Andrea Rossi's E-cat fusion device on target.

Guest post by Ric Werme

Six months ago I posted, with Anthony’s consent and misgivings, Cold Fusion Going Commercial!?. It’s time to take a look at how Dr Rossi and his Energy Catalyzer are doing. In a word, Wow. There’s a huge amount of information and blogish speculation on the web now despite there being still very little in the mainstream press. There’s a new blog that looks pretty good, other new blogs I haven’t checked out yet, existing blogs have a lot of information, and it may be quite a while before I get back to teasing information out of Rossi’s blog.

E-Cat device testbed
Several E-Cat units in a testbed. Water, hydrogen, and heat go in, steam comes out as nickel fuses with hydrogen to make copper. Photo by Prof. Levi via nextbigfuture.com

First, a quick summary. Andrea Rossi, associated with the University of Bologna, took research from Sergio Focardi and scaled it up with a nanostructured nickel substrate and an undisclosed (but supposedly inexpensive) catalyst that fuses hydrogen with nickel releasing heat and some gamma rays. A demonstration unit in January took 400 watts in and put 12 kilowatts out, boiling some 8.8 liters of water in 30 minutes. He says units have run for months heating his laboratory, designs that don’t need a continuous source of input heat can be built but are unstable and difficult to stop. The reactor produces copper, but it’s still unclear just how hydrogen is overcoming Coulomb repulsion without needing particle accelerators or pressures akin to the center of a star.

In January Rossi announced that a 1 MW reactor was going to be the first commercial development. That is proceeding. Manufacturing rights have been split between Defkalion Green Technologies S.A. in Greece and AmpEnergo Inc. in the USA The former gets Europe, Asia, and Africa; the latter gets the Americas and Caribbean.

Defkalion is building the 1 MW reactor based on an array of small modules similar to those used in the January demonstration. Ampenergo may use a similar approach, but may not be producing modules yet.

Let me do the rest of this in a question and answer format:

Umm, what is this good for? What am I supposed to be excited about?

Ah, a very good question. I’m going to take a very conservative approach to the answer, i.e. squash the hype. First and foremost, all the usable energy this produces is heat. The major limitation of this is the maximum temperature the reactor can run at, Rossi says they keep it at no more than 500°C. Modern power plants can produce steam at 600°C and a pressure of 250 bar. While this is unobtainable from from the Rossi device, it could be used in a two stage boiler – an E-cat stage to get the temperature up to several hundred degrees and a conventional plant to finish it.

So the E-cat device by itself would have to run at a lower temperature and the laws of thermodynamics mean that the E-cats alone will have to run at a lower efficiency than conventional plants. Let’s assume for now that the E-cat device can’t heat water to a point where it can be used efficiently in a steam power plant. Let’s ignore that lower efficiency may not preclude it from being cost effective. Let’s also ignore combined heat and power systems.

So then all we have is something that produces a lot of something that the existing power plant operators would call waste heat. Portable heat at that – the 1 MW pilot reactor will fit in a 20′ x 40′ container (6 x 12 m). What’s that good for? Industrial-sized space heating for one. A long time ago I read that genetic engineering would have a greater impact on the agricultural business than on human medicine. Ever since then, I’ve looked at the Ag business as really big business. One big consumer of propane is drying grain post harvest for shipping, storage, etc. A little corner of the AG world in New England is maple sugaring. Typically 40 units of maple sap is boiled down to 1 unit of syrup. Some processors do it the old fashioned way with wood fires (usually scrap maple!) or the not so romantic oil burners. There are reverse osmosis systems for removing the bulk of the water, but it has to be finished (and cooked!) in a boiler. Why not have nuclear powered maple syrup?

Patios, sidewalks, driveways are sometimes heated to keep them snow free. Some airports and cities have big melters that pay loaders dump snow into and propane heaters turn it into water to dump down the storm sewers.

There are a whole lot of things you could code that would fry the arch-conservationists, like heating entire roads or keeping open air swimming pools open through the winter.

My favorite idea is small scale, but incredibly practical – Antarctic research stations need to stock up on enough fuel oil during the summer to keep warm during the winter. A heat source that is refueled once a year would thrill the physical plant personnel.

Energy production needs energy, and the E-Cat could fit in to some current applications (assuming the applications are still viable). Distilling ethanol from the biological fermenters used to convert corn to ethanol is one. Another providing the hot water used in oil sand and oil shale extraction. Currently that’s provided by burning natural gas, and there may be plenty of that associated with the source that it’s remains the sensible heat source.

So, the answer is that simply heat is well worth getting excited about.

Yeah, but what about me?

Rossi is concerned about keeping some of the intellectual property a trade secret. That, and concerns about shutting down the reaction made me assume that the home heating market would be the last to develop, but Defkalion is planning a small box that can hold 1-6 5 kW modules for a combined heat and power application, including residential use. If I recall correctly, a typical residential oil burning furnace burns oil at the rate of one gallon per hour. That’s 40 kW, so yeah, If the fears for some brutal winters come true, Defkalion may be very busy!

Dude, what about the US, you keep talking about Greeks!

Well, living in New Hampshire, I’m pleased to report that Ampenergo is located in NH. The principals are Karl Norwood, Richard Noceti, Robert Gentile, and Craig Cassarino.

Robert Gentile was the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during the early 1990’s. That’s okay. He is/was President of Leonardo Technologies Inc., an Ohio company that may have been set up by Rossi and is related to the Leonardo Corp in Bedford, NH. The links are weird, I haven’t figured them all out.

Richard Noceti co-wrote a paper titled Synthesis of Hydrocarbon Fuels using Renewable and Nuclear Energy and is listed as National Energy Technology Laboratory and LTI Associates. That’s good.

Karl Norwood is the President of The Norwood Group, a large real estate company based in Bedford NH. Hmm. His Linked-in entry says “Karl Norwood’ss [sic] real estate experience is multi-faceted, from multi-family to office and industrial properties. In business for over 40 years, he has been actively involved in all forms of commercial brokerage, negotiating on behalf of both landlords and tenants.” Whoa, shouldn’t we have a few manufacturing folks here?

In January, I went looking for the Leonardo Corp and was surprised to find it shared the same phone number as Norwood Realty. So I stopped there one day in January and the receptionist gave me Craig Cassarino’s phone number and said he was in Brazil that week. I eventually called him a month or so later. He knew little of cold fusion history or other research that went on in New Hampshire, he’s more of an international business consultant. Exportnh.org says “Craig Cassarino has spent decades focused on sustainability of resources in both New Hampshire and Brazil, so it’s very fitting that now, as New Hampshire’s Commercial Consul for Brazil, he is serving as a resource for Granite State businesses interested in doing business in Brazil.” Oh my.

So it sounds to me as though Ampenergo will be a middleman between sub licensees and Rossi. I’m sure they have lots of contacts to work with. Frankly, I expected to find something like a General Electric throwing hundreds of engineers at designs of all scales and dozens of scientists to build higher temperature devices, better heat flow management, figure out the nuclear physics, etc. Perhaps GE is, but are doing so quietly. At any rate, look to Defkalion for early results, perhaps Ampenergo can get factories set up throughout the Americas (or just in Brazil) later. I think the modules for the 1 MW reactor are being made in Florida.

How about producing electricity with thermocouples?

A “classic” thermocouple relies on the relative ease of moving an electron from one metal to another in a heated junction. They’re used in gas fired boilers, temperature sensors, etc. To get a decent amount of power requires a lot of wires. Something I wasn’t very familiar with until I started researching this is semiconductor thermocouple that uses lead telluride. Recent research has improved its output by adding some dopants that produce points where it’s easier for heat to knock off an electron. Rossi is very interested, but I suspect that there may not be enough tellurium to go around. I have a small thermoelectrically powered fan that you put on a wood stove. It also serves as a good guess about the smoke stack temperature, as the hotter the stove gets, the faster the fan spins.

Cute device, pretty pricy. I’m sure there will be good applications, but overall I don’t think it’s thermocouples are efficient enough, inexpensive enough, and raw material plentiful enough.

I hear it’s a scam.

Well, suppose it is, we’ll find out soon enough. I think it’s likely for real, but there are several other opinions and red flags worth keeping in mind. If it is a scam, it’s a heck of a complex one.

The obvious opinion is it’s all been faked or that Rossi, et al, are seeing what they want to see and it’s all a fantasy. Early LENR devices had so little excess heat that it took painstaking measurements to find it. The device Rossi demonstrated produced so much heat that there’s simply no question it was producing heat. Even the input power, supplied by a piece of lamp cord, is nowhere near the 12 kW that was being produced. (On a 230 VAC source, that lamp cord would have to carry 50 amps to bring 12 kW into the test device. 50 amps generally requires AWG 10-11 gauge wire.) Other parties, including Swedish nuclear experts have concluded the device is real and is too small to provide the demonstrated energy chemically.

There are detractors, primarily science journalist Steve Krivit. He’s a longtime follower of the cold fusion/LENR scene and is quick to point out it’s not “real” fusion. He visited Rossi et al in Italy, burning bridges along the way. There’s a personality conflict, I think Krivit was looking for a science discussion about how it works and if it works, while Rossi was taking time out of another busy day building a 1 MW reactor expecting it will work much like his smaller modules, because they’re using many of them.

Krivit’s trip to Italy left both sides annoyed with each other. From that page, follow the subsequent posts to the actual interviews and observations of the system.

Krivit states “Thus far, the scientific details provided by the E-Cat trio have been highly deficient and have not enabled the public to make an objective evaluation.

Rossi retorted later, “Mr. Krivit has understood nothing of what he saw, from what I have read in his ridiculous report.

Krivit’s focus is on the boiling water test, and thinks that the output steam flow was “wet” – that water droplets cam out with the steam. Rossi set up another demonstration with much higher water flow to stay with liquid water, and measuring the flow and temperature gain. The results showed more heat release than before.

What sort of “red flags” should I be aware of?

Here’s a list, some are holdovers from cold fusion history:

  • It sounds too good to be true.

    And therefore requires extraordinary results.

  • Scientists have come away impressed, but scientists are lousy at spotting fraud.

    It would be nice if James Randi would take a look, there are a number of doubters on his discussion board. However, so much energy comes out of the device that it can’t be powered from the wall outlet, can’t be battery power, can’t be burning hydrocarbons (that second test released the equivalent of burning 7.9 gallons of gasoline). There’s not much else it could be, e.g IR lasers or microwaves.

  • What’s with Rossi’s legal problems in the past?

    I haven’t read too closely, but Rossi was involved in a trash to oil project that didn’t get very far, but some accounts point to corrupt Italian officials shaking down a company that was beginning to make money. (I’m shocked!) Those issues may be one reason why Rossi is working with Defkalion, a Greek company.

  • And how about Ampenergo in the Americas?

    I’ll contact them in a while. They’re going to have to move and move quickly. At least they didn’t spend much time on a name. 🙂

  • If Rossi were a real scientist, he’d describe the catalyst.

    Yeah, but he’s an inventor/entrepeneur. He’s focused on getting a product out, one that he wants to protect until things are more established. He may talk about it more in November after the 1 MW reactor is shipped.

  • And how expensive is the catalyst.

    Rossi says it’s cheap. There’s some other work that used palladium on carbon, I wouldn’t be surprised if the nano structure is from nickel on carbon fibers or even just charcoal. It may be his biggest advance is increasing the surface area of the nickel.

  • This converts nickel to copper, which isotopes?

    Uh, can I get back to you on that? Sergio Focardi says that what is produced does not match natural copper. Physicists from Sweden say “the used powder is different in that several elements are present, mainly 10 percent copper and 11 percent iron. The isotopic analysis through ICP-MS doesn’t show any deviation from the natural isotopic composition of nickel and copper.” If the copper produced has the natural percentages of 69.17% 63Cu and 30.83% 65Cu, that’s a big red flag and and means either the result is contamination with natural copper or that the processes that make copper in the E-cat are similar to the natural processes, which should involve exploding supernovae.

    On the other hand, if the ratio is different, then that’s very strong evidence that copper is being produced through nuclear chemistry.

    No one seems to be talking about the iron. Iron is a couple steps before nickel, and that suggests alpha particle emission, but that’s more common with very heavy elements.

I’m still reading, I want to know more!

A remarkably amateurish but informative video was created by Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson at the University of Cambridge. I think it exists because there just wasn’t a decent video introduction. Is it an appeal to authority if the authority is yourself?

A blog dedicated to Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer has appeared as http://www.e-catworld.com/. It’s run by Frank (admin). I think I know who Frank is, but he never replied to my query. I think it will be a good source of information.

In a July post from Pure Energy Systems, there’s a list of Web sites focused on the E-Cat device. I’ve only had a chance to look at a few. (The last is one I found elsewhere.)

e-catworld.com

ecatnow.com

ecatfusion.com

ecatreport.com

ecatnews.com

coldfusion3.com

energycatalyzer3.com

ecatpoll.com

nickelpower.org

An interview with Sergio Focardi gives a really good background on developing the E-Cat. Focardi doesn’t know what the catalyst is, but suspects it’s involved in splitting molecular hydrogen into atomic hydrogen (ordinary hydrogen is a molecule with two atoms).

Wired had a good summary of LENR research in 2006. One person referenced, Les Case, was a solo researcher in New Hampshire and longtime acquaintance of mine. He died of natural causes a year or so ago.

What’s next?

The next big step is the completion, testing, and delivery of the 1 MW reactor. After that, Rossi might have time (or might be surrounded by reporters) and be willing to talk more about what’s inside.

I’m just amazed that the mainstream media haven’t picked this up. I don’t know how much of it is bad memories from the science by press conference days of Pons and Fleischman, and how much is pursuing more important stories, like which celebrity is entering or leaving rehab. When they do pick it up, they may overhype it, but it’s easy to show that maintaining a high standard of living requires access to cheap energy.

While the E-Cat device will not supplant many current uses for petroleum products, it doesn’t have to. It wouldn’t take much of a demand reduction to chase the speculators out of oil, and it could help reduce the cost of producing products from crude oil to refined fuels.

Whatever happens, our “interesting times,” as the Chinese curse goes, are about to become more interesting.

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August 4, 2011 7:25 pm

“There’s one born every minute.”

Aaron
August 4, 2011 7:35 pm

From the article…
“First and foremost, all the usable energy this produces is heat.”
With exception of solar, hydroelectric, and wind power, which are a minute fraction of our total energy production, the majority of power plants (coal, nuclear, natural gas) produce heat to drive turbines.
If this cold fusion device only produces little heat then a highly pressurized reactor system could be developed to take advantage of pressurized and heated steam to drive electricity producing generators.
Though I do doubt such a device is possible though.

August 4, 2011 7:37 pm

My money is on the E-Cat being a scam even though better physicists than I (e.g. Brian Josephson) giving it some credence.
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/can-a-definition-shuffle-steal-cold-fusion/#comment-18535

G. Karst
August 4, 2011 7:44 pm

I agree, 500 celsius is equal to 932 fahrenheit, and that is nothing to sneeze at! Large turbines may be somewhat problematic, however, plenty of other uses, can be put to immediate use.
Of course, not much more can be said until the entire process is known and understood. Proprietary concerns may hinder/slow this juncture and delay advanced improvements – which is a shame. If this is as advertised?? GK

R. Shearer
August 4, 2011 7:52 pm

Why wouldn’t controlled blank experiments be done? Why wouldn’t a calorimeter be used? Why would brass fittings and copper tubing be used in the apparatus when copper is supposed to be one of the products?
There is a least one report that the copper isotopes are in a natural ratio. I watched a video of Rossi and he needed a calculator for performing subtraction and he totally bastardized significant figures. The amount of steam produced does not appear to be consistent with the claimed heat release, which is difficult to assess because a calorimeter is not being used. It would be much better to use a non-metal apparatus to get away from the possibility of incidental contamination.
This thing smells even though I wish it were true.

Slabadang
August 4, 2011 8:03 pm

Steam engined cars!!! mmmmmmmmm

F. Ross
August 4, 2011 8:08 pm


“First and foremost, all the usable energy this produces is heat. The major limitation of this is the maximum temperature the reactor can run at, Rossi says they keep it at no more than 500°C. Modern power plants can produce steam at 600°C and a pressure of 250 bar. ”

While one can only hope that the device really does work as advertised, if it really does work what would preclude the use of the lower temperature/pressure steam to operate a less efficient electric generator?

August 4, 2011 8:10 pm

re cold fusion.
Not even wrong.

AnonyMoose
August 4, 2011 8:11 pm

I’m skeptical, but will be quite happy if it is real.
“If the copper produced has the natural percentages of 69.17% 63Cu and 30.83% 65Cu, that’s a big read flag and and means either the result is contamination with natural copper or that the processes that make copper in the E-cat are similar to the natural processes, which should involve exploding supernovae.”
“Should” involve supernovae. Maybe some astronomers need to look for situations where this reaction can also happen…whatever this reaction is.

KR
August 4, 2011 8:12 pm

I try to keep abreast of fusion research. Much is tied to the “cold fusion” concepts of Fleischmann and Pons – I haven’t seen much motion on those. Sadly, I would put the E-Cat into that category.
But folks might be interested in the Polywell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell) electrostatic fusion developments. This is based on the Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor, From some of Dr. Bussard’s work (he came up with the “Bussard Ramjet” concept, and had quite a resume in fission/fusion research), but without the central electrode that caused ~98% of high energy ions to cancel out.
This is funded by the US Navy, always interested in power supplies for subs and capital ships. They created the first serious power reactors (Nautilus submarine), and I expect they are going into this with clear vision of the possibilities.
I don’t know if this will work out – but if it does, a lot of other problems just drop off the map. Keep watching this over the next 2-4 years…

Bruce
August 4, 2011 8:13 pm

Well if it works I’ll give credit to E E (Doc) Smith, who was only 1 atomic mass unit out.

August 4, 2011 8:15 pm

I wonder what the world’s nickel supply (not in the core) is like. Good news for Canada, I suppose. Metamaterials have unusual properties that could result in a geometry that forces a proton from hydrogen into a nickel nucleus. Maybe.
It has long been said that if someone found LENR that worked, they should just make units and sell them. Apparently that is what Rossi is doing. If it isn’t a money laundering operation or something else.
What is going on, of course, might not be fusion, but if it produces usable energy cheaply, is that a problem?

ew_3
August 4, 2011 8:17 pm

If you live in a cold winter environment, even if the device only gives you heat, you’d be way ahead of the game. Simple systems tend to keep costs down.

Grey lensman
August 4, 2011 8:18 pm

Geothermal power plants work very well with steam at 500 degrees. They use a simple heat exchanger to convert wet steam to a dry gas suitable for lp turbines.
QED

August 4, 2011 8:18 pm

Does it have to be a nuclear reaction? Wouldn’t it be simpler to assume Rossi has developed (deliberately or otherwise) some sort of battery with the extra copper coming from a copper electrode? Does the device use copper tubes of any sort?

cirby
August 4, 2011 8:24 pm

Heck, if it’s real (and I’m still REALLY doubtful of this), you could get a huge amount of good just by using the thing to boil water for desalination. Putting out water at 500 C leaves you with the fairly trivial process of catching the steam and condensing it into extremely drinkable water, with a good amount of Really Hot Water left over for all sorts of uses.
Heck, a steady output of fairly reliable steam can be used to drive a helluva lot of things. Like vehicles. The current state-of-the-art GE Evolution diesel engines only put out about 3.2 megawatts of power – it could be really cost-effective to return to modern-design steam locomotives hauling smaller trains with zero effective fuel costs.
If…

u.k.(us)
August 4, 2011 8:24 pm

Call me skeptical.
At no point was there a mention of GE.
To not sell to GE, says it is open source or not economical.
The stock market has not moved.
Nobody is getting excited.
What do I know ??

j.pickens
August 4, 2011 8:39 pm

Even if we accept the claim that fusion is occurring, I cannot fathom what would limit the temperature of the reactor to being below that of live pressurized steam.
Has anyone heard a cogent explanation of this supposed limitation?
I would think that it would be hard to keep the temperature from climbing precipitously, and the problem would not be that of too low a reactor temperature, but of keeping it from running away.

August 4, 2011 8:43 pm

Fascinating, Ric… Thanks for keeping this information coming.

Brian H
August 4, 2011 8:45 pm

KR;
As competition for PolyWell, check out LPPhysics.com — privately funded, far closer to scientific breakeven, much smaller and more deployable and dispatchable generation, etc. And a fraction of the cost per Watt and per kwh.

Claude Harvey
August 4, 2011 8:51 pm

You’re being “had” folks and all the usual warning signs are clearly in evidence.

dwright
August 4, 2011 8:54 pm

Skeptical is what it is.
I do allow myself the luxury of hope on occasion; Like a certain fictional character named Jubal Harshaw, I feel free to self-debate atheism vs agnosticism on alternating odd and even days with the leftover days dedicated to intelligent design. Unless a leftover day is Friday, being Pastafarianism day where I drink copious amounts of beer and wonder why I moved out of the city (and the corresponding lack of strippers) In the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Blessings He Bestows with a touch of His Nodular Appendages R’Amen.
Bonus points for Sci-Fi fans – name the novel for +1 internets.
Seriously though if this is real, it’s huge, if not, another scam.
Whatever, I hope I got a smile out of someone.
[d]

LK
August 4, 2011 8:54 pm

The obvious reason to believe that this is a hoax is that it is coming out of GREECE.
I dont mean to demean the Greeks, but while the ancient Greeks are responsible for much of our science and laws, modern Greece is a basket case of lazy tax avoiding cheets and bludgers who have contributed nothing to the world in the past 1000 years – except better ways to defraud the system and take naps.
I hope I`m wrong.

Tad
August 4, 2011 9:04 pm

Scam.

Some Guy
August 4, 2011 9:07 pm

A) It sounds like a scam to me (99.5% sure)
B) The process by which copper is created in a supernova is the p process, which is simply adding successive protons to a nucleus. If you just add protons to the nearest stable nickel isotopes, you end up with both mentioned copper isotopes (eventually). However, conversion of nickel into copper is ENDOTHERMIC, you lose energy in the process (going through intermediate stages doesn’t help, either, net in > net out).

TRM
August 4, 2011 9:11 pm

Sounds similar to BlackLightPower.com and their energy production devices.
Even if it is low grade heat that can’t run a conventional steam generator would it be enough to run Stirling engines? I’m not sure how much heat you need for those but I vaguely remember that you need a hot side around 250-300 C to prevent the engine from becoming too bulky. 500 C would be more than enough.

jaymam
August 4, 2011 9:17 pm

So it uses up nickel 64, and 1 kg of nickel would produce 23 terawatt hours of power.
It would not take very long to analyse the copper isotopes produced. Why has that not been done yet?
If it’s not a scam, regardless of whether this is a useful source of power, there would be a huge new area of experiments using other materials. I suggest that all the funding for AGW be immediately transferred for that research!

Andrew30
August 4, 2011 9:17 pm

If it works, it works, if not, keep looking and trying other things.
People did not need to understand How fire burned at the molecular level to make use of it. It worked and they used it. If this does work, it is useful, both as a source of energy and a source of funding for CERN et. al.
We shall see.

Graeme W
August 4, 2011 9:21 pm

j.pickens says:
August 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm
Even if we accept the claim that fusion is occurring, I cannot fathom what would limit the temperature of the reactor to being below that of live pressurized steam.
Has anyone heard a cogent explanation of this supposed limitation?
I would think that it would be hard to keep the temperature from climbing precipitously, and the problem would not be that of too low a reactor temperature, but of keeping it from running away.

The most obvious explanation is that excessive heat interferes with whatever the catalyst is doing. In effect, if it gets to hot the reaction ‘blows itself out’. That’s just a guess, of course.
I’m reserving judgment. I’m happy to wait until the end of the year to find out what’s going on. It appears there will be something significant happening at the end of October. Either a working 1MW reactor, or a non-working supposedly 1MW reactor….

anna v
August 4, 2011 9:25 pm

I commented in the previous thread on this, extensively in the discussions, and have not changed my mind that if the device will work and give energy, the theory will follow.
I have asked a related question in a physics.stackexchange forum, on alternative explanations of extra energy ( no answers).

ermerdr
August 4, 2011 9:28 pm

His US patent IMO is not enabling and his EU patent has been rejected. So if this works it may turn out that it can be produced by anyone.
It’s also likely to be a scam but at least things are interesting.

August 4, 2011 9:29 pm

If this is for real it is world changing.

August 4, 2011 9:33 pm

Brian H,
The Gallumping Dromedary thanks you for that very interesting link to LPP. I spent many years producing instrumentation for fusion research but eventually came to the conclusion that fusion was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. No matter how hard one tried, practical “Inertial Confinement” and Tokamak machines were always at least 30 years in the future. I gave up in 1975 but the situation seems rather similar 46 years later with the NIF and ITER.
Against my better judgement as a physicist I wanted Fleishman & Pons to succeed. Today I am rooting for the likes of Rossi and LPP while being sceptical about what they claim. They bring to mind Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979):
“….It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute’s Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn’t stand was a smart-ass.”
There is a nuclear “pot of gold” with a little more credibility and it is called the LFTR, “What fusion wanted to be”:

http://energyfromthorium.com/

dwright
August 4, 2011 9:39 pm

Mod I either messed up or got snipped or spam filtered, anyways, until I see a functional low pressure steam or forced glycol application I’m skeptical as well. Iv’e kept half an eye open to this new tech and dare to hope, but without going through the same old press releases I honestly can’t be bothered.
BTW we heated a castle with 12-15 psi, 500C should achieve that. If not then tell me about K/J of heat energy delivered through a simple ex-changer/ delivery sys.

Jim
August 4, 2011 9:43 pm

This results are complete nonsense. Posting promotional puff pieces on
this sort of garbage devalues the reputation of the WUWT web-site blog.
The physics of fusion is sufficiently well understood so as to rule out
the possibility of room temperature fusion by sticking electrodes in
water.

August 4, 2011 9:45 pm

j.pickens,
If you ask me to design a machine that can appear to vaporise 8.8 liters of water in 30 minutes I would use the technology that brews our coffee; lots of steam but basically very little of the water is vaporised (540 calories per gram). You can produce steam by resistance heating and use it to propel liquid water into the receiving container.
This is what Krivit was thinking when he pointed out that the steam was “wet”.

Bobalooga
August 4, 2011 9:46 pm

Bruce, I thought I was the only one who read E.E. “Doc” Smith! As science fiction, it is horrible, but I positively devoured his works as a 10-12 year old. He expanded my vocabulary quite a bit in the process.

RockyRoad
August 4, 2011 9:51 pm

Answers to several of the above questions:
“There’s one born every minute”.
Actually, it has taken over 20 years to get to this point, and Pons and Fleishman weren’t the first to delve into “cold fusion”, not by a long shot. Others had been working on it for decades before Pons and Fleishman, including Farnsworth.
As for the temperature limitations, it has something to do with the components the E-Cat is built from. There are reports that Rossi has pushed an E-Cat to the point that it melted the nickel, which does so at 1453 degrees centigrade.
It is my understanding that calorimeters have been used to measure the heat. But Rossi ran an 18-hr test that elevated a measured flow of water from 15 to 20 degrees C, with heat production that any 9-th grade student can calculate.
Steam Engine cars: Check out this reference: http://www.cyclonepower.com/works.html
Instead of using a flame, the heat source could be one or more E-Cats. (I’ve said my dream car would be a Rossi Ferrari Cyclone.)
As far as the isotope ratios, Rossi has a one-year contract with Bologna University to determine what the heck is going on inside the unit—hot fusion physicists deny anything is going on, but Rossi looks past their blackboard of 100-year-old equations and expects to find something new. (Amazing how myopic some physicists are.)
It is estimated that the world’s nickel reserves (proven, probable, possible, whatever) would provide enough raw material to generate current total levels of power for over a million years. Certainly that’s longer than all the fossil fuel resources combined and long enough for this observer.
The process does indeed have to be nuclear—likely of a new type. You can rule out batteries, chemical, RF, lasers, etc. etc. The amount of energy produced is proportional to the mass of fuel lost in the nickel to copper/iron conversion.
After the Pons and Fleischman’s debacle, cold fusion research fled the US and set up shop primarily in 6 countries: Japan, China, India, Italy, Greece and Israel. Some work continued here in the US and in several other countries. With the Rossi work, more countries are now joining the club although India did drop out for a while. There’s a report of a unit assisted by Russian scientists that uses zircon and hydrogen as the fuel and the end products are in the platinum-group family.
It is my understanding that Rossi has a 5-yr backlog on orders. It is also my understanding that a number of companies (perhaps even GE?) are working on cold fusion devices but that they wish to keep such efforts under wraps until the skeptical climate about cold fusion dissipates. Rossi’s 1MW unit, due the last week of October, should help dispel much of that skepticism.
J. Pickens is right—the design uses an outside electrical source to help control the reaction, which can run away and melt the unit if left uncontrolled. By the way, they’ve got the lead shielding needed for operations down to just 3mm. None of the fuels going into the E-Cat are radioactive and none of the byproducts leaving it are radioactive, either.
Recently there was talk that re-charging the device would cost about $30. This may be in multiple units (I understand it takes anywhere from 100 to 125 E-Cats combined to form their 1MW power plant), which would cost from $3,000 to $3,750 every 6 months, although they’re reportedly working on a charge that would last a full year. I don’t know of a single base-line energy source where the fuel is that cheap.
Greece just happens to be the largest producer of nickel in Europe and the fabrication facilities they’re planning to build will be located in their nickel mining district, which makes sense.
I’ve calculated that to produce all the world’s electricity using a 30% heat to electricity conversion factor based on a standard Carnot cycle, and even including a 30% transmission loss, which wouldn’t apply in this application because of the distributed nature of the generating plants (hey, you could put one in every neighborhood if you wanted to), it would require about 15% of the annual mine production of nickel. It might even make nickel mining profitable again (the economic downturn has dropped nickel prices from a high of $24/lb to around $12/lb, where it will stay until steel production increases, or Rossi’s E-cat utilizes a significant portion of the output.
The $200 to $300 million to fund Rossi’s venture has been raised through a private placement. Sorry, at this point you can’t buy stock in these two ventures even if you wanted to.

joshua Corning
August 4, 2011 9:54 pm

“A demonstration unit in January took 400 watts in and put 12 kwatts out, boiling some 8.8 liters of water in 30 minutes.”
“experts have concluded the device is real and is too small to provide the demonstrated energy chemically.”
I am pretty sure 50 ml (size of chamber) of Metallic Sodium could bring 9 liters of water to a boil.
The idea that a chemical reaction cannot put out the kind of energy that is being claimed is moronic.
[snip ~ac]

RockyRoad
August 4, 2011 10:00 pm

One more thing to think about: Mention was made of using this E-Cat heat source to convert salt water into fresh using the standard distillation process. A paper presented at a recent conference on LENR proposed a much more radical approach–that of blasting the salt elements with a LENR process that converted them to other volatile elements that simply bubbled out and away, leaving fresh water behind in the process. It was determined that this would be a much more economical way than using a whole bunch of heat to do the job.

pat
August 4, 2011 10:02 pm

I don’t believe any of this. But I love to study it as long as I am not told I am to be subject to a socialistic economic system because this may actually cut down on electricity cost in the year 2050. And I am too stupid to understand that a consensus means it may not be questioned.
And I hope it is real because I love stuff coming from nowhere.

Douglas Dc
August 4, 2011 10:08 pm

If true, this is one of those :”day the world changed .” moments. I would love to see
the World powered by something simple easy to monitor and produce.
Then, to the Stars…

Don K
August 4, 2011 10:13 pm

“So the E-cat device by itself would have to run at a lower temperature and the laws of thermodynamics mean that the E-cats alone will have to run at a lower efficiency than conventional plants.”
I think this E-Cat thing is almost certainly a scam. But in the unlikely event that it isn’t, does it matter all that much if the reactor is a bit thermodynamically inefficient? It’s not like one would be paying $100 and up a barrel for the fuel. If it actually is generating energy from nuclear transformations, the amount of fuel required to generate substantial heat would likely be miniscule.

anna v
August 4, 2011 10:19 pm

A Rossi is replying in the blog http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=501 .
The reference paper to the same blog is no longer available but gives 403 error.

Steve
August 4, 2011 10:42 pm

Do explain, Claude.

Dr. Dave
August 4, 2011 10:49 pm

I, too, smell a scam. Without more detail I’m inclined to consider this a load of hooey. I guess we all can wait and see.

G. Karst
August 4, 2011 10:50 pm

500C steam just means the turbines must be a little bigger and double the the steam extracted for re-heaters. Reheaters take wet steam out of progressive turbine stages and reheat it (another fusion unit?) and re-inject it, into another stage. This keeps the steam quality at design level. Expensive additions but not prohibitively so. GK

August 4, 2011 10:51 pm

I think you are underselling potential based on very early technology. Its only limited to low temps now because of thermal runaway which is a problem in any strongly exothermic reaction. Give it time and good boiler engineers and they will get superheated steam like any existing compustion plant.

SteamboatJon
August 4, 2011 11:03 pm

If this E-cat works I can see another use. Heat may be converted to electricity at lower temperatures, the link below takes you to a site that talks about power from 168 degrees F (from a hot spring). Not producing huge amounts, but enough to power a resort and on the link it says they saved about 228,000 gallons of fuel over the first 26 months of operation (or $650K in savings). http://energy-alaska.wikidot.com/chena-hot-springs-resort-geothermal

geo
August 4, 2011 11:30 pm

Any chance the basic principles have something in common with what Blacklight Power is doing? I understand real physicists bite both of their thumbs and wiggle their fingers at what Mills of BLP *says* is happening theoretically, but whether the description of it is right or not, could there be a similarity?

joshua Corning
August 4, 2011 11:37 pm

“Water, hydrogen, and heat go in, steam comes out as nickel fuses with hydrogen to make copper.”
Wait hydrogen goes in???
Why don’t they pump in methane while they are at it…or gasoline.
But maybe I am making presumptions. Perhaps the suckers here have never heard of the Hindenburg.

Yes folks hydrogen burns.
This is the moment when you put your face into the palm of your hand.

AndyW
August 4, 2011 11:38 pm

“undisclosed (but supposedly inexpensive) catalyst ”
that rings alarm bells for a start. There is always some “special thing” that stops everyone else stumbling upon it and that thing is always … secret. Mind you, there have been such things in the past, as this clip shows.

It’s a shame this reactor only produces copper, which is coloured copper, and not pure green, which is coloured green.
🙂
Andy

Pete H
August 4, 2011 11:42 pm

I just cannot understand why any sane person would “Licence” any product to a company in the financial basket case that Greece currently is! It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!

Dan
August 5, 2011 12:08 am

I think it is being covered up by the authorities until they can figure out a way to tax it.
If it doesn’t produce CO2 then it’s not subject to CO2 tax and hence it does nothing to combat the evil CO2.
We all know taxes are the only way to fix things. (!)

dwright
August 5, 2011 12:13 am

Hmm made a semi-rational response and once again not posted. Hack on Realclimate again for censorship. Sure.

andy
August 5, 2011 12:15 am

The phrase “a continuous source of input heat” gives it away, sadly. Randi would say try two Ecats, side by side. Each should be able to provide a continuous source for the other ?

Alex
August 5, 2011 12:21 am

I call bs on this smells like a scam.

Editor
August 5, 2011 12:32 am

Frankly I’m disappointed to see this here at this stage. There is one source of energy that you havent considered: galvanic, which basically releases the energy that went into refining metals in the first place.
There are a number of totally valid, real fusion programs under way right now. There is a homegrown hot fusion program that just completed a phase of experiments with very positive results. EMC2 Corp in San Diego is operating under a recover.gov grant through the US Navy to develop their Polywell Fusion reactor technology and they have had very positive, real, results. The next step will be getting funding for a 100 MW net power demonstrator plant.

August 5, 2011 12:38 am

The calculations that Rossi presents as showing an excess if energy are based on a volume and quality of steam that simply isn’t in evidence, at least in any public demonstration.
In addition, the equipment used to perform the measurement is being used at temperatures that are outside the recommended working range for that equipment, leading one manufacturer to comment that they would be returning little more than random numbers.

anna v
August 5, 2011 12:42 am

joshua Corning says:
August 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm
“hydrogen burns”. Yes, giving electron volts per reaction of each hydrogen. They claim nuclear levels, MeV, and factors of 40 in gain input/output, table 1.
The energies they claim are much higher than what hydrogen burning would give.
Since it is going as planned we do not have long to wait to see if it can sustain Mega watt outputs.

eco-geek
August 5, 2011 12:44 am

Now let me see:
8.8 litres of water raised from 20 degree celcius to 100 degrees celcius in 30 minutes.
This is (4.2J x 8,800 x 80) / (30×60) Watts = 1.6 kW typical of a low power kettle.
So if you bung 2 kW down the lamp cord you will get some steam off. My 2kW kitchen kettle has a cord the same diameter as a lamp cord in my living room. Silly question but why bother with the description of the cord when amp and volt meters could measure the input power? I mean I haven’t looked but there seems to be a lack of instrumentation here. Why did it take so long to boli the water? 12kW would have done it in 7.5 minutes. What happened to the missing 10.4 kW?
A little elementary science might have made the whole business seem more convincing. I’m not buying into this for now.

Alan Bates
August 5, 2011 12:47 am

I went through the comments wondering if some of the questions arising in my mind would be covered – and they were by joshua Corning, August 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm.
You have hydrogen and “…nanostructured nickel substrate… “. “Nanostructured” suggests to me a high surface area nickel sponge made from nickel particles around 1E-9 m. This in itself would be a good catalyst for any reaction involving hydrogen. In fact, it sounds rather like the well known hydrogenation catalyst, “Raney Nickel” where a nickel sponge of large surface area is produced by dissolving the aluminium out of an Al/Ni alloy.
I find it interesting that having described a known and effective catalyst they then divert attention onto a supposedly extra catalyst which is “undisclosed” but supposedly “inexpensive”. A magician would appreciate this misdirection.
The copper (with an isotropic ratio the same as natural-occurring copper) presumably is naturally occuring copper in solution and intrduced into the system. Cupric ions Cu++ would be reduced by hydrogen over a highly active catalyst. Try putting an iron nail into copper sulfate solution – the copper plates out on the even in the absence of hydrogen or a catalyst.
The investigators may be totally honest scientists working at the edges of a new field of science – or they may not be. Their alternative explanation all sounds too far fetched to a simple-minded, retired industrial chemist. I shall not be investing my hard-earned pension.

Peter Miller
August 5, 2011 12:54 am

First Rule of Scams:
If it sounds/looks too good to be true, then it is too good to be true.

August 5, 2011 12:58 am

The bit that I’m missing is the total energy equation… i.e. How much energy did you use getting the raw materials that go into the unit? Does the unit make enough energy to be able create its own hydrogen supply?

Espen
August 5, 2011 12:58 am

joshua Corning says:

Wait hydrogen goes in???
Why don’t they pump in methane while they are at it…or gasoline.

If it was that simple to debunk, you wouldn’t have seen this on WUWT by now.
The amount of hydrogen consumed is minuscule, apparently. See e.g. http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/energi_miljo/energi/article3081694.ece

Gary Hladik
August 5, 2011 1:02 am

Some Guy says (August 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm): “However, conversion of nickel into copper is ENDOTHERMIC…”
Heh. Having forgotten all I knew about the periodic table, I looked it up on the internet and noticed immediately that nickel and copper are on the wrong side of iron to release energy via fusion. My guess is the secret “catalyst” is an alloy of cash and gullibility. 🙂

eco-geek
August 5, 2011 1:03 am

Moderator: Please replace my earlier post with this corrected version
Now let me see:
8.8 litres of water raised from 20 degree celcius to 100 degrees celcius in 30 minutes.
This is (4.2J x 8,800 x 80) / (30×60) Watts = 1.6 kW typical of a low power kettle.
So if you bung 2 kW down the lamp cord you will get some steam off. My 2kW kitchen kettle has a cord the same diameter as a lamp cord in my living room. Silly question but why bother with the description of the cord when amp and volt meters could measure the input power? I mean I haven’t looked but there seems to be a lack of instrumentation here. Why did it take so long to boil the water? 12kW would have done it in just 4.1 minutes. What happened to the missing 10.4 kW?
A little elementary science might have made the whole business seem more convincing. I’m not buying into this for now.
[regret too late – I’m sure readers will note the duplicate entry ~ac]

J.Hansford
August 5, 2011 1:04 am

Just wait and see I ‘spose. The fulness of time and all that. It will soon be apparent if it is a scam….. and of course if he has found something fundimental, the man is going to be famous, the knowledge base expanded….. But if he is scamming, boy is he gonna get a great big smack on the wrist.
….. and if the copper is natural, and his findings are correct…. Wow. It means that theoretical models for all sorts of things might be wrong…. the fusion model of the sun for instance and it’s neutrino problem etc. The mind boggles.
Anyway, we’ll wait until he ships his 1mw power plant and things get proven or disproven.

anna v
August 5, 2011 1:04 am

LK says:
August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
The obvious reason to believe that this is a hoax is that it is coming out of GREECE.
It is coming out of Italy; the company in Greece it is just going to produce the units for europe asia and africa 🙂 . There is another company for the americas.
The company in northern greece is founded legitimately as a “green energy” company , and one of the people in the board is a professor of university who has been publishing in the journal of Rossi .
If it is a scam, it is a grand scale one and we do not have long to wait.

J.Hansford
August 5, 2011 1:06 am

We’ll just wait and see I ‘spose. The fulness of time and all that. It will soon be apparent if it is a scam….. and of course if he has found something fundimental, the man is going to be famous, the knowledge base expanded….. But if he is scamming, boy is he gonna get a great big smack on the wrist.
….. and if the copper is natural, and his findings are correct…. Wow. It means that theoretical models for all sorts of things might be wrong…. the fusion model of the sun for instance and it’s neutrino problem etc. The mind boggles.
Anyway, we’ll wait until he ships his 1mw power plant and things get proven or disproven.

anna v
August 5, 2011 1:09 am

oh, dear, my last one disappeared. It had a link for the company Defkalion and one for prof. Stremmenos who is involved in the board of the company and has been publishing in the Rossi blog., hence the greek connection.

Wally
August 5, 2011 1:09 am

Errr…. Where does the hydrogen come from?
Like the hydrogen car, the only source I know of for hydrogen is to crack water, and this needs LOTS of electricity.
Needing hydrogen as in input material conveniently ignores where the heck you source it, but you sure don’t get it for free.

August 5, 2011 1:10 am

If it is a scam….who is being scammed and who is making off with huge amounts of money?
I could not say if the science looks funny or not……but if it is a scam the scam looks pretty weird!

Roy
August 5, 2011 1:20 am

I’ll start paying attention when Dr. Rossi and his staff start showing signs of radiation poisoning.

Roy
August 5, 2011 1:26 am

@joshua Corning
Hydrogen does burn, but the real problem with the Hindenberg is that it was painted with thermite (they didn’t call it that, but that’s what it was) and nitrated dope!
I am quite keen on the idea of hydrogen as fuel but the Hindenberg gave it a lot bad press that it doesn’t really deserve, making it a tough sell now.

Jack Simmons
August 5, 2011 1:31 am

dwright says:
August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Skeptical is what it is.
I do allow myself the luxury of hope on occasion; Like a certain fictional character named Jubal
Bonus points for Sci-Fi fans – name the novel for +1 internets.

Stranger in a Strange Land?

David, UK
August 5, 2011 1:31 am

dwright says:
August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
Whatever, I hope I got a smile out of someone.

Sorry, no.

Jack Simmons
August 5, 2011 1:33 am

Pete H says:
August 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I just cannot understand why any sane person would “Licence” any product to a company in the financial basket case that Greece currently is! It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!

What’s going to happen to those hairs when you realize the U.S.A. has become a Grecian basket case?

Rabe
August 5, 2011 1:33 am

“No one seems to be talking about the iron. Iron is a couple steps before nickel…”
Iron is the material with the lowest possible energy state: you get energy out of a nuclear reaction which produces iron. Likewise you have to invest energy to transform iron into any other material by nuclear means in any direction. Or transforming any other material “away” from iron. Seems the energy output of the reaction is (H->Fe) + (Ni->Fe) – (Cu->Fe). No one seems to talk about the hydrogen… and we aren’t looking at the very very low amount of energy coming out of the chemical reaction by simply burning it to water using oxygen.

Roger Knights
August 5, 2011 1:37 am

“If Rossi were a real scientist, he’d describe the catalyst.”

“Science,” as embodied by its official funding agencies and its official surveys-of-the-field (one mostly negative review by multiple evaluators came out a few years ago in Washington DC), turned up its nose at cold fusion. So science has no business being nosy. Rossi did this on his own dime. Nyah, nyah.

Disko Troop
August 5, 2011 1:40 am

Paul Daniels/Penn and Tellar would be proud.

Peter the Pedant
August 5, 2011 1:48 am

Watts up with watt?
The SI derived unit of power is the watt.
Its symbol is W not w, so kW, MW, kWh etc. please!

Ryan
August 5, 2011 1:51 am

Hydrogen only has one electron so it has always surprised me that you cannot use quantum mechanical effects to get two hydrogen atoms to fuse by waiting for the right time, i.e. taking a large number of hydrogen atoms heating them up to get them buzzing around and then a tiny proportion will fuse spontaneously. The sun takes ALL the hydrogen atoms and then succesfully fuses all of them at the same time by brute force and ignorance – earth bound attempts try the same approach but need to put as much energy in as they ever get out. We don’t need to convert all the hydrogen at the same time, so perhaps there is a smarter approach that creates the right conditions for some hydrogen atoms to fuse with less energy applied?
However, the problem with all alternative energy sources is the same – they need to compete with a system of energy production that relies on taking rocks lying around in Australia and then setting light to them under a water tank. This “cold fusion” technology might help us out when we have burnt all the coal but until then coal fires are a difficult energy source to beat.

John Marshall
August 5, 2011 1:52 am

As my thermodynamics lecturer used to say, ‘If it sounds too good to be true —-Etc Etc’
Perhaps we should look at the two countries concerned, Italy and Greece. Both are bankrupt and have spent years producing mythical riches from zilch. This may be from the same stable.
I wait to see.

Rabe
August 5, 2011 2:02 am

And BTW… is E-cat array that mysterious buttered bread on cat-back array attached to a generator? 😉
Seriously, Rossi is a simpleton. Either for holding back an invention which could get him huge profit and perhaps the nobel price but isn’t urgently needed by mankind – or by being a fraudster. So fortunately, we can wait…

August 5, 2011 2:11 am

I sold Computer data collection systems to the University of Utah and others during the initial cold fusion research back in the late 1980’s and verified that the principle worked. I also sold into the national labs at Sandia and Los Alamos. (Hot fusion research centers) What I found most interesting was the researchers with NO vested interest in hot fusion were highly successful in reproducing the original experiments. Whereas those WITH a vested interest in hot fusion were almost completely unable to reproduce those results. This left me somewhat skeptical of cold fusion skeptics. That said, I myself am uncomfortable with a box with wire running in one side and heat running out the other, until I am allowed to see the contents of the box.

August 5, 2011 2:14 am

Skepticism is well justified for the usual reasons. I reserve belief in Rossi’s invention for a date a year or so later AFTER he ships. These sorts of inventions are always going to ship soon. None of them ever gets around to actually selling product. Rossi will probably follow precedent. Great if he surprizes us, but I’m not holding my breath.

Roger Knights
August 5, 2011 2:17 am

“At least they [Ampenergo] didn’t spend much time on a name.”

How about “Here’s the Pudding”? or “In the Pudding”? or Pudding-Proof?

August 5, 2011 2:18 am

Jim says:
August 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm
“This results are complete nonsense. Posting promotional puff pieces on
this sort of garbage devalues the reputation of the WUWT web-site blog.”
Seconded. I was surprised and disappointed to see yet another “cold fusion” scam given such credulity and prominence at the WUWT site.
Watt’s up with that?
“The physics of fusion is sufficiently well understood so as to rule out
the possibility of room temperature fusion by sticking electrodes in
water.”
Bingo.

Brian H
August 5, 2011 2:19 am

Ryan;
“all” “at the same time”?? ‘Fraid not. It takes a few billion years for a yellow G-class like the Sun to burn thru its hydrogen. A big blue O-class a few million years. Etc.

Julian Braggins
August 5, 2011 2:20 am

For those who say that you cannot get more energy out than in, there have been at least two commercial units I can think of that do just that, with a COP of 3 to 1. One uses a drum within a drum with a small critical clearance and a fluid, that creates sonoluminescence. The heat output is 3 times the wattage of the driving motor. Another with similar output, but using eddy currents in an aluminum alloy disk created with permanent magnets uses air as the medium.
Of course there is the reverse cycle Air conditioner which can produce more heat than 3 to 1, or borehole heat pumps, which we know take energy indirectly from the Sun.
For others who believe that there can be no transmutation of elements without high heat input, I would recommend reading the life works of Louis Kervran and his carefully controlled experiments with seeds and young plants which clearly show conversion of elements upon germination, and long term field experiments that show formation of lime in soil by lime hating plants.
If Rossi really has heated his workshop for months with his units, then it would rule out a chemical reaction scam. Unfortunately with known problems with the catalyst lattice, reliability long term may be a reason that this never sees large scale production. In the meantime, large corporations will be quietly working on this and when the appropriate time arrives it will hit the market in a new guise. Just my predictions 😉

Jack Simmons
August 5, 2011 2:21 am

Now here’s a similar story that really tickles my funny bone.
http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/08/04/sweden.nuclear.home/
I’ve always had a hankering to build my own little nuclear power plant on the kitchen table. I guess the authorities here in Denver might get a little upset. We just got permission to have a few chickens in the yard.
I’ve been approached by several people through the years with the claim they possessed the design for a perpetual motion machine or some device tapping into the earth’s electrical fields for unlimited energy.
I stop the attempted explanations of the theory with the observation:
“Don’t talk, do.”
If you have a box producing unlimited energy, just build it. I’ll even attach it to the house and see if it can power my electrical stuff.
If it works, it works; we’ll fill out the paper work later.
So far, no takers.

August 5, 2011 2:26 am

Among the “honest” researchers, only 90% were able to reproduce the original experiments successfully. The last I heard (20 years ago) there was no credible explanation for these failures, which left some “honest” researchers with reservations as well.

Pete H
August 5, 2011 2:29 am

I mentioned earlier that I was astonished anyone would do business with a company in Greece.
Anyone want to follow Rick Werme’s link now will find an interesting web page!
http://www.defkalion-energy.com/

Pete H
August 5, 2011 2:32 am

Strange, there was a warning about some funny bussiness but it has gone now. Any one else seen it?

Oldjim
August 5, 2011 2:33 am

@eco-geek
I am also sceptical but, if the statement about boiling water is accurate, you calculation is incomplete in that it ignores the heat required to change water into steam.
Heat of Vaporization of Water Hv = 2260 J /g so to boil 8.8 litres would need 11kW of energy input for 30 minutes

Pete H
August 5, 2011 2:34 am

I did refresh and this shows up on the site link:
“It has come to the attention of our company that unauthorized persons have initiated contact with third parties for financial and development matters.
Defkalion Green Technologies publically announces that only its Board of Directors are commissioned to speak on behalf of the company. Any and all attempts to mislead third parties are seen as a legal infringement and shall be pursued by law accordingly.
Defkalion Green Technologies takes very seriously its communication to third parties and maintains transparency in all its actions.
The BoD hereby issues a public apology for any misleading information that has already made its way through the grape vine. For all afflicted individuals / entities, please communicate directly with our Head Office for clarification. “

Edvin
August 5, 2011 2:40 am

500 C is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Nuclear boiling water reactors drives it’s turbines with steam with a temperature in the order of 250-300 C and near saturation (in the high pressure turbine).
What is effected is the Carnot factor for the cycle, so you can’t produce as much electric enegy per input energy as if you had a higher temperature of the steam.
Since the process of generating heat from the nuclear fission is relatively cheap you can accept the lower efficiency of the cycle. If the E-cat works as well as is claimed, this wold hold even more true for generating electricity from the alledged cold fusion.

cedarhill
August 5, 2011 2:43 am

For today, I’d suggest shorting the markets. Better, if you have cash and are timid, dig a hole in the backyard and drop in a safe. Would not invest in Rossi. Well, maybe one share. And only if under $2/share. Then double you investment after each successful test. Call it the “but it could be another Apple” flyer.

August 5, 2011 2:51 am

The pp [proton – proton] reaction of stellar nucleosynthesis is very energetically unfavourable:
http://goo.gl/dY4Ak
as compared to reactions involving deuterium and tritium:
http://goo.gl/BagE4
This would be the dominant reaction in ordinary water H2O: 1H = proton
1H + 1H → 2D + e+ + νe + 0.42 MeV
e+ = positron
νe = electron neutrino
It can be immediately ruled out if no back-to-back photons at an energy of 1.02 MeV are observed due to electron – positron annihilation.
The key evidence for nuclear fusion is the following criteria: http://goo.gl/8AfeK
Be exothermic: This may be obvious, but it limits the reactants to the low Z (number of protons) side of the curve of binding energy. It also makes helium 4He the most common product because of its extraordinarily tight binding, although 3He and 3H also show up.
Involve low Z nuclei: This is because the electrostatic repulsion must be overcome before the nuclei are close enough to fuse.
Have two reactants: At anything less than stellar densities, three body collisions are too improbable. In inertial confinement, both stellar densities and temperatures are exceeded to compensate for the shortcomings of the third parameter of the Lawson criterion, ICF’s very short confinement time.
Have two or more products: This allows simultaneous conservation of energy and momentum without relying on the electromagnetic force.
Conserve both protons and neutrons: The cross sections for the weak interaction are too small.
All nuclear fusion reactions involving deuterium and tritium emit neutrons or proton at specific characteristic energies: if these are not observed, then there is no fusion.
Conclusion: Andrea Rossi’s E-cat fusion device con is rather amateurish even by the low standards typical of such scams.
Surprising and disappointing to see such scams being given prominence on WUWT.
Watt’s up with that?

eco-geek
August 5, 2011 2:54 am

My initial scepticism aside it really is worth looking at some of the links. A way into all this lovely stuff can be found through:
http://pesn.com/2011/04/07/9501805_Rossi_Cold_Fusion_Validated_by_Swedish_Skeptics_Society/
Note this page contains lots and lots of links about half way down. It seems that we will all be able to buy cold fusion plants from Walmart in a few months time and say goodbye to our fossil fuel providers by Christmas. I’m looking forward to having my gas supply turned off now instead of worrying about Corbyn and Madden’s cold winters, Gazprom and the Russian Mafia. I do feel cheated however that the MSM did not take this up a few years ago because I bought an excellent Bosch Induction Hob and its replacement by my new cold fusion cooker (CFC) will require the investment in new kitchen units. I’m going for the now slightly dated black and chrome CFC look which is in keeping with my existing kitchen appliances and will help to keep costs down.
Its all good news on these links but I am still slightly sceptical about the UFOs and electrogravity stuff however should this prove well founded I’ll take the home delivery option and get the LGMs to hovver the CFC to my house.
The world it seems is changing faster than I once believed was possible.

Alex the skeptic
August 5, 2011 3:07 am

If it seems too good to be true…..
But Rossi’s eCat has been evaluated by many scientists, including the sceptical Norwegian science society, or whatever it is called. More than that the first 1 MW unit will go on stream. Still, healthy skepticsm is the best way forward.
About the science: Cold fusion has been banded about ever since Fleischmann and Pons proposed it 20+ years ago, then ‘debunked’ by other scientists, who could not replicate the effect, apparently because their palladium was contaminated. Besides, how could one produce cheap fusion energy after we had spent trillions of dollars on hot fusion reactors that never worked?
If Rossi is right, bye bye ITER project. Hence Rossi must be declared wrong.

Lance
August 5, 2011 3:14 am

“…and some gamma rays”
Ignoring for the moment whether this is a scam or not. gamma radiation, depending on the emission intensity and wavelength, could be a very bad by product.

RobB
August 5, 2011 3:49 am

Hmmm……beware of Greeks bearing gifts!

Tony McGough
August 5, 2011 3:52 am

Two things strike me:
a) the first (Magnox) nuclear reactors in the UK could not produce steam hot enough to run the turbines of the day; so they asked Parsons – I think it was – to make them an old-fashioned turbine which ran on cooler steam. This works. And if the power source is cheap enough, they can be commercial. Better than burning your catalyst, anyway.
b) Josephson is the man who described the “tunnelling effect” – the Josephson effect – where an electron appears where it shouldn’t be, using its quantum mechanical properties to “tunnel” through an electrostatic barrier. Proved to work in semiconductors. If it works to provide cold fusion … wow!
But alas! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. On the other hand, “Probable” is not “Certain” – and the Josephson effect relies on very small probabilities sometimes coming true. Someone has to win the lottery…

August 5, 2011 4:10 am

There is an analysis here:
http://newenergytimes.com/v2/news/2011/37/3705report3.shtml
It looks like the power output really needs verification.

Paul Coppin
August 5, 2011 4:10 am

This is also from a country in which you can take 1 Lira and Presto! convert it to 100,000 Lira without any increase or decrease in fiscal mass…. The ancient Romans had an expression for this: caveat emptor…

banjo
August 5, 2011 4:16 am

Latest!
2012 Olympic stadium to be lit using karma and nice thoughts.
UK National Health service to be replaced with Dream catchers ,crystals and chanting.
IMF reports that Wishing upon a star, may cure global economic crisis.
and some bloke says he has created an over-unity device.
Is my calendar wrong?
The first of of april was a while back.

August 5, 2011 4:40 am

“While one can only hope that the device really does work as advertised, if it really does work what would preclude the use of the lower temperature/pressure steam to operate a less efficient electric generator?”
You know, I’m thinking the best use of the thing is as a heating/generator unit. Install in a hot water system. You may be able to use the temperature differential to create currents as well, which could spin a generator to recoup some of the input energy. To optimize you’d need to plan a new system… not thin tubes with a lot of drag, maybe something more akin to the ocean current. 🙂
Or you could just use it like a heat pump… put in a little energy, get more out of it.

anna v
August 5, 2011 4:42 am

Alex the skeptic says:
August 5, 2011 at 3:07 am :
Besides, how could one produce cheap fusion energy after we had spent trillions of dollars on hot fusion reactors that never worked?
If Rossi is right, bye bye ITER project. Hence Rossi must be declared wrong.

Please, the cost of Iter is estimated around 13 billion euro .
What trillions? in imagination? The cost is about as much as a naval plane carrier, which may be sunk in case of war. Do you think if a method of “beaming people” was invented any country would hesitate to stop carrier production?

Dr T G Watkins
August 5, 2011 4:55 am

An absolutely excellent post. Thanks very much Ric. Exciting times even allowing for all the caveats. A few diagrams of the possible ‘nuclear’ processes would be welcome.
Good to see Liquid Fluoride Thorium mentioned in an earlier comment.

Grey lensman
August 5, 2011 4:59 am

It pays to read E.E. “Doc” Smith! at a later age, that way you get the finer points and their is a lot. Now take common sense, if it works, it works, Simple. If “science” cannot say how it works, that does not negate the fact it works.
Same with claims of “scam” insults not science. They set a delivery date, if the meet it and it performs, then the fact applies “it works”. if not then you can start talking of scams.

Samboc
August 5, 2011 5:12 am

Jack Simmons says:So far, no takers.
A 1MW demo appears to me to be a DO.
If it works the world has changed. If it flops – so what.
My name is Thomas Edison. I invented the light bulb and the phonograph. As you all know this was a total flop and the world still burns Oil Lamps and has not heard of music.
And the world is flat and we will fall of the edge if we go to far.
I had the impression that the readers of WUWT were ‘skeptics’. ie looked at an idea and questioned and looked for real answers.
Seems to me to many readers in this post have formed a ‘ consensus ‘ and are not looking at possabilities.
How about – hay that sounds good – lets check it out
or – thats a con – bugger off.
Sounds like a AGW convert.
I don’t know if the demo will work or not . Evidence,evidence etc

Robert L
August 5, 2011 5:22 am

I’ve been following Rossi closely all year. He is a pretty dodgy character – with a decades long history of promised breakthroughs with no follow through.
http://www.esowatch.com/en/index.php?title=Focardi-Rossi_Energy-Catalyzer
His E-Cat demonstrations have been woefully deficient, with most educated analyses of video and data released pointing to huge flaws that could fairly be interpreted as there being no excess heat above that provided by the electrical heaters. The only demo that would have been convincing was done with only one of his colleagues present (Levi) and there has been no release of data from that demo to back up his claims.
At this point I don’t trust Rossi, his behaviour is at best evasive – as he could have easily done a demo in a few hours that would be incontravertible proof (eg a drum of water being circulated through the device by a pump, and simply observe it’s rate of temperature increase), and his excuses as to why he doesn’t do a convincing demo are pretty thin.
I still wouldn’t discount that there is something going on, There are multiple other sources now who are claiming similar though less spectacular results (Piantelli, Brian Ahern et al). Maybe Rossi has simply been exaggerating. Also Dekaflion – his greek commercialisation partner – must have done due dilligence using engineers who didn’t get their engineering degrees from diploma mills (like Rossi did)

Bigdinny
August 5, 2011 5:48 am

I prefer to be a cheerleader. There are so many exciting things being worked on- just because we don’t necessarily understand it doesn’t mean it can’t work. Joule Energy making diesel from algae, waste water, sun and CO2 to the projected rate of 15,000 gals/acre at 1/3 the cost of today’s conventional diesel. Cellar Energy making hydrogen infused beads as a substitute for gasoline. Perhaps all pie in the sky at commercial levels of production, but it wasn’t that long ago that a 64K desktop computer was the cutting edge of computing. I have no doubt that many reading this blog can even remember that.

wsbriggs
August 5, 2011 5:52 am

There are several issues with the Rossi device:
1. It wasn’t Rossi who developed the device in the first place, it was another Italian physicist.
2. It uses slightly different components to replicate the experiment demonstrated in Japan by Arata in 2009
3. Like many other experimenters in India, Russia, the US, Italy, France, Japan, to name a few countries – the demonstrations of the excess heat are still all in the tens of watts to 100+ watts.
4. If the predictions of a Bose-Einstein condensate model of the reaction are verified, then replication of the conditions should be easy, if not, then flim-flam starts to be a real possibility
The latter condition will require specific radiation types and values to be detected in the reactor, or a similar reactor.
Radiation has been detected in the Pd-D reactors, and in Ni-H reactors, as well as Ti-H. Temperature is a requirement – arcs regularly produce radiation – nuclear radiation, but here we are looking for a specific reaction chain with definite products. One would think that a Mossbauer Effect type setup would deliver the information in a precise manner.
Just my $0.02 (of a heavily devalued $).

Christian
August 5, 2011 5:55 am

@RockyRoad:
“The $200 to $300 million to fund Rossi’s venture has been raised through a private placement.”
Really? That is an extraordinary fund-raising to have pulled off, especially for something just coming off the lab bench.

Claude Harvey
August 5, 2011 6:00 am

The following is in response to those who questioned my “usual warning signs” statement:
Initial Claim: I have a “black box” that produces “X” without consuming “Y”
Skeptic: Show me.
Response: Here’s the box making “X” with no external sources of “Y”
Skeptic: I can think of a dozen ways to do that. The box is of sufficient size to have stored enough “Y” to have produced the limited amount of “X” you have shown me. I notice it quit making “X” after a short time.
Response: That’s because the Aardvark interferes with the Jimjam. We’re working on that.
Skeptic: Show me what’s inside the box.
Response: Can’t do that. You might steal my invention.
Skeptic: That’s what patents are for.
Response: Garbled
Subsequent Claim: We’ve stopped the Aardvark from interfering with the Jimjam. The box now makes lots and lots of “X”.
Skeptic: Let’s do a controlled test with independent, expert observers.
Response: Don’t have the time. I’m busy building a bigger box, raising investor funds and taking orders. Trust me. You don’t want to miss out on this exciting opportunity!

RockyRoad
August 5, 2011 6:16 am

I find so many uninformed statements by so many of the above posters that all I can say is that most of you are reacting without one ounce of applicable information. I suggest you all go do some serious homework before making completely laughable statements you’ll eventually regret (especially those that apply hot fusion criteria to “prove” it doesn’t work, or chemical reactions as a substitute).
I hate to break it to you all, but LENR/CANR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions/Chemically Assisted Nuclear Reactions) is a family of real, verifiable, replicable processes that have tremendous potential in energy and related fields. But drag along in the rear of scientific progress if you want–I would have thought readers of WUWT would have educated themselves rather than exposing their ignorance so willingly. In this I have been disappointed.
By the way, if this was a scam, you’d be able to participate with stock purchases, right? Wrong. No stock is for sale and no options are available (at least in Rossi’s venture–others may offer investment opportunities which doesn’t mean they’re scams, either). This group has already secured sufficient funding through private sources to construct facilities to fabricate 300,000 E-Cat units a year and from the profit from these sales they will expand their industrial capacity to meet demand. Indeed, fabrication of units on a smaller scale is happening even as we speak.
The bottom line is transformation of certain elements into other elements with E = MCC the only equation that properly quantifies the reaction. Classical physicists are tearing their hair out and ripping their clothes in protest. How easy it is to play the fool.

JohnOfEnfield
August 5, 2011 6:17 am

Let’s forget the people involved. look at the science.
Has this “experiment” been replicated?
These statements/stories are not worth a fig until some-one else can show that it can be done

eco-geek
August 5, 2011 6:21 am

@OldJim
A demonstration unit in January took 400 watts in and put 12 kwatts out, boiling some 8.8 liters of water in 30 minutes.
If boiling means bring the temperature of the water to 100 degrees Celcius then I am right. If it means ….and then converting it to steam then you are right.
One of the criticisms of this demonstration was the change of phase made for difficult estimations of the heat output. In later experiments the energy produced was measured single phase i.e. by just measuring the rise in temperature of a flowing water stream. This is a much more convincing method and the results are convincing.

August 5, 2011 6:22 am

Claude Harvey,
X.L.N.T.!

RockyRoad
August 5, 2011 6:29 am

Christian says:
August 5, 2011 at 5:55 am

@RockyRoad:
“The $200 to $300 million to fund Rossi’s venture has been raised through a private placement.”
Really? That is an extraordinary fund-raising to have pulled off, especially for something just coming off the lab bench.

You assume it is “something just coming off the lab bench”. Your assumption is wrong (see my prior post, please). Please do some research on the subject before commenting.

August 5, 2011 6:36 am

You missed out my site which has been reporting on the eCat since the very FIRST demo in January. In fact, we were the ones who tipped off other sites to the story.
My latest analysis of the Krivit Versus Rossi saga.
http://freeenergytruth.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-two-tribes-go-to-war.html
Craig
Free Energy Truth

Sal Minella
August 5, 2011 7:00 am

Thanks for the update Ric. Since this device “multiplies” input power by 30X using nickel , a relatively abundant resource, as a fuel; I say we should cascade a bunch of these things and produce infinite power. Better still, loop output back into input for infinite power from one cell.

Tom_R
August 5, 2011 7:14 am

>> Typhoon says:
August 5, 2011 at 2:51 am
Surprising and disappointing to see such scams being given prominence on WUWT.
Watt’s up with that? <<
As opposed to the majority of posts reporting on the world biggest and most expensive scientific scam? Reporting on scientific scams is one of WUWT's most important missions. At least this scam only steals money from gullible individuals, instead of convincing politicians to take money from skeptics at gunpoint.
In this case, I suspect the excess energy released is from hydrogen embrittlement of the nickel, not from fusion. As others have pointed out, fusing elements heavier than nickel is an endothermic process.

August 5, 2011 7:16 am

I can’t believe that virtually everyone believes cold fusion so easily here. Chemistry and atomic physics is irrelevant for fusion. To achieve fusion, one needs to overcome energy barriers whose magnitude is several MeV. Rearrangements of electrons in the atoms – chemistry and atomic physics – only changes the energies per particle by a few eV at most. So there’s a factor of one million here. No one has ever explained how these gadgets could defeat this obvious obstacle and still, a promotion of a “commercial” device of this type gets 5 stars of rating here. Wow.

The Old Crusader
August 5, 2011 7:26 am

I have to ask, though it may be a stupid question.
The periodic table says: Fe Co Ni Cu
The physics that I was taught says that nuclei smaller than Fe fuse with release of energy, nuclei larger than Fe fission with release of energy.
How can you fuse Ni to get Cu and release energy? Am I missing something here?
Even if you have a ‘nuclear’ catalyst wouldn’t that just change the energy hump just like a catalyst does in chemistry? Would there still have to be a net loss of energy?

August 5, 2011 7:33 am

As a rule of thumb:
If it is a slam-dunk and they really believe in it, the project will be paid for with private money.
If it’s not a slam dunk and if they don’t really believe in it, they ask for public money.
So….who’s paying for it? Smart people with their own money? Or Damn Fool Politicians with MY money?
I would like for it to be true. Energy is part of what’s required to lift billions of people out of starvation and poverty. (Good governance is more important.) But, I am skeptical. As others have said here, I want to see a working prototype doing useful work. Steam technology has been around since the time of the Blessed James Watt (Patron Saint of us Steam Engineers). An entire steam system can be purchased off the shelf to be “fired” with their ahhh….thing.
It would be nice, but do you remember the Peter Pan movie?? After Tinker Bell drinks the poison and is dying? Peter says to the audience if you really believe and clap your hands, Tinker Bell will live???
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take “hope”. What was called science (before the AGW crowd got done with it) is required.
Regards,
Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin.)

Coach Springer
August 5, 2011 7:34 am

The first ingredient to any accidental or intentional misdirection or fraud is the desire to believe. That desire is very strong in any endeavor that might change the world. It affects even the endeavor. Sorta like AGW.
Thanks for points pro and con. Although the oucome is either true or false, the outcome remains to be seen. I would not buy stock in the venture at this point. So far, it talks around the main issues in a way that gives the appearance of a failing gold mine company selling mostly hope. Throw in the concerns about missing steps and procedures that should accompany such physical changes and would indicate clearer eyes and you can’t help but think they are looking at it with less than cear vision. Trying hard to convince themselves, in other words. Keep working on it, don’t get carried away with “might” and “how else do you explain it,” and good luck.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 5, 2011 7:35 am

Sad to hear Les Case died before he was able to commercialize his idea.
Two videos on LENR. Odd to me that people are still wondering if it really works.
Fire from Water, hosted by Scotty from Star Trek

ABC News report on the Patterson power cell

Gary Pearse
August 5, 2011 7:42 am

With nickel at $10.50/lb and copper at $4.25, I think they should try to slide left on the periodic table and convert iron to cobalt at $16.00/lb. Even medieval alchemists had this part right. The good doctor had better do his sums and measure against thermal coal at 2.5 -3.5 cents a pound. Coal should even get a premium for being able to generate steam. It is a great development if it bears out though and they may be able to use cheaper feed and may get a bonus byproduct a la alchemist.

vboring
August 5, 2011 7:45 am

I have no qualms with LENR – even the DOE lifted their ban on funding the research because of evidence produced by Navy research scientists.
And I have no problem with the idea that inventors can push out the edges of science faster than physicists can explain it.
But, whatever the excuse, the inventors are pushing an idea while withholding data – the same behavior that climate scientists get excoriated for on this blog.

Dave Springer
August 5, 2011 7:50 am

Great timing. I was just wondering yesterday how that was going but didn’t remember the name of the inventor or the name of the device so I could google it.

View from the Solent
August 5, 2011 8:07 am

dwright says:
August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
Skeptical is what it is.
I do allow myself the luxury of hope on occasion; Like a certain fictional character named Jubal Harshaw
———————————————————————————————————————-
Jubal was certainly in “Stranger”. And also in To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

Dave Springer
August 5, 2011 8:08 am

You missed a huge practical application. 500C is comfortably above the highest temperature needed for continuous fractional distillation of crude oil. And of course it’s hundreds of degrees higher than what you need for ethanol distillation. In fact I’m hard pressed to think of any major distillation processes that requires higher temperatures and distillation is used on massive scales in the production of lots of things.

G. Karst
August 5, 2011 8:09 am

Sal Minella says:
August 5, 2011 at 7:00 am
Better still, loop output back into input for infinite power from one cell.

No, these units cannot be cascaded without exceeding the core temperature limitation. Staging is the only way around it. Of course, core temperature limitations, may not be inherent, and only a temporary limitation. GK

j ferguson
August 5, 2011 8:09 am

There are scams and there are scams. Symptoms of scams identified in some of the comments above are not the only possibilities. A world-class scam can be well funded, into multiple-million dollars with the object to put together a package of process and manufacturing facilities along with marketing machinery to sell whole to a target entity – say an oil billionaire. It is not impossible to get millions of dollars in backing for a project which can be sold for much more. Think about the investment limitations on drug cartel money and how a placement like this might be attractive. The return could be much better than an ordinary investment.
I should add, that this doesn’t look like one of that sort of scam for other reasons, mostly its public exposure.

Ralph
August 5, 2011 8:11 am

I don’t like any energy device that has to be connected to the mains to work. Tad unconvincing, I would say.
If it produces low quality heat (say 200oc) then connect it up to a Stirling Engine. If it still cannot sustain itself, then the whole thing is a fraud.
.

Dave Springer
August 5, 2011 8:15 am

j.pickens says:
August 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm
“Even if we accept the claim that fusion is occurring, I cannot fathom what would limit the temperature of the reactor to being below that of live pressurized steam.
Has anyone heard a cogent explanation of this supposed limitation?”
Catalyst breaks down.

Kelvin Vaughan
August 5, 2011 8:16 am

Do you remember that film where a company was sold a super computer. It turned out to be a hardboard facade with flashing lights and a modem back to a supercomputer elsewhere.
Look for a hidden power cable supplying 1MW.

Dave Springer
August 5, 2011 8:21 am

dwright says:
August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
“In the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Blessings He Bestows with a touch of His Nodular Appendages R’Amen.”
That’s noodly appendage. Jubil Harshaw isn’t ringing any bells but it sounds like something from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Peter Pearson
August 5, 2011 8:21 am

What next, UFOs? How can I send my global-warming-worried friends to WUWT, when I worry that they might be greeted by a credulous article on this laughably suspicious scheme?

Bill Illis
August 5, 2011 8:25 am

If nickel is going in and copper is coming out … its a nuclear reaction.
Should be simple for an objective/independent third party to test this.
But It looks like an awful lot of copper tubing is used in the device. Does it just look like copper or is it copper. Remember electricity is being applied.

Dave Springer
August 5, 2011 8:28 am

@dwright
re; Jubal Harshaw
I guess it’s been one or two too many decades since I read Heinlen. I don’t think there’s anything of his I have not read but I might have got Valentine Michael Smith though. No grok for me today.

August 5, 2011 8:36 am
JDN
August 5, 2011 8:44 am

@Ric: “A demonstration unit in January took 400 watts in and put 12 kwatts out,”
You may want some remedial physics. A watt is a unit of power. A watt-hour is a unit of energy. What you want are units of energy. It’s very easy to take in 400W and put out 12 kW. Hell, I can output 12 GW if I wanted. It’s called a Marx Bank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx_Bank) This is the sort of foolishness seen in the MSM. What’s important with all these devices is the energy required to form the raw materials vs. the energy you get out. That’s the profit.
So, what sort of energy profit can we expect from this machine after its fuel/catalyst is expended? Here’s a hint; they never bother to tell you that.

Kasuha
August 5, 2011 8:52 am

I will be very, very surprised if this will not proven to be scam in the end.
I have studied the “independent verification by swedish skeptics” rather thoroughly and while I must say that their investigation report is very thorough and detailed (fortunately), their investigation itself was not as much.
First of all they did not verify that the device inside the bulky packaging which was actually used during the experiment is the same as the three “unpacked” devices that were available. Mr. Rossi refused to unpack it.
Second thing they did not investigate was why the device actually needed such a bulky packaging (supposedly for radiation shielding) if there was no measurable radioactive emission during the experiment. I mean, if it was to prevent radioactivity then it sure would allow to remove some of that shielding to achieve at least minimum measurable radiation.
Based on this investigation I believe it was not proven that there were any nuclear forces actually in work during the experiment (no radioactive emission was measured, neither from the device nor from processed water) and that the volume of the actually used device was equal to the unpacked devices which were presented but not used during the experiment. Main argument being that any chemical process would not produce as much energy within such small volume does not seem to be valid to me as long as the volume was not verified for the actual device.

kwik
August 5, 2011 8:52 am

Jim says:
August 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm
“This results are complete nonsense. Posting promotional puff pieces on
this sort of garbage devalues the reputation of the WUWT web-site blog.”
Nonsense!. I say thank you Ric for a very interesting discussion on the subject.
And for those who find it strange there is no patent; You do know what would happen if you explained everything in detail in a patent-claim? The chinese would put it in production faster than you could finance your project. So it is a race to get it in production before anyone else is up and running. That time-period is where you can cet your hard earned invested money back. And hopefully, some more. A lot more.
The day the first units comes out of the production line, we will know. Just like when man ignited the first fire. How long did it take to explain it “scientifically”? 20 000 years?

TRM
August 5, 2011 8:52 am

“Andrew30 says: August 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm
If it works, it works, if not, keep looking and trying other things.”
Your comment reminded me of an old joke.
A scientist and an engineer are in a room with a beautiful, naked lady on the other side. They are told they can only cross the room by going half the remaining distance each time they move. The scientist sits down depressed and the engineer starts moving across the room.
The scientist says to the engineer “why are you wasting your time, you’ll never get there” to which the engineer replies “yes, but I’ll get close enough!”.

Dave Springer
August 5, 2011 8:54 am

Bigdinny says:
August 5, 2011 at 5:48 am
“Perhaps all pie in the sky at commercial levels of production, but it wasn’t that long ago that a 64K desktop computer was the cutting edge of computing. I have no doubt that many reading this blog can even remember that.”
It’ll be a lot more than the number who remember that a handheld calculator was a mechanical device, electronics meant vacuum tubes, and when you picked up a phone to call someone a live human operator, invariably female, said “Number please” and you gave the number of the person you wished to reach, then the operator replied “Thank you” as she moved cables around on a plugboard to hook you up. Our phone number back then, I still remember it, was 116.

August 5, 2011 8:55 am

The talk of excess heat production is pure misdirection.
If nuclear fusion was actually occurring then the evidence would be
1/ hydrogen + hydrogen fusion: 1.02Mev gamma photons for hydrogen – hydrogen fusion
2/ {deuterium or tritium} + {deuterium or tritium} fusion: either neutrons or protons emitted with characteristic signature energies for any of the three possible combinations.
3/ fusion of other elements: all have charactestic particles emitted at specific energies
The details: http://goo.gl/JqHdv
If no such fusion products are detected, then it is not nuclear fusion. Full stop.
As scams go, this Italian – Greek co-production is woefully amateurish.

cba
August 5, 2011 9:19 am

Rocky Road,
It’s been a couple of decades since I had any knowledge of it, but even back then, private venture firms were looking for investments that would take in the realm of a hundred million $ and then provide a big payoff (hopefully). Rossi going for $300 million venture capiltal is far from being out of line given the prospects of success and the ‘needs’ of a major venture firm for size of investment and potential growth needed.
This is of course assuming it’s legitimate and I cannot begin to believe with that much $ on the line that this would have a tremendous amount of effort made by such venture firms before ever committing any serious money to determine the viability of the claims. Then again, I’ve never gotten over what Bill Gates ask for and got from IBM for MSDOS.

dmmcmah
August 5, 2011 9:23 am

As a physicist who actually worked on a real fusion project (ITER – though I only played a small part) I am disappointed that a pseudo-science article like this would be posted on this blog. The blog ought to stick to climate science and keep it real. You’re going to lose credibility posting stuff like this.

August 5, 2011 9:41 am

dmmcmah,
This is not only a climate science site. And as the article’s author says, if this is a scam we’ll find out soon enough. It would be good if you gave specific reasons for your skepticism, instead of just labeling it pseudo-science.
It is sites like this that separate the wheat from the chaff through discussion and debate, and we have fun doing it. If the media, and more importantly, the scientific journals would allow both sides of the debate, the truth would emerge in short order. But they suppress skeptics’ arguments, so that leaves WUWT and similar sites to get to the truth.

cirby
August 5, 2011 9:42 am

@Kelvin:
“Look for a hidden power cable supplying 1MW.”
That’s easy enough to find – it would either be running at a few hundred kilovolts, or have a conductor the size of your leg…

MarkB
August 5, 2011 9:46 am

Please don’t make global warming skeptics like me look like a total A-hole by posting this crap on your site. It makes us all look like tin-hat kooks.

cba
August 5, 2011 9:47 am

Ric,
I think you were a bit heavy handed on your analysis for value – assuming this thing is legitimate. I don’t think anything close to 500 deg. C is going to be wet steam. While you are right that the efficiency is less at 500 than at 600 deg. C, possible efficiency will depend upon the difference between the hot and cold side of the heat engine. A carnot engine efficiency is going to be more like 63% versus 58% theoretical efficiency for 600 deg C vs 500 deg C assuming 50 deg C cold temperature. Remember that you must deal with Kelvins rather than deg. C when using calculating efficiency = 1 – Tc/Th. That difference might be real important when paying for fuel like coal or natural gas in huge amounts. Paying a buck a gallon for distilled h2o where you’re extracting a percent or so of the hydrogen mass as energy is a totally different playing field.
Also, thermopiles and even peltier junctions offer lower temperature difference direct conversion to electricity. I’ve seen product specs for a 15kW thermopile generator that ran from radiation generated heat. Power with no moving parts that could be located about anywhere. I doubt those can be sold now though.
All this assumes that those people are on the up and up and there is no fraud and nothing extremely negative is being hidden from view. If it is real this would create an unbelievable shift in our civilization and in our world. If not, it will make for an interesting movie.

August 5, 2011 10:15 am

If it is not scam and all it produces is heat, then couple it to a stirling engine an wave at the gas pump

Ian Rons
August 5, 2011 10:30 am

Whilst I would very much like this to be true, it does remind me a little of the kinds of “black box” stuff done by alleged psychic mediums 100 years ago. One has to investigate every little detail. For instance, as implied in the article, the proportion of Copper isotopes produced by this hypothetical process really oughtn’t to be the same as that found in nature.
Rossi claims (as reported in this article) that the ratio of 63Cu/65Cu produced is actually ~1.6, which is not the proportion found in nature. However, when Uppsala University tested a sample provided by Rossi (reported here), the ratio they found was the same as that found in nature.
Yes, indeed, a “big red flag”.

August 5, 2011 10:32 am

“Bruce, I thought I was the only one who read E.E. “Doc” Smith! As science fiction, it is horrible…”
I disagree. Smith perfected the space opera genre, as far as I’m concerned. It might not be your cup of tea, but calling it bad science fiction is just wrong.

Ben of Houston
August 5, 2011 10:34 am

Typhoon, one thing to think about is that if this works, there is a very strong chance that we don’t know what we’re talking about where subatomic particles are concerned. From an engineering perspective, in the end, no matter what is occurring (excluding the scam possibility), the thing can produce a lot of heat for very low input. The only rational idea is to set the machine up in the control a neutral, monitored party, and then have it run. Put a smartmeter on the input, and a temperature/flowmeter on the output, and then let it run for a week. Then, observe the results and conclude from there.

Steve from Rockwood
August 5, 2011 10:35 am

When you put “con” and “fusion” together you don’t get “cold fusion”.

G. Karst
August 5, 2011 10:42 am

MarkB says:
August 5, 2011 at 9:46 am
Please don’t make global warming skeptics like me look like a total A-hole by posting this crap on your site. It makes us all look like tin-hat kooks.

With all due respect, if all aspects of fusion is known… Where is our working fusion reactor?
This project should be approached with the highest level of skepticism! We all agree on that, but we must remain open enough to accept the pudding, when provided. In the meantime we CAN speculate as to application of such a heat source. Sit back and relax. GK

A. C. Osborn
August 5, 2011 11:03 am

physics geek says:
August 5, 2011 at 10:32 am
I disagree. Smith perfected the space opera genre, as far as I’m concerned. It might not be your cup of tea, but calling it bad science fiction is just wrong.
Especially considering when it was written.

kwik
August 5, 2011 11:09 am

Luboš Motl says:
August 5, 2011 at 8:36 am
“Why you’re being misled:”
Lubos, you are taking this too serious! It is a discussion, right? Pros and Cons.
I think it is interesting, nomatter what it ends up with. If it is a scam, how will it end? For Rossi and his people? If not, what then? And discussing/reading all pros and cons arguments. It is great fun, me thinks. Like a soap opera for boys.

William Sears
August 5, 2011 11:13 am

I have to agree with JDN here. The use of power units when only energy units are appropriate is very suspicious. It is equivalent to answering a question about the distance to a nearby town by stating the maximum speed you obtained on a recent trip. The same misdirection occurred with most of the original cold fusion claims in the eighties. As in the earlier claims, I strongly suspect that the brief burst of power comes from the rapid combustion of the hydrogen previously stored in the porous nickel catalyst. After all this is related to the ongoing search for an efficient way to store and recover hydrogen gas from metal hydrides and/or to burn hydrogen in fuel cells. I also worry that highlighting this topic downgrades the excellent reputation of this web-site.

Bob Kutz
August 5, 2011 11:16 am

I am highly skeptical and I want one.
If for no other reason than to either figure out the fraud, or be the first to hook one up to his house and go ‘off the grid’.
Either way, I want one, tin hat or otherwise.

August 5, 2011 11:38 am

I find energy generating cold fusion a bit implausible sorry.
It is easy enough to produce desktop nuclear fusion which consumes more energy than it produces. Many methods have been tried – the most well known is electrostatic confinement, using a fusor – there is even a hobby group dedicated to building fusors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor The most recent breakthrough is pyroelectric crystal fusion, in which a large electrostatic potential to accelerate atoms up to fusion temperature is generated using a room temperature heat engine.
None of them achieve energy break even, let alone generate useable energy.
Given the long history of disappointment, I would like to see a string of reputable laboratories replicating the experiment, before I take this latest story seriously.

DRE
August 5, 2011 11:47 am

Italy I believe has disallowed their patent application. I’ve read their US patent and in my opinion it isn’t enabling and is therefore breakable.
Most likely a scam but still interesting.

Bigdinny
August 5, 2011 11:47 am

Dave: I hate to admit it but my memory is on a par with yours. Remember party lines? Our number was 5221. For some I am sure we are speaking Greek.
Dave Springer says:
August 5, 2011 at 8:54 am

Sun Spot
August 5, 2011 11:49 am

Add up the pro and con comments declare it a consensus, the science is settled then put it into production.
/sarc

wsbriggs
August 5, 2011 11:51 am

For those who might take the time to analyze the whole theory thing, here’s a pointer to a paper on the Bose-Einstein Condensate.
http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/KimYEgeneralize.pdf

East Texas Red
August 5, 2011 11:53 am

Estiercol de caballo

hunter
August 5, 2011 12:13 pm

Hmmmmm……this is an interesting topic, but frankly one I would like to see pursued seperately from climate science issues.
If it is somehow real, and we enter the age of fusion from such an improbable direction, so be it.
There will be plenty of time to follow it and discuss the implications.
If it is not real, AGW believers will use the attention paid to the topic here as alleged proof that skeptics are wack jobs.
This is like religious issues. Any discussion of religion in science inevitably gets used by secularists as a proof of the ignorance foolishness of theists.
I hope this si the last post on the topic until the entire issues is either proven real or false.
My bet at this time is it is false.

Ed
August 5, 2011 12:19 pm

“Leonardo Technologies Inc., an Ohio company that may have been set up by Rossi and is related to the Leonardo Corp in Bedford, NH”
Leonardo Technologies Inc. address from their website (note that two years ago when it was popular, they were into carbon sequestration)
http://www.lti-global.com/
is
70245 Bannock
Uniontown Road
Bannock, Ohio
43972
Which Google street view indicates is quite a rural area in the middle of nowhere:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&z=7&iwloc=A&q=+Hc+331+Bannock,+OH
Which happens to also be the address for other companies
Capstone Holding Co‎ –
“Land holding company that owns coal reserves that we are currently permitting for mining. We are also leasing coal reserves to mining companies and we are performing reclamation for bond releases on previously mined properties.”
per:
http://www.ohiocoal.com/associate-member-company/capstone-holding-company
Ohio River Collieries Co‎ –
other Gentile companies (i.e. not Robert Gentile)
per:
http://www.corporationwiki.com/Ohio/Bannock/ohio-river-collieries-co/48367180.aspx
Quite the relationship to build credibility in a LENR tech company

Frank Perdicaro
August 5, 2011 12:33 pm

So many angles on this one….
As a physicist and electrical engineer, my training tells me this looks like a
scam. But not totally.
There is no reason to pronounce it a scam if the theorists do not understand
all the science. Airplanes, semiconductors, and even wave-particle duality
were considered nonsense at one time. Just like lots of modern mathematics.
The director ALCATOR-C-MOD fusion reactor at MIT makes it quite plain
that “the theorists are 18 months behind”. The fusion reactor at MIT is energy
positive (but quite limited in other ways) and has limited theoretical understanding.
If the results of the E-cat can be duplicated, it is science and it is real. Naysayers
and theorists be damned. There lies the problem. There are tens of thousands
of highly-educated people that have spent all their education and career certain
that no such thing is possible. There is an implication and attitude that they
know all there is to be known: anything that is not known is impossible. These
people have worked in the hardest technical fields for decades and have
gotten ahead in life by *being right*. It is VERY HARD for such people to admit
to even the slightest possibility of error, or new science.
Some find the physics imponderable, but not me. Above somebody mentioned
the Josepheson effect. I think this is the right approach. Combined with the
nickle permeability of hydrogen, and some phonon compression on lattice
boundaries, there is at least a possibility. The E-cat needs 500 PSI hydrogen
at around 1000F. So there are some interesting effects going on. More
heat makes the process unstable? Why is that? Is there some odd combination
of the Doppler broadening in a nano-scale matrix with Stark effect, and perhaps
some variant of Hall and Zeeman effects?
In my work I have found that lots of poorly educated, highly educated people
think the Gaussian distribution of probability applies to all events. For
discrete systems, this is NOT the case. Odd, nominally impossible, things
happen in systems that have non-continuous media. Nano-scale nickel with
hot high pressure hydrogen might be one of those interesting cases. Is it any
less probable than a field effect transistor?
Impossible? Consider the case of the plain bearing. A thin film of oil between
a rotating steel part and a lead/zinc/copper shell. Such bearings were in use
for a century before anybody could explain why they worked. Thin films of
oil behave completely differently than bulk oil. The theory was not required
for the bearing to used.

Roger Knights
August 5, 2011 12:36 pm

DRE says:
August 5, 2011 at 11:47 am
Italy I believe has disallowed their patent application. I’ve read their US patent and in my opinion it isn’t enabling

That’s because Rossi didn’t reveal his secret sauce. It’s not really a count against the gadget. I.e., the offices didn’t evaluate his DEVICE and find it wanting.

MrV
August 5, 2011 12:51 pm

Well we are at T-minus 3 months for the October demonstration deadline. This is the most intriguing thing if it is a scam, why the deadline?
I mean even if they only have sufficient units for a 500kw system by then, this would still be more than enough to demo.

August 5, 2011 1:04 pm

Ben of Houston says:
August 5, 2011 at 10:34 am
“Typhoon, one thing to think about is that if this works, there is a very strong chance that we don’t know what we’re talking about where subatomic particles are concerned. From an engineering perspective, in the end, no matter what is occurring (excluding the scam possibility), the thing can produce a lot of heat for very low input. The only rational idea is to set the machine up in the control a neutral, monitored party, and then have it run. Put a smartmeter on the input, and a temperature/flowmeter on the output, and then let it run for a week. Then, observe the results and conclude from there.”
The claim is one of “cold fusion”.
My observations: http://goo.gl/5g60J
are based on the conservation of energy – momentum,
http://goo.gl/fIhdw
a fundamental property of nature.
if the emitted particles are not observed then this would be the first known process to violate conservation of energy – momentum. The probability of this is on the order of zero.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
So yes, I agree that “there is a very strong chance that you don’t know what you’re talking about where subatomic particles are concerned”
Promoting this type of scam on WUWT denigrates the site and associates it with the tin foil hat brigade.

Steve Garcia
August 5, 2011 1:05 pm

If Rossi were a real scientist, he’d describe the catalyst.
Yeah, but he’s an inventor/entrepeneur. He’s focused on getting a product out, one that he wants to protect until things are more established. He may talk about it more in November after the 1 Mw reactor is shipped.

I don’t think things have changed much in the 20 years since my R&D days, when my company had classes on patents and trade secrets. I was taught then that any new invention or process has two ways to go.
One way is to apply for a patent, in which case they reveal what they are doing, in trade for a legal monopoly for X number of years. In doing so, others (competitors) are informed of exactly what is being done and can start looking for ways to go around the patent or improve on it in ways that are also patentable. So, filing for a patent is a risky way to go, despite its legal monopoly.
The other way to go is to NOT file a patent, taking the chance that once the product is out on the market the competitors will not be able to reverse engineer it.
With the US patent office (and probably all other patent offices) having a firm policy of denying “perpetual motion machines,” getting a patent is not an option. Therefore, the only path open on cold fusion devices is to simply start building them and putting them out there.
I believe that once they ARE out in the marketplace in the hundreds or thousands or millions, the patent offices will have no option other than to re-think their prohibition on patents for over-unity devices. Scientists will scream bloody murder, but if there is one thing that scientists have to respect it is reality; when in the real world these devices are producing heat and power for people, the empiricists will outvote the theory guys.
[In 1989 I had good reason to believe that these things were real. I believe I have written about that here once before. I have been waiting over 20 years for enough progress to occur. This is good news to me.]

Peter Brown
August 5, 2011 1:14 pm

WUWT and Mr Werme,
Wow, I am rather disappointed in you having this article up on WUWT. It is one
thing to point to e-cat and say wow this would be big, 🙂 if it were real. But the
writer gives it legitimacy it does not deserve.
The great strength of WUWT is your fact based approach to information, show me your
data, show me your model, list all of the underlying assumptions, and let me
independently reproduce your results. This story relies on information only from
Rossi, et al and tries to diminish the critics, Mr. Krivit, as having some kind of
personnel agenda.
I worked in the Federal Government (National Institute of Standards and Technology
and DARPA) for 12 years. It seemed once a year some one had enough pull to get
some White House official or Congressman/Senator to have us test some perpetual
motion machine. The first clue something was amiss is that the “inventor” wanted
Congress to grant them a patent because the Energy/Government conspiracy was keeping
them from getting one….
I remember in one case when wired appropriately the comment from the engineer running
the test was not only is this thing not a perpetual motion machine, it’s not even a
good electrical motor.
So far no perpetual machines have been found (or they are still locked in the basement
next to the aliens who do all of the programming).
I don’t mean to be condescending, but I do mean to be sarcastic. Yes, if e-cat works,
it would be HUGE, it would quite literally change the world. But I’ll only believe it
when I can buy one to heat my house. This kind of delusion/scam relies on people like
Mr. Werme to recognize how significant the technology could be if it worked. They provide
just enough tantalizing information to get attention, but not enough to verify. They bring
in a couple of token scientist to talk it up and to give that whiff of legitimacy. When
what is really needed is an engineer or two, a couple of technicians and $1000 worth of
sensors, flow meters, a laptop and a copy of National Instrument LabVIEW.
Further, would anyone like to wager money about the October demo actually happening?
I will bet a considerable sum of money that some “event” will delay things. A claim
will be made that some local, state or federal government stopped the demonstration
because…
well take your pick, unregulated nuclear device, someone got run over by a truck and
Mr. Rossi has gone into hiding, IP ownership/dispute, etc, etc, etc.
If an October demo happens, it will be just like the demos so far, long of Wow, short
on real data.

Ken Harvey
August 5, 2011 1:18 pm

Too many scam pointers for my taste. I guess I will just go back to tinkering with my perpetual motion device. It’s coming along very nicely. I just have to figure a way to get rid of the need for the lamp wire input and I’ll be there.

Ken Harvey
August 5, 2011 1:22 pm

Too many scam pointers for my taste. I guess I’ll just go back to tinkering with my perpetual motion device. It’s coming along quite nicely. I just have to figure a way to get rid of the need for the lamp wire input.

Greg Goodknight
August 5, 2011 1:35 pm

It does appear that 98% of people with opinions in physics think the Rossi catalyzer is bunk.
Might be. I’ve gone from thinking it was probably bunk last January when I heard about the demo at the U. of Bologna (for Americans, an unfortunate choice due to our “baloney” slang) physics department, to thinking it was probably true. There are plausible theoretical underpinnings, and I just can’t shake the expectation that it would take a very foolish crook to bring this public with a promise of a working 1MW unit in October. I also can’t see Dr.Focardi being interested in trashing his name at this point, after his career and emeritus physics professorship at U. di Bologna.
I’ve read the NyTeknik pieces, watched the Bologna videos. Most con men don’t wade in among the folks most likely to smell the rat when rolling out something fake. They also don’t commit to schedules for presentation of a commercially viable product.

August 5, 2011 1:44 pm

Are the commentators who are claiming that this may be a scam not aware of the catastrophic AGW scam? I don’t recall posts saying that CAGW shouldn’t be discussed here because it’s ‘short of real data’, etc.
I’m almost as skeptical of this fusion claim as I am of CAGW. But it will be fun to see how it turns out. And unlike CAGW, this one isn’t funded by government grants.

G. Karst
August 5, 2011 2:09 pm

Peter Brown:
This is no more of a perpetual motion machine, than a fission reactor. Where did you get such an idea? Review the principles of fission and fusion. GK

scott
August 5, 2011 2:20 pm

Rocky Road sounds just like an old flim-flam soi disant journalist and scam-artist named Jed Rothwell. Be ware. Be very aware. Somewhere in the archives of sci.physics.fusion, you’ll find a nice description of Jed (based loosely on the Beverly Hillbillies themesong) by a MIT Grad Student (Theresa, IIRC).

JDN
August 5, 2011 2:30 pm

@Ric Werme says:
August 5, 2011 at 10:18 am
Argh! Ric, this cold fusion stuff has been done to death. The catalyst in most of the cold fusion experiments need to be loaded with fuel. This costs energy. Catalysts also tend to get fouled and need regeneration. One criticism is that some of these metal catalysts can be oxidized to produce heat. There is a cost associated with catalysts, and, you need to treat that seriously. What is it? If it’s too high, you don’t get a cookie.
Also, 27 kJ is enough to boil about 12 kg. of water (1024 kJ / lb @ 100C). Not a lot of energy, friend. When you start an fusion article discussing power and neglecting energy, I can only assume that you haven’t been paying attention to all the failed fusion projects. Good luck with that, seriously, but, I think you aren’t being demanding enough of Rossi.
IAANE

Greg Goodknight
August 5, 2011 2:31 pm

“But I’ll only believe it when I can buy one to heat my house.”
Do you believe in fission reactors? Which room did you put it in?
I’ll believe in the e-cat when it’s rolled out with no secrets and verifiable performance by even its detractors. In the meantime, as a physicist turned engineer, I’ll grant there’s good reason, considering the intellectual property rights issues, for Rossi to hold his cards close to his vest.
I choose to not trash Rossi or Focardi in the meantime, and, to draw a parallel, I’m guessing James Watt didn’t have a clue how to work out the thermodynamics of his steam engine improvement even after he unleashed it on mankind.

View from the Solent
August 5, 2011 2:52 pm

TRM says:
August 5, 2011 at 8:52 am
Your comment reminded me of an old joke.
……..
The scientist says to the engineer “why are you wasting your time, you’ll never get there” to which the engineer replies “yes, but I’ll get close enough!”.
—————————————————————————————————————–
A mathematician, of course, wouldn’t have thought twice. He’d have just strolled over and reached her.

August 5, 2011 2:58 pm

Anthony Watts,
You oughtn’t allow cold-fusion scammers advertising space on an otherwise reputable weblog.

August 5, 2011 3:07 pm

dmmcmah says on August 5, 2011 at 9:23 am
As a physicist who actually worked on a real fusion project (ITER – though I only played a small part) I am disappointed that a pseudo-science article like this would be posted on this blog. …

What – weak on performing calorimetry?
This ISN’T rocket science … if an EE can understand and perform the work SURELY any of you ‘physicists’ could do the same …
I’m astonished to see so many physicists throw in the towel so early and so easily! EEs rule!
.

Doug
August 5, 2011 3:23 pm

Well, I’ve got to say, I have doubts on many levels, but I don’t mind seeing it discussed here. This forum claims to be about “News and commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news”.
There is a big group of reasonably civil people here from diverse backgrounds, and if someone wants to hear what the readers think about certain ” puzzling things in life, nature, science, etc”,.I say have at it. I follow a real estate investment trust board, and readers frequently run OT material through it simply because the followers are well informed and civil. We all need a break from AWG once in a while.
Now back to the post—I would say chemical reaction or scam, based on the lack of quantitative nuclear data. “Some gamma rays” is not real clear. Nor is the copper isotope data. Just producing heat from undisclosed ingredients is a long ways from proof of cold fusion.
Oh- and for the benefit of Lubos– I rated it five stars because the article was well written, the writer dug into some of the claims and links, and speculated on strengths, weakness and possible applications if true, not because I was convinced they are onto something.

Sal Minella
August 5, 2011 3:53 pm

Bottom line: if this system truly gives a 30X gain in power it is miraculous and will change Physics as we know it forever. A single unit could support a fan-out of 30 units and each of the 30 could power 30 more, etc., etc., ad infinitum. So for a 400 watt input the output is, theoretically, infinite. No need for any other source of power ever as every energy need could be derived from this infinite source. This is not a perpetual motion machine this is a perpetual acceleration machine! At some point, one output of one of the boxes could be fed back into the root box, providing infinite energy forever.

August 5, 2011 4:04 pm

“The physics of fusion is sufficiently well understood so as to rule out
the possibility of room temperature fusion by sticking electrodes in
water.”
Oh really? Says who? The same scientists who are knee-deep in hot fusion funding? The same scientists who’ve spent their life preaching a particular model that may need to be changed? The ego is a powerful thing. Do not underestimate it.

William Sears
August 5, 2011 4:20 pm

Ric Werme,
The claim of converting nickel to 30% copper by hydrogen fusion has done it for me. At this percentage you have to be converting the most common isotopes: Ni-58 at about 68% natural abundance and Ni-60 at about 26% abundance. Add a proton and you get Cu-59 and Cu-61, both of which are highly radioactive (81.5 second and 200 minute half-lives respectively). These are both positron emitters and quickly decay back to nickel (Ni-59 with a 76,000 year half-life and Ni-61 which is stable). Of course the positrons will quickly combine with electrons to produce the gamma rays that are claimed to be seen. The apparatus would be highly radioactive while running. Is it? To get stable copper you have to convert Ni-62 at 3.6% and Ni-64 at 0.9% abundances to produce stable Cu-63 and Cu-65, but this will not get you to 30%. No doubt an ad-hoc and highly dubious sequence of proton captures could be postulated to counter all criticisms as each new isotope captures a new proton, conveniently stopping at a stable copper isotope, but all this is physically unlikely if not downright silly. And why stop at copper? Surely we should produce a whole zoo of isotopes beyond copper (e.g. Zn, Ga …). Of course, nickel will be claimed to be special and part of the catalyst effect. It occurs to me that if chemically induced nuclear reactions are as easy as claimed they would also occur naturally and the earth’s crust (mantle, core?) would be constantly undergoing bizarre transmutations. I don’t think that it is. If I don’t seem to be taking this seriously, you are right.

Ian Rons
August 5, 2011 4:30 pm

Whilst I have very, very serious doubts about Rossi et. al. (put simply, there is no clear experimental validation as yet, and at least a couple of contradictory results – Copper isotopes and gamma rays – besides questions over funding and the fact that Rossi has been in prison in the past for what some might regard as a “scam”), I’m glad WUWT is willing to publish these sorts of stories (where there is already considerable interest from a few serious people), so that a discussion can be had. I don’t think this is “tinfoil”, though it is highly controversial and may (in the end) turn out to be a scam.
However, just because there may be good reasons to think that it is a scam, doesn’t mean it can be treated as such without evidence, though some of the detractors in this comment thread seem to think otherwise: the critical responses have been particularly tart.
What we have seen with AGW is that some people have become so prejudiced that no true discussion is possible. I’ve seen much the same thing in other fields. Seemingly, some feel it’s their duty to dissuade the gullible from falling prey to a con (a noble motive); but almost invariably they refuse to talk about evidence and cite their own premises instead – as if that were enough.
And personally, I wouldn’t invest a nickel (pun intended) of my own money in Rossi’s company, so I’m glad words are cheap 😉 That said, and with that in mind, science is about risk and not about safety, hence I have a fundamental objection to anyone who refuses to discuss controversial ideas as if they have something to lose by doing so.
With Cynica I slept, and found a corpse in my arms on awaking;
I drank and danced all night with Empirica, and found her a virgin in the morning.

Ian Rons
August 5, 2011 4:37 pm

@William Sears:

No doubt an ad-hoc and highly dubious sequence of proton captures could be postulated to counter all criticisms as each new isotope captures a new proton, conveniently stopping at a stable copper isotope

has been“, not “could be” 😉

Malcolm Miller
August 5, 2011 4:39 pm

I read E. E Smith’s science fiction in the 1940s. He was big in the 1930s, and as the only known writer with a PhD, was known as ‘the Dean of Science Fiction’. He was actually a dough chemist, working for big bakeries, and knew a lot about the mathematics of doughs, which have unusual physical properties. He had interstellar and even intergalactic space ships in 1937 (‘Grey Lensman’), and pioneered many sf ideas which later filled mainstream sf.

RobJM
August 5, 2011 4:55 pm

While Its healthy to remain sceptical of the LTFR until proven, I suspect it may be genuine.
The reasons are simple.
1/In a scam you make every effort to come off as reputable, yet Rossi has a slightly dogey rep and is building a plant in greece of all places. A scam would pay off a reputable scientist with a love tropical islands and set up shop in switzerland.
2/Rossi has declared his motivation for doing this is to make money, not some crap about making the world a better place or saving the environment. Again the opposite of what a scam would do.
3/There is no way I can put my money on the line and invest. Clearly this shows the companies involved are confident and want to keep the profits for themselves.
4/The main controversy in the scientist surrounding LTFR is not whether or not it works, but whether Rossi ripped off someone else’s design!

Tom_R
August 5, 2011 5:02 pm

>> Peter Brown says:
August 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm
WUWT and Mr Werme,
Wow, I am rather disappointed in you having this article up on WUWT. It is one
thing to point to e-cat and say wow this would be big, 🙂 if it were real. But the
writer gives it legitimacy it does not deserve. <<
Just because something is posted on WUWT doesn't give it legitimacy. It allows the topic to be critiqued in a way that a blog like RC never would allow. If you haven't noticed, most of the comments from WUWT regulars are skeptical of E-cat and point out numerous flaws in the claims. William Sears 4:20 PM comment is pretty-much a slam-dunk refutation.
E-cat provided an interesting discussion, as would an article about the Himalayas melting by 2035.

August 5, 2011 5:17 pm

Lubos is right. This is a scam. When the deadline passes there will be all sorts of excuses.
The web continues to teach skepticicsm. What did Vernor Vinge call it “the web of a million lies”?
Complete waste of time. The time to take notice is when there’s a commercial device here. There won’t be.
This unlike Bussard’s Polywell which is founded on known physical priciples and doesn’t violate any of them although I’m not aware of a disproof of Rider’s objections to the feasibility being disproven at this time.

August 5, 2011 5:23 pm

Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
August 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

Re the Patterson Power Cell, that ABC-TV story was quite a while ago. What’s happened since? He had a patent, and others were interested. Did it not work as claimed?
Note Patterson did not say it was ‘fusion’ of any kind, cold, hot, or lukewarm.
/Mr Lynn

August 5, 2011 5:26 pm

just a small point – regarding the forthcoming delivery date I’m reminded of the hype a few years back regarding the orbo – remember them? or before them the MEG so the fact that they have drawn a line in the temporal sand that is still on the future side of the collective delusion we call time does nothing to validate the claim until they deliver – Oct? I can wait…

Lance
August 5, 2011 5:37 pm

Rick Werme,
Thanks for the response.
You seem to have the right mix of skepticism and open-mindedness.
I hope this turns out to be for real but “cold fusion” rings all the wrong bells to my jaded old scientist’s ears.
I will also keep an open mind.

mike g
August 5, 2011 5:47 pm

Dude. Are you kidding me? 500ºC is 932ºF. Thot of a typical pressurized water reactor is around 610ºF. So, you would be able to produce power much much more efficiently than over 20% of US electricity production.
But, it’s a scam. It’s easy to get 12 kw of steam out of something that only has a few kw going in. It’s called stored energy. Open a valve on the outlet and lower the pressure above the saturated liquid and it will boil off at any rate you would like. His demos are just fooling people by releasing stored energy.

Rob
August 5, 2011 5:51 pm

I have to ask: Why does Anthony disallow discussions of conspiracy theories like “chemtrails” yet allows pseudo-science cold fusion crap like this? I think this topic would be better placed in “Free Energy Times” or “Above Top Secret” or related nutball backwater of the internet.

mike g
August 5, 2011 6:01 pm

@Lance
Gamma rad is not really a bad by-product. It is easily shielded. If this device can be scaled up, maybe we can use it to irradiate our food, which would make us all healthier and less likely to die of food poisoning.

William Sears
August 5, 2011 6:18 pm

Ian Rons,
Thanks, I wasn’t aware of this link, which goes into more detail then I have. I would also look at the spatial distribution of the copper-in-nickel sample as this may show signs of tampering. As far as the heat goes, Aleklett implies an open system. Good luck calculating a meaningful energy balance with that. Forget the power even if calculated as an average. There is too much slight of hand in an average as who knows what the raw data was?

Rob
August 5, 2011 6:42 pm

This topic belongs in the trash with the other pseudo-science nonsense.

August 5, 2011 7:09 pm

Rob,
Are you saying that the topic of CO2=CAGW also belongs in the trash? Because there is no more evidence that CO2 causes catastrophic AGW than there is that cold fusion has been demonstrated.
Actually, there is more evidence [flimsy as it is] for cold fusion than for CAGW. To be consistent, are you suggesting also trashing the pseudo-science of CAGW? Just wondering.☺

Editor
August 5, 2011 7:42 pm

Let’s just say I’m a skeptic by nature. That’s why I follow this site. A couple of red flags…
1) If it’s too good to be true, it proprably isn’t true
2) An “unmentioned catalyst”. Sorry folks, “secret ingredients” are an extreme alarm bell.
If it was true, it would easily solve the energy crisis. Coal/nuclear/natgas-fired electricity generators all use steam from heated water to spin a turbine, connected to a dynamo/alternator/whatever. Not only could it replace central generators, but you could probably have one in your own home. With a decent UPS, you could go entirely off-grid. And electric-powered cars might make sense.
Like I said, too good to be true.

August 5, 2011 7:44 pm

Rob says on August 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm
This topic belongs in the trash with the other pseudo-science nonsense.

Quoting James Bowery from here (on May 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm) since he says it better than I can:


The root delusion is argumentation [debate] over experimentation [actually prove or to disprove by *experiment*]. This is de facto theology: a denial of the Enlightenment.
Those who argue against the production of anomalous heat on theoretic grounds are theologians, not scientists.
Likewise those who obsess over theories of unreproducible phenomena are theologians, not scientists.
That government, which is essentially a huge social laboratory with a lack of experimental controls let alone consent of those being “treated”, would engender theocrats posing as scientists is rather predictable.

A good discussion BTW can be seen at:
http://aleklett.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/rossi-energy-catalyst-a-big-hoax-or-new-physics/
.

August 5, 2011 7:54 pm

Mike Borgelt says:
August 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm
Lubos is right. This is a scam. When the deadline passes there will be all sorts of excuses.

More entrenched Hot Fusion advocates?
Arash Saeidihaghi on April 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm cites a couple of articles that make the case by his estimation:

I am not a nuclear scientist, but a heat and energy engineer. I have been following this story. I have come accross two independent explanations of the this phenomena by respected nuclear scientist which are published in peer reviewed journals. I would like to hear the reaction of the nuclear scientists on this forum to these theories.
First one is put forward by A. Widom of Northeastern University:
“Ultra low momentum neutron catalyzed nuclear reactions in metallic hydride system surfaces are discussed.
Weak interaction catalysis initially occurs when neutrons (along with neutrinos) are produced from the protons which capture “heavy” electrons. Surface electron masses are shifted upwards by localized condensed matter electromagnetic fields. Condensed matter quantum electrodynamic processes may also shift the densities of final states allowing an appreciable production of extremely low momentum neutrons which are thereby efficiently absorbed by nearby nuclei. No Coulomb barriers exist for the weak interaction neutron production or other resulting catalytic processes.”
The other explanation is published in Annals of Nuclear Energy 35 (2008) 2059–2072 by John L. Russell Jr. and states that:
“An explanation is proposed for the nuclear reactions that occur in the electrolysis class of LENR processes.
The proposed explanation postulates that a proton, or deuteron, dissolved in the hydrogen bearing metal cathode, absorbs its associated atomic electron to become a short lived state of the neutron with the resulting neutrino in a singular wave function centered on the neutron.
The energy required to initiate this endothermic reaction is supplied either by the ion current during electrolysis type experiments, or by ion bombardment in plasma type experiments. It is the energy of this bombardment of the cathode with heavy ions that creates a coherent polyplasmon field within crystalline metallic grains that are present in the metal cathode of typical active electrolysis cells. The LENR process consists of a second order reaction mediated by a coherent plasmon field excited in the conduction electrons in a hydrogen bearing metal that is in the form of crystalline grains of the order of a few microns in dimension. The coherent plasmon field in each grain is called a polyplasmon. The metallic grains typically form during solidification of a metal, the impurities being forced to the grain surfaces. The resulting grain thus forms a resonant structure that can be filled with a number of coherent plasmons, i.e., a polyplasmon.
Energy from the polyplasmon is coupled to the nucleus via electron capture by hydrogen. Because the neutrino has mass, its wave function has a second class of solutions. This description can take the form of a short lived pairing with the neutron that results from electron capture by the hydrogen nucleus. This short-lived compound particle is named the ‘‘dion” and in the case of deuterium results in a ‘‘dineutron”.
Because the dion and dineutron are formed with essentially thermal kinetic energy, they can capture in nearby nuclei, either in hydrogen or in the host metal. Most of the resulting exothermic nuclear energy is absorbed in the plasmon field by a variety of mechanisms that increase the intensity of the plasmon field and hence the rate of electron capture – that then increases the rate of nuclear reactions. This stochastic chain-reaction process continues in the grain until it is terminated by the random occurrence of losses preventing the continuation of sustaining nuclear reactions before the plasmon field decays away, or until the rise in temperature of the metal grain alters the physical properties of the metallic grain sufficiently to disrupt the polyplasmon field.
Multiple reported experiments confirm that most of the nuclear energy released is absorbed by the host metallic cathode and the electrolyte. Calculations from first principles are consistent with many of the reported quantitative and qualitative phenomena.”

.

August 5, 2011 7:55 pm

Take a look at this paper:
http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/OrianiRAenergeticc.pdf
Now a few questions for all you “oh so knowledgeable” types out there.
1. Do you know what an Alpha particle is?
2. Do you know what a track etch device is.
3. Do you have any IDEA what happens when you put THORIUM NITRATE on top of CR-39 in a thin layer for a day?
4. Do you know what “orientation” the tracks have for the ThNO3?
5. Do you know why Oriani analysed to find a “central origin” for the source.
6. Do you have any idea of the PREVIOUSLY UNOBSERVED NATURE of a 170,000 particle burst.
7. Would you know that ORIANI is SHARP ENOUGH to have his LAB surveyed for contamination. The swabs sent to a local friendly NUCLEAR PLANT for a fully sintillation count.
8. That ORIANI RAN BACKGROUND CHECKS?
9. That there IS no known nuclear source to create this effect.
10. That Oriani admits the effect is “probabalistic”?
That this represents a window into something SO IMPORTANT IT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF MATTER?

August 5, 2011 8:07 pm

Smokey says on August 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm
..
Actually, there is more evidence [flimsy as it is] for cold fusion than for CAGW. …

Really!!?? ‘Flimsy’?
SRI International (of Menlo Park, California) flimsy?
Below was extracted from a Presentation by Michael McKubre
Title: Director of the Energy Research Center, Principal Staff Scientist in the Materials Research Laboratory
SRI International, Menlo Park, California.
Presented at the APS meeting, Denver CO, March 5, 2007.
http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/McKubreMCHcoldfusion.pdf
Year 2000 Status
Q4: Nuclear ash correlated with the excess heat? Yes!
Q5: Uncorrelated nuclear products? Yes!
Compelling Evidence:
• 4He closely time and quantity correlated with excess heat
• 3H observed in some cases only. Not quantity correlated with excess heat ( ~ 3 – 4 O.M. down)
• Isotopics effects possibly at very low level
• Charged particles: , p+ possibly at even lower level
Results:
• Correlated heat and 4He.
• Unequivocal evidence of Tritium production.
.

cba
August 5, 2011 9:04 pm

In a star like our Sun, you don’t get iron forming, you get helium from hydrogen and a few more light elements. What’s more, at a mere 15million deg C at the core, even with the extremely high pressures present, the rate of fusion energy production isn’t enough in a cubic meter to power an LED flashlight. Hot fusion takes much higher temperatures which is why you don’t hear about 15 million deg C fusion projects.
The problem is the coulomb repulsion. Given a catalyst though, one can have the situation where the distance between two hydrogen nuclei less than what the pressure and thermal energy for the solar interior can deliver. You’ll note that iron has more protons inside its nucleus and hence more repulsion than does copper. There is no reason to think that an absence of other elements is some sort of proof that there is a problem with the whole deal and that it must be a fake.
Also, this is not a perpetual motion machine if significant fusion is going on.
It is very much boiling down to the fact that either it is a criminal fraud being perpetrated or it is the real thing. There isn’t a problem with the notion that ‘cold’ fusion (T< millions of deg. C) but rather whether the rate of the fusion reaction can be such that much more power is produced than is required to generate that power.
[Reply: iron has the atomic number 26. Nickel is 28 and copper is 29. The positive energy release comes from fusing with hydrogen. -Ric]

Rob
August 5, 2011 9:56 pm

Smokey says:
“Are you saying that the topic of CO2=CAGW also belongs in the trash? Because there is no more evidence that CO2 causes catastrophic AGW than there is that cold fusion has been demonstrated.”
Smokey: Don’t go there. I made a simple post expressing my disappointment in Anthony’s allowing a cold fusion discussion on what I consider to be an otherwise respectable blog, and you have pigion-holed me as a warmist. Don’t do that. You don’t know me.
The fact is, cold fusion and all it’s variants have been thoroughly debunked. But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it. Just keep waiting for this magic machine to go commercial. I’m sure that will happen any day now.

Ernst Brown
August 5, 2011 10:08 pm

All very interesting, really. But a few notes:
1) I am not aware of any geothermal electrical production from anything more than 500F – in fact it is mostly less than 350F. With few exceptions, the turbines are turned using a low pressure working fluid like isobutane. – see Ormat for example: http://www.ormat.com/. This allows the best efficiency for even the higher temperature resources. Most geothermal is very wet steam -only a few resources, like the Geysers in California, produce dry steam from a hole in the ground.
2) It doesn’t have to be a scam to be incorrect. It can just be a bad explanation for an observed phenomenon – even a poorly observed one. Not everyone is just out to make a buck. Although in the case I’m certainly holding onto my wallet.
4) These folks are not the only researchers that use poor or questionable data collection techniques – I have seen others in more “respectable” areas of science. It does not necessarily mean that the entire concept is bogus or that WUWT should run from it.In fact, I find it rather similar to some climate data collection and manipulation problems.
3) The more interesting issue for me is to explain overall what many have observed – unusual “energy” events using hydrogen and platinum, palladium, or in this case, some sort of doped nickel. So, assuming it’s not LENR, what are they seeing and can it be used somehow?

August 5, 2011 10:25 pm

Jim,
We shall see in October.☺
Rob,
I haven’t “pigion-holed” you as anything. You say: cold fusion and all its variants have been thoroughly debunked. So have the CO2-CAGW conjecture and all it’s variants. You objected to posting an article here about cold fusion. I trust you have the same objection to the thoroughly debunked CO2=CAGW conjecture, no?

Rob
August 5, 2011 10:43 pm

Smokey,
Apparently you did not get the hint when I objected to being pigion-holed as a warmest, so let me say this real slowly for you: I think “CO2=CAGW” (as you put it) is bunk.
So what is your point? Is that some kind of damn test I have to pass for you? Do you require others to swear allegiance to your point of view on one topic (CAGW) before you will entertain their position on an entirely unrelated topic (cold fusion)?

DR
August 5, 2011 11:28 pm
August 6, 2011 12:26 am

Kwik: “Lubos, you are taking this too serious! It is a discussion, right? Pros and Cons. I think it is interesting, nomatter what it ends up with. If it is a scam, how will it end? For Rossi and his people?”
It won’t mean anything for Rossi et al. because most people – like you – no longer consider scams to be acts of evil or acts that should be punished. Instead, they – and you – think that every new scam is “interesting” no matter what it ends up with. Some of the people explicitly say so.
Well, I beg to differ. A proposed technological breakthrough is only interesting if it actually has some merit and leads to something. If it doesn’t – and if it’s even possible for everyone to become certain that it doesn’t at the very beginning – then the collection of capital for this kind of activity should be viewed as ordinary fraud.
This is not just about two extravagant armchair researchers. Defkalion Greece – look at the website, a typical “green energy” website for the gullible people – and the analogous U.S. company will clearly try to get millions of dollars out of it and it’s clear in advance that all their methods will be fraudulent because the gadget cannot work.

PerterF
August 6, 2011 1:08 am

As is well known, fusion is a PHYSICAL process, which fuses the nuclei of one or more atoms, while all CHEMICAL processes consist of an interaction among the electrons in the shell of two or more atoms. Catalysts have an impact only on chemical processes.
To fuse two nuclei their the repulsion from coulombic forces has to be overcome, and no mechanism has been proposed for cold fusion, neither by Rossi or other. Instead, a secret catalyst has been brought into the play (“a nanostructured nickel substrate and an undisclosed (but supposedly inexpensive) catalyst”).
It very much looks like a deliberate attempt to divert attention away from the issues by focussing on catalysts. This is further evident from the use of fashionable catchwords like “nanostructured” and “undisclosed” and “inexpensive”. Just like a magician does its trick by focussing is audience onto irrelevant things.
Makes it more likely to being a scam than simply sloppy science.

August 6, 2011 3:41 am

PerterF says:
August 6, 2011 at 1:08 am
“As is well known, fusion is a PHYSICAL process, which fuses the nuclei of one or more atoms, while all CHEMICAL processes consist of an interaction among the electrons in the shell of two or more atoms. Catalysts have an impact only on chemical processes.”
To fuse two nuclei their the repulsion from coulombic forces has to be overcome, and no mechanism has been proposed for cold fusion, neither by Rossi or other. Instead, a secret catalyst has been brought into the play (“a nanostructured nickel substrate and an undisclosed (but supposedly inexpensive) catalyst”).
It very much looks like a deliberate attempt to divert attention away from the issues by focussing on catalysts. This is further evident from the use of fashionable catchwords like “nanostructured” and “undisclosed” and “inexpensive”. Just like a magician does its trick by focussing is audience onto irrelevant things.
Makes it more likely to being a scam than simply sloppy science”
Epitaph.

August 6, 2011 3:49 am

Ric Werme says:
August 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm
Rob says:
August 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm (Edit)
I have to ask: Why does Anthony disallow discussions of conspiracy theories like “chemtrails” yet allows pseudo-science cold fusion crap like this? I think this topic would be better placed in “Free Energy Times” or “Above Top Secret” or related nutball backwater of the internet.
“It took me a bit of effort to convince Anthony to let me post my January article. Even after carefully crafting the first paragraph to make clear that the topic would be controversial, Anthony still added his own disclaimer.”
It is most unfortunate that you were able to convince Anthony to post your current promotion of this scam.
“I wanted to write the first post to let WUWT readers know about something they might be talking about as soon as the mainstream media picked up the story. (Boy, that prediction flopped.) Reasons for this post included looking around beyond the demonstrations, trying to set reasonable expectations, and to let WUWT readers know about something they might be talking about as soon as the mainstream media picks up the story when the 1 MW reactor is installed. (Okay, that prediction will likely flop too unless we have a cold October.)”
Why the promotional cheer leading spin rather a sober physics – based review?
“I won’t answer for Anthony why he allowed these posts but not chemtrail posts. The reason I wrote posts about Rossi’s device is that the data supporting LENR is stronger, more people have studied it with appropriate tools, some of them are quite respectable scientists, and if true, it will have a bigger impact on society.”
Every aspect of this “E Cat” waves big red flags and yells “scam” from the rooftops.
“If you don’t like it, it’s just two posts to ignore. Possibly a third in October. Sorry.”
No you’re not. Your scientifically illiterate posts promoting known scams demeans, and open to valid accusations of promoting crackpot, a site that Anthony Watts has worked very hard to build up.

Paul
August 6, 2011 4:13 am

Smokey says:
“Are you saying that the topic of CO2=CAGW also belongs in the trash? Because there is no more evidence that CO2 causes catastrophic AGW than there is that cold fusion has been demonstrated.”
Smokey: Don’t go there. I made a simple post expressing my disappointment in Anthony’s allowing a cold fusion discussion on what I consider to be an otherwise respectable blog, and you have pigion-holed me as a warmist. Don’t do that. You don’t know me.
The fact is, cold fusion and all it’s variants have been thoroughly debunked. But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it. Just keep waiting for this magic machine to go commercial. I’m sure that will happen any day now.
“The fact is, cold fusion and all it’s variants have been thoroughly debunked.”
Now that sounds like a “warmist” statement if I have ever heard one.

August 6, 2011 4:21 am

Rob,
Thanx for speaking so slowly, it helps me to understand, thick as I am. You asked, “What is your point?” It is this: you objected to Anthony’s inclusion of this article, but not to the numerous CAGW articles. I just wondered why one was OK and not the other; they’re both scams, IMHO. That said, it seems we’re both on the same page. I didn’t intend this to be an argument, just a point of consistency. Peace out, my brotha from another mother.☺

G. Karst
August 6, 2011 6:36 am

There is sufficient phenomena occurring during these cold fusion R&D projects to warrant further effort and investigation. To ignore or refuse to consider, any possibility, that our present paradigm is complete enough, to rule out all possible reactions, is hubris at a damaging level. In fact, no scientific progress can be made, with such closed minds.
There are plenty of reactivity effects observed in our present fission reactors, which took decades to understand and account for. I doubt that we could produce a exact theoretical heat balance with present day fission reactors. We did not scrap fission reactors merely because we were unable to account for all the energy. As long as the net result was kinetic energy imparted to the fission fragment, in sufficient quantities, to form sufficient delta T… we were satisfied.
I agree, that a completely open mind, is no mind at all… but a completely closed mind is worse, as it allows for no progress, what-so-ever. Any subject can be approached safely, with a proper, skeptical, scientific mind. Those that are afraid, to look foolish, by examining reported phenomena, or discuss reported/claimed breakthroughs, do not have sufficient trust in the scientific method nor their competency with it.
Something is going on, and if we don’t investigate… WHO WILL? If it is a scam, then the sooner we get to the bottom of it, the better. I don’t like being scammed anymore than anyone else. That’s why I don’t invest, by claims alone, and neither should you. GK

August 6, 2011 7:06 am

I’ve a “theory” (..ok – lets say, it’s rather idea or hypothesis), why the cold fusion of hydrogen at nickel is proceeding so smoothly – the protons are passing through electrons of nickel, which are shielding positive charge of nickel atom nuclei. The same shield absorbs fusion energy and releases just the heat outside. All other lighter elements require to bring more energy into proton fusion, which makes the resulting atom nuclei unstable and decaying into many fragments = radioactivity. With compare to it, heavier atoms have no reasons to fuse at all – compare the binding energy graph – nickel is sitting just at the top of the curve.
We can compare the influence of electrons to the damping layer during crushing of nut with stone. If we crush the naked nut with stone, many fragments will be released into outside. But if we pack the nut first into thick layer of fabric, the nut can be crushed without formation of fragments and the whole action will proceed quietly and smoothly. I presume, the electrons around atom nuclei are serving as such damping layer fabric during cold fusion. I admit, it’s sorta miracle and gift of Nature, which people don’t deserve at all – but it doesn’t contradict the known laws of physics and it can still work. I’ve met with another example of such anomalous reaction at the case of water splitting with radio-waves.
http://aetherwavetheory.blogspot.com/2009/07/burning-water-and-water-memory.html
The splitting of water with such low energy is like the splitting of atom nuclei with visible light – the energy barrier is 108 lower in both cases. Nevertheless it works. Note that during splitting of water a highly unstable mixture of hydrogen and hydrogen peroxide is formed. Such mixture cannot form during splitting of water at all, as the water always decomposes into thermodynamically much more advantageous mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. The reason is, hydrogen reacts with hydrogen peroxide violently – nevertheless, from some reason, this energetic reaction doesn’t occur. I presume, the same mechanism applies at the case of hydrogen fusion at nickel – the brute force in tokamak would always lead into release of high amount of neutrons.
For complete understanding, what could really happen during cold fusion of nickel we should realize, the binding energy of electrons in bottom orbitals of nickel is so high, it becomes comparable with binding energy of neutrons inside of nickel atom nuclei. For complete ionization of nickel atoms you should use hard X-rays – such energy is so high, it can initiate excitation of nickel atom nuclei itself. So that neutrons released during fusion are reacting with electrons and the protons are restored. In such way, the protons literally tunnels into atom nuclei of nickel without spallation.
http://www.aetherwavetheory.info/images/physics/nuclear/fusion/cold/nickel_fusion.gif
IMO the main trick is, the physicists always considered the naked protons and/or atom nuclei during their calculation of cold fusion probability. They considered, electrons flying around nuclei cannot contribute to the reaction mechanism at all, because they can be expelled and removed easily with protons and/or products of fussion. This is indeed true for tiny atoms with small number of electrons, i.e. for first, second or even third electron. But with increasing size of atoms the energy required for removal of additional electrons from atoms (so called the ionization energy) increases fast. The bottom layer of electrons are binded to the heavy atom nuclei so strongly, it’s virtually impossible to remove them without serious damage of atom nuclei itself. It’s like the difference in peeling of peanut and mango. Small peanut can be peeled off easily, but nickel atom nuclei is large like the mango and it cannot be pealed from its stone so easily.
Briefly speaking, the cold fusion of hydrogen with nickel nuclei is incomparable to the hot fusion of naked protons inside of tokamak and the difference is quite interesting even from solely theoretical perspective. It would be definitely worth of future study even without perspective of practical applications. Contemporary society has no legal tools, how to take legal steps against the a crime of negligence, but my stance is, everybody who is ignoring this opportunity is actually enemy of human civilization and life environment. Even the people, who are downvoting cold fusion related posts are such an enemies, because their ignorance is helping anybody.
I know, many influential people spent huge money into nuclear reactors and exploitation of fossil fuels, so that eventual success of could fusion would virtualize their huge investments and social power. Such people will attempt to ignore if not prohibit further cold fusion research and practical applications by all means possible. Whole countries are prepared to gain their power from the lack of fossil fuel sources. Even politicians will not be happy of distributed source of energy, which would enable every individual to generate and consume energy in a way, which cannot be controlled with central government.
But the ignorance of clean sources of energy is just a willful negligence and malicious destruction of both life environment, both unrecoverable sources of oil. Without fossil fuel replacement we are facing global nuclear conflict for the rests of sources. We need oil as a raw material for plastic industry, we cannot burn all the oil anyway. Without switching of carbon based energetic we have no chance to survive at Earth from long term perspective (every huge asteroid will wipe out human civilization), not to say about colonization of the rest of Universe. Therefore it’s the question of our private responsibility and self-preservation instinct to support cold fusion research in all means possible.

Peter
August 6, 2011 7:52 am

I’m glad this was placed here. I lack the education basics to evalulate this on my own and find the discussion on the topic very interesting. It makes it easier for me to judge the merits. As of now I’m going with it being either a scam, or a case of self delusion. The Inventor might believe he has actually achieved something, like the owner of Clever Hans.
On another aspect of this, the lack of Patent, or devulging of data at this point. I agree with the various comments about that, but I’d add one. If I had by some means come up with such a device that I believed was valid, I’d do everything in my power to behave in a manner that would lead people to assume it was a scam. The better to give me a head start on bringing it to market. With the exception of course, of the nessessary investor.
Mind you, that is a heck of a good way to pull off a scam like this. Scam one whale into believing in it, and they convince him that it is nessessary to present the product in such a way as to cause people to draw the conclusion that it is a scam, to protect his investment.

Dave Springer
August 6, 2011 9:20 am

Bigdinny says:
August 5, 2011 at 11:47 am
“Dave: I hate to admit it but my memory is on a par with yours. Remember party lines? Our number was 5221. For some I am sure we are speaking Greek.”
We didn’t have a party line at my house that I can recall but I seem to remember that people who lived on dead end roads outside of town usually had to share a wire. Some of them didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing either.

Dan in California
August 6, 2011 11:03 am

First, I’d like to point out that human history has lots of examples of engineering practice leading ahead of science. Metallurgy has many rich examples. To the “scientists” who claim the Ecat can’t work, I award one Bronx cheer. There’s a vital difference between skepticism and cynicism. or just entrenched mediocrity.
Second, I see this as one of three potentially huge black eyes for Big Government Science. Obviously, we are all here because we are skeptical of government funded AGW science. Then, this Ecat, if successful, will poke at the $billions spent each year on hot fusion. The other is the nascent trend toward commercial companies breaking the government monopoly on putting people and stuff into space. I am personally horrified that there is ever greater separation between those who create laws and regulations and live on tax money, and those who create wealth, who understand how the universe works, and who pay taxes.
Third, I’ve been following “cold fusion” since the ill fated press conference of Fleischmann and Pons. Many who tried to replicate their experiment failed. But not all. There were silly measurement mistakes e.g. the difference between Power Factor and Watts. But examples of transmutation were corroborated, which alone is reason enough to continue investigations. Instead, cold fusion (and even small scale hot fusion e.g. Polywell) were sneered at by the Big Government funded hot fusion in-crowd. I do not include the USNavy in my scoff, they did the right thing as much as they could.
Finally, thanks for your high school Physics story, Ric. I never took high school physics. I browbeat my high school guidance councilor to let me commute to the local state college for physics instead. The grade I got there was used as my high school grade.

anna v
August 6, 2011 12:05 pm

I remember when cold fusion came to the fore. All physicists I knew at the time were intrigued and started calculating and waited for developments. As the amounts of energy given off were on par with the energy spent to create the palladium lattice interest faded fast and the subject fell by the roadside.
Now this is claiming a lot of energy output, factors of 30 and 40 to input. Almost a match to a piece of coal.. This cannot come from lattice energies the way palladium was explained away.
There are two issues:
a) their experiments cannot be trusted and their numbers are cooked, a complete scam at first level.
b) They do get the the energy multiplication factor without tricks.
If a) the first people who buy their machines will go on a lynching party.
If b) some physicists instead of eating their hats should start to seriously think of the physics that could explain this energy multiplication.
We do not have long to wait.
I will again add that crystals have surprising ways, due to quantum mechanics, of behaving as a whole matrix , and various hand waved models that have been suggested might have merit. If their machines work, the theory will be found.
Also it cannot be a perpetual motion machine as somebody was suggesting. It is a machine that according to them burns nickel and will stop working when the nickel is exhausted.
On the other hand, a lot of experiments should be done which cannot be done under this secrecy code that enhances the intuitive feeling that something fishy or delusional is going on.

kwik
August 6, 2011 1:25 pm

Luboš Motl says:
August 6, 2011 at 12:26 am
“This is not just about two extravagant armchair researchers. Defkalion Greece – look at the website, a typical “green energy” website for the gullible people – and the analogous U.S. company will clearly try to get millions of dollars out of it and it’s clear in advance that all their methods will be fraudulent because the gadget cannot work.”
That is a very good point, Lubos! There are plenty of EU research projects that leads to exactly nothing but friction heat.

August 6, 2011 1:28 pm

PerterF says:
August 6, 2011 at 1:08 am (Edit)
As is well known, fusion is a PHYSICAL process, which fuses the nuclei of one or more atoms, while all CHEMICAL processes consist of an interaction among the electrons in the shell of two or more atoms. Catalysts have an impact only on chemical processes.
““Catalyst” covers more than just chemical processes. If you Google |”muon catalyzed fusion”| it will claim about 25,200 results (likely really only 500 or so – those numbers serve to market search engines more than they serve users). I first heard about that at a tour of a hot fusion experiment at Princeton (? somewhere in New Jersey, back in the mid 1970s when they were predicting it would take 30 years for fusion technology to come online.)”
Unlike the bogus claims of the so-called “E-Cat”,
muon catalyzed fusion was theoretically predicted from first principles in physics and has been experimentally observed.
_____
Typhoon says:
August 6, 2011 at 3:49 am (Edit)
“If you don’t like it, it”s just two posts to ignore. Possibly a third in October. Sorry.”
No you’re not. Your scientifically illiterate posts promoting known scams demeans, and open to valid accusations of promoting crackpot, a site that Anthony Watts has worked very hard to build up.
“Yeah, you’re right. I was only trying to be polite. Fortunately my sister and brother (marine biologist and geologist) still talk to me.”
Lucky for you that that blood is far thicker than ignorance.
“In fact, my brother made sure I knew about Luboš Motl’s comment and post at http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/08/andrea-rossi-and-cold-fusion.html so I could go and corrupt that site.”
Luboš Motl thoroughly discredited your and the “E Cat” scammer claims with physics based arguments.
Not only do you not have any clue about the subject you’re posting about,
it’s painfully clear that you don’t have a clue that you don’t have a clue.

Greg Goodknight
August 6, 2011 2:40 pm

“Luboš Motl thoroughly discredited your and the “E Cat” scammer claims with physics based arguments.”

My chemistry professor for both frosh year and physical chemistry liked to say “One clean experiment is worth a thousand dirty equations”. I’m waiting for the one clean experiment scheduled for October. It’s only two bloody months, folks. Chill out.
For the sake of the public’s view of science, the “consensus” on cold fusion had better hold because both the climate and fusion “consensuses” going down in the next year or so might destroy any credibility for a generation. With luck that will be averted, but the snark should stop *now*. It’s ugly when the RealClimate crowd does it, and it’s ugly when LENR proponents are called scammers and worse.

August 6, 2011 3:19 pm

Kudos to WUWT and Anthony for allowing articles like this which demonstrate that the WUWT community is both genuinely interested in alternative energy and possible new science and is consistently skeptical of claims at the same time.
The Pons and Fleischman experiments were a fascinating episode in science, when respected and careful practitioners found their calorimetry work that was as excellent as any that had survived peer review in their field for nearly a century, was suddenly found wanting. Both the scientists conducting the experiments and those attempting to analyze them and account for any possible source of error, were humbled by the complexity of what we didn’t know and couldn’t rule out regarding a rather small and simple apparatus.
If only those trying to perform calorimetry on the whole earth climate system, had learned a little humility from that episode. Is there currently a half watt per meter^2 energy imbalance? Is an average temperature over a complex ocean and land surface a meaningful statistic? Is heat being stored in the ocean? Can we attribute that heat to a cause?

August 6, 2011 4:40 pm

One thing that really gets me is the reference to the power cord. I am an EE working in the appliance industry, and can tell you it would be really simple to determine power input to the system. Why not do it? Why is there a reference to the power cord size? The only thing you see is a clamp on current meter.
Another thing is a lack of data. There are inexpensive and easily attainable recording power meters that would readily interface with the computer. Thus, you would have Power In, Temp In, and Temp Out all recorded. Looking at the New Energy Times site it is plainly obvious that even the basic questions are obfuscated by Rossi and associates. All of the offers that would define the energy performance of the product are handily refused, and only when Rossi controls the entire show will it be demonstrated.
It would be a simple thing to test the system for true energy conversion. Every small college has the equipment required to perform this task. However, Rossi will not allow it, and gets belligerent when asked. We are all told to wait for the 1MW plant to be completed. Why? Is it because to show that the system does not work would make completion of the plant irrelevant? To not perform the basic energy calculations on this system make it impossible to believe that it is real.

Roger Knights
August 6, 2011 4:49 pm

Peter says:
August 6, 2011 at 7:52 am
If I had by some means come up with such a device that I believed was valid, I’d do everything in my power to behave in a manner that would lead people to assume it was a scam. The better to give me a head start on bringing it to market.

Medici-worthy; Machiavellian. (And far beyond the ken of capital-S Skeptics.)

Roger Knights
August 6, 2011 4:59 pm

I had the impression that public experiments had been conducted with meters attached.
One point in favor of Rossi is that several scientists from his university have been peripherally involved for a while in his experiments and vouch for them and him.

Philip Bradley
August 6, 2011 6:05 pm

With respect to Lubos and the other physicists here,
In science, phenomena precedes theory.
Current theory being unable to explain a phenomena, isn’t an argument for the phenomena not being real.
I’ve read enough cold fusion (or call it what you will) papers to convince me there is a real phenomena or group of related phenomena.
And Rossi’s device turning out to be a scam won’t alter that assesment.
Although as others have noted, if it is a scam, its a peculiar one. Scammers don’t usually predict shipping a commercial system in 2 months time.

August 6, 2011 6:55 pm

rpercifield says on August 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Every small college has the equipment required to perform this task. However, Rossi will not allow it, and gets belligerent when asked. We are all told to wait for the 1MW plant to be completed. Why? Is it because to show that the system does not work would make completion of the plant irrelevant? To not perform the basic energy calculations on this system make it impossible to believe that it is real.

I must ask, just HOW many times must demonstrations be put on to simply satisfy the cravings of ‘the gallery’ (the term *peanut gallery comes to mind) at your (or any other non-directly involved party’s) drop-of-the-hat request?
I wonder, to myself, if you have even reviewed what reports and evaluations exist from what public demonstrations and tests have been published to date my technical observers of said tests et al … of course, in lieu of true investigation many parties, like yourself perhaps, may be only choosing to flog Rossi when armed with tidbits of stories where he informs those pressing for more gratis ‘tests’ to be told to “Go fish”.
To whom does Rossi owe anything regarding his actions and activities, conducted between private parties using private funds – do you assert somehow that the public has some basis to lay claim to his inventions and intellectual property?
.
.
* peanut gallery – The hindmost or uppermost section of seating in a theater balcony, where the seats are cheapest.
.

August 6, 2011 7:02 pm

@Roger
If you look at the web site New Energy Times http://newenergytimes.com/index.shtml , the picture is very different. They were asking the right questions, and not getting answers that were even close. My experience with the web site is that they are more concerned about sound science and accuracy, than hype. From my perspective as an engineer they did ask the right questions. They approached the device fairly, and wanted to get the word out, good or bad.
All of the data I have seen has showed that the process is only supported by electrical power input. It is not a self sustaining reaction. What few controlled demonstrations have revealed that the process uses more electrical power than stated by Rossi. Also Rossi is not interested in measuring the true power output despite offers to do so. It would be treated as a black box. The power in compared to the power out, a simple and easy experiment. Why can’t it be done? Rossi will not allow it.
According to the report from the new energy times, Rossi is no longer associated with any university. While this is not a determining factor, The fact that there is an attempt to argue to authority, is concerning.
The easiest thing to shut up the critics is to have an open demonstration will the inputs and output monitored,and the data available to all. Until that happens, it is only vaporware.

Scarlet Pumpernickel
August 6, 2011 7:43 pm

U see Wall St 2, cold fusion lol send more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 6, 2011 8:18 pm

Mr Lynn says:
August 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm
Note Patterson did not say it was ‘fusion’ of any kind, cold, hot, or lukewarm.
I know that he didn’t. He doesn’t understand it completely. I do not understand it completely. No one looking at it understands it completely. But it is, none the less, happening. When it is commercialized and used by average people, in whatever form it finally ends up in, no one is going to care if how it works is fully understood. Everyone will be glad that they are saving a lot of money from it, and it is providing jobs.

August 6, 2011 8:25 pm

rpercifield says on August 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm

All of the data I have seen has showed that the process is only supported by electrical power input. It is not a self sustaining reaction. What few controlled demonstrations have revealed that the process uses more electrical power than stated by Rossi. Also Rossi is not interested in measuring the true power output despite offers to do so. It would be treated as a black box. The power in compared to the power out, a simple and easy experiment. Why can’t it be done? Rossi will not allow it.

Speculation from Julian Brown on May 20, 2011 at 12:03 am covers some of this (I am surprised you have not encountered such discussions):

F&R [Focardi and Rossi] have explained on several occasion that the heater serves two purposes:
i) to initiate the reaction as a preheater.
ii) to allow steady-state control of the temperature.
Were the cylinder thermally isolated such that the exothermic reaction was sufficient to keep it at the necessary elevated temperature (250 celsius), there would be no way it could be controlled and thermal runaway would ensue. By designing the reactor so that a few hundred watts extra watts are needed, it can be regulated and shutdown at any time.

Also Abd ul-Rahman Lomax says on May 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Something overlooked in many comments. The claimed reaction is initiated at 450 C.
Apparently, if the reactor is not cooled, the temperature rises and so does the heat, and it’s claimed that a number of E-Cats exploded.
In one report, I think it was Focardi who thought one of these things was running away, but he was able to shut the reaction down by quenching with nitrogen. With the levels of heat being reported, this thing should be “self-sustaining,” but … controlling it would be the problem.
My suspicion is that the input heat is used in combination with cooling to maintain a specific operating temperature. (There is no other apparent function for the “control electronics” to perform.)
If the thing gets too hot, it runs away.

Have you not considered what it would take to ‘control’ a reaction that potentially could be self-sustaining and perhaps ‘run away’ (chain reaction) – have you not encountered this consideration somewhere else in your (extensive?) travels on this subject rpercifield?
.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 6, 2011 9:08 pm

Mr Lynn
I am not saying cold fusion is happening. But there is a reaction happening. There has to be a clarification between the two.

plokos
August 6, 2011 11:29 pm

As Al Gore would say: Bullshit!
There’s a sucker born every minute.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
August 6, 2011 11:49 pm

Food for thought on what could be the answer:

August 7, 2011 2:17 am

Ric Werme, good job! Unfortunately, we’ll all need to postpone the popcorn until October.
Some Guy and others have commented on the possibly endothermic nature of the putative nickel-to-copper process. If I remember correctly, 56Fe has the highest mass defect per nucleon (MDPN) of any isotope of any chemical element heavier than 4He. However it does not necessarily follow that MDPN decreases linearly with increasing atomic number from iron.
At the moment, I’m in the process of moving, and my reference books are not available right now. If Some Guy is correct, his argument may be the simplest way to put this puppy to rest.
On the other hand, we should never underestimate the ingenuity of the human spirit. As a previous Dr Who incarnation (Sylvester McCoy?) once said:
Where there’s a will, there’s a beneficiary!
Larry Fields

Say NO to Cold Fusion (or why they are a bunch of hacks)
August 7, 2011 4:05 am

I would say this, the problem I have with most of the Cold Fusion hacks is that they lack sufficient understanding of theory to support their claims. If we first delve into why photovoltaics is possible, we examine QM and QFT and recognize that within the field of photons that permeate our local space, there is a distribution of energy (going back the roots of QM). If the mean temperature of all the photons in the field is high enough, then their will be some high energy photon domain that is occupied. So if one can design a device that can tap only the high energy domain (the threshold associated with electron occupancy in some set of elements) as input and release low energy photons (IR spectrum) after some electro-mechanical manipulation, then you can create something akin to a normal idealized thermodynamic cycle…this is the reason that photovoltaics actually work.
Now in the cold fusion world, the same logic applies, however the scale of the cutoff thresholds are of much higher energy. If you can adjust the mean temperature of the proton field sufficiently, then there will be some portion of protons that have suffient energy to cause fusion, but the number will be exceedingly small. This fact can explain why one would expect to see some amount of fusion by-products at lower temperature (if one can show that the mean temperature threshold can be met). However, the threshold for create a chain reaction is very high. Even if you have production of high energy protons, the environmental losses are enormous, and the mean proton field temperature needed to ensure sufficient proton energy for chain reaction is much higher than the mean proton field temperature to see fusion effects.
Since the mean proton field temperature does not exceed that required for chain reactions, we can readily show that cold fusion is pure fantasy.

Ian Macmillan
August 7, 2011 4:15 am

Assuming E-Cat works, there are ways in which relatively low grade energy can be used for electricity generation. The Geodynamics hot rocks project at Innamincka in South Australia was designed to generate power from a supply of hot water at around 260 C from a 4 kM deep well. The system used a heat exchanger to energise an Ammonia-water Kalina cycle turbine loop to produce 1 MW of electricity. The system was all set to go a couple of years ago, but unfortunately unexpected hydrogenation of the loop water caused hydrogen embrittlement and a lining failure in one of the wells. So far this project has been on hold, but there is a complete 1MW hot water to power plant there, just waiting for a supply of hot water. Some idea of the scale of this 1MW plant is given by the photographs in the attached links.
Heat exchanger:
http://www.geodynamics.com.au/irm/Company/ShowPage.aspx?CPID=1933&EID=18188631
Power plant:
http://www.geodynamics.com.au/irm/Company/ShowPage.aspx?CPID=1952&EID=17145285
Even if Rossi’s reactor works as advertised, there seems to be a degree of impracticability about the proposed 1MW setup in a 20 ft container. This would require 300 units with all their associated wiring, controls and plumbing to be packed into a 20 ft box. I don’t think so.
Steam cars? Maybe
Regards Ian Macmillan
[Reply: The 20 foot box description is for something producing 1 MW of heat. To produce 1 MW of electricity, much more heat would be required. The better comparison is to just the pump house at Innamincka, leave the turbine and generator out.
Note my emphasis in this post was just heat generation, not mechanical motion or electricity.
The 1 MW reactor will be using smaller modules than shown in the photograph.
-Ric]

August 7, 2011 5:54 am

I have no idea about the magic involved with overcoming Coulomb barriers, but I think it might be worth examining the energy balance in more detail.
There have been several statements that a reaction that produces Cu from Ni is endothermic. I decided to look at the possible reactions and tot up the masses to see how bad the situation was. So cracking open my old 53rd edition of the Rubber Bible, I get the following possible reactions:
61Ni + d = 63Cu, release of 0.0152 AMU
62Ni + p = 63Cu, release of 0.007165 AMU
64Mi + p = 65Cu, release of 0.008865 AMU
All of these reactions are exothermic. Any reactions involving lower mass Ni isotopes create radioactive isotopes of Cu that decay back to Ni via EC or beta+, so that’s just a means of climbing the mass ladder. Note 61Ni, 62Ni and 64Ni are relatively rare isotopes of Ni with abundances of 1.19, 3.66 and 1.08%.
I don’t see any easy way of getting to Fe. Most of the possible reactions on Ni either would create Cu or Co isotopes and none have a decay mode that drops all the way to Fe. If Fe is produced, there must be an alpha decay that I can’t find in the table.

August 7, 2011 7:04 am

Say NO to Cold Fusion (or why they are a bunch of hacks) says on August 7, 2011 at 4:05 am
I would say this, the problem I have with most of the Cold Fusion hacks is that they lack sufficient understanding of theory to support their claims. …

Can you disabuse me of the notion that an understanding of ‘string theory’ is essential to the understanding of how a nail is driven by a hammer esp. if one considers the ‘volume’ of each is over 90% ‘space’ defined by a particle ‘in orbit’ which possess virtually _no_ mass?
Whole lotta physics going on there too …
.

August 7, 2011 7:10 am

Philip Bradley says:
August 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm
“With respect to Lubos and the other physicists here,
In science, phenomena precedes theory.”
Often, but not always.
Offhand, Einstein’s prediction of the bending of starlight and Dirac’s prediction of the positron come to mind.
“Current theory being unable to explain a phenomena, isn’t an argument for the phenomena not being real.”
However, there is a big caveat. If the claimed phenomena violates conservation of energy-momentum or the laws of thermodynamics, then the bar for the acceptance of the phenomena is set infinitely higher.
http://goo.gl/hwjae
Where are the back-to-back 1.02MeV gamma photons from electron-positron annihilation?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
“I’ve read enough cold fusion (or call it what you will) papers to convince me there is a real phenomena or group of related phenomena.
And Rossi’s device turning out to be a scam won’t alter that assesment.”
I’ll stick to the requirement that energy-momentum are conserved and the the three laws of thermodynamics are empirically always valid until unequivocally demonstrated otherwise.
“Although as others have noted, if it is a scam, its a peculiar one. Scammers don’t usually predict shipping a commercial system in 2 months time.”
Rather exactly the opposite.
Making such completely unrealistic commercialization claims is one of the biggest red flags of a scam.
As an aside, afte reading some of the above posts, physics and physicists attract so many crackpots who believe that they have a new supposed theory that will overturn everything that has been understood to-date, that they have developed an Index for quick assessment:
http://goo.gl/xiSQm
To it’s credit, the APS (American Physical Society) would allow any member to make a presentation on any physics topic no matter how “out there” at the Annual Meeting.

Peter Brown
August 7, 2011 7:54 am

Before we get way ahead of ourselves and start talking about Big Science vs the litt