excess heat.

    Thirty out of 33 experiments showed a correlation between either excess power and helium production or no excess power and no excess helium. The collection of the electrolysis gases in both glass and metal flasks place the helium-4 production rate at 10(exp 11) to 10(exp 12) atoms per second per watt of excess power. This is the correct magnitude for typical deuteron fusion reactions that yield helium-4 as a product. Anomalous radiation was detected in some experiments by the use of X-ray films, Geiger-Mueller counters, and by the use of sodium iodide detectors. There was never any significant production of tritium in any of our experiments.

  139. To: Grey Lensman says:
    “Thats a religious diktat not science, try telling that to the universe that works.”

    LOL. Loved your quote.

    In fact, the Big Bang theory was created by a Catholic priest,
    Georges Lemaître. AND, the Big Bang theory is simply a reworded idea taken from the Bible version of God creating the universe. That’s why the Catholic Church went along with it.

    To: Dave Springer
    I have no desire to quibble over whether the converted mass comes from the nucleus or the electrons in an exothermic chemical reaction. So, I will change it to ‘atomic energy’. My main point still holds. ‘Matter’ being something from the ATOM, is being converted into energy. That, at its heart, is not purely ‘chemical’ in nature. It is something else.

    To: _Jim
    Cite references?

    E=MC^2 Einstein’s famous equation. Look it up. It’s all over the internet.
    The E in there, ‘Energy’ can only exist, can only come from the conversion of matter (mass) into energy. For example, take the Hoover Dam…in the falling water driving the generator, there is some mass (matter) is being converted into energy somewhere in the process.

    Even within the human body, there is an ‘atomic transformation’ of some matter into energy. We are all walking around ‘atomic reactors’….

  140. Domenic January 23, 2011 at 10:30 am :
    To: _Jim
    Re: Cite references?

    … Look it up. …

    I don’t think you addressed my question; already familiar with the ‘elementaries’ as most here are … but thank you anyway for what was probably an earlier statement from a side of ‘pseudoscience’ …

    .

  141. And this:

    On an electrode producing massive quantities of tritium and helium
    Chun-Ching Chien, Dalibor Hodko , Zoran Minevski, John O’M. Bockris

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/ChienCConanelectr.pdf

    Abstract:

    A Pd electrode has been examined which produced a concentration of tritium in a 0.1 M LiOD solution around 10^3 times above background. Tritium production at a given potential ceased after a few days, but could be restarted by a small increase of the deuterium overpotential. Correspondingly, He4 was found in 9-10 pieces of the Pd electrode at 2-100 times background. Addition of fresh amounts of D2O quenched the T production which began again spontaneously after 1-2 days. If the T had come from contamination, 3He would have been found in the electrode: it was absent. Loss of charge by the nucleus lakes place when the fugacity of D in voids exceeds 10^17 atm (Lifshitz and Pitaevskii, 1963). Sporadicity of function arises from the state of the surface, which is difficult to reproduce. The surface state controls the mechanism of D- evolution: only some mechanisms give a fugacity high enough to cause fusion. Only one electrode out of four examined produced T and 4He. The surface of this electrode contained a Cu-mosaic structure, not seen on the inactive electrodes.

  142. I noticed some skeptics refs to COE and a seeming oversight regarding the need for this anomally to maintain a thermal level near the disassociation level of h2- Early on Mills made remarks about “ashless chemistry”, Lyne and Moller posited an oscillation between H1 & H2 and we knew there was some unexplained thermal anomaloies going all the way back to Langmuir. My point is that an interim force may be responsible for the nuclear reactions. Naudts suggested the hydrino was actually relativistic hydrogen and if you assume the Casimir geometry is responsible for this relativistic environment you have the basis for Maxwells demon on a scale even smaller than Wesley Bruce mentioned in an earlier comment above. I would posit the underlying basis leading to the nuclear reactions is actually relativistic chemistry – that the changing of Casimir geometry equals changes in energy density which opposes the translation of h2 but not h1. Effectively allowing Gas law and energy supression to discount the thermal energy needed to disassociate h2 below the level released upon association. Not in violation of COE but rather a practical variation on
    Maxwell’s demon to harvest the chaotic energy behind gas law. Since gas law is built on Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle this thermal energy is constantly replenished.
    Note Mills Rayney nickel can be considered an inverse form of these nano powders and is of the smae Casimir geometry.

  143. JDN says:
    January 23, 2011 at 9:47 am

    “All you do to prove your case is hook a steam turbine to the output and make it self-sustaining. The fact that they come before the public yet again without doing it suggests that it can’t be done and that they are frauds. I would love for this stuff to work, but, these guys don’t seem to have anything but an opportunity for more funding.”

    Steam turbines require superheated dry steam at very high pressure. My understanding at this point is that the catalytic substrate is destroyed by high temperature so this thing right now can only provide low-quality heat i.e. above the boiling point of water but not hot enough to drive a steam turbine. Hence the prototype they claim has been running continuously for 2-3 years is doing nothing more than heating a building which is one of very few practical applications for low quality heat.

    Just as an aside if low quality heat were usable for power generation everybody and his brother would have solar hot water heaters on their roof the low-quality heat of which would be used to drive a steam turbine generator to provide electricity for the house. In reality the only use that hot water is good for is a pre-heater between the cold water supply and the inlet of a conventional electric or natural gas hot water heater and only then in the right climate. I had solar water heaters on the roof of my home in southern California back in the 1980’s and they did work well enough to lower my electric bill enough to pay for themselves over the course of 5 years or so.

  144. Domenic says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

    To: Dave Springer

    “I have no desire to quibble over whether the converted mass comes from the nucleus or the electrons in an exothermic chemical reaction.”

    Great because it’s not a quibble. Chemistry is all about bonds between atoms. Atomic energy is all about bonds between particles in the nucleus. This is Chemistry 101 stuff. You being in denial of the difference between chemistry and nuclear physics doesn’t change fact that you’re dead wrong. It just makes you look like you never passed a high school chemistry course. If you want to continue that way it’s immaterial to me.

  145. The Hoover dam uses mechanical energy conversion – potential to kinetic – one form of energy to another form. Gravity is the essential force involved in this conversion. This is not a nuclear reaction or even an atomic reaction – it involves no conversion of mass into energy. Endo and exothermic chemical reactions are not “nuclear” and the human body is not a “nuclear reactor” it is a chemical reactor that converts food materials (carbs and proteins) into smaller chemical building blocks (using oxygen) that the body can use. E=MC2 specifically relates to nuclear reactions where energy is produced from the annihilation of matter.

  146. And, last in this short series of posts, I would be remiss in not mentioning:

    Thermal and Nuclear Aspects of the Pd/D20 System,
    Volume 1: A Decade of Research at Navy Laboratories
    S. J. Szpak, P.A. Mosier-Boss, Editors, February 2002

    Link to Vol. 1 (and 2) of this paper:

    http://www.spawar.navy.mil/sti/publications/biblio/IMAGING.HTML

    Partial foreward:

    FOREWORD
    Twelve years have passed since the announcement on 23 March 1989 by Professors Fleischmann and Pons that the generation of excess enthalpy occurs in electrochemical cells when palladium electrodes, immersed in D2O + LiOH electrolyte, are negatively polarized.

    The announcement, which came to be known as “Cold Fusion,” caused frenzied excitement. In both the scientific and news communities, fax machines were used to pass along fragments of rumor and “facts.” (Yes, this was before wide spread use of the internet. One can only imagine what would happen now.) Companies and individuals rushed to file patents on yet to be proven ideas in hopes of winning the grand prize.

    Unfortunately, the phenomenon described by Fleischmann and Pons was far from being understood and even factors necessary for repeatability of the experiments were unknown. Over the next few months, the scientific community became divided into the “believers” and the “skeptics.”

    The “believers” reported the results of their work with enthusiasm that at times overstated the significance of their results. On the other hand, many “skeptics” rejected the anomalous behavior of the polarized Pd/D system as a matter of conviction, i.e., without analyzing the presented material and always asking “where are the neutrons?”

    Funding for research quickly dried up as anything related to “Cold Fusion” was portrayed as a hoax and not worthy of funding. The term “Cold Fusion” took on a new definition much as the Ford Edsel had done years earlier. …

    .

  147. Irving Langmuir coined the phrase pathological science in a talk in 1953.
    Pathological science, as defined by Langmuir, is a psychological process in which a scientist, originally conforming to the scientific method, unconsciously veers from that method, and begins a pathological process of wishful data interpretation (see the Observer-expectancy effect, and cognitive bias). Some characteristics of pathological science are:

    The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause.

    The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability, or many measurements are necessary because of the very low statistical significance of the results.

    There are claims of great accuracy.

    Fantastic theories contrary to experience are suggested.

    Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses.

    The ratio of supporters to critics rises and then falls gradually to oblivion.

    Langmuir never intended the term to be rigorously defined; it was simply the title of his talk on some examples of “weird science”. As with any attempt to define the scientific endeavor, examples and counterexamples can always be found.

    The above is quoted verbatim from the Wikipedia article on pathological science. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathological_science

    Wikipedia also has a detailed article on cold fusion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion

    You will find there information inconsistent with the claims of the cold fusion buffs who left comments on this thread. Sorry, Dave Springer, chemical reactions are not nuclear reactions in any sense of the term as nothing at the subatomic level changes in the course of a chemical reaction.

    Farther out on the lunatic fringe of pathological science you will find the Zero Point Energy crowd:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-point_energy#Claims_in_pseudoscience They are good for a laugh.

  148. Sal Minella says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

    The Hoover dam uses mechanical energy conversion – potential to kinetic – one form of energy to another form. Gravity is the essential force involved in this conversion.

    This is very funny, for I was just idling, thinking about from where, ultimately, comes the energy that dams generate, and as usual, it comes from the sun — ultimately. Something, the water, has to fall through the gravity gradient, but how did it got up there in the first place? The sun got it there.

  149. There are many questions that need to be addressed.

    1. According to the information given we are told that the maximum input power is 400W. According to the system used especially in Europe it is not uncommon to have available at the wall socket 250V at 16A or 4,000 kVA.

    2. This experiment ran for an hour and all 8.8kg of water was converted to steam. This seems unlikely in any system.

    3. What were the conditions of the test? Was ambient at 25C? What was the pressure?

    4. What was the pressure of the steam at the output? How was it determined to be dry steam? Since the steam was at 101C this is very close to the transition temp, and would call the “dry” statement into question. Also conditions within the system would affect the energy of vaporization for water, greatly affecting the results.

    5. I saw no evaluation of the other possible chemical reactions that could have caused this heat rise. Were all materials accounted for? Would re-running the experiment after replenishing system with water give the same results? Do you have to replace the electrodes after every run?

    6. How do you stop the process? If this is as energetic as your results suggest, one wonders how this would be controlled. Especially since you vaporized 8.8kg of water once you reached 100C in 30 minutes. This represents a factor of two increase in the rate of energy delivered. So what was so important about 100C? Should not the energy delivered be constant? If not why?

    7. Also I find it concerning that we are expressing everything in watts. We are dealing in energy. To convert to watts only makes it more confusing. This is a thermodynamic evaluation. Joules in Joules out. Simple and concise. The only time that is is appropriate to deal with energy flow rates are to evaluate the various conditions at certain phases of the experiment.

    There are way too many open holes in this for me to even consider it a viable option. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. I want to see conditions, materials, complete experimental methodology, and reproducibility before I would see this as viable.

  150. The question I have with this topic has always been, how much energy and in what form was it stored in these special substrates? Could it simply be the rapid release of energy from a metal-hydride battery?

  151. Josualdo says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

    “This gets me jumpy. I mean, I’ve heard about neutron bombs at the end of the cold war. Then I also read that this gadget needs enough energy for a “safe shutdown” or whatever. Should I calm down, or not?”

    I think calm is in order. By safe shut-down I think they mean no damage to the device in the event the load is taken away and the unit heats up enough to damage it. From what I understand of their claims at this point is that the apparatus can’t avoid damage to itself if it gets much hotter than the boiling point of water. That’s a big limitation as temperatures in range of boiling water is low grade heat that isn’t useful for much except heating a building, taking a hot shower, or washing clothes and dishes.

  152. Dave Springer @ 9:44 – corresct!

    Your earlier description filled my nostagict brain with images of the first auto-mobiles – the chap in the open coupe, with long jacket, cap, goggles one stick in his right hand, and behind, the wonderous steam stack billowing forth water vapour…..

    Ahhhh…

  153. http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=360

    Maybe a running 1MW powerplant will make it easier to belive this?

    Andrea Rossi
    January 23rd, 2011 at 10:49 AM
    Dear Mr Giorgio Roncolato:
    The volume of the reactor is 1 liter.
    If you read carefully the report you find all yuo are asking for.
    In any case, soon we will have operative reactors of 1 MW at work 24 hours per day.
    This will be our next public demo.
    Warm regards,
    A.R.

  154. “7. Also I find it concerning that we are expressing everything in watts. We are dealing in energy. To convert to watts only makes it more confusing. This is a thermodynamic evaluation. Joules in Joules out. Simple and concise. The only time that is is appropriate to deal with energy flow rates are to evaluate the various conditions at certain phases of the experiment.”

    Nuclear power plants are rated in watts. People understand how much useful power is in a watt like for instance a 100-watt light bulb or a 1000watt blow dryer. Some might even know that one horsepower is about 750watts so a 25kw electric vehicle motor is about 33 horsepower. Joules are for physicists. Watts, BTUs, and horsepower are for laymen. We’re mostly laymen here including me. I have difficulty relating joules to real world applications but have little problem with watts, BTUs, and horsepower although I don’t care for converting between those either and prefer my motor and engine ratings in horsepower, furnaces and air conditioners in BTUs, and electrical appliances in watts.

  155. Josualdo,

    Interesting point. Most of the energy in the water driving the Hoover dam did come from the Sun, however, some comes from tectonic plate upwelling and the evaporation of water from various human activities as well as volcanic action, etc. Taking your point one step further, this energy originates from a source that formed the Sun and the entire Universe, for that matter. You could say that the Hoover dam is driven by the Big Bang. But, where did that energy come from?

  156. Sal Minella says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:56 am
    “The Hoover dam uses mechanical energy conversion – potential to kinetic – one form of energy to another form. Gravity is the essential force involved in this conversion. This is not a nuclear reaction or even an atomic reaction – it involves no conversion of mass into energy. Endo and exothermic chemical reactions are not “nuclear” and the human body is not a “nuclear reactor” it is a chemical reactor that converts food materials (carbs and proteins) into smaller chemical building blocks (using oxygen) that the body can use. E=MC2 specifically relates to nuclear reactions where energy is produced from the annihilation of matter.”

    1. Gravity only exists by virtue of mass as far as is known. No mass, no gravity.

    2. The human body releases ‘heat’ in addition to transforming atoms into various molecules. Any release of ‘heat’ is a mass energy conversion.

    Unless you wish to deny that your own body releases ‘heat’?…in which case you would be ‘dead’. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    I know that E=MC^2 is an alien idea to most people, difficult to get ones arms around. It requires much thought. But its reality cannot be denied.

    Sometimes you have to step back and really look closely at what nature is showing you, and not impose artificial constructs on it.

  157. Frank Znidarsic has a theory which connects palladium-based cold fusion to sonofusion and Podklentov’s work.

  158. IMO, if this tech becomes stable, not only will it enable mankind to lift ALL of us out of poverty, but it would then release the true potential of oil. Instead of wasting it in 16-30% effeciencies of the ICM, the potential for drug prices to drop, food production to go up, better, lighter plastics, etc. would finally be unleashed.

    Bring it on! I want to live long enough to see humanity evolve into the Egg-Heads of older science-fiction!

  159. Ed Zuiderwijk says:
    January 23, 2011 at 8:12 am

    This is of course total bunkum. Also the attempt to explain it (read the pdf article) is
    junk science. The binding energy per nucleon is at its highest for the elements Fe, Cobalt Nickel. The reaction Ni+p -> Cu is therefore endothermic. Sorry folks, but this paper is clearly due for publication on April 1st.

    Of course it could be bunkum. The paper also looks like junk science. But the reaction described, if the Coulomb barrier is overcome somehow and energy released is converted to lattice excitations (phonons) instead of gamma rays, could work.

    It is definitely not true it would be endothermic. Just consider isotopic masses:

    1H: 1.0078, nucleus is a proton (p)

    58Ni: 57.9354 + p = 59Cu:58.9395 (0.0037) – decays further
    60Ni: 59.9308 + p = 61Cu:60.9335 (0.0051) – decays further
    61Ni: 60.9311 + p = 62Cu:61.9326 (0.0063) – decays further
    62Ni: 61.9284 + p = 63Cu:62.9296 (0.0066) – stable
    64Ni: 63.928 + p = 65Cu:64.9278 (0.0080) – stable

    If a proton is added to (x)Ni, it is transformed to (x+1)Cu and the sum of isotopic masses of H and Ni is greater than that of the resulting Cu for each stable isotope of Nickel (excess mass in parentheses). That excess mass is released as energy during the reaction, in the form of gamma rays under normal circumstances.

    Therefore the claimed reactions are at least exothermic.

  160. Brian Josephson says:
    January 23, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Bravo, Dr. Josephson! There is indeed a lot more to the Fleischman and Pons story than appears in the standard derisory accounts of their unwanted brush with fame and notoriety. Accepted Science tries to explain phenomena according to the existing standard accounts, and where there is no standard account, the response is often to try to hide or ignore mysterious phenomena, or ostracize those who investigate these areas. An example is Barbara McClintock, who discovered the controlling mechanisms of genes in maize, but felt obliged to stop publishing her work because it was receiving a bewildered and hostile reception, and she feared alienation from her peers and scientific mainstream.

    Yet generally these fringes of the unexplained or unexplainable are the loci for ‘scientific revolutions’ and the emergence of new paradigms, if I may use the now-hackneyed phraseology of Kuhn. My own attitude is not skepticism, exactly – I don’t understand what is going on well enough – but cautious interest.

  161. Interesting, socially speaking. The ratio of post types is waaaaay off standard here.

    Sure, the insults fly on occasion on the hotter-topic threads, but generally the signal-to-noise ratio is fairly high here.

    This one is about 1/3 cautious optimism, 1/3 questions and 1/3 insults. Kind of mushing things into categories, but you get the idea.

    And the insults are averaging the *least* thoughtful posts (with exceptions) (i.e. the “free energy/perpetual motion” slams, which is not the claim).

    I don’t know whether there’s anything to the device in question, and I suspect very few people posting here do. I do recall that the reaction to Pons and Fleischmann was pretty vitriolic at the time, and that kind of surprised me. I figured it would be more of an “Oh, that didn’t work? Well, let’s move on.” It, however, wasn’t.

    Instead, it seems to have become a question of dogma – if you’re “in the club” you deride the subject. Alternatively, if you define yourself as “outside the club” you tend to defend it. I would think a higher percentage of people would take the “who can say” approach they do to most research.

    I always said science was just as polarized and personal as other fields.

  162. Domenic,

    Oxidation, a chemical process that uses Oxygen to break down complex chemicals, produces heat as do many exothermic chemical reactions. There is no nuclear process occuring here and no conversion of mass into energy.

  163. He was harangued in the columns of The New York Times (May 2, 1998) by one Robert L Park, a Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, and gratuitously accused of being in the pay of the petroleum industry.

    Uhu. Some people make careers out of making sure that no one thinks “outside the box.”

  164. Topics like this are always a lot of fun, but they bring all the kook posters out of the woodwork and don’t help the image of WUWT.

    I would much rather be reading cold fusion posts at realclimate.org.

  165. There doesn’t seem to be much agreement on the difference between chemical and nuclear reactions on this board. As far as I know chemical reactions involve the formation and breakage of chemical (electrostatic) bonds that hold atoms together in chemical structures. Nuclear reactions involve the breaking or formation of nuclear bonds (strong and weak nuclear forces) that actually alter the atom causing annihilation of transmutation (conversion of an element (like Ni to Cu)). Gravity, as it is currently understood, is a distortion in spatetime caused by the mass of an object.

    If there is no common acceptance of these (or other) principles then there can be no conversation. Calling chemical reactions nuclear reactions, on a whim negates any possibility of dialog.

  166. Ken Lydell says:
    January 23, 2011 at 11:08 am
    “Irving Langmuir coined the phrase pathological science in a talk in 1953….”

    Thank you for saving me the effort of posting the links. This, and AGW, are the definition of Pathalgical Science.

    Anyone care to debate that these guys have reinvented Raney Nickel? Going once…going twice….

  167. Sal Minella says:
    January 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

    [...]
    Taking your point one step further, this energy originates from a source that formed the Sun and the entire Universe, for that matter. You could say that the Hoover dam is driven by the Big Bang. But, where did that energy come from?

    That looks a lot like metaphysics already :-) We could also start talking about metaphysics’ possible worlds and all, as there was even a very veiled suggestion about that (or so I took it), but we had better stick to the non-meta stuff :-)

    But yes,…. infinities, that’s appealing…

  168. Domenic says:
    January 23, 2011 at 11:51 am

    2. The human body releases ‘heat’ in addition to transforming atoms into various molecules. Any release of ‘heat’ is a mass energy conversion.

    Right, but not mass to energy, of course. The energy released here comes strictly from molecular chemical bonds, from the breaking down of molecules, respecting the conservation of mass.

  169. I am reasonably certain that 0.4kW from a wall socket in the US is minimal; the maximum is very likely to be at least 5 times that figure, in most houses (unless there is something of which I am ignorant, such as the maximum cross-sectional area of pos & neg power cable allowed). That was my initial response to the o.4kW in, 12kW out hypothesis. Perhaps it is no wonder, if true, that the “inventors” wanted to call it ‘cold’ fusion. There’s quite an amount of heat energy there!
    If it sounds too good to be true, then…

  170. Wesley Bruce (11.45 pm) and Brian Josephson (2:33 am) have made sensitive, informed comments. Several have left some very telling URL’s. Sadly I found many comments here to be of the snide “pass the popcorn” variety. After investigating several of the links carefully, and reading up about transmutation of elements by plants (Prof Kervran), I am left with no doubt whatsoever that there is something serious in LENR. And we can choose to be part of this important discovery process - if we do the homework. Some of the homework is simply paying attention and applying commonsense. Like, noticing the number of excellent websites talking about LENR; the number of excellent contributors from around the world; the presence of university professors and involvement of university departments; quotes like these:

    Let my name stand among those who are willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the truth’s sake, and so earn some right to rejoice when the victory is won – Louisa May Alcott

    They deem him their worst enemy who tells him the truth – Plato 400BC

    because I recognize other people who know the feeling of bearing unjust ridicule, and continuing to fight for truth, like I’ve known and climate skeptics have known – the same quality of quotes as I frequently see here. I find no signs of thimblerigging hucksters here.

    It isn’t just two Italians out to make a packet, a name, whatever. It’s a whole movement, many of whom are qualified and skeptical scientists and engineers. IOW, another group that mainstream science has sidelined, just like us. IMHO they deserve intelligent appraisal and qualified support from us

  171. Merovign says:
    January 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I do recall that the reaction to Pons and Fleischmann was pretty vitriolic at the time, and that kind of surprised me. I figured it would be more of an “Oh, that didn’t work? Well, let’s move on.” It, however, wasn’t.

    You are being unfair to the average Joe physicist. I lived through that time and I do not think there was a solid state or nuclear or even high energy physicist who was not at first very interested, many in a positive sense because it was something unexpected and new. What you describe is the backlash, when it was realized that the numbers did not add up. Some people reacted as if they had been taken in. Most just moved on.

  172. I just hope that this claim is not along the lines of the infamous Blacklight Power crowd where for several years, public demonstrations and trial deployments have been promised just a few months away for over 3 years now. The goalposts move continuously.

  173. I’ve been following Cold Fusion since the original controversy, and there is actually a growing body of evidence to support it, and nickel is what most of the latest papers I’ve actually read have been focused on. The short form? Excess heat and radiation have been observed in experiments, the problem? It’s poorly understood, and it’s a trial and error process to actually get a system that produces the effect. Since the MIT “expose” by hot fusion researchers who found negative results (by raising the baseline of their measurements above the actual positive results they found, a tactic that made Eugene Mallove, the then current PR person for MIT resign in protest upon discovery) “Mainstream science” has treated LENR as anathema, despite the thousands of positive results found and published in peer reviewed journals outside the US and Europe. Even the US NAVY has found positive LENR results.

    The best theory I’ve heard so far is that microscopic channels in the nickel could be exerting sufficient casimir forces on the hydrogen to cause small amounts of fusion. As we can’t study the nickel at this level, it’s very hard to determine the precise diameter of a channel needed to cause the effect. This theory would also explain the BLP reports as basically a cold fusion effect too, and not “hydrinos” as it’s maker claims.

    I’m skeptical about THIS particular device primarily because of the secrecy involved in the “extra ingredients” but I’m basically reserving judgement for the time being. I can understand the desire to keep the precise details under wraps for business purposes. My primary annoyance is the unprofessional way it’s been treated in such mainstream journals such as Physorg, who basically wrote an article for no other purpose but to cast aspersions on the possibility.

  174. It seems that there is a very rare and expensive and unstable isotope of Ni that transmutes to Cu in a relatively short period of time. Doesn’t seem to be practical or cost-effective.

    From nextbigfuture.com:

    < “Nickel-64 can be purchased at 95% enrichment for about $100,000 for 5 grams. The ratio of isotopes is not controversial. Can these reactions be catalyzed ? Is that what is happening with many LENR and Blacklight Power experiments ?

    I say yes, but experiments can be done to confirm or falsify this theory.

    This theory has been updated by Jones Beene (H/T to Froarty in the comments)
    An earlier version of the theory focused on Halo Nuclei but now it does not.

    The O-P effect would give 59Ni as the activated nucleus – but this has a very long half-lie – thousands of years so that does not help us very much. However, with 64Ni you get 65Ni as the activated nucleus and it has a 2.5 hr half life and decays to copper. This is the range half-life that can explain “heat after death” and also the delay in heat buildup over time.

    The Oppenheimer-Phillips process, or deuteron stripping reaction, is a type of deuteron-induced nuclear reaction which depends on charge shielding. In this process, the neutron component of an energetic deuteron fuses with a target nucleus, transmuting the target to a heavier isotope while ejecting a proton. An example is the nuclear transmutation of carbon-12 to carbon-13.

    Let us make the clear distinction that this is a fusion reaction, followed by beta day of the heavier nucleus. The fusion is between deuterium and nickel. The ash is a proton, and eventually a beta particle and a transmuted element (to copper). The mechanics of interaction allow a nuclear fusion interaction to take place at much lower energies than would be expected from a calculation of the Coulomb barrier between a deuteron and a target nucleus.

    This is because as the deuteron approaches the positively charged target nucleus, it experiences a charge polarization where the “proton-end” faces away from the target and the “neutron-end” faces towards the target. The deuteron must be accelerated of course, but the rate of acceleration, being a function of time, is expected to be influenced by time distortion within a Casimir cavity. In this hypothesis, the Casimir cavity of 2-10 nm is required. The fusion proceeds when the binding energy of the approaching neutron and the target nucleus exceeds the binding energy of the deuteron and the trailing proton. That proton is then repelled from the new heavier nucleus. This is one indication of the reaction – hydrogen in place of deuterium – which will poison the reaction unless removed. “>

  175. Berényi Péter says:

    You are right if you look at the mass deficit. But there is something else: Look at the spin of the nuclei involved:

    Ni 58 0 Cu 59 3/2
    60 3/2 61 3/2
    61 3/2 62 1
    62 0 63 3/2
    64 0 65 3/2

    The proton carries a spin 1/2. The reactions proposed therefore violate the conservation of spin, a very fundamental conservation law at the sub-atomic level.
    Hence, those reactions will not occur, not in nature, not in the machine built by the authors. The only way the spin balance could be restored is if the excess spin is carried away by neutrinos, which then also have to take away energy. That will reduce the yield of the reaction to the point that you would have to add energy to create those neutrinos. That’s why I said the reaction would be endothermic.

  176. Dave Springer says:

    this thing right now can only provide low-quality heat i.e. above the boiling point of water but not hot enough to drive a steam turbine. Hence the prototype they claim has been running continuously for 2-3 years is doing nothing more than heating a building which is one of very few practical applications for low quality heat.

    But residential heating consumes huge amounts of energy.

    And low-quality heat is also good enough for the desalinization of water.

    Those two applications alone would be revolutionary, even though electrical generation wouldn’t be possible.

  177. Loodt Pretorius says: January 23, 2011 at 6:16 am

    …A practical embodiment of the inventive apparatus, installed on October 16, 2007, is at present perfectly operating 24 hours per day, and provides an amount of heat sufficient to heat the factory of the Company EON of via Carlo Ragazzi 18, at Bondeno (Province of Ferrara)

    RockyRoad says: January 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

    _Jim says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:30 am
    January 23, 2011 at 10:47 am
    January 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

    More informed comments. Thanks. It all helps build up informed foundations. Better still to check those from the horse’s mouth, and ask worrying questions in the LENR blogs and forums, from the most-likely appropriate group of experts.

    blog here
    blog here
    blog here – worth a read – salutary point
    blog here

  178. Valkyrie Ice says: January 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Are you referring to a dishonest trick whereby Pons & Fleischman were incorrectly “discredited” because if so can you give a reference? I suspect this story is correct, but as Washington / Cromwell said (take your pick) “trust in God but keep your powder dry”.

  179. For the benefit of the ‘chemical priests’ making their points of view known here…

    I am always hesitant to use Wikipedia as a reference. However, in this case the article on mass-energy equivalence is a reasonable summary of E=MC^2, with no major bias that I can detect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E%3Dmc%C2%B2

    Any time energy is generated, the process can be evaluated from an E = mc2 perspective. For instance, the “Gadget”-style bomb used in the Trinity test and the bombing of Nagasaki had an explosive yield equivalent to 21 kt of TNT. About 1 kg of the approximately 6.15 kg of plutonium in each of these bombs fissioned into lighter elements totaling almost exactly one gram less, after cooling [The heat, light, and electromagnetic radiation released in this explosion carried the missing one gram of mass.][10] This occurs because nuclear binding energy is released whenever elements with more than 62 nucleons fission.

    Another example is hydroelectric generation. The electrical energy produced by Grand Coulee Dam’s turbines every 3.7 hours represents one gram of mass. This mass passes to the electrical devices which are powered by the generators (such as lights in cities), where it appears as a gram of heat and light.[11] Turbine designers look at their equations in terms of pressure, torque, and RPM. However, Einstein’s equations show that all energy has mass, and thus the electrical energy produced by a dam’s generators, and the heat and light which result from it, all retain their mass, which is equivalent to the energy. The potential energy—and equivalent mass—represented by the waters of the Columbia River as it descends to the Pacific Ocean would be converted to heat due to viscous friction and the turbulence of white water rapids and waterfalls were it not for the dam and its generators. This heat would remain as mass on site at the water, were it not for the equipment which converted some of this potential and kinetic energy into electrical energy, which can be moved from place to place (taking mass with it).

    Whenever energy is added to a system, the system gains mass.

    A spring’s mass increases whenever it is put into compression or tension. Its added mass arises from the added potential energy stored within it, which is bound in the stretched chemical (electron) bonds linking the atoms within the spring.
    Raising the temperature of an object (increasing its heat energy) increases its mass. For example, consider the world’s primary mass standard for the kilogram, made of platinum/iridium. If its temperature is allowed to change by 1°C, its mass will change by 1.5 picograms (1 pg = 1 × 10−12 g).[12]

    A spinning ball will weigh more than a ball that is not spinning. Its increase of mass is exactly the equivalent of the mass of energy of rotation, which is itself the sum of the kinetic energies of all the moving parts of the ball. For example, the Earth itself is more massive due to its daily rotation, than it would be with no rotation. This rotational energy (2.14 x 1029 J) represents 2.38 billion metric tons of added mass.[13]

  180. This reminds me of one of Martin Gardner’s articles, back when I still read Scientific American: Gardner’s creation, Dr. Irving Joshua Matrix, was demonstrating perpetual motion to venture capitalists (as I recall, the machine was a conveyor float type apparatus). Of course the machine’s power source eventually ran out, but by then Dr. Matrix had absconded with the investors’ money.

    Yes, yes, “cold fusion”/LENR isn’t perpetual motion, but it’s the next best thing. And if there are gigabucks to be made from it, and if you’re weeks from commercial application, you don’t announce to the world what you’re doing until you’ve done it, especially if it’s not yet patented. Of course that’s exactly what you do if all you have is diddly and need money to produce more of it.

    Now if in 15 years we’re all driving flying cars powered by Mr. Fusion, I’ll eat my words. Until then, I lump LENR in with astrology, perpetual motion, ESP, nuclear winter, CAGW, sustainability, etc., and have a good laugh at the expense of the true believers.

    Dr. Matrix: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Joshua_Matrix

  181. Okay, I finally have time to join in and comment on comments. This round is just comments on just Focardi and Rossi

    I did something I’ve never done – I printed out a WUWT page. I got it down to 25 paper pages by disabling CSS and printing just the meat. Curious – Comments got numbers! I guess they’re just not available in this WP style.

    Jryan says:
    January 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    > There is still a lot of thought that needs to go into the commercial viability of the reactor. It takes a lot of energy to produce hydrogen, assuming they need it in pure form. If it is being sequestered in the process then you have to consider the energy it took to produce that hydrogen.

    It would have had to start in the system. Rothwell notes the hydrogen supply released 0.1 g of hydrogen. Burning that would release 14.3kJ. Assuming all the water vaporizedthe system generated 23,107 kJ, so they would have had to have 162 g of hydrogen to do that.

    —–

    Carl Bussjaeger says:
    January 23, 2011 at 12:49 am

    > “So it’s not like they’re getting published in Nature, Scientific American, or even a reputable journal.”

    > I almost don’t care if this proves out or not. This line makes it all worthwhile.

    That joke sort of fell off my fingers. I dithered on keeping it or purging it, but in the end it stayed. I apologize to everyone who read it while sipping their morning coffee.

    —–

    peter_ga says:
    January 23, 2011 at 2:54 am

    > Would there not be waste heat of some sort? Getting rid of it implies some sort of expense or environmental impact.

    That’s one of the reasons the bar was lowered to “basement water heater”. While there are various low temperature heat engines around, their absolute efficiency is low unless you have a very cold heat dump.

    The low temp weather forecast here in New Hampshire tonight is -15°F, I don’t know what that is in °C off the top of my head, less than -25 I think. I’d be happy with something that heats water tonight!

    —–

    Dave Springer says:
    January 23, 2011 at 4:00 am

    > Oh gawd! The Popular Science article…. So I’ve got two odd personal connections into this cold fusion project. I hope it’s for real!

    Oh good – if things turn ugly, I’ll try shifting some of the blame on to you! :-)

    —–

    anna v says:
    January 23, 2011 at 5:06 am

    > This should be up my alley.

    Can you do me a favor? I’m probably overreacting, or remembering the first day of Climategate or even the first days of P & F, but I have no confidence in Rossi’s blog host handling a big load.

    Can you keep an eye on it and make a copy of Monday’s paper as soon as you see it? Then make sure Anthony or I have it too. My Email address is in my website.

    —–

    Area Man says:
    January 23, 2011 at 5:07 am

    > This statement “the commercial unit is designed to need enough electrical power so it can be shut down reliably” is a bit ominous….

    The reports of explosions are even more ominous! There are a few interesting tidbits and warning in Rossi’s comments in his blog. Near as I can figure, increasing the hydrogen pressure reduces the input energy needed. Hopefully tomorrow’s paper will clarify that.

    —–

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    January 23, 2011 at 6:03 am

    > It uses a tube filled with nickel powder, pressurized and heated. They point to copper in the recovered nickel powder as proof the fusion reaction occurred.

    > The tube is made of copper.

    I missed that last night. My fuzzy memory says that copper is a common contaminant in nickel. Either way, it’s a very good skeptical point to keep in mind. Maybe I’ll come up with a list.

    One big problem in these fusion systems is that some of the fusion products are in truly trace amounts. Measuring them has triggered embarrassment and satisfaction. This system at least has runs producing a lot of joules, I’d hope that will make finding reaction products easier than most. Some of the comments in the papers about the device (e.g. peak at 63-65 weight) are just not satisfactory. Monday, Monday.

    —–

    J.Hansford says:
    January 23, 2011 at 7:15 am

    > So….. They have themselves a fuel cell?

    No. Fuel cells produce electricity. This device consumes electricity.

    —–

    Frank says:
    January 23, 2011 at 8:32 am

    > … there was a subsequent beta+ decay (positron) radiation that was the supposed source of heat through positron / electron annihilation. That would in fact make this an antimatter reactor.

    Yeah, isn’t that neat? Just like a thunderstorm! :-)

    > Fantastic if true, but how the proton overcomes the coloumb barrier is still very unclear to me.

    It’s still very unclear to the physicists too.

    —–

    Drew Latta says:
    January 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

    > In the article this is said:

    > “The proof comes with the team’s examination of the nickel material after use – the copper is plainly there – found using an atomic microscope at the University of Bologna.”

    > A) ‘Atomic microscope’ suggests a high-resolution transmission electron microscope

    What they meant was unclear to me. I was thinking “atomic force” microscope, but that would imply surface effects, which would be okay, maybe. The non-native english in the blog introduces some ambiguities.

    > B) Copper contamination is the most common form of contamination in all forms of TEM and HR-TEM. In fact, carbon coated Cu grids are used to prepare and provide support to samples in the transmitted electron beam. Therefore, unless you use another kind of grid, you’re going to have Cu contamination by default.

    One for the list. (C) too).

    —–

    Dave Springer says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

    > … Steam turbines require superheated dry steam at very high pressure. My understanding at this point is that the catalytic substrate is destroyed by high temperature so this thing right now can only provide low-quality heat i.e. above the boiling point of water but not hot enough to drive a steam turbine.

    I missed that last night. Would a hybrid system where the Rossi device boils water and a second stage to raise the temperature to something thermodynamically useful make sense? Probably not – steam turbines exhaust steam, not water.

    > Just as an aside if low quality heat were usable for power generation everybody and his brother would have solar hot water heaters on their roof the low-quality heat of which would be used to drive a steam turbine generator to provide electricity for the house.

    There is something to be said for water heaters that work at night….

  182. http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=360&cpage=5#comments

    Watch out for this Tomorrow, Central European time, so it could be very early morning US time. Think interesting times are acoming:
    >>Andrea Rossi
    January 21st, 2011 at 6:59 PM
    WARNING TO ALL OUR READERS:
    THE REPORT OF THE BOLOGNA UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS REGARDING THE TEST MADE ON JANUARY 14TH WILL BE PUBLISHED ON THE JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR PHYSICS ON MONDAY JANUARY 24TH. THE REPORT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR FREE PUBLICATION IN ALL THE BLOGS AND MAGAZINES.
    A.R.<<

  183. Your commenter BarryW wrote on January 23, 2011 at 7:08 am:

    The Greens are going to go nuts since deep down they hate civilization. Cheap energy and even cheaper consumer goods are two of their worst nightmares.

    Not necessarily. I am about as green as you can get but I wrote this article in 1996 for a magazine that has been following the subject for decades.

    Cold Fusion and New Energy – an Environmentalist’s Perspective I think it holds up quite well after 15 years.

    Nick Palmer

    Blogspot – “Sustainability and stuff according to Nick Palmer”

    In it I refer to the fact that the mainstream green organisations, at the time, were far less hostile to the subject than was the scientific establishment.

  184. Ed Zuiderwijk says:
    January 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    You are right if you look at the mass deficit. But there is something else: Look at the spin of the nuclei involved:

    Ni 58 0 Cu 59 3/2
    60 3/2 61 3/2
    61 3/2 62 1
    62 0 63 3/2
    64 0 65 3/2

    The proton carries a spin 1/2. The reactions proposed therefore violate the conservation of spin, a very fundamental conservation law at the sub-atomic level.

    I see. Nuclear spin of 60Ni of course can’t be a half-integer (even number of nucleons, in fact 0 instead of 3/2) , but that’s not a game changer. What about the 61Ni+p -> 62Cu transition? (61Ni is 1.14% in nature).

  185. Being skepticak does not mean that one should denounce this claim of unlimted energy by an LENR system as a scam. I f we analyse the people behind the calim we find:
    Learned and experienced PhD professors at an established university
    I cannot imagine any reason why such man of high standing should create any type of scam or sham science.
    Established scientific theories can be applied to explain the claimed reaction
    But most important of all is the demonstration of excess energy measured during the demonstration. Rossi and Focardi even claim that the first commercial heaters will be on sale soon:
    Quote>>”They also claim to be going into production, with the first units expected to ship by the second quarter 2011, with mass production commencing by the end of 2011.

    This would become the world’s first commercially-ready “cold fusion” device. Licensees are mentioned, with contracts in the USA and in Europe. Mass production should escalate in 2-3 years. Presently Rossi says they are manufacturing a 1 megawatt plant composed of 125 modules. These modules should begin shipping in about three months. “<<

    They also claim that energy generated by this sytem will cost one cent each KWHr if electrical and a fraction of that if thermal. If this science is real and not junk, then the energy market is going to get a big shock. we'll see.

  186. Valkyrie Ice claims cold fusion has been demonstrated in “thousands” of experiments. Far from it. The major problem that cold fusion researchers have not and cannot overcome is that of replicability. They can’t reliably replicate their own results nor can anyone else. If it was a simple matter of do this and see that — every time — the matter would have been settled long ago. When we do this every so often we see that simply isn’t good enough to pass as science. Good enough for pathological science, perhaps.

  187. I have been following what is called the cold fusion saga for a long time.
    I think it is something that is taking place and that there is a lot more to this that is being told in the media or in academia.
    There are many parallels between the culture CAGW theory and cold fusion. Anyone who is skeptical about CAGW is a nutter. In the same way anyone who think there is something real about cold fusion is a nutter and a believer in voodoo science.
    Of course those who proclaim this often make this from an authoritative position by claims that the people on the other side are a bunch of nutters. They have themselves seldom looked it this in depth because they have alredy made up their mind based on what they have read.

    There seems to be two thoughts of lines of evidence for cold fusion which has to be fullfilld for it to be true.
    1 Those who make these experiments must get a leathal dose of radiation for it to be true given the amunt of energy released. If they don’t get that, it can’t be fusion.
    2 The experiment must produce elevated amunts of Helium or Tritium equivalent to the amount of heat released. This has been observed repetadly. Also tracks of what is believed to be alpha particles has been observed using a gel at a naval research center in San Diego.

    So here we have two contradiconary evidence.
    The people making these experiments don’t get leathal doses of radiation. Indeed they don’t seem to register any elevated levels of radiation at all. And with excess energy there seems to be nuclear fusion produced atoms.

    I studied material science. What seems to be happening, I think, is that the energy released in the “fusion” process is as heat via quanta released phonones.
    The reason can be, because of dislocation or edge structure in the lattice.
    Heat in cristalls that is heat vibrations, follow quantum rules in the form of standing discrete waves known as phonones, similar to photones.
    We are here talking about quantum mechnics.
    Traditional physics say this shouldn’t happen, but there is no physical law which says it can’t happen.

  188. “Dave Springer says:”
    “Nuclear power plants are rated in watts. People understand how much useful power is in a watt like for instance a 100-watt light bulb or a 1000watt blow dryer. Some might even know that one horsepower is about 750watts so a 25kw electric vehicle motor is about 33 horsepower. Joules are for physicists. Watts, BTUs, and horsepower are for laymen. We’re mostly laymen here including me. I have difficulty relating joules to real world applications but have little problem with watts, BTUs, and horsepower although I don’t care for converting between those either and prefer my motor and engine ratings in horsepower, furnaces and air conditioners in BTUs, and electrical appliances in watts.”

    Dave,
    My point was that we are evaluating this system from a thermodynamics perspective. As with any thermal system you determine performance and validity by looking at energy in and energy out. There are two energy transfer rates in this experiment, one for heating water and one for generating steam. The two are very different!. However, by averaging them as if they are the same we have lost information. This is the issue I am concerned about. Many times these type of tricks are done to hide problems that are important.

    I would like to know how how they go from heating the water with an energy input of 1,387J/s and produce steam with a power input of 10,649J/s. while the total still equals the approximately 12kW as listed, this information is lost.

    What is happening at 100C?
    Unless you increase the pressure, the water is at 100C. Since the steam generated is at 101C, this would indicate the pressure is not very high.

    How does the energy into the system change with temperature?

    Can you generate steam with the pressures higher?

    The more I think about it the more questions I have. If this is working then, these questions and many more should be easily answered. Even more important the process should be repeatable by others.

  189. Being a true sceptic means also being sceptical of your OWN position. What I see here is pseudosceptisicm, where individuals are in pursuit of an pre-arranged agenda which sets out to defend the establishment and dogma at any cost.

  190. Dave Springer says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:48 am
    Steam turbines require superheated dry steam at very high pressure. My understanding at this point is that the catalytic substrate is destroyed by high temperature so this thing right now can only provide low-quality heat i.e. above the boiling point of water but not hot enough to drive a steam turbine. …

    So, use alcohol as a working fluid (b.p. 78C). An ethanol turbine, or any number of other less flammable working fluids. At 12 kW output and 400 W input, they need an efficiency of 3%. Stirling engine anyone? The essential requirement for practical fusion energy is breakeven. They have an unbelievable power advantage and they didn’t take advantage of it. Doesn’t that sound like fraud?

  191. Craig, It should be noted that this community is not monolithic, but if one were to characterize it, setting “out to defend the establishment and dogma at any cost”, would hardly fit the data. Refusing to close our minds despite an establishement proclaimed “consensus” is hardly defending the establishment, and the light hand of moderation and lack of censorship at this site belies your claim of “at any cost”. The open minded consideration of the claims of low energy nuclear fusion doesn’t fit establishment dogma either. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t hope for a new low cost abundant source of energy, but that hardly qualifies as an agenda, it is possible to be both skeptical and open minded. Perhaps we should just be characterized as lovers of science and technology, or as humble seekers of wisdom and truth, or as humanists, since few of us seem to operate from the assumption that humans are a scourge upon the earth.

  192. So, what is there to comment upon until the paper by Sergio Focardi and Andrea Rossi comes out relatively soon (I think it comes out tomorrow on Monday)? I will wait one day.

    Having said that, I will add that I am much much more than skeptical; I don’t know a word for much much more than skeptical. Does anyone have any suggestions for a word that means much much more than skeptical?

    On another thought, the ideological environmentalism response to an extremely cheap and a relatively much cleaner new energy source will be (if they are consistent with their past ideology) that they are generally against it, since it would give mankind a huge increased ability for progress. Human progress isn’t their ideal.

    John

  193. I love how this phenomenon brings out the skeptic in people,
    despite evidence which is hard to beat.

    Condsider: http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/OrianiRAdetectiono.pdf

    Consider also that with a certain electrolysis cell design, I managed to make a radon detector (direct readout, SIREN model) to go from normal background of 2 pc/Liter to 20 to 30, when placed above the cell. Non-CF design results in no rise.

    Hours of exposure to air ionization devices cause no rise.

    Dr. Oriani subsquently did polarized light studies on the tracks and found they pointed to a central source, about 1.5 cm from the sample CR-39, allowing back calculation to an emssion of 200,000 particles at one time.

    But then, obviously, there is NOTHING to CF! The experts say that!

    Max

  194. Look… when I can go down to Home Depot and buy a Cold Fusion furnace to replace my old wood burner, then I’ll c0ncede that Cold Fusion has gone commercial. Until then…

    (Skepticism aside, I’m rootin’ for ‘em. I remember the original release and hubub and I’ve been waiting for cold fusion ever since.)

  195. Max Hugoson says:
    January 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm
    I love how this phenomenon brings out the skeptic in people,
    despite evidence which is hard to beat. … But then, obviously, there is NOTHING to CF! The experts say that!

    I’m convinced that LENR occurs in many experiments. That’s not the issue. Throughout history this sort of device keeps popping up where nobody does the obvious thing of making money using it. Science has a performance principle, and, I’d like to see it exercised more often w.r.t. energy generation schemes. Is that too much to ask? How long would it take to fit a 1 kW Stirling engine to this beastie? http://www.suction.co.jp/stirling/ya2.html

    http://www.infiniacorp.com/howitworks.html

  196. So far, so sad just a big snowball fight.

    I thought Domenec had got it but then he said…….

    Quote

    Any time energy is generated

    Unquote

    Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It IS. I asked “What is it” nobody answered but the bun fight continued.

    Resonance, ring any bells.

    We are fixated on a particulate universe, it is not. It is waves forming Solitons that form fractals and all is interlinked. String theory is a pretend theory, it ignores the both the source and the medium.

    Greys Observation

    If it works, it works, matters not what the strongest brains say.

    Energy is movement, work is the byproduct of that movement. Movement is three dimensional. It follows the law of harmonics.

    Simple and elegant

  197. Interesting discussion. It sets up a great argument between the chemists and the physicists. The chemist think they have something real. The physicists think they don’t. Gonna be a lot of fun to find out who is right. For more information on the Cold Fusion side of the world today, go to :

    http://www.lenr-canr.org/

  198. Testing Apparatus Notes:
    There is a high resolution B&W photo available:

    In the foreground a Watts up? power meter is pictured. (Watts up? product link) Specifically a PRO ES model, with USB data port. There are Universal Outlet (UO) versions available, yielding unit ratings of 100-250V, 15A, 50/60Hz AC. I would expect such a unit to be “pass through,” using a current transformer for amperage measuring.

    The cord leaving the top of the unit, thus going to the load being measured, is passing through a clamp-on ammeter, a common electrician’s device. (General info, Google search showing currently made versions.) Specifically a digital multi-meter version is shown, at the bottom you can see where the “banana jack” test leads plug in. Accuracy is normally about 3%. You “clamp” them around, not on, insulated cables, often large ones as found in electrical panels, to read the amperage going through the cable.

    I can tell from the thick blocky shape it’s most likely an older version, although possibly it’s a newer cheap import model. (Temporary eBay listing to a near-identical model, presumably longer-lasting pic link.) Older and cheaper models can be AC only. Even if it is an AC/DC model, it is expected that the meter must be set specifically to which one it is reading, AC or DC.

    The power being consumed by the heating unit was measured. These two pieces look like what was doing the measuring. The possibility seemingly exists that DC could be fed to the heating unit that was not detected, with the power meter being made for AC and the ammeter either made for or set to AC only. Perhaps it could be straight DC when the AC is supposed to be shut off. Perhaps the AC could be “floated” on a DC current, leading to higher energy amounts being delivered than the AC measurements show. It also seems possible that a form of alternating current could be passed through without noticeable detection, as the measuring units were designed for sinusoidal AC of the expected frequency range for electrical devices of 50/60Hz.

    Rigorous independent verification using better electrical measuring equipment is indicated.

  199. If it truly does “takes in 400 watts of electricity and, with the assistance of nickel-hydrogen fusion, puts out 12 kilowatts of heat”, this would be a great break through. I have my doubts though…

  200. David says:
    January 23, 2011 at 3:03 am
    Since nobody else has mentioned it yet, I thought people might be interested to see the patent application Rossi has made, which provides some details about the experimental setup used. This is available here. The written opinion of the international searching authority (the European patent office) is particularly interesting. It seems unlikely that the application will be granted, at least by the EPO.

    Thanks David – useful patent link. Interesting reading.
    “Preferably, but not necessarily” – rather dodgy!

    Here is the nuclear reaction that they are proposing:

    “.. generating an impressively high energy amount by so bombarding a nickel atom by a hydrogen atom, to provide a large atomic mass loss copper atom to be transformed into energy, based on the Einstein’ s equation, plus a beta decay energy of the radioactive copper atoms. The following discussion may be considered as valid for some (radioactive) Cu isotopes, but not for the two stable copper isotopes (Λ63Cu and Λ65Cu) which do not decay.

    As the copper atom decays, an energy emitting positive beta decay occurs, according to the following equations:

    P = N+ e+ + v, where

    P = proton N = neutron

    E+ = positron v = neutrino

    The positron forms the electron antiparticle, and hence, as positrons impact against the nickel electrons, the electron-positron pairs are annihilated, thereby generating a huge amount of energy.

    So the “huge amount of energy” that they claim is produced, comes from annihilation of a positron. THIS IS NONSENSE. What happens when a positron meets an electron and annihilates, is the disappearence of both particles and the emission of two photons of exactly 512 keV energy, travelling in exactly the opposite directions – this is the basis of positron emission tomography (PET).

    These quite energetic and penetrating 512 keV photons would NOT heat the reaction liquid, most of the photons would leave the mixture and be a source of significant, and easily measurable (with any Geiger counter) gamma radiation around the chamber. If the energies they are claiming came indeed from positron annihilation, then the system would be seriously radioactive and need lead shielding. It would not generate any significant heat.

  201. Thomas says:
    January 23, 2011 at 1:14 am

    > Why bring up Svensmark in regard to muon catalyzed fusion? The idea is much older (Sakharov, If I recall correctly) nor have Svensmark done any work on it.

    1) People here are familiar with Svensmark’s hypothesis of muon induced cloud formation.

    2) I was intrigued with some suggestion about muons being involved with cold fusion.

    3) I like the coupling with muon catalyzed hot fusion.

    —–

    Logan says:
    January 23, 2011 at 2:02 am

    > One should at least mention the central websites for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) work, and the recent Widom-Larsen theory that allegedly resolves the controversy. The first stop is –

    > http://www.lenr-canr.org/

    I did, sort of. I didn’t want to dwell on the cold fusion history part of my post much. Note that if you clicked on “Jed Rothwell” you’d be taken to http://www.lenr-canr.org/News.htm . Curious folks would quickly discover breadth of Jed’s collection.

    BTW, all: Anything that has Jed’s involvement can be taken seriously. That doesn’t necessarily mean it be taken as gospel, he could be shooting it down. For the matter at hand I don’t know how directly involved Jed has been.

    —–

    Brian Josephson says:
    January 23, 2011 at 2:33 am

    > Since Park’s book Voodoo Science has been brought up in the discussion, here is an extract from my review of the book for Times Higher Education:

    I took the liberty of tweaking your comment, adding “review of the book” and ending the link there. I think that was your intent.

    I noticed your name at Rossi’s blog, I’m glad to see you here. Umm, I see it’s not a coincidence that there is a device called a “Josephson Junction.” Welcome, indeed.

    —–

    Martin Lewitt says:
    January 23, 2011 at 3:36 am

    > Pons & Fleishman got a raw deal.

    Yeah, but they also jumped the gun. They had heard of Steven Jones’ (BYU) research involving LENR and rushed their work out to get primacy. Jones’ work was of a much lower energy reactor and is best known for a study of tritium releases from the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii.

    Some people trying to replicate the P&F cell got a hint from P&F to the effect of “don’t run it too clean,” which made it pretty clear to me they had little idea of just what made things work.

    BTW, all: Jones work was interesting, but seemed to have little follow-up. The original paper is preserved at http://preterhuman.net/texts/science_and_technology/physics/cold_fusion/COLD_F02.TXT, more recent work at different sites seems to conclude the volcanic tritium comes from rain water that percolates into magma, see http://www2.agiweb.org/geotimes/aug00/geophenomena.html

    —–

    Douglas DC says:
    January 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

    > [M]y Cowboy Pop grew up on a ranch with no electric lights and a wind charged dry cell radio. then in 1933-Electricity. The day the world changed. Pop was 22.

    I imagine a lot of people spent the first night with electricity marveling at how you could turn the electric light on and off instantly. No oil, no candles, no matches, just turn a switch and there’s light.

  202. Patents and IP are antithetical to science. It is all the lawyers crowding into the room trying to patent everything and keep it secret for commercial reasons that have created such a mess in this area. Science can’t work properly under such constraints. The lawyers at the university of Utah caused the original mess by constraining Pons and Fleischman from consulting more widely about the unexpected results they were seeing. Instead we had that ridiculous grandiose press conference and the greatest scientific “oops” of all time. I have concluded that any scientific claim where the details are hidden to `protect the IP’ is pretty much guaranteed to be a total load of garbage.

  203. It’s Monday in Italy, the report on the experiment/demonstration is out, see http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/

    A first glance shows it describes behavior of the device over time from a black box view, but doesn’t go into any more details about the innards (or the additional stuff besides nickel and hydrogen).

    The file doesn’t seem to work on my old Acrobat reader, but does on a new system.

  204. “That was in 2007. I haven’t heard anything about it since. Very disappointing. Did big oil buy the patent and burry it?”

    I know you’re just joking but this always makes me laugh…. think about it. A large oil company has truly obscene amounts of cash on hand/cash flow. If anyone has the pockets to grab a revolutionary new technology and position themselves to run with it (not bury it), they do. Why guard your pile of money against the inevitable future when you can take control of it and get a head start instead?

    Oh, sure, people and institutions do stupid things. But still…

  205. And controversy about a decision to not publish the proceedings of a recent conference.

    Anybody got a link to this?

  206. @Lucy Skywalker

    Read his wiki article for a bibliography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Mallove

    He was the PR person for MIT who gave the “negative” report to the press, and he discovered that it had been adjusted so the baseline level was above the anomalous heat readings that the Hot Fusion Lab had actually found. Much like Mann et. al, they had “cooked the numbers” to make the reading they wanted it to show happen.

    Why is it so easy to believe that the AGW crowd is fully willing to fudge data to preserve funding, but so hard to believe that the Billion Dollar Grant for a Tokamak fusion crowd would not do exactly the same?

    We use electron tunneling daily as a factor in electronics, is it truly so hard to think that under precise conditions perhaps proton tunneling is also possible? It’s a quantum effect, and yes it’s hard to figure out which exact factor in a given experiment is the crucial factor, but there’s been 20 years further research that has confirmed something is happening, but as yet, no-one has figured out How or Why. Now many thousands of years did we use fire without understanding that it is the rapid oxidation of a material?

    If it works, it works. First we figure out how to make it work on demand, then worry about theory later.

  207. Maybe I’m just too cynical, but I was wondering what relationship Dr. Giuseppe Levi (the author of the test report) has with the two inventors? I noticed that he reported some of the data was lost during Test 2… why wasn’t the test repeated?

    Having said that, the report was a ‘warts and all’ report, including the error with the weighing of the gas bottle. I have to wonder why the adhesive was added during the test, though.

  208. This ‘cold fusion’ does not apparently have anything to do with the studies that do find some marginal reaction occuring.
    The photo looks suspiciously just like a picture of a con.

  209. When you see claims like this, you should look for components of unreality, where you have to enter into a bizarre fantasy to believe it.

    The first problem has already been pointed out: the process makes no conventional scientific sense.

    Where it gets really bizarre, is how they have a timetable of plans to commercialize the product, as if it will be no problem bringing a nuclear powered device into home use within the year. SRSLY?

    USA is on the verge of stomping on Iran and North Korea, but these guys can bring a radioactive nuclear device to market in a year, with no government intervention, or query about using novel nuclear reactions.

    Of course, it’s all harmless, too. The first reaction they tried to work, does not produce a lethal cocktail of particles and radiation, and requires no waste disposal strategies.

    SRSLY?

  210. Ric Werme :
    January 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I will be keeping an eye on the blog. Might be late on Monday, and then you all will have woken up :).

  211. RockyRoad says: (January 23, 2011 at 9:27 am)
          If any of you have read my comments over the last several weeks…

    I have, and have been intrigued. If (as I suspect) your comments inspired Ric to present this topic to Anthony, then thanks… indeed, thanks, anyway.

  212. Before jumping into theories, one should check if the effect really occurred. The whole thing looks as a mixture of dilettantism in experimentation with ubounded faith in cold fusion, plus a heavy scent of scam. Couple of things are fishy.

    First, they did not measure the total amount of supplied water. They only checked “flow rate” once, under unspecified conditions: “The flow rate was 146 g in 30 seconds.” (from “Marianne Macy report”). The scheme of water supply is not described either. When water boils, vapor back-pressure might vastly reduce their “calibration” of “flow meter”. So, I take it that the total water flow was not measured but “estimated”.

    Then, they had some suspicious “bottle” of hydrogen, with some unspecified valve under unspecified pressure. The size of entire device is not specified either. At claimed 20 atm of pressure, it can contain a lot of hydrogen to catalyze into something without the valve ever open. The bottle of hydrogen looks more as a decoy.

    More, from patent application:

    http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/search/en/docservicepdf_pct/id00000009056757?download

    “The above mentioned apparatus, which has not been yet publicly disclosed, has demonstrated that, for a proper operation, the hydrogen injection must be carried out under a variable pressure.” When pulsating pressure is involved, averaging could be a big suspect, as usual in this kind of junk sciences.

    All this pitch about reducing greenhouse gases and 52 trillion tons of oil equivalent (in patent application!) is highly suspicious too, and makes this subject right into the topics of this website.

    On a side note, there are companies that are selling to unsuspecting idiots super-economical water heater systems based on “trickle power”, the scam that is based on elementary mistake in averaging pulsating currents and voltages. Nothing is new.

  213. Ah, the nostalgia. I remember when, as a freshman at BYU back in 1979, I worked as a night janitor on campus. My supervisor showed me how to override the security keypad to a laboratory door with my passkey and static electricity so that I could walk through the lab to access a room that needed to be cleaned. There were tanks of water and pumps and wires everywhere — and lots of radiation warning signs. I hope that my passing through didn’t throw off any measurements (I tried to be careful with my broom handle).

    You gotta admire the stubborn dedication of janitors. My nephew at Michigan State told me that the lab he works at does their own cleanup in order to control for that variable. I hope there aren’t any carpets near their door.

  214. Berényi Péter :

    What about the 61Ni+p -> 62Cu transition? (61Ni is 1.14% in nature).

    That would be a transition from spin -3/2 for 61Ni (the sign got lost in my earlier list) to
    +1 for 62Cu. Hence a forbidden transition unless one can conjure up 4 anti-neutrinos with spin -1/2 (a reaction never seen anywhere, I may add).

  215. kramer says:
    January 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm (Edit)

    > “And controversy about a decision to not publish the proceedings of a recent conference.”

    > Anybody got a link to this?

    From http://www.lenr-canr.org/News.htm :

    AIP Abruptly Cancels Publication

    October 2010

    The American Institute of Physics (AIP) abruptly cancelled the publication of the peer-reviewed proceedings of the March 2010 American Chemical Society National Meeting cold fusion session.

    On October 5, the AIP sent Dr. Jan Marwan, the proceedings editor, a short letter saying: “Having received the technical presentation and PDF files related to the “New Energy Technology Symposium”, AIP’s Publisher’s Office has had a chance to evaluate the contents of the material presented. Based on this evaluation, AIP has decided to exercise its right under Section C.1(a) of the Publishing Contract to decline publishing the proceedings and materials as an AIP publication. . . .”

    The proceedings book was in the final stages of preparation when it was cancelled. If the decision is final, we hope we will be able to upload a copy of the book here at LENR-CANR.org.

  216. Roger Carr says:
    January 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm (Edit)

    RockyRoad says: (January 23, 2011 at 9:27 am)
    If any of you have read my comments over the last several weeks…

    I have, and have been intrigued. If (as I suspect) your comments inspired Ric to present this topic to Anthony, then thanks… indeed, thanks, anyway.

    No, I’ve also been one of the “it’s not dead yet” commenters. I figured a 12 kW reactor couldn’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

  217. Ed Zuiderwijk:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Please.
    In your musings you are forgetting the spin of the proton which is 1/2
    Captured in an l=1 level it can give a nucleus with 3/2.

    So Ni58 spin 0 can allow spins 3/2 with the addition of the proton’s extra spin and captured on an l=1 energy level, as Cu59 ; this should settle the parity too.

  218. I can’t get on Rossi’s website at the moment. “Bandwidth Limit Exceeded”. A lot of interest obviously.

    But considering Ric Werme’s early report a little further up, I am now even more skeptical now than 24 hours ago. So much promised, so little delivered. That’s a very bad sign.

    Also, I’d like to mention something that had to be mentioned a lot earlier. Body language is a good indicator of the mood. In the photo that accompanies the post, Rossi is seen with his arms crossed (I saw that in the vid, too). Crossing arms is a defensive posture. It signifies negativity and lack of confidence.

    Rossi doesn’t look as though he’s scored a goal. He doesn’t come across like he’s confident with his findings. That’s not a good sign at all.

  219. Ric Werme says:
    January 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm
    It’s Monday in Italy, the report on the experiment/demonstration is out, see http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/

    A first glance shows it describes behavior of the device over time from a black box view, but doesn’t go into any more details about the innards (or the additional stuff besides nickel and hydrogen).

    The file doesn’t seem to work on my old Acrobat reader, but does on a new system.

    ——————

    Ric Werme,

    Their server is probably overloaded, I am getting the following error when I click the link.

    Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.
    ——————————————————————————–

    Apache/2.2.15 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.15 OpenSSL/0.9.8e-fips-rhel5 DAV/2 mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 PHP/5.2.13 Server at http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com Port 80

    John

  220. I think it is a critical mistake to identify the process as being any kind of nuclear fusion.

    The experimenters imply they do not know what process is actually causing their reported ‘excess energy’. Why say nuclear fusion then, this will cause inherent skepticism. It is careless to state it is nuclear fusion without actually knowing the process involved.

    Step one is independent repeatability of the experiment and consistency of results that show the ‘excess energy’ produced according to the current researchers.

    Step two is if there is something really generating excess heat then find the physicl process that causes it. The two steps are not necessarily done in series, could be parallel.

    John

  221. 419 in progress? “We have discovered this endless energy source and since we are a bit low on money, cannot capitalize on the idea. If you would be so kind as to send us all your savings, we would then give you 99% of the trillion dollar profits…”

    Something of this caliber without being bought out by the main players of the global energy market is impossible, thus this will soon be followed by the suckering of the suckers.

  222. I believe that to many of the authors, who have released reports about their experiments and observation of heat being developed in a reactor, when water vapor is present at a temperatur between 700 and 900 degrees celsius, that they try to force an explanation for their observation to fit either their background in physics or chemistry rather than have a very close look at the similar features that is found in the different cathodes that are used to make a cathalytic process happen.

    They should also have a close look at the papers produced by professor Pemg Chens team at cornell University.
    In any case at this point in time it is not important to known, which theory is the right one, but instead concentrate on repeating and prouving the observed results are correctly reported.

  223. The paper is out at “http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/”

    At first glance it discounts proton tunelling (impossibly low probability) and also positron anihilation (no gammas). The only explanation offered seems to be “shielding of the Coulomb barrier”. But they stick to their guns and give experimental results of “energy amplification”.

    I can’t understand what they are talking about. Anybody out there who knows more nuclear physics than I do? (shouldn’t be difficult!).

  224. Ken Lydell says:
    January 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Valkyrie Ice claims cold fusion has been demonstrated in “thousands” of experiments. Far from it. The major problem that cold fusion researchers have not and cannot overcome is that of replicability. They can’t reliably replicate their own results nor can anyone else. If it was a simple matter of do this and see that — every time — the matter would have been settled long ago. When we do this every so often we see that simply isn’t good enough to pass as science. Good enough for pathological science, perhaps.

    “cannot overcome”? Why not?

    “simply isn’t good enough to pass as science.”

    Then we’ll be sure not to give “science” any credit when there’s a breakthrough.

    “Valkyrie Ice claims cold fusion has been demonstrated in “thousands” of experiments. Far from it. The major problem that cold fusion researchers have not and cannot overcome is that of replicability.”

    Let’s put it this way: The null hypothesis–that there’s no such thing as “cold fusion”–has been falsified thousands of times. OK?

    Failure to replicate doesn’t mean there’s “nothing there” for sure, it just raises the likelihood that error or fraud were involved. But if the claimed effect keeps reappearing, that tends to rule those suspects out and points the finger at “gremlins”–unsuspected factors. These occur often in materials science. (It took lots of brute force experimentation with doping formulas before the transistor was made reliable and efficient. But the numerous failures were no deterrent, once the effect had shown itself.)

  225. Ed Zuiderwijk says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    That would be a transition from spin -3/2 for 61Ni (the sign got lost in my earlier list) to +1 for 62Cu. Hence a forbidden transition unless one can conjure up 4 anti-neutrinos with spin -1/2 (a reaction never seen anywhere, I may add).

    Come to think of it, can’t gamma photons (spin 1) emitted make up for the spin deficiency in (x)Ni+p->(x+1)Cu+gamma transitions? That way you would not need your neutrionos.

  226. Let me understand this, Rossi has for 2 years been heating a commercial building with a new nuclear energy source no one understands?

    Firstly, ehm, did he mention this to the occupants and to people within a 10 km radius?

    Secondly, why is the Italian government not surrounding the building with soldiers and safeguarding the device for national interest. Surely every spook in the world would be around that building by now, just in case.

    Thirdly, with such enormous and very observable claim – of heating a building for 2 years and having a 1 MW commercial unit in production – Rossi can’t just be be mistaken. This claim must either be true and monumental or outright intentional but very short lived and thus stupid fraud.

    Interesting.

  227. Roger Longstaff says:
    January 24, 2011 at 1:58 am

    I can’t understand what they are talking about. Anybody out there who knows more nuclear physics than I do? (shouldn’t be difficult!).

    There is a model a few threads below, that tries to explain with atomic theory what might be happening. It depends a lot on the fact that Ni is in nano-crystals.

    I sketched something similar in a post upstream.

    Electrons in a crystal belong to the whole structure, and the denuded proton could be sitting in an interstitial defect where for some reason the probability function of overlap with an l=1 energy level of Ni58 is large enough when the catalysts ( which we do not know) and the temperature is appropriate to make a Cu59.
    The physics is all handwaving. I agree that replicability of the effect should be the priority.

  228. Michael Cejnar says:
    January 24, 2011 at 3:25 am (Edit)

    > Let me understand this, Rossi has for 2 years been heating a commercial building with a new nuclear energy source no one understands?

    My guess would be there’s some short link between Rossi and the owner. If the factory’s facility manager could cut his heating bill by 90%, that would make pretty good impetus.

    > Firstly, ehm, did he mention this to the occupants and to people within a 10 km radius?

    I would assume so, the facility manager where I work would be smiling a lot (though we have a lot of computers, we likely spend more money on cooling). That, or he’d be really puzzled how this strange contraption got added to HVAC system one weekend.

    There has been one fatality in LENR research due an overpressured vessel and failed reliefe valve, see http://articles.latimes.com/1992-01-04/news/mn-1181_1_fusion-research , but so far nothing has warranted a 10km warning. Homes with natural gas are likely a greater risk of a major explosion.

  229. Thirdly, with such enormous and very observable claim – of heating a building for 2 years and having a 1 MW commercial unit in production – Rossi can’t just be be mistaken. This claim must either be true and monumental or outright intentional but very short lived and thus stupid fraud.

    Popcorn time!

  230. Uh, I dunno about this, although I’ve been following it at htt://blog.newenergytimes.com I’m very skeptical. As soon as you start trying to measure the heat I think things get difficult…

    I have however been following the work of Mosier-Boss and the team at SPAWAR, and their use of CR-39 solid state track detectors which definately show something odd going on during their Pd/D co-deposition experiments.

    Their latest paper “Comparison of Pd/D co-deposition and DT neutron generated
    triple tracks observed in CR-39 detectors” really worthwhile reading:

    http://www.newenergytimes.com/v2/library/2010/2010BossP-ComparisonOfPDD-DT.pdf

  231. electricity could be free and we would still need to use plenty of oil … for driving for one thing … the idea that “big oil” will kill any cheap new energy source is simply black helicopter nonsense on stilts …

  232. anna v says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Thanks Anna for your comment.

    If this is a nuclear process (and I am sceptical) your comment about nano-crystals could be important. Nano-crystals would maximise the surface area of the Ni, and hence the adsorption of hydrogen. Also, large electric fields at the surface 0f the particles, together perhaps with intersitials and the current passed through the reactor, could provide conditions at points of contact that could increase the probability of proton tunnellng??

    Just guessing. The authors themselves admit that they don’t know how it works. But if a world class physics laboratory could reproduce the “energy amplification” – the world would change. The experiment is not difficult to conduct.

  233. That man who first started a fire by knocking two pieces of flint against each other near a patch of dry grass did not know that HxCy + O2=>CO2 + H2O + energy, but still he managed to make a fire. If his shaman had treated this disvoverer of fire like some mainstream scientists (who are usually paid by our taxes) are treating those peers who venture out on a limb and manage to get a “fire” started, then we would still be living in the stone age.

    Am I right in thinking that some scientists are taking up the role of the pope and making galileos out of their peers?

  234. Someone educate me here: Does the process result in the very same, useable nickel and hydrogen you started with?? If not then what is the big deal? You provided fuel, induced a reaction with some energy and got some energy out of it – why is that such a big deal?

  235. Tim McHenry says:
    January 24, 2011 at 8:43 am
    You are right: Nickel and/or hydrogen being the “fuel”. However this effect calls the attention to how important “size” of nickel particles is….. c/λ…..

  236. Enneagram says:
    January 24, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Here nanosized nickel is the “fuel” and/or hydrogen. Which is it the cost per watt?

    Just for the fun of it. Nickel price is somewhere around 25 USD/kg. Claimed mass-energy conversion rate is about 0.01%. E=m×c^2. Let thermal efficiency be 4% (rather low). Under these circumstances one can produce 100,000 kWh electricity using 1 kg Nickel. Therefore raw fuel price comes out as 0.025 cent/kWh (price of Hydrogen used is negligible). If preprocessing (making nanoparticles, etc.) pushes up fuel price to 100 USD/kg, it is still 0.1 cent/kWh, almost too cheap to meter. Counting development, investment, operational, transmission, distribution, management, etc. costs & taxes as well it can hardly exceed 4 cent/kWh, which is way below current prices. At least recycling windmills would become a profitable business opportunity.

    The funny part is you would have Copper and/or Nickel with a bit higher mass numbers as waste product. If no long lived radioacive isotopes are produced (as the claim goes), you can re-sell it, for Copper you would currently get about 10 USD/kg, for Nickel whatever the price for non-fuel applications would be (world economy uses some 1.3 million tonnes annually).

  237. Look into a company called Blacklight Power as well, and its founder Randall Mills. They’ve gotten Rowen University to go along with some of their claims from at least a functional black-box perspective.

    Theoretically, the physicists are still very much bite both thumbs and make loud rude noises about it all. It violates some very basic tenets of quantum theory, I gather.

    I mention it in this context, because at least one theory is that what the original Cold Fusion people were seeing was something like Mills has been trying to claim is going on.

  238. You can’t start a fire with two pieces of flint. Try flint and steel instead.

    Those awaiting the second coming of Nikola Tesla will likely find themselves disappointed.

  239. Ken Lydell says:
    January 24, 2011 at 9:42 am
    You can’t start a fire with two pieces of flint…

    As Dr.Fred Flintstones would say: You should have to choose the right kind of flint-heads. :-)

  240. Here, from the ZeroHedge site, are some of the positive third party reactions to the finding.

    • Hope Grows as Journals Weigh in on Italian Cold Fusion Breakthrough (link) http://pesn.com/2011/01/19/9501747_cold-fusion-journals_warming_to_Rossi_breakthrough/
    • Specifics of Andrea Rossi’s “Energy Catalyzer” Test, University of Bologna, 1/14/2001 (link) http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MacyMspecificso.pdf
    • Directory:Andrea A. Rossi Cold Fusion Generator (link) http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Andrea_A._Rossi_Cold_Fusion_Generator
    • Rossi and Focardi LENR Device: Probably Real, With Credit to Piantelli (link) http://blog.newenergytimes.com/2011/01/19/rossi-and-focardi-lenr-device-probably-real-with-credit-to-piantelli/
    • Rossi Discovery – What to Say? (link) http://blog.newenergytimes.com/2011/01/15/rossi-discovery-what-to-say/
    • Rossi and Focardi LENR Device: The Melich and Macy Reports (link) http://blog.newenergytimes.com/2011/01/20/rossi-and-focardi-lenr-device-the-melich-and-macy-reports/
    • Focardi and Rossi Energy Catalyzer first jan 14 demo videos and summary of an online Question and Answer session from Jan 15 (link) http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/01/focardi-and-rossi-energy-catalyzer.html

  241. Ric Werme says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    No, I’ve also been one of the “it’s not dead yet” commenters. I figured a 12 kW reactor couldn’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

    Good work and I extend my heartfelt thanks.

  242. What I’d most like to see are interviews with the manager of the building his device supposedly heated. If he’s really been doing that, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for a month or two.

  243. Dave Springer says:
    January 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Steam turbines require superheated dry steam at very high pressure. My understanding at this point is that the catalytic substrate is destroyed by high temperature so this thing right now can only provide low-quality heat i.e. above the boiling point of water but not hot enough to drive a steam turbine. …

    I’ve read where their unit runs at about 500 C–is that hot enough to produce the superheated dry steam you’re looking for?

  244. It appears they are ready for limited commercial delivery of their units next quarter, not in a couple of years. They are planning on ramping up to full production by the end of this year and are setting up distributors in other countries, including the US.

  245. At the heart of the claims of Rossi et al. seem to be (a) a forgetting of the fact that positron annihilation leads to 2 photons (511 keV) in opposite directions, not 1, and (b) a fantastical new variety of positron annihilation in which most of the energy of the (newly single) resultant photon can somehow be transfered to the parent copper nucleus as thermal energy. Why are they propposing such a far-fethed mechanism? If they dont understand nuclear physics, why pretend to, why not just focus on the engineering question, does the system generate heat energy reliably in a way that cant be explained by a chemical energy source? As has been said above, if it works, it works.

    In their patent application,

    http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2009125444&IA=IT2008000532&DISPLAY=DESC

    in the description of the “discovery, they stated:

    As the copper atom decays, an energy emitting positive beta decay occurs, according to the following equations:

    P = N+ e+ + v, where

    P = proton N = neutron

    E+ = positron v = neutrino

    The positron forms the electron antiparticle, and hence, as positrons impact against the nickel electrons, the electron-positron pairs are annihilated, thereby generating a huge amount of energy.

    [in response to this, my first posting yesterday:]
    So the “huge amount of energy” that they claim is produced, comes from annihilation of a positron. THIS IS NONSENSE. What happens when a positron meets an electron and annihilates, is the disappearence of both particles and the emission of two photons of exactly 511 keV energy, travelling in exactly the opposite directions – this is the basis of positron emission tomography (PET).

    These quite energetic and penetrating 512 keV photons would NOT heat the reaction liquid, most of the photons would leave the mixture and be a source of significant, and easily measurable (with any Geiger counter) gamma radiation around the chamber. If the energies they are claiming came indeed from positron annihilation, then the system would be seriously radioactive and need lead shielding. It would not generate any significant heat.

    Well it seems that they responded to this criticism. Now, instead of the positron emission of copper causing “huge energy” by some mysterious and unknown mechanism, now they have proposed, in the Nuclear Journal ress release, this new fantastical version of positron ennihilation, with a (completely unexplained) reduction in the number of photons from positron annihilation from two to one, and then a transfer of the photon energy (the single photon having swallowed its companion would now presumably have 1022 keV) mostly back to the parent copper nucleus in the form of thermal phonon energy. Here is their revised positron annihilation mechanism in today’s press release:

    The mechanism proposed by Focardi – Rossi, verified by mass spectroscopy data, which predicts transmutation of a nickel nucleus to an unstable copper nucleus (isotope), remains in principle valid. The difference is that inside the unstable copper nucleus, produced from the fusion of a hydrogen mini-atom with a nickel nucleus, is trapped the mini-atom electron (β-), which in my opinion undergoes in-situ annihilation, with the predicted (Focardi-Rossi) decay β+ of the new copper nucleus.

    The β+ and β- annihilation (interaction of matter and anti-matter) would lead to the emission of a high energy photon, γ, (Einstein)
    [.. this is wrong, positron annihilation leads to a pair of photons .. ]
    from the nucleus of the now stable copper isotope and a neutrin to conserve the lepton number. However, based on the principle of conservation of momentum, as a result of the backlash of this nucleus, the photon energy γ is divided into kinetic energy of this nucleus of large mass (heat) and a photon of low frequency.

    Furthermore, it should be noted that the system does not exhibit the Mössbauer* phenomenon for two reasons:

    1. The copper nucleus is not part of the nickel crystal structure and behaves as an isolated atom in quasi gaseous state
    2. Copper, as a chemical element, does not exhibit the Mössbauer phenomenon.

    In conclusion, it should be underlined that the copper nucleus thermal perturbation, as a result of its mechanical backlash(heat), is transferred to its encompassing nickel lattice and propagated, by in phase phonons (G. Preparata), through the entire nano-crystal. This could explain why in cold fusion the released energy is mainly in the form of heat and the produced (low) γ radiation can be easily shielded.

    Oddly, in the initial article here the author “observes that gamma radiation is not observed while the reactor was running”. That is not compatible with a central role of positron annihilation. However now, with their new Positron annihilation version 2.0, they admit that weak gammas are emitted but they only need a little shielding!

    Seriously though they really need to drop positron emission as the explained source of the nuclear energy, their proposed bizzare mutation of positron annihilation is not credible.

  246. It looks like ‘phlogiston’ is great low energy nuclear fusion expert! But I think that critisism what phlogiston gave was not very relevant, because it just means that energy is not from antimatter annihilation. LENR does happen as it has been shown in many studies before during the last 20 years. Although contemporary science cannot explain it.

    Did it really happen in Bologna or is there just cleverly hidden fuel cell? I think that we will see that soon. It is possible that Rossi is just another con artist, but I still think that LENR research should deserve more attention. Instead we spend our money on hot fusion reactors such as ITER, although it is just wasting of money and brain power of scientists, without no possible pay back, because Solar Fusion Power is always more cheap and more abundant.

  247. Chronon says:
    January 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm
    It looks like ‘phlogiston’ is great low energy nuclear fusion expert!

    I would not claim this, but I do know a little about positron emission and annihilation, and was pointing to contradictory statements about positron annihilation and about whether gamma emission occurs while their reactor operates.

    Maybe there is some new physics here. It needs to be established that “low energy nuclear fusion” exists before anyone can acquire expertise in it. It would be amazing and beneficial if it did exist – is it too good to be true?

  248. phlogiston says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm (Edit)

    Chronon says:
    January 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm
    It looks like ‘phlogiston’ is great low energy nuclear fusion expert!

    I would not claim this, but I do know a little about positron emission and annihilation, and was pointing to contradictory statements about positron annihilation and about whether gamma emission occurs while their reactor operates.

    Maybe there is some new physics here. It needs to be established that “low energy nuclear fusion” exists before anyone can acquire expertise in it. It would be amazing and beneficial if it did exist – is it too good to be true?

    I think it’s pretty well established since P&F days that something interesting is going on, that’ it appears to be fusion, that reaction products are not as expected, and that theory is lagging.

    I’m not happy about a number of things I’ve heard about this device, e.g. I thought I heard that gammas weren’t emitted (but also that low energy gammas are and hence the lead shield) and a burst of gammas at shutdown (but no note on scale, time constant, etc.)

    Watch and wait.

  249. well, both fascinated and chastened by some … err, research … err, checking stuff. What science is about.

    The bad news:

    The whiter- than- snow folk like Oakthicket are definitive in their accusation of fraud, but the reality is more complicated. From the garbled English translation [of the Italian Wikipedia] it looks like Rossi did actually invent something that worked and if you bother to read his own defense (not the following wiki piece) you will see he claims he was exonerated. As for his jail time for attempting to import gold from Switzerland without paying tax on it, he would not be the first try desperate measures to keep a company afloat that he believed in [Petroldragon, a company turning waste into, er, something useful]…

    Maybe Rossi is innocent AND competent this time… but we have serious cause to check carefully without rushing into acceptance OR rejection. Check the data, in fact, just as Fleischman said is needed but is so seldom done.

    The good news:
    (1)
    any intelligent surfing through LENR shows this topic is very alive and well. Yes, and Fleischman is apparently in his 80’s and about to attend a conference on LENR etc in India with loads of other professors. There’s a good 1997 BBC interview with Fleischman, who put a hundred thousand pounds of his own money into the research. Read the interview to understand why. And he knew before the infamous press conference, that disaster would now result. Above all, I see very much the same kind of experiences of mainstream rejection that we all know about here.
    (2) The report by Dr Giuseppe Levi of the University of Bologna looks extremely interesting. I am not concerned that various things thought by some posters to be expected are missing, so long as the heat generation works and is not just a complete fraud. I expect the normal laws of physics as known to be somewhat suspended here, in line with the fact that there has to date been difficulty in reproducing experiments – a difficulty also reported in the initial development of transistors.

  250. Although I’m not completely skeptical about CF, I think this looks very much like a fraud.

    -serious criminal history of the “inventor” Mr. Rossi

    -bizzare “theoretical” concepts how the “invention” might work

    -unsubstantiated and contradicting epochal claims like:
    “Dear Pierre,
    Thank you for your important questions, here are the answers:
    1- the Ni powder I utilized were pure Ni, no copper . At the end of the operations in the reactor the percentage of copper was integrally bound to the amount of energy produced. A charge which has worked for 6 monthes, 24 hours per day, at the end had a percentage of Cu superior to 30%
    2- About the Ni isotopes: the isotopes after the operations were substantially changed in percentage. We are preparing a campaign of analysys with a Secondary Ions Mass Spectrometer at the University of Padua (Italy), at the end of which the data will be published on the Journal Of Nuclear Physics.
    Warm Regards,
    Andrea”

    http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=62&cpage=2#comment-1947

    see also:

    http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=360&cpage=5#comment-19862

    and

    http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=360&cpage=5#comment-19868

    where he contradicts the above
    and

    http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=360&cpage=5#comment-19880

    where he is confronted
    and

    http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=360&cpage=5#comment-20076

    where he doesn’t answer the confrontation

    -no radiation measured see: http://www.22passi.it/downloads/TEST%20BO%20BIANCHINI%20RELAZ.pdf

    Tu sum up: To believe this is a real CF is like to believe a convicted fraudster, babbling unintelligible physical bizzarities and making epochal unsubstantiated claims he later contradicts…that he invented brand new physical phenomenas to save the mankind while atracting potential investors, although he avoids any real independent peer-review.

    Much like the AGW fraudsters – falsify the data which then become missing, making black-box simulations and epochal catastrophic predictions, then draw loads of money from public resources, claiming they’re saving the mankind, but avoiding independent reviews and trying to marginalize and silence the oponents.

  251. I too worry about the content of many reports–one from Fox News had the unit generating electricity, when it is well known they were measuring the energy output by turning ambient water into steam. (Maybe the reporter got as far as the electrical plug and thought they were selling electricity to the local utility?)

    Another comment the reporter made was that the researchers said they rejected the need for data. I’m not sure what they’re referring to–they had a variety of measuring devices recording numbers to get efficiencies and other characteristics of the demonstration.

    The report goes on to say “exactly zero of the previous claims of successful cold fusion have proven legitimate”–I’m a bit aghast at that statement. Was the reporter relying on some MIT pronouncement from 22 years ago? Certainly this reporter hasn’t kept up with the science (but is that a big surprise to anybody considering what that guild typically says about AGW?)

    The reporter gives himself plenty of room to laugh at this group, yet plenty of room to take it seriously. I suppose it’s just another case of “we report; you decide”.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/24/italian-scientists-claim-cold-fusion-breakthrough/?test=faces

    I’ve decided Fox News can do a much better job of reporting.

  252. I have to say a few things.

    First, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

    Second, if they can repeat this, and prove to the world without a doubt that this is not a hoax, and it can scale up, and won’t require materials that are finite, then they may have something. Though, this could also be a bad this for the world …

    Third, just because we have unlimited NRG (providing this works) does that mean we can all party like rock stars, and consume until we destroy what’s left of this planet?

    I personally hope this is a hoax. Plus, I have to say, why now — it does not compute.

    PS – I do not like oil companies or any fossil fuel people. If this discovery proves to be true, it will change a lot. Though we still need oil for plastics, and tones of stuff.

  253. Several professors are assisting or counseling Rossi and his team in his efforts, and have been for many months. This reduces my suspicion about the genuineness of his device. Likewise, his claim to have actually provided space heating for a building is reassuring. I think there’s a good chance he’s actually got something.

    Even if he’s making exaggerated claims about its power output, it should work much better than windmills–so good riddance to them!

  254. Well, in theory it is simple as a wood wedge. It is a long known fact effective mass of electrons in some metals can be much larger than mass of free electrons due to collective effect of the matrix. One does not have to venture farther than to take this mass at face value. Mass difference between neutron and proton is 1.29 MeV while mass of free electrons is 0.51 MeV. As soon as the electron gets into an environment where its mass is increased by at least 0.78 MeV, an e*+p->n+neutrino transition becomes energetically favorable. The only thing we need at this point is an ample supply of protons, for example lots of hydrogen inside or in the close vicinity of the metallic lattice.

    Let’s assume the probability of transition goes up sharply with any increase in effective electron mass beyond the break-even point like a resonance or something, therefore neutrons produced this way are extremely cold (the neutrino does not have much kinetic energy either, so energy carried away by it is negligible, it is below the 1 eV range). I don’t quite see yet how can they be colder than the original protons they are created from, but let’s put that caveat aside for the time being. It may be some coherent collective phenomenon like laser light which can also have a virtual temperature in the nK range (otherwise laser cooling would not work). Pumped systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium can sometimes do funny things.

    Anyway, if we assume average speed of neutrons is some 3 cm/sec, that is, they are ULM (Ultra Low Momentum) neutrons, the spatial spread of their wave packet due to the uncertainty principle becomes more than a μm. In such a volume there are hundreds of million atoms of the metal, so if its nucleus is willing to absorb neutrons, it happens with an extremely high probability. Also, the neutrons being slow, it takes several seconds for them to cross the container, therefore there is no way for neutron radiation to escape from the reactor. Anyway, these ULM neutrons should be remarkably cold indeed, having a temperature around 40 nK (4×10^-8 K).

    Of course the energy consumed in raising electron mass by 0.78 MeV should be resupplied, but it is supposed to be done by the electric current going through the device. The other thing to consider is what happens to the ultra slow neutrons. It obviously depends on the exact isotopic composition of the metal matrix. Neutrons can enter the nucleus with no Coulomb barrier whatsoever and if the isotopes are chosen carefully, the radioactive decay that follows can resupply much more energy than consumed in creating the neutrons in the first place. Also, if a careful job is done, no long half life unstable isotopes are left behind. One still wonders what happens to the occasional gamma photon, but it is said to be converted to heat in situ by “heavy electrons” perhaps.

    Have I interpreted the Widom-Larsen Theory faithfully?

    The creation of neutrons and the nuclear reactions that are initiated by them is decoupled in this theory, the first one being determined by the electrochemical properties of the underlying stuff while the second one by its nuclear properties. Therefore one can at least start designing proper systems based on these principles. If any of them works as advertised, remains to be seen.

    Dear anna v, your comments would be welcome.

  255. RockyRoad says: (January 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm)
    (Maybe the reporter got as far as the electrical plug and thought they were selling electricity to the local utility?)

    Great line, Rocky!

  256. Berényi Péter :
    January 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm .
    A good summary.
    Widom-Larsen is a model that can be tested experimentally. It sounds plausible.
    another exposition

    The important thing is to establish repeatability and consistency of the effect. The theory will follow.

  257. I can’t get through the whole thread, but I caught this near the beginning…

    Oil companies would become worthless overnight. OPEC would become NOPEC overnight. Incredibile upheaval. Apocalyptic, epic, biblical proportion upset to the status quo. I think there’d at least be a very serious attempt to keep a lid on that Pandora’s Box until they can figure out a way to ease the transition without throwing the world order into turmoil.

    Such upheaval would not happen. First of all, companies collapse all the time without any biblical upheaval to the world order. The losses to all oil investors combined could not offset the economic gains to the globe from such a device. But more to the point, oil companies would not become worthless overnight. We use oil for transportation, not for electrical generation.

    Let’s say this is real, and you can even build a unit to fit into and power a car at price and performance levels competitive with current vehicles. You’re looking at a good 15-20 years before the entire U.S. auto fleet can be replaced with fusion powered cars. I imagine those numbers are similar for any nation state with a substantial inventory of vehicles. You just can’t build all those cars overnight. The more you build, the more you drive down the cost of oil, the less incentive there is for remaining gas drivers to dump perfectly good vehicles before their time. Oil stocks would certainly take an initial hit, but the decline of the oil companies themselves would be much more gradual.

    Let’s say this is real, but you can’t build a unit to fit in a car, for whatever reason. Now you have the electricity, but you still have the problem of finding a way to store it and use it in a vehicle. Neither battery technology nor hydrogen fuel cells are going to change because of this. We’re still 10-20 years from competitive implementations of either, after which we would be 15-20 years from replacing the entire auto fleet. You could be looking at a half century for this transition.

    If this is real, if it is scalable, if it can be put into production and deployed quickly and safely, then the most immediate impact will be a shift in electrical production followed by higher standards of living thanks to lower energy costs for everything involving electricity. At some point it would impact the cost of transportation, but most likely not before we solve the battery or fuel cell problem, and then not until all the existing vehicles are replaced.

    It would certainly be a shock to the oil industry, but it would be a glide down, not a true crash. (Investors in oil stocks might call it a crash, until someone wakes up and realizes that the world will still need oil for some time.) The long term consequences to nation states which depend on high oil prices for their standard of living, primarily those in the middle east, might be quite negative. But then again, if we don’t need oil from that region any more, we don’t really need to concern ourselves with their unrest and wars. If they want help in making a peaceful transition for their economies, fine, we can help. If they don’t want to play it smart and use their existing wealth and the transition period to transform their economies, then fine, suffer the consequences. We certainly won’t need to be there or care any more.

  258. And from the tail end of the comments…

    Third, just because we have unlimited NRG (providing this works) does that mean we can all party like rock stars, and consume until we destroy what’s left of this planet?

    We do not “consume” in the manner you are using the word, nor are we capable of destroying this planet, which isn’t “what’s left” of some mythical prehistorical world, but is in fact substantially the same as it was before man.

    We use energy to manipulate matter to our purposes. That matter is not “consumed”, “used up”, or “destroyed.” We are not consuming the planet, nor are we capable of doing so, because we cannot create or destroy matter. We can, at most, convert relatively tiny amounts of it to energy.

    In some cases it might be more difficult to recover and re-purpose some matter after it is no longer being used for its initial purpose. But when you have virtually unlimited and low cost energy supplies, just about anything becomes possible on the recycling end. I don’t for a second buy AGW theory, but with sufficient energy supplies we could simply scrub CO2 from the atmosphere, break it into carbon and oxygen, release the oxygen and bury the carbon as liquid hydrocarbons again. Even the great environmentalist bogeyman of carbon means little when you have enough energy to reshape the world.

    I personally hope this is a hoax. Plus, I have to say, why now — it does not compute.

    This is probably a hoax. But hoping it is a hoax demonstrates a rather twisted view of things. If true this could be one of the greatest discoveries of man, a change which could be used to radically improve the living standards for all humans. It would also dramatically reduce the negative side effects of human energy production, and leave humans with more time to attend to environmental quality issues. (Hopefully real ones, in a rational and measured manner, as opposed to the hysterics we often witness in regard to fantasy issues.) Wealthy people care about blue skies, clean water, and beautiful land. Poor people care about survival at any cost. And energy, for all intents and purposes, is wealth.

    I think it’s a hoax. I pray to God that it’s real.

  259. anna v says:
    January 24, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    A very helpful post Anna. Widom-Larsen removes the Coulomb barrier problem, and seems to have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Why has this not hit the news before? (probably too busy with CAGW scare stories). Not cold fusion but exothermic cold neutron transmutation – a reasonable description? I am becoming less sceptical.

    Will WUWT continue this thread when it drops off the bottom of the page? (in a way I hope not – I have wasted too much time already!)

  260. anna v says:
    January 24, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    The important thing is to establish repeatability and consistency of the effect. The theory will follow.

    I hope so. If it turns out to be true, it’s a real game changer. The thing has consequences far beyond affordable, clean & unlimited energy. I think I would have to re-assemble my entire world view.

    There are two papers by Widom & Larsen at arXiv.org covering the two most important points which required vague hand-waving in the exposition.

    arXiv.org > nucl-th > arXiv:nucl-th/0608059
    [v1] Fri, 25 Aug 2006 12:02:42 GMT (16kb)
    [v2] Tue, 25 Sep 2007 19:54:41 GMT (27kb)
    Theoretical Standard Model Rates of Proton to Neutron Conversions Near Metallic Hydride Surfaces
    A. Widom & L. Larsen

    arXiv.org > cond-mat > arXiv:cond-mat/0509269
    [v1] Sat, 10 Sep 2005 16:15:30 GMT (10kb)
    Absorption of Nuclear Gamma Radiation by Heavy Electrons on Metallic Hydride Surfaces
    A. Widom & L. Larsen

    I wonder why these are not published in a mainstream condensed matter / nuclear physics journal. At least one of them, Dr. Allan Widom looks like a well established guy in Academia. I can smell no obvious crackpot flavor in them either, but again, I am not an expert in either condensed matter or nuclear physics. I do have the basics and have the capacity to slowly go through the stuff, but I am far from being done [any sane comments are welcome].

    If it turns out they make sense after all, a most thorough audit of the entire scientific publication process is warranted. Anonymous peer review, as it is practiced now is apparently not doing the job it is supposed to do. It suppresses innovation, promotes political interference while failing to filter out most worthless crap. It is this way in medical sciences, now physics and only God knows how many other fields (climate science included for sure). Grant system financed by taxpayers’ money is another suspect. However, business is also alien to science.

    Western style civilization (the most successful pattern in history by far) is based on a delicate balance between three spheres of human endeavor: science, business & politics. Ideally they should be kept independent of each other as much as possible while maintaining permeable standard interfaces between them. As soon as the connection between any two spheres above gets convoluted enough, efficiency of either one drops sharply. To set up proper checks & balances that may work well under current circumstances is a real challenge.

    If it is true hard gamma rays can be stopped in 2 nm by a surface layer of some H loaded metals with a continuous resupply of free energy (as opposed to 10 cm of lead, that is, an improvement by a factor of fifty million), it is revolutionary in itself. Using the effect ultra light radiation shields could be constructed (making for example control over proliferation of hand held nuclear weapons much more difficult).

    Also, I see wavelength of ultra cold neutrons is claimed to go up to 30 μm. It would imply an average speed of 1 mm/sec and a neutron fluid temperature not much above 100 pK. Thrilling.

    If the weak interaction can be controlled as it is claimed, it can become the work horse of technology in more than one way, most of them unforeseeable at the moment, as it has already happened to electromagnetic forces.

    One can’t help but consider the consequences of this track to biology as well. I just wonder if low energy neutron “chemistry” is as accessible as claimed, why living creatures need solar radiation or organic foodstuff to survive? Was evolution not smart enough to invent a molecular device analogous to chloroplasts or mitochondria that would use nuclear transmutation to supply the free energy needed to replicate? Or is there some inherent hidden obstacle there?

    Of course I am aware of Kevran’s work, who won the Ig Nobel prize in 1993 for his achievements, but one would think if this huge energy tank is tapped by life indeed, it would be much more visible in everyday life.

    After all the effect is said to be dependent on the nanoscale structure of surfaces and life is at its best in producing molecularly precise nanostructures (and supplying them with free energy as needed).

    Also, if it is that easy to create a subsystem with temperatures in the nK range, it is conceivable the brain can also do the trick in another context, making biological quantum computing a viable hypothesis.

    The guys there also say some (or most) of the heavy elements are not created in supernovas as it is taught by mainstream astrophysics, but by other processes relying on this new weak force chemistry. For example solar flares (and ball lightning, perhaps?) can have a local energy supply of this kind.

    Also, for energy generation the proposed Lithium cycle looks like an especially smart choice.

    6Li+n->7Li+energy
    7Li+n->8Li+energy
    8Li->8Be+e+ν (beta decay, halflife 838 msec)
    8Be->2×4He+energy
    4He+n->5He+energy
    5He+n->6He+energy
    6He->6Li+e+ν (beta decay, halflife 806.7 msec)

    That is, Lithium is regenerated in the cycle, it is only used as a catalytic agent (so its price does not matter much). The net reaction is to convert four protons into a stable 4He nucleus while getting a pair of electrons (just enough to neutralize helium ions) and neutrinos as a byproduct. And of course much energy. No radioactive isotopes with a halflife longer than a second are produced. If gamma rays are readily converted into heat, there is no radiation other than beta rays, and only during operation. That’s entirely manageable.

    It is the next best thing save a perpetual motion machine. If only it could be made to work, plain old water would serve as the default fuel. If peak water is ever reached, some comet stuff can always be imported to replace it :)

  261. Berényi Péter :

    Awsome thoughts – and I am not being sarcastic!

    My only comment on biological systems not developing cold neutron chemistry is that the effect seems to require a large electric current through the nano-particles in order to generate very large surface electric fields. However, in a galaxy far, far away….

    I am starting to think that this is either the best thing since sliced bread, or the biggest scam since CAGW!

  262. RockyRoad says:
    January 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Why are you expecting gamma rays and neutrons in cold fusion? Are you apply requirements of hot fusion processes to this?

    Focardi et al http://www.newenergytimes.com/v2/library/2004/2004CampariEGoverviewOfH-NiSystems.pdf apparently had γ and n in some of their tests measured. If there is the e+/e- reaction proposed than one would expect γ at certain keV’s.
    But what I was mainly wondering about Rossi answers was that in July 2010 he answered like: “Ni powder I utilized were pure Ni, no copper . At the end of the operations in the reactor the percentage of copper was integrally bound to the amount of energy produced. A charge which has worked for 6 monthes, 24 hours per day, at the end had a percentage of Cu superior to 30%
    2- About the Ni isotopes: the isotopes after the operations were substantially changed in percentage. We are preparing a campaign of analysys with a Secondary Ions Mass Spectrometer at the University of Padua (Italy), at the end of which the data will be published on the Journal Of Nuclear Physics.”

    And later now, when asked, he doesn’t confirm his own – if we consider what would “mean 30% Cu” “integrally bound to the amount of energy produced” “out of pure Ni” – quite an epochal one statement.
    What happened to the mass spectrometer analysis? Why they didn’t take samples and didn’t send it for analysis to independent labs? In scientifical sense if others would confirm 30+% Cu, it would be much more groundbreaking than the demonstrations of the “black box” (actually blue), which just raises the suspicion among the skeptics. Which one can’t wonder, because the scientific method is indeed based on falsification – the science vitally needs the skeptics.
    I don’t say surely this whole thing is a fraud, but certainly it much looks like. The Rossi if nothing else behaves like unwise marketer, not honest researcher.
    There is the nice Rothwell article: http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJthewrightb.pdf

  263. anna v says: Widom-Larsen is a model that can be tested experimentally. It sounds plausible.

    Reading the paper at http://arxiv.org/abs/nucl-th/0608059 I do have a problem with the model. It is apparent that if the mass of lattice electrons is raised sufficiently by a strong field, then they will interact with protons to form virtual neutrons, that in turn could interact with suitable nuclei. So long as the energy deficiency is duly made up by some energy source (perhaps an electric current), this is a plausible mechanism for LENRs. However, the authors seem simply to assume that the neutrons have very low momenta (that is, have a very low temperature); they do not prove it, or even suggest how this could be. Since the protons have a thermal distribution of energies (at ~300K or higher) , as probably the heavy electrons do also (though I suppose I could believe that they were in some sort of cold Bose condensation), the resulting neutrons should have a similar distribution of energies. The thermal entropy of the protons can’t just vanish; it must appear in the reaction products. One might argue that it is somehow transferred to the lattice instead, but that could only happen with some rather clever pumping by the primary energy source (like a laser).

  264. Berényi Péter :
    January 25, 2011 at 6:27 am

    We have a Greek proverb :”where you hear of many cherries take a small basket”.
    In english they say “hold your horses”

    I want to see experimental verification of this model.

    Here is an experiment to check if a cold neutron exists under the conditions stated
    for e- + p+ -> neutron + neutrino :
    make a thin film of the stuff, in this case Nickel hydride , and check for neutron decay.
    Thin so the beta can get out of the metal.

    Going back to the original subject, in any case we do not have long to wait, since they seem to be going commercial. It will either fizzle out or be true, and in the latter case a lot of nuclear theorists and experimentalists will fall on the problem.

  265. anna v says:
    “Here is an experiment to check if a cold neutron exists under the conditions stated
    for e- + p+ -> neutron + neutrino :
    make a thin film of the stuff, in this case Nickel hydride , and check for neutron decay.”

    You won’t see neutron decay unless you’re adding the necessary energy; in the absence of a continuing energy input the neutrons can only be virtual. Unless I’ve misunderstood the mechanism.

  266. Paul Birch :
    January 25, 2011 at 9:41 am

    They talk of very cold neutrons trapped in the crystal, and of collective modes, but a neutron decays if it is allowed energetically.
    ULM neutrons’ huge size is exactly why biologically dangerous energetic (‘hot’) neutrons are not released by LENR systems. ULM neutrons are extraordinarily ‘cold’ to begin with; and virtually all are absorbed locally; they never get a chance to escape and go anywhere. It is the first reason why LENRs are safe and environmentally friendly in comparison with heavy element neutron-triggered fission and light element hot fusion.
    Don’t sound very virtual, just cold.

  267. Well, one thing is for sure, this post will generate lots of hits on WUWT.

    Thank you for an interesting post, and thanks for many interesting comments, folks!

    So, as I understand it, we will know the answer on many questions during 2011.

    Is it just a battery in the box? Or is something new and interesting really going on?

    I cannot understand the motivation behind this being a fraud. A certain path to disaster for Dr. Rossi et.al. if you ask me.

    All the arguments based on “since this and that doesnt match what I know about nuclear physics” is really not of much interest in my opinion. We must wait and see what unfolds. Exciting times!

  268. anna v says:
    January 25, 2011 at 10:31 am
    “They talk of very cold neutrons trapped in the crystal, and of collective modes, but a neutron decays if it is allowed energetically.

    Don’t sound very virtual, just cold.”

    OK, but that’s what doesn’t seem quite right about the model. The neutrons should be virtual (because the starting point is a ground state of the lattice), and they shouldn’t be cold (because they’re made from warm protons).

  269. tume says:
    January 25, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I don’t say surely this whole thing is a fraud, but certainly it much looks like. The Rossi if nothing else behaves like unwise marketer, not honest researcher.

    I don’t put much stock into a player’s personal reputation–I base it on numerous other LENR experiments and results that indicate the process is real. It works. It is there to figure out, make a useful product, and benefit mankind.

  270. anna v says:
    January 25, 2011 at 9:26 am

    We have a Greek proverb :”where you hear of many cherries take a small basket”.
    In english they say “hold your horses”

    I want to see experimental verification of this model.

    Count me in. The easiest test I think is to measure abundance of 59Ni before and after a run. It is a radionuclide with a longish halflife (76,000 years), therefore it is extinct in terrestrial stuff but is supposed to be produced in the Focardi-Rossi device quite independent of the details behind the reaction. I am not an experimental nuclear physicist but I guess it can be done using an ordinary mass spectrometer. It would tell more than any amount of steam.

    There’s a paper at Rossi’s blog written by Jacques Dufour (CNAM Laboratoire des sciences nucléaires) about the expected nuclear signatures in a “Rossi energy amplifier” and this one isotope stands out as an unmistakable fingerprint.

    I can’t quite see why there’s no corresponding paper about what actually was found. Anyway, this aspect of the issue does not smell right.

    But even if this Rossi is a fraudster (and unfortunately he looks like one), there still may be something to LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions). If we venture as far as considering a true conspiracy theory, he may be payed by a hidden agent to induce budget cuttings worldwide for more promising lines of investigation via compromising the entire field once again.

    As for checking neutron decays I can imagine it would not work because ultra cold neutrons could not make it to the point of decay due to the huge absorption cross section of the stuff around (even in thin films) at such low energies.

  271. I think this calls for Keanu Reeves and his magic keyboard.

    WOAH!

    (See the movie “Chain Reaction”)

  272. RockyRoad says:
    January 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I don’t put much stock into a player’s personal reputation–I base it on numerous other LENR experiments and results that indicate the process is real. It works. It is there to figure out, make a useful product, and benefit mankind.

    But I thought LENR is about low energy Pd-D reactions induced by electric current. Rossi thing is apparently about medium energy Ni-H reactions, induced thermally, which allegedly produces “30+% Cu” in the sample “integrally bound to the amount of energy produced” from “pure Ni” and Ni “isotopes after the operations were substantially changed in percentage”. If someone is claiming something so epochal like this, not having analysis outputs at hand, not even half year later when asked again, it is a story-teller for me, and an “inventor’ only in the sense he invents the stuff up.
    I would be glad if the CF research would lead to the commercialization, but what the potential investors to CF would do, if the Rossi’s blackbox/bluebox would show being a fraud?…

  273. Anna V: “But even if this Rossi is a fraudster (and unfortunately he looks like one)”

    One usual misconception is to think Andrea as a scientist. He is not and does not act like one, but an engineer although engineer who has Ph.D from engineering and sciences from University of Milan.

    Also what helps me understand his behavior is that the amount of bull s**t Andrea has received from scientific community in form of public ridicule and funding cuts, must be enormous. Little wonder if he wants to do things by his own way, and do not want follow hypothetico-deductive scientific method.

    Hypothetico-deductive science or falsificationism is odd method in its own right because 99% of progress in science due to generalizations made from careful gathering and examination of data. E.g. discovery of DNA double helix was plain induction and there was nothing that can be contributed to hypothetico-deductive science. And DNA double helix was indeed real science unlike some wild cosmological speculations that can be verified (i.e. falsified) only by indirect observations.

    I have followed now almost week this thing and I think that Andrea is not a clever con artist, but he has a real thing there. Although there are still great uncertainties remaining, I think that I can bet 62 euros for that Ni-H LENR is a real thing!

  274. tume says:
    January 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    But I thought LENR is about low energy Pd-D reactions induced by electric current.

    Nope. LENR stands for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. It isn’t bound to paladium cathodes immersed in heavy water, although a significant amount of research into LENR has come from that arrangement. There are many other possibilities–any element with an atomic weight below iron can be fused (any element above iron must be split). Paladium is simply used to pack neutrons closer together (from one theory, that is).

    But let me comment on the “30+% copper” number that’s been bandied about. Obviously I’ve not communicated with anybody in Rossi’s group (not that they’d confide in me anyway), but I can see how such a figure could be arrived at, having done research on various opaque ores using electron microprobe analysis.

    We’ve been told that the nickel exists as finely divided crystaline particles. Were I to analyze daughter products after operations, these particles would be mounted individually and examined for alteration of the metal grains. The probe would be able to detect changes in composition from nickel to copper, and I’m betting the copper would be located on the periphery of said metal grains, as that is where the reaction would most likely take place. Could some analyses indicate that 30% of some nickel grains had been converted to copper? Why not? I seriously doubt that 30% of the entire charge of nickle had been converted to copper, as that would indicte huge energy production. But from select nickel grains–and obviously enough to corroborate a nuclear transformation, I can accept it. And such numbers stick when discussion begins.

  275. Chronon says:
    January 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm
    You erroneously quote the following as my statement:
    “But even if this Rossi is a fraudster (and unfortunately he looks like one)”
    Please be corrected. The quote is not mine but of
    Berényi Péter says:
    January 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I seldom attribute fraud where self delusion can be rampant.

  276. Berényi Péter says:
    January 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    As for checking neutron decays I can imagine it would not work because ultra cold neutrons could not make it to the point of decay due to the huge absorption cross section of the stuff around (even in thin films) at such low energies.

    Trust me, a neutron at rest even, will decay with a lifetime of some 800+ seconds into a proton, a neutrino, and a positron.
    The positron can get out from the film, also its characteristic 0.5Mev gammas get out from the film.

    If these are not detected in a simple nuclear experiment, then the mechanism proposed is not there.

  277. Chronon :
    January 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    That quote is not mine. A previous post has been lost to spam I guess.

  278. http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=395

    Andrea Rossi
    January 25th, 2011 at 2:40 PM
    TODAY I RECEIVED A POST I LOST CLICKING ERRONEOUSLY, BUT I REMEMBER IT BECAUSE IMPORTANT AND I ANSWER ANYWAY. I APOLOGIZE WITH THE AUTHOR, WHOSE NAME I LOST.
    HE SAID, SUBSTANTIALLY, THAT MAYBE THE COPPER WE FIND IN THE POWDERS WE ANALYZE AFTER THE OPERATION OF THE REACTOR CAN BE THE COPPER IMPURITIES CONTAINED IN THE NICKEL POWDERS WE UTILIZE.
    THE ANSWER IS: THE AMOUNT OF COPPER WE FIND AFTER 6 MONTHS OF OPERATION IS OF ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE MORE THAT THE IMPURITIES IN THE 99.9999 Ni WE USE.
    WARM REGARDS,
    A.R.

  279. anna v says:
    January 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm
    “Trust me, a neutron at rest even, will decay with a lifetime of some 800+ seconds into a proton, a neutrino, and a positron.
    The positron can get out from the film, also its characteristic 0.5Mev gammas get out from the film.”

    Er… no! Neutrons decay into a proton, a neutrino and an electron. The decay products will have only the excess energy of the original heavy electrons above the reaction threshhold; since they are formed in a deep energy well (which is how the original electrons got to be heavy), they will have insufficient energy to escape to infinity, unless the neutrons themselves have already exited the well. This they cannot do, without an active pumping mechanism, or we’d have a perpetual motion machine; the neutrons would have to remain virtual, and thus relatively short range.

    But in this model even real neutrons would almost all be absorbed before having a chance to decay (in proportion to the respective reaction times to decay lifetime).

  280. Paul Birch says:
    January 26, 2011 at 3:38 am

    You are right, I must be checking everything after all. The decay will be proton electron antineutrino,( I think because of lepton number conservation), but the electron will have a characteristic three body spectrum .
    The momentum of the electron peaks at 40 or so KeV and can be measured. Spectra are on slide 17.

    If the neutron is captured in the crystal lattice it will still decay ( beta decays of nuclei) and the energy comes from the mass difference between proton (938.272MeV/c^2) and neutron(939.65MeV/c^2)), it does not need external energy.

    In a thin film,if the neutrons are seen, it will prove the mechanism exists.

    After all the capture crossection cannot be infinite because the thing would explode.

  281. anna v says:
    January 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm
    “You are right, I must be checking everything after all. The decay will be proton electron antineutrino,( I think because of lepton number conservation), but the electron will have a characteristic three body spectrum .
    The momentum of the electron peaks at 40 or so KeV and can be measured. Spectra are on slide 17.”

    It will only have a simple three body spectrum if momentum cannot be transferred to the lattice (which in this model it probably can) and if the particle masses are equal to their free space values (though the model requires them to be renormalised due to the intense field, with the electron masses in particular being increased by a factor~5). Also, the electron energies at infinity will be reduced (by amounts ~700keV) because in this model they are climbing out of a potential well of that sort of depth (which in practice would mean that they cannot escape at all). This is why I keep pointing out that the neutrons should be virtual, not real, unless they are somehow gaining enough energy to make up the deficit from the imposed excitation.

    “If the neutron is captured in the crystal lattice it will still decay ( beta decays of nuclei) and the energy comes from the mass difference between proton (938.272MeV/c^2) and neutron(939.65MeV/c^2)), it does not need external energy.”

    Only if it is a real neutron (does not already have an energy deficit), and only if the electrons produced by its decay within the lattice are not heavy (do not require in excess of 0.5Mev for their production).

    “In a thin film,if the neutrons are seen, it will prove the mechanism exists.”

    Not really, since they might be generated by other mechanisms. Nor would a failure to detect them disprove the mechanism (for the reasons I have previously mentioned).

    “After all the capture crossection cannot be infinite because the thing would explode.”

    I don’t understand your argument here. One would expect the rate-limiting step to be the production of these neutrons (which presumably depletes the intense field that facilitates their anomalous creation); their capture could be arbitrarily fast. I’m guessing a bit here, but from the description I would expect any ULM neutrons to be mopped up in times less than or of order a nanosecond (perhaps much less), so only ~1 in 10^12 would survive long enough to decay conventionally. This would be consistent with the very low neutron fluxes found in these experiments (where neutrons are detected at all).

  282. Paul Birch says:
    January 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm
    “In a thin film,if the neutrons are seen, it will prove the mechanism exists.”

    Not really, since they might be generated by other mechanisms.

    True, but any neutron creation would be a total surprise anyway. More experiments would be needed.

    What do you think of this explanation for the original proposal, i.e. Ni58 to Cu60?

  283. Re: Paul Birch says:
    January 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I think you are right about the neutron thing. It may not be easy to directly detect them.

    However, Focardi & Rossi do report some experimental results. If we dismiss their theoretical speculation about proton capture through the Coulomb barrier of Ni isotopes facilitated by an ill-specified “electron screening” process and stick with the Widom-Larsen theory of ultra cold neutrons, we may get into trouble.

    Curiously enough they used to have a pdf version of the paper at Rossi’s blogsite: http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/files/Rossi-Focardi_paper.pdf, which is not identical to the blog text referenced above. It looks like the pdf version is not available anymore (“Forbidden – You don’t have permission to access /files/Rossi-Focardi_paper.pdf on this server.”), however, I have a copy of it locally (which I may consider putting on the web, provided copyright issues do not get in the way).

    It is in this version they state: “In our case, the proton-electron system might be shielded by the nuclear Coulomb potential, with the possibility of penetrating the Coulomb barrier.” (Section “3. Theoretical interpretation” is missing from the blog text.)

    Anyway, they also claim “In the long period sample, the mass analysis showed the presence of three peaks in the mass region 63-65 a.m.u. which correspond respectively to Cu63, elements (Ni64 and Zn65) deriving from Cu64 decay and Cu65. These allowed us the determination of the ratio Cu63/Cu65=1,6 different from the value (2,24) relative to the copper isotopic natural composition.”

    That is, they claim after an experimental run copper is found in the sample with an unnatural isotopic composition. They also claim elsewhere original copper contamination of nickel of was extremely low.

    Natural isotopic composition of copper is 69.17% 63Cu & 30.83% 65Cu. Their claim is equivalent to 61.54% 63Cu & 38.46% 65Cu.

    Let’s suppose the “long period” they are talking about is the one between 5 March 2009 & 26 April 2009. It is 52 days, about 4.5 million seconds. If we go with the neutron capture pathway, copper can only be produced by beta decay of the corresponding nickel isotopes.

    63Ni->63Cu+e+neutrino (halflife: 100.1y – 3.16×10^9 sec)
    65Ni->65Cu+e+neutrino (halflife: 2.5172h – 9.06&time;10^3 sec)

    63Ni & 65Ni are of course not stable isotopes, they can only be produced from the stable isotopes 62Ni & 64Ni by neutron capture in the “energy amplifier” device.

    62Ni+n->63Ni+neutrino
    64Ni+n->65Ni+neutrino

    Natural abundance of these nickel isotopes is as follows: 3.634% 62Ni & 0.926% 64Ni. That is, there is 3.92 times more of the lighter isotope than the heavier one.

    Let’s suppose further the neutron capture cross section of the two stable nickel isotopes above is the same. In this case the production ratio of 63Ni & 65Ni is also 3.92:1. However, halflife of 63Ni is vastly longer than that of 65Ni, so one would expect much more 65Cu in the waste product than 63Cu on timescales substantially shorter than a century.

    There are a couple of possibilities to resolve this issue, including much higher initial copper contamination than claimed, but data supplied so far by the authors is insufficient to perform this task.

    They do talk about an upcoming paper in arXiv.org: “More details on this analysis will be given in a successive paper [8] A. Carnera, S. Focardi, A. Rossi, to be published on Arxiv”, but it is not there yet, although almost a year has passed since the publication of their paper referenced above on 22 March 2010.

  284. anna v says:
    January 26, 2011 at 11:45 pm
    “True, but any neutron creation would be a total surprise anyway. More experiments would be needed.”

    Excess neutrons (at very low mean fluxes) have been reported in some LENR experiments (though not these Rossi ones). It has been suggested that these may actually result from small bursts of hot fusion due to transient high energy discharges from sudden fractures in the substrate, and similar phenomena.

    “What do you think of this explanation for the original proposal, i.e. Ni58 to Cu60?”

    I’m afraid it seems gibberish to me. Charitably, one might blame it on language problems. In order for the atoms to be shrunk sufficiently to permit adequate tunneling through the Coulomb barrier, the electrons would have to be extremely massive (say of order the muon mass – since replacing them by muons is one well known method of achieving fusion). However, the Widom-Larsen theory only requires an electron mass a few times its normal rest value (and even that requires enormous field strengths), which wouldn’t shrink the atoms anything like enough. Neutron production + capture would always seem orders of magnitude easier than direct fusion. In any case, it’s not the size of atoms that counts, but the size of molecules or the bond lengths; that is, the separation between the actual nuclei we wish to fuse. It is conceivable that delocalising electrons of high effective mass could enhance bond strengths, increase the effective number of bonds between the relevant atoms, and thus reduce nuclear separations in the required way; however, this doesn’t seem to be what is being suggested here.

  285. Berényi Péter says:
    January 27, 2011 at 1:54 am
    “If we … stick with the Widom-Larsen theory of ultra cold neutrons, we may get into trouble.
    … If we go with the neutron capture pathway, copper can only be produced by beta decay of the corresponding nickel isotopes.
    63Ni->63Cu+e+neutrino (halflife: 100.1y – 3.16×10^9 sec)
    65Ni->65Cu+e+neutrino (halflife: 2.5172h – 9.06&time;10^3 sec)”

    I think you’ve missed a trick here. These copper isotopes can also be produced by neutron capture from lighter ones, by routes such as:
    58Ni+n->59Cu+e, 59Cu+n->60Cu, 60Cu+n->61Cu, 61Cu+n->62Cu, 62Cu+n->63Cu
    59Ni+n->60Cu+e …, 60Ni+n->61Cu+e …, …
    There will also be alpha decays back to Fe and Co, and neutron captures back up again from there.

    I would also say that the assumption of equal reaction cross-sections for the various isotopes seems most unlikely to be correct. We could easily see orders of magnitude difference between them.

  286. The more I read about Rossi & Focardi the more intriguing their announcement is.

    I’d not seen Dr. Josephson’s ‘pathologic’ paper before, but from my having earned degrees in physics and electrical engineering in the ’70’s and ’80’s, his name and work is known to me and his past statements regarding ‘cold fusion’ research results certainly makes it easier to be open minded going forward.

  287. Paul Birch says:
    January 27, 2011 at 4:03 am

    I think you’ve missed a trick here. These copper isotopes can also be produced by neutron capture from lighter ones, by routes such as:
    58Ni+n->59Cu+e
    [...]

    Does a reaction like 58Ni+n->59Cu+e(+neutrino) occur with substantial probability? One would think adding a neutron to 58Ni would simply produce 59Ni (subsequently decaying to 59Co with a halflife of some 76,000 years). I can see no copper here. Am I missing something?

  288. Berényi Péter :
    January 28, 2011 at 3:15 am

    In the Rossi proposal it is
    58Ni +p –> 59Cu
    Where they hand wave that the proton is shielded and gets close to the nucleus.

    In a shell model, the 58Ni in the potential well will have a “resonance” with a proton at the energy value of 59Cu, but how this is visualized is a mystery.
    The proton can be sitting in the center of the face of a cubic crystal but whether the collective lattice energy can give it a probability (collective energy) to access the resonance is an unknown point.

  289. Berényi Péter says:
    January 28, 2011 at 3:15 am
    “Does a reaction like 58Ni+n->59Cu+e(+neutrino) occur with substantial probability? One would think adding a neutron to 58Ni would simply produce 59Ni (subsequently decaying to 59Co with a halflife of some 76,000 years). I can see no copper here. Am I missing something?”

    Since we don’t understand the basic mechanism, who knows what the relative reaction probabilities might be? However, in general terms, reactions that produce two or more particles are easier than those that only produce a single nuclide (because of energy and momentum conservation). So even when we seem to see eg 58Ni+n->59Ni, we might actually have something like 58Ni+n->59Cu+e shortly followed by 59Cu->59Ni+positron (which might not necessarily be a real positron emitted to infinity), or the electron capture variant 59Cu+e->59Ni; we would thus have the possibility of the 59Cu picking up another neutron before it decays back to nickel. (I’m ignoring the neutrinos/antineutrinos).

  290. anna v says:
    January 28, 2011 at 7:47 am

    58Ni +p –> 59Cu
    Where they hand wave that the proton is shielded and gets close to the nucleus.

    I know Focardi & Rossi are pushing the proton capture theory, but that one looks even more weird than the W-L picture. I am just trying to establish here if their experimental findings are consistent with the latter one or the Widom-Larsen theory can be considered having been falsified (at least as a general explanation for LENR phenomena).

    However, to do that I am afraid one would need a much better description of the experimental results than the one they’ve published. A most careful analysis of initial copper contamination is especially wanted.

  291. Dr. Storms writes (on page 28 of his review paper):

    “Addition of neutrons, as several authors have suggested (Fisher 2007; Kozima 2000; Widom and Larsen 2006), is not consistent with observation because long chains of beta decay must occur after multiple neutron addition before the observed elements are formed. The required delay in producing the final stable element and resulting radioactivity are not observed.”

    That is, according to him, the Widom-Larsen theory is dismissed. Although he also seems to stick with the notion of deuterium primacy over protons, which is inconsistent with the Focardi-Rossi process.

    Unfortunately at the end of the paper he can’t resist the temptation to insert some distasteful remarks about the looming climate disaster.

    “At the very least, this energy may offer a solution to the global warming problem. [...] In a rational world and in the face of growing ecological disaster from using carbon-based fuels, every possible energy source would be explored, no matter how unlikely.”

  292. Per Strandberg says:
    January 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    So here we have two contradiconary evidence.
    The people making these experiments don’t get leathal doses of radiation. Indeed they don’t seem to register any elevated levels of radiation at all. And with excess energy there seems to be nuclear fusion produced atoms.

    I like you approach, so true.

    If you will read the actual patent application there is in place both boron and lead casing to prevent any escapement, so, it is not as if there is absolutely NO radiation products involved, just that it is rather benign compared to current high-energy nuclear production.

    With proper skeptism of something that is actually good usually also comes hope.

  293. Looks like I must point out a probable inconsistency in one of my prior posts, wherein I stated that elements lighter than iron must fuse, while those heavier than iron must be split in nuclear reactions. A quick glance at the periodic table shows nickel (element #28) to be just to the right of iron (element #26) and hence heavier than iron.

    Provided these results by Focardi and Rossi are real and their process does indeed transmute nickel into copper (element #29, heavier than both iron and nickel), the theorists will have to adjust the pivot point rule when dealing with cold fusion reactions. The question then becomes: What is the heaviest atom that can be transmuted with cold fusion? I’ve seen lab experiment descriptions in which palladium was transmuted to another element, and Pd is element #46 (just below nickel in the periodic chart, by the way, so the two have similar orbital configurations), and hence much heavier than iron. http://webelements.com/

    Perhaps there is no theoretical upper limit, with predominant candidates determined by price and availability (although it isn’t going to take a huge amount of the initial metal to produce the amount of energy mankind is currently consuming).

    I can still see a “global warming” objection to all this, however– the “environmentalists” will be screaming about all that heat warming up the earth. Oh my, is there no solution? I’m betting nothing will placate these people except a vast reduction in population.

  294. Berényi Péter says:
    January 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm
    “Dr. Storms writes (on page 28 of his review paper): “Addition of neutrons, as several authors have suggested (Fisher 2007; Kozima 2000; Widom and Larsen 2006), is not consistent with observation because long chains of beta decay must occur after multiple neutron addition before the observed elements are formed.””

    Which is simply not true. There are numerous possible routes (as I have pointed out above), many of which should be quite fast (cf. the similar transmutation chains occurring in supernovae). Note also that beta decay of neutron-rich nuclides (resulting from multiple neutron captures) will normally be very fast – typically less than a second – at least until the final link(s) in the chain. There is also the possibility of stimulated decay. Without a much clearer understanding of the experimental conditions, and the precise nature and energetics of the neutron field, it is not possible to say whether or not such a model would be consistent with observation.

  295. RockyRoad says:
    January 30, 2011 at 8:15 am
    “Looks like I must point out a probable inconsistency in one of my prior posts, wherein I stated that elements lighter than iron must fuse, while those heavier than iron must be split in nuclear reactions. A quick glance at the periodic table shows nickel (element #28) to be just to the right of iron (element #26) and hence heavier than iron.”

    The binding energy per nucleon is highest around iron, but it’s that binding energy released from the hydrogen that provides the energy for fusion reactions; and that will give a net production of energy so long as the binding energy curve does not fall too steeply at the top end (which, up to the heaviest known elements, it doesn’t).

    “The question then becomes: What is the heaviest atom that can be transmuted with cold fusion? …Perhaps there is no theoretical upper limit,”

    Not until way beyond element 120 anyhow. For example, 238U + p -> 239Np + 5.3MeV.

  296. Of course it would be difficult to determine what electricity rates would be once power plants started to utilize this new form of heat energy, but the Northeast pays around 14 cents per kWhr. The national average is 9.45 cents per kWhr (based on June 2007 prices):

    http://www.kaec.org/images/stand/0607_RateMap.pdf

    What amazing benefits to our economy we’d see if this invention reduced electricity prices by half or even more!

Comments are closed.