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What if Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) really works?

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Message Christopher Calder
NOTE:  This article contains information that is alien to most readers.  I suggest those interested in Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) first take a quick look at NASA scientist Joseph Zawodny's PDF slide presentation, which was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.  Zawodny claims that LENR is not hot fusion, not cold fusion, but a strange kind of poorly understood "neutron absorption process" which give off useful amounts of heat, but very little radiation.  Zawodny favors the Widom-Larsen Theory as a possible explanation for LENR.  It involves the creation of heavy-mass electrons and ultra low momentum neutrons through the help of nanoscale magnetic fields.  You don't have to understand the complex science in Zawodny's amazing slide show to get a general sense of the potential historic nature of this development.

What is happening right now with LENR technology?

     Engineer Andrea Rossi claims to be in talks with a well known giant American retail chain store to sell his 10 kilowatt home heating LENR reactors, which he calls E-Cats, short for Energy Catalyzer.  The retail price is expected to be about $1,500 each, with mass production beginning in the fall of 2012.  Can Rossi get government approval to sell unconventional nuclear reactors for home use?  Rossi states his heaters will output 6 times more energy than fed into them, and they produce no pollution of any kind.  A Greek company called Defkalion Green Technologies states they will start selling their similar Hyperion reactors in a matter of months, and their improved design outputs 25 to 32 times energy input and has longer lasting fuel that is easier to refill. Defkalion claims they have scalable reactor systems up to 5 megawatts (heat) in size, with the largest power plants built into ordinary 20 foot long shipping containers. Both Rossi and Defkalion use low cost nickel dust and ordinary hydrogen gas as nuclear fuel.

NASA speculation on Rossi E-Cat reactor by NASA

     NASA's Dr. Joseph Zawodny also uses nickel powder and hydrogen gas for fueling his low energy laser driven LENR experiments, and Zawodny states that LENR is "A cheap, abundant, clean, scalable, portable source of energy [that] will impact EVERYONE." He goes on to say that LENR is the "Singular solution to peak oil, climate change, fresh water, and associated geopolitical instabilities." NASA scientist Dennis Bushnell agrees, and states that LENR can provide NASA with the highly concentrated energy needed to make space travel within our solar system cost effective, as well as bring a permanent end to the energy crisis.

     Is this all a hoax, a mirage, or some incredible miscalculation? Rossi's E-Cat reactors have passed every hands-on test to date by at least a dozen respected scientists from around the world. Rossi claims to have already sold 13 one megawatt E-Cat reactors to an unnamed US military customer, speculated to be DARPA or similar stealth research organization. Zawodny says that LENR reactors can be made small enough to power a mechanical dragonfly, or large enough to electrify an entire city. Perhaps there is an infectious bug going around making scientists all over the world hallucinate positive test results. Critics say that this is all too good to be true, and that there is nothing in our text books that can explain LENR with traditional physics. 

     The potential military uses of LENR are enormous, which is why the United States intelligence community is especially interested in finding out all it can about advances in LENR technology. Meanwhile, many corporations, scientists, and Internet pundits with financial and/or personal attachments to competing fields of energy production are praying that LENR blows up in our faces, both figuratively and literally. There are often shockingly inaccurate and unfair criticisms of Andrea Rossi and other LENR pioneers posted on the Internet. Despite abundant Internet skepticism and our television media's strange disinterest, NASA's Dennis Bushnell states that "The two decades of experiments and the weak interaction theories have removed the existential risk, what is remaining is to ENGINEER for improved performance."

What will happen to the world if LENR is not a hoax?

     Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi are already financing LENR research. From the energy density data available, it appears that we may be able to build LENR powered cars that rarely, if ever, need nickel dust refueling. All that would be required is the occasional adding of ordinary tap water to make the needed small amount of hydrogen gas through on-board electrolysis of H2O. LENR fuels are by nature thousands of times more energy dense than fossil fuels used to produce heat through simple combustion.

     If LENR is real, then aircraft capable of flying at full speed for months on end without refueling will be possible. Vertical takeoff and landing aircraft could become commonplace, and flying wingless cars as seen in Star Wars movies will be buildable for those brave or reckless souls who don't worry about the potential for engine failure. LENR jet engines should be relatively quiet, resulting in nearly silent aircraft sailing through the skies.

     Zawodny claims that reusable single stage LENR powered space planes will be able to take off from any commercial airport, fly to orbit to deliver satellites, and then land like an ordinary jetliner. This would not only lower the cost of satellite launches, but would allow the cost effective construction of very large space stations. Trips to the moon would become relatively cheap and commonplace, and trips to Mars with active radiation shielding would be possible with a 3 month travel time each way. Space travel could be pursued by private corporations for commercial, industrial reasons, not just by governments. We won't be able to fly to the stars with LENR, but our solar system would become easily navigable at a price we can afford.

Proposed NASA LENR space plane in orbit by NASA

Proposed NASA LENR space plane details by NASA

     LENR researchers predict electrical generation at a cost of between 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour for small home units, and 1 to 2 cents per kilowatt hour for large, gigawatt sized power stations. If this is true, then over time all coal, natural gas, and fission nuclear power stations will be dismantlement, and industrial windmills will be torn down and sold as scrap. Ships, trains, cars, everything will be LENR powered, and thus everything we need to survive will fall in price because everything we consume requires energy to produce and transport, most importantly food. LENR would make desalination of water affordable, which could end the global water crisis and allow for increased agricultural production. Oil will always be needed to make chemicals, but if LENR works as hoped in 30 to 50 years fossil fuels will no longer be needed as a significant source of energy.

     LENR by it's inherent nature produces no radiation risk, no toxic waste, and all the materials used to construct LENR reactors are easily recyclable. We have enough nickel fuel to last for millions of years, so our constant worrying about running out of affordable energy will disappear. Just understanding this fact could radically change the global geopolitical situation, with obvious major impact on Middle East politics and military alliances.  LENR may be an impossible dream, but I cannot comprehend how so many respected scientists from around the world could claim so many positive test results if there were not something to it. Scientific frauds cannot pass even one hands-on test by experts, but Rossi's E-Cats have already passed many well designed tests conducted by PhD scientists who have no financial motivation or bias.

     Andrea Rossi has tried to hide the secrets of his E-Cat reactor design, and he has reason to worry because so far the United States Patent Office has refused to give any LENR researcher patent protection. Defkalion Green Technologies came into existence by first working with Rossi and then splitting off to develop their own similar, but not identical design. There are vast amounts of money to be made if LENR really works, but unfortunately for Rossi his E-Cat design already appears to be obsolete. Defkalion's Hyperions are by any measure superior products if the company's specification sheets are accurate.

     Only time will tell what is true and what is fiction. We should all hope that LENR is real, because without it escalating energy prices will cause further economic collapse, tremendous hardship, and even more global hunger on an unprecedented scale.

Please read the evidence and make up your own mind about the potential of LENR technology.

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Christopher Calder is an advocate for world food supply security with no financial interest in any energy related business.
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