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Sci Tech    H4'ed 2/3/12

LENR Is Here, But Is It Real, and Has Its Time Come?

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Cold Fusion is Here, It's Real, and its Time has Come.


By Steve Windisch 2-2012

Image from Energetics SuperWave [tm] public release video 

 Over the last several years, there have been many reports around the world about important multiple successes with what is popularly known as "Cold Fusion", or more properly what is now known as "Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions" (LENR). The latest was from January 31, 2012 at M.I.T. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Professors Peter L. Hagelstein and Mitchell Swartz gave a symposium and short class where a successful 2-day LANL / LENR/ Cold Fusion experiment was done publicly that produced at least 10 times the energy out, than was used.  

This event was especially significant, since it was some professors and administration officials at M.I.T. who were leading the anti-cold fusion attack wave in the early 1990's. Pro-CF proponents, such as the late Dr. Eugene Mallove of Harvard and M.I.T. who wrote books and articles on LENR before his murder in 2004, have theorized that the vehement attacks, derision, and accusations publicly made about it then were at least partially about M.I.T. and others trying to protect the large amount of government funding they received for "hot fusion" research; which would soon become utterly obsolete if cold fusion were a reality. LENR research is dozens of times less expensive to perform than hot fusion research, and much less ongoing funding is needed to maintain a laboratory. No one knows for sure the real reasons CF was completely discarded and discredited in the U.S. in the early 1990's; and certainly many skeptics there and other places were genuine in their condemnations, since many labs attempted "honest" replications and failed to get any positive results (but others during that time did in fact get good results). At any rate, events have proven that the early Pons and Fleischmann experiments were indeed correct and worthy of much greater study and investment, and the most prestigious scientific institute of all, M.I.T., has now seen a successful public demonstration and verification over 20 years later.

Besides the above, NASA and other agencies of the U.S. government have expressed great interest in LENR. In late 2011, a presentation about it was given at a major NASA meeting, verifying it is a valid and highly important technology that will be pursued in the future. Dr. Dennis Bushnell, highly respected Chief Scientist at NASA Langley, has recently made several positive public statements about LENR and its validity. And back in 2008, the CBS "Sixty Minutes" TV show did a segment on it ("Cold Fusion is Hot Again"), where the amazing statement that the U.S. Naval Research Lab had positively verified significant excess energy production was first publicly made. Unfortunately, since that Sixty Minutes program first aired, very little has changed regarding LENR in the U.S.: University labs are still routinely denied funding to study LENR (difficult to understand, until one "follows the money" and sees that the majority of these funds for university-level energy research now come as endowments and grants from large corporations such as oil companies), and we hear very little about it in the mainstream media.

Scientists generally don't like the "Cold Fusion" term. First, it conjures up the media circus from 1989 / 1990 when the discovery was first announced with great hoopla at a press conference by Dr.'s Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann at the University of Utah... then immediately later derided almost universally in the press as "bad science" and "fraud". These claims by the U.S. mainstream media were later proven themselves to be false and libelous by over a hundred successful replications around the world - recorded over the last 22 years by reputable scientists at prestigious institutions who have published over 200 Peer-Reviewed Scientific Papers on the subject, proving that the effect does definitely exist and is highly significant. Yet the damage was done in the U.S. public's mind, and the retractions and apologies from the media and skeptics did not come. Dr. Fleischmann has stated that the press conference that started the media circus, and the use of the word "fusion", were tactical mistakes and mostly beyond his control. However, events have shown he was not mistaken in his data nor results.

The term "Cold Fusion" also goes against the tenets of Scientific Method in that we don't know absolutely for sure if the reaction is "fusion" in nature yet, although there is significant empirical evidence for this including dozens of reports of production of Helium and Hydrogen isotopes and low levels of gamma radiation detected during the reaction (that are easily shielded against). So instead, scientists in the field usually prefer the terms either "LANL" (Lattice Assisted Nuclear Reaction), or "LENR" (Low Energy Nuclear Reaction). One thing is sure, that if this reaction eventually turns out to be "Chemical" in nature, then radically new theories explaining it for that scientific discipline will be required as well, as they would for Physics if the reaction is indeed "nuclear" in origin as most believe.

And this, in essence, is one of the mains problems for its full acceptance by the scientific mainstream: There are yet no widely accepted Scientific Theories to explain the empirically collected data of excess energy production that has been carefully recorded many times using accepted means. Several well-done Theories exist and have been put forward, but none have received any acclaim... and all have been generally met with either silence or open hostility. It would seem on the surface, that for decades LENR was a mostly "forbidden subject", not much different than "Galileo's Telescope" in the eyes of the 15th Century Church. In this case, the "Church" is the mainstream scientific community, and the "Telescope"" that they have often strangely and steadfastly refused to "look in to"" is a clean and safe energy producing technology that would spell the end of 100 years of unbridled fossil fuel use, greatly helping to free us from many social, economic, geopolitical, and ecological problems that now plague our world.

Whatever the Name, It Works and is Important

LENR produces heat... generally used to create hot water or steam. The steam coming from heat exchangers and water jackets can be used to replace fission nuclear reactors that use highly dangerous radioactive fuel. Or more importantly... dirty and poisonous coal, natural gas mined using polluting "fracking" means, or fuel oil coming from the highly toxic Alberta Tar Sands, drilled for using highly risky deep water wells, or from unfriendly and unstable countries often embroiled in wars our soldiers must fight and die in. All these are used to fire or otherwise heat boilers feeding the steam turbines that in turn power electrical generators. These are the polluting or inherently dangerous methods presently used to generate up to 80% of all energy used on the planet today for industry, homes, and increasingly... Electric Vehicles (EV's). Even if LENR was used to simply "pre-heat" water that went into a traditional coal-fired boiler, it could easily increase efficiency and lower fossil fuel use at an existing power plant by up to 70%. Such an interim "assisting" system could be installed with a minimum of time, cost, and disruption to existing coal-fired installations (and even be done without any service interruption); while all-new or heavily modified plants would be built to benefit from zero fossil fuel or fission nuclear use.

Several methods of LENR are being studied. The one that is most known, and first done by Pons and Fleischmann, uses palladium electrodes and deuterium (the "Heavy Water" atomic isotope of hydrogen naturally found in sea water at a ratio of 1:6,000 to "regular" H). What more recent studies have found, is that the atomic-level Lattice of the palladium surface interacts, in some "yet to be determined" way, with the deuterium to generate excess heat when electrical current and heat from an outside source are applied as stimulants (the current also performs electrolysis to disassociate the "heavy water" and provide the freed deuterium gas). Improved results have occurred when the biasing current is an oscillating waveform instead of flat "DC", and the carefully pulsed waveform appears to "shake" the palladium lattice into accepting more deuterium inside of it for increased reaction. Also, it is often reported that increased energy production is seen when the water bath has lithium salts dissolved in it (or other salts). A small electric heating element is used to pre-heat the water. When successful the reaction soon begins, the heating element is turn off, and much higher levels of heat are produced, up to 25 times that of the energy used to create and sustain the reaction.

Several scientists have noted that the palladium used for the electrodes must be of a very high purity, and this is said by some knowledgeable in the field to be behind the early failures of the experiment in the early 1990's (most notably by M.I.T. in 1990), when many universities attempted to replicate Pons and Fleishmann's discovery. It seems there was only one main supplier for these electrodes in U.S. scientific circles, and their quality and purity was not always sufficient for the reaction to take place. How ironic and sad would it be, if 20 years of denial and refusal to study this effect in the U.S. were based on the use of poor-quality metals? Despite this problem, many university and private labs, all outside of the United States, have successfully replicated and verified the experiment (and published Peer-Reviewed Papers on the results)" a fact that has still not been properly reported on in the U.S. mainstream media.  

Another LENR method that is presently claimed to be highly successful (and that gained much interest in 2011), is that of using nickel nano-powder and pressurized hydrogen. Also, an unnamed proprietary "catalyst" is present, and the usual electrical current biasing waveform and pre-heating are used to start the reaction. In January 2011, the University of Bologna in Italy had a Public Demonstration of a claimed working LENR system using the nickel powder and hydrogen method. The main inventor was Andrea Rossi (an engineer and entrepreneur), and the professors involved there at U. of Bologna were Dr.'s Giuseppe Levi and Sergio Focardi. Two Swedish scientists also later supported the work: Hanno Esse'n, professor of theoretical physics, and Dr. Sven Kullander, chairman of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' Energy Committee . The Rossi Energy Catalyzer ("ECat") system has been witnessed operating and producing steam by many people (including, it is rumored, by U.S. government representatives from NASA and DARPA); although there is a great deal of skepticism and controversy surrounding it; mainly having to do with Mr. Rossi's methods of measuring energy output, and his insistence for keeping certain things secret (this secrecy is common with "Patent Pending" inventions, but many believe this topic is too important for Patents and should be "Open Sourced"). Also, another Italian physics professor, Francesco Celani, had claimed excess heat production using nickel-hydrogen as early as 1991 (many speculate that Andrea Rossi was building on Celani's earlier work, but Rossi claims his system is unique and differs significantly from any other work in the field). Patents for Rossi's invention have been awarded in some countries, but are reported to have been "denied" in the U.S.

The Rossi - Focardi system is claimed to produce traces of copper and copper isotopes after months of operation... apparently caused by fusion of the nickel powder with hydrogen. Other examples of transmutation of elements have been reported using the deuterium-palladium method as well: Specifically the creation of helium isotopes from hydrogen. And like the deuterium-palladium method, small amounts of gamma radiation have been reported during nickel-hydrogen operation. These are the main reasons that "nuclear fusion", often claimed to be "impossible" at near-room temperatures by many in the mainstream scientific circles, is strongly suspected as being behind the reactions. The small amounts of gamma radiation can be easily shielded against (for instance, a fission nuclear reactor will have more than billion times more ionizing radiation at any one point that remains deadly for decades and even eons), and the gammas produced by LENR will only occur during operation: Turn the reaction off, and there is no residual radiation. And this is an important safety plus over fission nuclear: The danger with fission is "turning it off" - harnessing the incredible power within the reactor vessel that could melt down quickly when cooling fails (as we saw happen four times at Fukushima when not only the primary cooling failed, but all the back-ups did as well). With LENR, the challenge is to keep it going.  

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Is a writer and activist in the field of alternative energy. A partial list of his articles can be seen here (or by Searching OpEd News): He is also the Admin of The Free Energy Facebook Group, all (more...)
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