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Cold Fusion: Progress Report

By Brian Westenhaus | Mon, 09 July 2012 21:57 | 15

Your humble writer has been watching for the news out of the International Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Symposium, ILENRS-12 held at The College of William and Mary Sadler Center early last week.  At long last, after years of little available event news we’re getting some interesting bits out.

The process of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions  (LENR) or Cold Fusion or your choice on an array of ideas on what to call it, have required the element palladium as a catalyst, that isn’t consumed, but represents an expensive initial outlay.  Current commercial efforts use nickel instead, because it is plentiful and cheap and works almost as well.

The fuel of choice has been “heavy water”, which is non-radioactive and can be recovered from ocean saltwater.  Four ounces of heavy water today costs about $50 and contains enough energy when converted to electricity to supply the average American with electricity for a lifetime.  The commercial efforts are focused on plain fresh water, some with a hydrogen gas flow, now.

A LENR start is dramatic and unmistakable when it occurs – much more heat is released than any conceivable chemical process could generate. Such heat can be used for industrial processes, space heating or hot water, or it can be converted to electricity.

Today’s remaining problems concern reliability and control.

Whatever it is that makes LENR work, the phenomenon seems to have a mind of its own, and decides when to turn itself on and off. The commercial work that seems closest to a resolution of these problems are holding their cards close to their chests, hoping to be first to enter a huge and lucrative market.

A bit of background is in order because for LENR or cold fusion news isn’t appearing in papers published in major scholarly journals – a point we need to keep in mind.  The story – very briefly:

Along with government censorship, which we can expect in proper circumstances, political censorship in an effort to not unduly alarm the public in the mainstream media there’s a wall still up of scientific censorship for LENR.  The Internet is putting a foundation out for specialty and niche news, blogs and social networks that are exposing more information.

LENR has occupied a scientific backwater now for 23 years.  Demonstrations have been repeated again and again, a great deal of know-how has been acquired and shared over the Internet.  Scientists who stuck with it have been vindicated to those who are in the interested in the field.

In 1989, Martin Fleischmann, a scientist at the top of his field, with Stanley Pons told the world they had ran a LENR in a test tube. Within a year scientists from prestigious labs around the world spilled announcements they had tried to duplicate what Fleischmann had reported with no success. The results were un-reproducible. Cold Fusion was to become a joke about junk science.

About a year and a half back an Italian entrepreneur named Andrea Rossi demonstrated a cold fusion boiler, and announced the taking orders for 2012 delivery.   The following months have brought a lot of others from the personal labs and quiet private researchers out into view.

Mr. Rossi has made a lot of web traffic and the first thing we see from the Symposium is the estimable Jed Rothwell who operates the prime scientific source for the field, LENR-CANR.ORG, starting a forum thread that became a worthy look at Mr. Rossi from those who know him. With subjective understanding a better objective view of Mr. Rossi and what he has going on is covered in the forum thread.

Before one begins a click through to the thoughts on Mr. Rossi his technology and business acumen lets note a fundamental problem – that government censorship.

So far the patent ability for LENR isn’t coming.  The US Patent Office has a backlog of dozens of applications on which it is not acting, demanding cumbersome and expensive on-site demonstrations in addition to the usual paper filings.   It’s not much better overseas.  This puts the inventors in a very unusual spot.  With no intellectual property rights, whatever is offered can simply be taken with poor grounds for compensation.

That plus the prospect that whatever works and is verified will become the top media circus in all of mankind’s history.  Whatever we have, as reasoned and responsible as we try to be, what we’re getting from the commercial effort is so clouded, confused and in organizational disarray as to be without credibility.

Still, out in the real world, LENR science is in better shape. Italy, Japan, Israel and Greece are the current world leaders. China is suspected to have a major LENR program. Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are quietly pursuing the pot of gold, isolated and in secret, avoiding the heavy hand of the US government, which might be a very good thing when commercial prospects get to market.

But the “news” is in a whole new arena.  We won’t be getting papers and studies that can connect to existing technology for a long while.  The commercial folks are working in a world more primitive than a “Wild West” situation and every bit as likely to go into a cold war framework or legal battles just as soon as someone seems to be making money.

The stakes are huge.  Something dramatic is bound to happen, and a lot of politicians, bureaucrats, scientists and academic administrators will be gravely embarrassed – its essentially too late for them already.  Yet, they will claim that they were simply surprised, that they could not have seen this coming.

But we aren’t and are looking forward to the future.

By. Brian Westenhaus

Source: A Status Update on Cold Fusion

Leave a comment

  • psi on July 10 2012 said:
    Nice summary of where we are at.
  • Tom on July 10 2012 said:
    Looking forward to the impending release of Rossi's 600C reactor test results. Keep an eye on it, this could be BIG news. But that's just hype, wait for proof.
  • Gerrit on July 10 2012 said:
    It should be highlighted that in the years between Fleischmann-Pons and Rossi a lot of scientific research has been performed by credible scientists.

    The Fleischmann-Pons-Effect is reproducible and a reality.

    Whether the effect is controllable and scalable as announced by several commercial groups currently remains the big question.
  • anonymous on July 10 2012 said:
    If you had eyes you could see it coming, They arrested the dudes for carrying nickle powder, calling it precious controled metal like plutonium. Those people need to be arrested and tried in court.
  • BigEd on July 10 2012 said:
    So Brian, do I understand this correctly??

    There are a number of scientists/entrepreneurs who have demonstrated the feasibility of cold fusion that will unleash all the low cost, non-polluting energy the world will ever need and there is a government conspiracy to suppress this information??
  • maryyugo on July 10 2012 said:
    Seems there is a basic misunderstanding of the patent process. An invention (in the USA anyway) will be protected from the day the application is filed. And there should be no problem with showing the patent office a working model if, in fact, the invention works. The whole purpose of the patent is to disclose how the invention works. In that aspect, Rossi's patent is highly deficient. Rossi could get a patent if his device works. And if he made an adequate patent application, he'd be adequately protected from that point forward. The problem isn't the patent system. It's Rossi.

    Rossi has done a lot of demonstrations which many scientists and engineers have found lacking in transparency and depth. Rossi has been told again and again how to fix that. He was asked to calibrate his heat measurement method. He refused. He was asked to run "controls" (inert devices in parallel with active ones). He refused. He was asked to get independent testing, to name a single customer who could be interviewed, to run a device without fresh fuel for days or weeks, to prove that his megawatt device doesn't get all its power from the huge diesel generator he had running when showing it... and so on. Rossi always has refused.

    He expects people to believe he has a million unit a year robotic factory under construction and hundreds of companies who paid millions to license and sell his technology but there is not one shred of evidence to suggest any of it is true, is there? In fact, Rossi told a Florida official that he had no LENR/CF devices running in the USA and was not building any in the USA. Some credibility!
  • Mel Tisdale on July 11 2012 said:
    I just hope that we as a species can develop and apply cold fusion or LENR, or whatever it is called, globally.

    The world seems to be going through a major reset operation and this could be part of it, if only we can get those with vested interests in hot fusion and fossil fuels to just pipe down and open their minds. As things stand they are doing science no favours. There are more important things in life than government funding, believe it or not.

    Wouldn't we all prefer to live on a planet that is not threatening to fry us and flood us? A planet without wall to wall wind turbines? A planet that does not have vast areas of what was once naturally beautiful completely ruined by mineral extraction, including tar sands etc? Unless we actually start doing something about climate change, those will remain distant dreams.

    Old Mother Nature's a bit like my first wife: A bitch when rattled. (I still have the scars to prove it!) So, if 'cold fusion' is a valid technology, then let's poor money into it. Perhaps the fossil fuel industry might like to put in a few dollars too as an hedge against the effects on their mainstream product.

    It would be nice if a senior role can be found for Ponds and Fleishman. Heaven knows, if 'cold fusion' is valid, we owe them in a very big way.
  • Mel Tisdale on July 11 2012 said:
    I just hope that we as a species can develop and apply cold fusion or LENR, or whatever it is called, globally.

    The world seems to be going through a major reset operation and this could be part of it, if only we can get those with vested interests in hot fusion and fossil fuels to just pipe down and open their minds. As things stand they are doing science no favours. There are more important things in life than government funding, believe it or not.

    Wouldn't we all prefer to live on a planet that is not threatening to fry us and flood us? A planet without wall to wall wind turbines? A planet that does not have vast areas of what was once naturally beautiful completely ruined by mineral extraction, including tar sands etc? Unless we actually start doing something about climate change, those will remain distant dreams.

    Old Mother Nature's a bit like my first wife: A bitch when rattled. (I still have the scars to prove it!) So, if 'cold fusion' is a valid technology, then let's pour money into it. Perhaps the fossil fuel industry might like to put in a few dollars too as an hedge against the effects on their mainstream product.

    It would be nice if a senior role can be found for Ponds and Fleishman. Heaven knows, if 'cold fusion' is valid, we owe them in a very big way.
  • Ged on July 12 2012 said:
    For those interested, the EU has released a report on LENR (Cold Fusion) and other upcoming new energy technologies here: http://ec.europa.eu/research/industrial_technologies/pdf/emerging-materials-report_en.pdf

    The big comment stated in the report after validation of LENR by NRL, SRI, and ENEA is "...the existence of the effect is no longer in doubt." (page 23).

    Additionally, National Instruments is in a deep collaboration with several different entities working on LENR, including actually directly sponsoring the lab of Dr. Levi at the University of Bologna: http://www.e-catworld.com/2012/07/national-instruments-deeply-involved-with-many-lenr-projects/

    The list of players NI is involved with is quite long and high profile.

    The field of LENR is heating up fast, and interesting things are ahead, regardless of the current commercial endeavors.
  • marcus on July 26 2012 said:
    My uncle was a tenured professor of Physics at UC Berkley.

    The last I spoke to him he had examined the original Pons and Fleischman experiment in Utah.

    He said the effect was substantial and real but was Not fusion because it produced far too few neutrons.

    And why did you pull my last post that described his credentials in detail?
  • Jessee McBroom on August 01 2012 said:
    When LENR technology is actually successfully developed; it will usher in the clean and affordable energy that the Nuclear Energy was supposed to deliver to mankind. It is still nuclear. Just weak force nuclear reactions of a non radioactive nature. I believe the nickle hydrogen reaction hold the most promise for widespread use; but surface plasmon reactions hold great promise in space applications.
  • Van den Bogaert Joannes on August 02 2012 said:
    Please have a look at the e-Cat Site "Belgian LANR Patents" and "LANR by Coulomb explosion" giving a totally different way of cold fusion in gas phase through the Belgian patents BE1002780, BE102781 and
    BE1003296 available on the Site in English.
    Look especially for theoretical purposes into BE1002781 pages 3-4 containing a calculation of the rest mass of the proton making the Higgs superfluous!
  • A. M. McCandless on August 07 2012 said:
    R.I.P., Martin Fleishmann. You didn't live to see vindication, but I think it will happen.

    This seems directly analogous to the work of Robin Warren and Barry Marshall, Nobel prize winners, for their work in proving that H. pylori causes ulcers, and not stress. It didn't take a conspiracy, just entrenched and unimaginative "hard scientists" to block their progress for a decade, or so. They were mocked quite thoroughly by the establishment.

    (Not to mention the monstrous profits to be lost by energy "providers", should this technology be feasible.)

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9576387/ns/health-health_care/t/two-australians-win-nobel-prize-medicine/
  • Elpress on September 04 2013 said:
    "demanding cumbersome and expensive on-site demonstrations in addition to the usual paper filings"
    Its not the patent office's directive to have proof that a patent works, Its the patent office's directive to file patents to protect inventors.
    Brian Westenhaus has clearly sided with the military industrial elite by failing to expose their ability to steal a patent "in the interests of national security".
    If they used plain water, stainless steel and DC current to "charge" the water, they might find more results....
  • K. L. Garcia on August 23 2014 said:
    Thank you for the information and how close are we to
    getting started on the program?

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