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

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…..

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

Ivan Moho

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

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

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

Why not just use N rays?

Wilky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Sandy

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.

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).

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

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

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

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

DeNihilist

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

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.

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

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

Hoser: hehe. I wondered about that myself.
Mark

Mike Haseler

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

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

grandpa boris

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

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

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.

“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.

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

Mark Twang

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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

@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

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) …”