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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Lowell
January 22, 2011 9:42 pm

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…..

January 22, 2011 9:51 pm

Cold fusion. Hmm. Focardi and Rossi on the rocks?
Seriously, though, it will be interesting to see what develops.

Ivan Moho
January 22, 2011 9:53 pm

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.

Alan Esworthy
January 22, 2011 9:57 pm

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.

R. Gates
January 22, 2011 10:08 pm

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.

Mike
January 22, 2011 10:10 pm

Why not just use N rays?

Wilky
January 22, 2011 10:12 pm

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.

Roger Knights
January 22, 2011 10:14 pm

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.

Dave Springer
January 22, 2011 10:16 pm

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.

asmilwho
January 22, 2011 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, 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.”

John Blake
January 22, 2011 10:20 pm

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.

Mick
January 22, 2011 10:21 pm

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?

Dave Springer
January 22, 2011 10:29 pm

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.

NikFromNYC
January 22, 2011 10:33 pm

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.”

Roger Knights
January 22, 2011 10:33 pm

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

January 22, 2011 10:43 pm

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.

Roger Knights
January 22, 2011 10:44 pm

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.

dp
January 22, 2011 10:46 pm

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.

Claude Harvey
January 22, 2011 10:52 pm

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.

Jryan
January 22, 2011 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.
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.

pwl
January 22, 2011 11:00 pm

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.

Roger Knights
January 22, 2011 11:03 pm

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]

wes george
January 22, 2011 11:03 pm

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

Sandy
January 22, 2011 11:06 pm

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.

January 22, 2011 11:17 pm

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).

January 22, 2011 11:24 pm

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

Dr A Burns
January 22, 2011 11:29 pm

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 …

gallopingcamel
January 22, 2011 11:31 pm

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. “

Hoser
January 22, 2011 11:32 pm

Dave Springer says:
January 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm
Japs? Bakatare.

DeNihilist
January 22, 2011 11:34 pm

So if this works, then back to steam energy? Wonder where Grandpapee parked that steam auto-mobile?

January 22, 2011 11:41 pm

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.

January 22, 2011 11:45 pm

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.

StuartMcL
January 22, 2011 11:54 pm

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?

Mark T
January 23, 2011 12:00 am

Hoser: hehe. I wondered about that myself.
Mark

Mike Haseler
January 23, 2011 12:04 am

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!

Hoser
January 23, 2011 12:13 am

Mark T says:
January 23, 2011 at 12:00 am
;^)

grandpa boris
January 23, 2011 12:23 am

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.

Svein Utne
January 23, 2011 12:33 am

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.

Latimer Alder
January 23, 2011 12:38 am

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.

January 23, 2011 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.

January 23, 2011 12:54 am

Running for one hour…
Let it run for a week and let’s see.

Mark Twang
January 23, 2011 12:58 am

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. 

January 23, 2011 1:04 am

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!

Thomas
January 23, 2011 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.

Mark Twang
January 23, 2011 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.

Alex
January 23, 2011 1:17 am

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?

charles nelson
January 23, 2011 1:18 am

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!

wayne
January 23, 2011 1:24 am

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

Andrew Zalotocky
January 23, 2011 1:45 am

@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.

Larry Hulden
January 23, 2011 1:48 am

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) …”

January 23, 2011 1:52 am

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]

Grey Lensman
January 23, 2011 1:57 am

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.

Logan
January 23, 2011 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/
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

wayne
January 23, 2011 2:11 am

Bit more detail…
http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2011/01/17/cold-fusion-from-italy-nearly-commercial-ready/
Evidently this prototype has been up and running producing heat for month long runs… now that make me stop and get real curious.

Jimbo
January 23, 2011 2:29 am

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

Jimbo
January 23, 2011 2:33 am

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

January 23, 2011 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:
“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.”

Ted Stewart
January 23, 2011 2:50 am

“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?

peter_ga
January 23, 2011 2:54 am

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.

Loodt Pretorius
January 23, 2011 2:55 am

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…

Roger Longstaff
January 23, 2011 2:57 am

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.

David L
January 23, 2011 3:02 am

I know the mechanism. It runs on Orgone energy.

David
January 23, 2011 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.

Sean Houlihane
January 23, 2011 3:07 am

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.

John Marshall
January 23, 2011 3:08 am

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.

David L
January 23, 2011 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.

E.M.Smith
Editor
January 23, 2011 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.
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.

Martin Lewitt
January 23, 2011 3:36 am

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.

John Brookes
January 23, 2011 3:47 am

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.

January 23, 2011 3:47 am

Just one team, secret ingredients and recipe, works for half an hour, published in a blog… wake me up if something real happens.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 3:51 am

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

John A
January 23, 2011 3:52 am

My suggestion would be http://artoftrolling.memebase.com/2011/01/20/advice-troll-in-through-the-out-current/
Fake free energy machines have been “about to go commercial” for a very long time. Before that we had “turn lead into gold” scams.
Humans are gullible.

cedarhill
January 23, 2011 3:56 am

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).

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 4:00 am

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!

sHx
January 23, 2011 4:08 am

“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.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 4:11 am

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.

January 23, 2011 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.
Thanks
JK

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 4:21 am

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.

Paul R
January 23, 2011 4:25 am

“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.

sHx
January 23, 2011 4:26 am

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.

Roger Carr
January 23, 2011 4:29 am

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.)

Sean
January 23, 2011 4:40 am

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

Mark T
January 23, 2011 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

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
January 23, 2011 4:50 am

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.

anna v
January 23, 2011 5:06 am

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.

wayne
January 23, 2011 5:06 am

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.

Area Man
January 23, 2011 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 given they admit they don’t know the theory behind the mechanism.

David L
January 23, 2011 5:20 am

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.

Latimer Alder
January 23, 2011 5:20 am

@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.

Tom in Florida
January 23, 2011 5:23 am

“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.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 5:34 am

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.

Svein Utne
January 23, 2011 5:39 am

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.

HR
January 23, 2011 5:42 am

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?

Svein Utne
January 23, 2011 5:46 am
The Hobbs End Martian
January 23, 2011 5:57 am

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.

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

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.

David L
January 23, 2011 6:03 am

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.

beng
January 23, 2011 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.

Don Ross
January 23, 2011 6:13 am

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.

Loodt Pretorius
January 23, 2011 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
(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.

PaulH
January 23, 2011 6:24 am

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.

Domenic
January 23, 2011 6:29 am

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.

Ken Lydell
January 23, 2011 6:56 am

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.

BarryW
January 23, 2011 7:08 am

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.

J.Hansford
January 23, 2011 7:15 am

So….. They have themselves a fuel cell?

Grey Lensman
January 23, 2011 7:15 am

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.

January 23, 2011 7:15 am

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”.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 7:16 am

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.

GaryP
January 23, 2011 7:19 am

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.

William Sears
January 23, 2011 7:20 am

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.

January 23, 2011 7:22 am

My papers on cold fusion.
http://academic.research.microsoft.com/Author/7519801.aspx
enjoy
Frank Znidarsic

Owen
January 23, 2011 7:32 am

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 !

Vince Causey
January 23, 2011 7:34 am

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.

r
January 23, 2011 7:37 am

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?

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 7:38 am

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.

Myrrh
January 23, 2011 7:38 am

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.

January 23, 2011 7:44 am

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.

John M
January 23, 2011 8:04 am

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.

January 23, 2011 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?
.

J.Hansford
January 23, 2011 8:10 am

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….;-)

Douglas DC
January 23, 2011 8:10 am

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.

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 23, 2011 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.

January 23, 2011 8:14 am

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)
.

R Dunn
January 23, 2011 8:15 am

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.

wsbriggs
January 23, 2011 8:18 am

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.

January 23, 2011 8:21 am

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 …
.

Sal Minella
January 23, 2011 8:26 am

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?

Frank Perdicaro
January 23, 2011 8:27 am

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.

John M
January 23, 2011 8:29 am

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.

Frank
January 23, 2011 8:32 am

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.

BFL
January 23, 2011 8:44 am

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.

David L
January 23, 2011 8:46 am

@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.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 8:47 am

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?

Sal Minella
January 23, 2011 9:01 am

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?

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 9:04 am

_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?

Drew Latta
January 23, 2011 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.”
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.

RockyRoad
January 23, 2011 9:27 am

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.

asmilwho
January 23, 2011 9:30 am

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.

Lance
January 23, 2011 9:35 am

“Cold Fusion” … “Bologna University Report…”
Is it April first already?

DirkH
January 23, 2011 9:35 am

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.

r
January 23, 2011 9:42 am

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.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 9:44 am

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.

LightRain
January 23, 2011 9:45 am

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!

JDN
January 23, 2011 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.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 10:10 am

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?

January 23, 2011 10:16 am

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.

Cherry Pick
January 23, 2011 10:18 am

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.

January 23, 2011 10:22 am

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?

anna v
January 23, 2011 10:25 am

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.

January 23, 2011 10:25 am

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.

January 23, 2011 10:29 am

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.

January 23, 2011 10:30 am

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.

Domenic
January 23, 2011 10:30 am

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’….

January 23, 2011 10:41 am

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’ …
.

January 23, 2011 10:47 am

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.

January 23, 2011 10:47 am

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.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 10:48 am

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.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 10:54 am

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.

Sal Minella
January 23, 2011 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.

January 23, 2011 10:57 am

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. …

.

Ken Lydell
January 23, 2011 11:08 am

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.

January 23, 2011 11:15 am

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.

Richard P
January 23, 2011 11:18 am

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.

January 23, 2011 11:21 am

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?

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 11:26 am

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.

DeNihilist
January 23, 2011 11:26 am

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…

Svein Utne
January 23, 2011 11:27 am

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.

Dave Springer
January 23, 2011 11:37 am

“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.

Sal Minella
January 23, 2011 11:46 am

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?

Domenic
January 23, 2011 11:51 am

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.

colp
January 23, 2011 11:54 am

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

DeNihilist
January 23, 2011 11:56 am

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!

January 23, 2011 11:59 am

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.

vigilantfish
January 23, 2011 12:08 pm

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.

Merovign
January 23, 2011 12:10 pm

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.

Sal Minella
January 23, 2011 12:14 pm

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.

psi
January 23, 2011 12:18 pm

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.”

Rob Huber
January 23, 2011 12:24 pm

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.

Sal Minella
January 23, 2011 12:35 pm

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.

Sal Minella
January 23, 2011 12:38 pm

Should be annihilation or transmutation in last post.

David L
January 23, 2011 12:49 pm

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….

January 23, 2011 1:02 pm

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…

January 23, 2011 1:05 pm

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.

Engchamp
January 23, 2011 1:15 pm

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…

January 23, 2011 1:16 pm

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

anna v
January 23, 2011 1:16 pm

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.

PhilW1776
January 23, 2011 1:25 pm

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.

January 23, 2011 1:51 pm

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.

Sal Minella
January 23, 2011 2:15 pm

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. “>

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 23, 2011 2:17 pm

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.

Roger Knights
January 23, 2011 2:31 pm

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.

January 23, 2011 2:36 pm

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

Roger Knights
January 23, 2011 2:38 pm

PS: And a third application: warming a weater heater.

Roger Knights
January 23, 2011 2:44 pm

Oops–water heater.

January 23, 2011 2:48 pm

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”.

Domenic
January 23, 2011 3:03 pm

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]

Gary Hladik
January 23, 2011 3:16 pm

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

Alex the skeptic
January 23, 2011 3:38 pm

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.<<

January 23, 2011 3:42 pm

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.

January 23, 2011 4:00 pm

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).

Alex the skeptic
January 23, 2011 4:09 pm

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.

Ken Lydell
January 23, 2011 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.

January 23, 2011 4:24 pm

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.

Richard P
January 23, 2011 4:32 pm

“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.

January 23, 2011 4:50 pm

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.

JDN
January 23, 2011 6:02 pm

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?

Martin Lewitt
January 23, 2011 6:05 pm

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.

John Whitman
January 23, 2011 6:09 pm

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

January 23, 2011 6:23 pm

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

H.R.
January 23, 2011 6:46 pm

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.)

JDN
January 23, 2011 6:47 pm

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

Grey Lensman
January 23, 2011 6:49 pm

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

agimarc
January 23, 2011 7:07 pm

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/

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
January 23, 2011 7:20 pm

Testing Apparatus Notes:
There is a high resolution B&W photo available:
http://newenergyandfuel.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Focardi-Rossi-with-apparatus.jpg
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.

January 23, 2011 7:34 pm

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…

phlogiston
January 23, 2011 7:42 pm

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.

Ian H
January 23, 2011 7:48 pm

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.

phlogiston
January 23, 2011 7:52 pm

There are, however, unexpected and little understood sources of nuclear reactions and ionising particles out there. For instance, pulling sticky tape off a reel generates x-rays (~15 keV) sufficient to image the bones in your finger – see this New Scientist link:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn15016-humble-sticky-tape-emits-powerful-xrays.html
WUWT?

Tim
January 23, 2011 8:29 pm

“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…

kramer
January 23, 2011 8:33 pm

And controversy about a decision to not publish the proceedings of a recent conference.
Anybody got a link to this?

January 23, 2011 8:37 pm

@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.

Graeme W
January 23, 2011 8:41 pm

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.

hunter
January 23, 2011 8:54 pm

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.

hunter
January 23, 2011 8:56 pm

Here is a link to a 60 Minutes piece on Cold Fusion:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/17/60minutes/main4952167.shtml
Notice how it is on the table and not ‘black boxed’ like this Italian claim or certain aspects of climate science.

DeNihilist
January 23, 2011 8:56 pm

Nick Palmer, just thought I’d say thanx for the post and article.

Chris Johnson
January 23, 2011 9:16 pm

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?

anna v
January 23, 2011 9:22 pm

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 :).

Roger Carr
January 23, 2011 9:30 pm

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.

January 23, 2011 9:46 pm

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.

Andrew Parker
January 23, 2011 9:51 pm

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.

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 23, 2011 10:13 pm

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).

anna v
January 23, 2011 10:52 pm

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.

sHx
January 23, 2011 11:54 pm

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.

John Whitman
January 24, 2011 12:51 am

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

John Whitman
January 24, 2011 1:12 am

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

Volt Aire
January 24, 2011 1:28 am

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.

lebirchan
January 24, 2011 1:40 am

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.

Roger Longstaff
January 24, 2011 1:58 am

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!).

Roger Knights
January 24, 2011 2:24 am

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.)

January 24, 2011 2:35 am

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.

January 24, 2011 3:25 am

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.

anna v
January 24, 2011 4:00 am

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.

Roger Knights
January 24, 2011 5:25 am

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!

Ken Lydell
January 24, 2011 5:27 am

Andrea Rossi’s previous too good to be true scam was the Petroldragon fiasco. Read more about it here:http://www2.theeestory.com/posts/171457

January 24, 2011 6:57 am

Sure that Nickel was NANOSIZED nickel.

max_b
January 24, 2011 7:14 am

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

Jeff
January 24, 2011 7:23 am

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 …

January 24, 2011 7:37 am

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

Roger Longstaff
January 24, 2011 7:39 am

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.

January 24, 2011 7:50 am

Roger Longstaff says:
January 24, 2011 at 7:39 am
“Size” equals wavelength, be it nano nickel or the earth.

January 24, 2011 7:56 am

Anyway this could become a cheaper “gadget” than “antique”nuclear paraphernalia. 🙂

Alex the skeptic
January 24, 2011 8:05 am

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?

Tim McHenry
January 24, 2011 8:43 am

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?

January 24, 2011 8:59 am

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…..

January 24, 2011 9:15 am

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).

geo
January 24, 2011 9:26 am

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.

Ken Lydell
January 24, 2011 9:42 am

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.

January 24, 2011 9:53 am

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. 🙂

Roger Knights
January 24, 2011 10:16 am

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

RockyRoad
January 24, 2011 11:26 am

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.

Roger Knights
January 24, 2011 11:57 am

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.

anna v
January 24, 2011 12:09 pm

This is an interesting reference, has done the work of all nuclear states for proton or neutron capture.
http://newenergytimes.com/v2/library/2010/2010Dufour-NuclearSignatures.pdf

Ken Lydell
January 24, 2011 12:41 pm