Cold fusion reactor verified by third-party researchers, seems to have 1 million times the energy density of gasoline
by   /  October 9, 2014

Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat — the device that purports to use cold fusion to generate massive amounts of cheap, green energy – has been verified by third-party researchers, according to a new 54-page report. The researchers observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, or “far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.” The researchers were also allowed to analyze the fuel before and after the 32-day run, noting that the isotopes in the spent fuel could only have been obtained by “nuclear reactions” — a conclusion that boggles the researchers: “… It is of course very hard to comprehend how these fusion processes can take place in the fuel compound at low energies.”

This new report [PDF] on the E-Cat was carried out by six (reputable) researchers from Italy and Sweden. While the new E-Cat looks very different from previous iterations, the researchers say that it uses the same “hydrogen-loaded nickel” and additives (most notably lithium) as a fuel. The device’s inventor, Andrea Rossi, claims that the E-Cat uses cold fusion — low-energy nuclear reactions, LENR — to fuse nickel and hydrogen atoms into copper, releasing oodles of energy. The researchers, analyzing the fuel before and after the 32-day burn, note that there is an isotope shift from a “natural” mix of Nickel-58/Nickel-60 to almost entirely Nickel-62 — a reaction that, the researchers say, cannot occur without nuclear reactions (i.e. fusion). The researchers say there is just 1 gram of fuel inside the E-Cat.

The researchers are very careful about not actually saying that cold fusion/LENR is the source of the E-Cat’s energy, instead merely saying that an “unknown reaction” is at work. In serious scientific circles, LENR is still a bit of a joke/taboo topic. The paper is actually somewhat comical in this regard: The researchers really try to work out how the E-Cat produces so much darn energy — and they conclude that fusion is the only answer — but then they reel it all back in by adding: “The reaction speculation above should only be considered as an example of reasoning and not a serious conjecture.” Anyway, now that we’ve got the necessary cynicism/scrutiny out of the way, let’s get down to what everyone’s really interested in: The utterly insane amounts of energy produced by the E-Cat. In the table below you can see some figures from the 32-day test. The most important figures are on the right hand side: a COP (coefficient of performance) of up to 3.74, and net power production of 2,373 watts. Remember that this is a small device that produced these kinds of figures for 32 days straight. Total energy obtained over 32 days was 1.5 MWh.

To put this into perspective, the E-Cat tested by the researchers has an energy density of 1.6×109 Wh/kg and power density of 2.1×106 W/kg. This is orders (plural) of magnitude higher than anything else ever tested — somewhere in the region of 100 times more power than the best supercapacitors, and maybe a million times more energy than gasoline. In the words of the researchers, “These values place the E-Cat beyond any other known conventional source of energy.”

Obviously, if these third-party findings are to be believed — if the E-Cat really is performing cold fusion — then this is rather exciting. We are talking about an extremely cheap, green, and dense power source that could quite literally change the world. Before the world can be changed, however, there will now be a very extensive period of scrutiny from the scientific community at large. The previous third-party analysis of the E-Cat device, published in March 2013, was attacked and debunked very rapidly. It seems this new report has been intentionally designed so that there are fewer plot holes and logical leaps. The research paper has reportedly been submitted to the Arxiv pre-print server, with the hope of eventually being published in the Journal of Nuclear Physics. The next few weeks could be very interesting indeed. According to one report at Sifferkoll, a big bank downloaded the new E-Cat report just minutes after it was made available online — and “oil futures have stayed volatile since.” And of course this morning Glasgow University announced that it would be selling its fossil fuel investments.
Cold fusion reactor independently verified, has 10,000 times the energy density of gas
by / May 21, 2013

Against all probability, a device that purports to use cold fusion to generate vast amounts of power has been verified by a panel of independent scientists. The research paper, which hasn’t yet undergone peer review, seems to confirm both the existence of cold fusion, and its potency: The cold fusion device being tested has roughly 10,000 times the energy density and 1,000 times the power density of gasoline. Even allowing for a massively conservative margin of error, the scientists say that the cold fusion device they tested is 10 times more powerful than gasoline — which is currently the best fuel readily available to mankind.

The device being tested, which is called the Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat for short), was created by Andrea Rossi. Rossi has been claiming for the past two years that he had finally cracked cold fusion, but much to the chagrin of the scientific community he hasn’t allowed anyone to independently analyze the device — until now. While it sounds like the scientists had a fairly free rein while testing the E-Cat, we should stress that they still don’t know exactly what’s going on inside the sealed steel cylinder reactor. Still, the seven scientists, all from good European universities, obviously felt confident enough with their findings to publish the research paper.

A nickel lattice soaking up hydrogen ions in a LENR reactorAs for what’s happening inside the cold fusion reactor, Andrea Rossi and his colleague Sergio Focardi have previously said their device works by infusing hydrogen into nickel, transmuting the nickel into copper and releasing a large amount of heat. While Rossi hasn’t provided much in the way of details — he’s a very secretive man, it seems — we can infer some knowledge from NASA’s own research into cold fusion. Basically, hydrogen ions (single protons) are sucked into a nickel lattice (pictured right); the nickel’s electrons are forced into the hydrogen to produce neutrons; the nickel nuclei absorb these neutrons; the neutrons are stripped of their electrons to become protons; and thus the nickel goes up in atomic number from 28 to 29, becoming copper.

This process, like the “conventional” fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium, produces a lot of heat. (See: 500MW from half a gram of hydrogen: The hunt for fusion power heats up.) The main difference, though, is that the cold fusion process (also known as LENR, or low energy nuclear reaction) produces very slow moving neutrons which don’t create ionizing radiation or radioactive waste. Real fusion, on the other hand, produces fast neutrons that decimate everything in their path. In short, LENR is fairly safe — safe enough that NASA dreams of one day putting a cold fusion reactor in every home, car, and plane. Nickel and hydrogen, incidentally, are much cheaper and cleaner fuels than gasoline.

As far as we can tell, the main barrier to cold fusion — as with normal fusion — is producing more energy than you put in. In NASA’s tests, it takes a lot more energy to fuse the nickel and hydrogen than is produced by the reaction. Rossi, it would seem, has discovered a secret sauce that significantly reduces the amount of energy required to start the reaction. As for what the secret sauce is, no one knows — in the research paper, the independent scientists simply refer to it as “unknown additives.” All told, the E-Cat seems to have a power density of 4.4×105 W/kg, and an energy density of 5.1×107 Wh/kg. If Rossi and Focardi’s cold fusion technology turns out to be real — if the E-Cat really has 10,000 times the energy density and 1,000 times the power density of gasoline — then the world will change, very, very quickly. Stay tuned; we’ll let you know when — or if — the E-Cat passes peer review.

Research paper: arXiv:1305.3913 – “Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device”

NASA’s cold fusion tech could put a nuclear reactor in every home, car, and plane
by / February 22, 2013

The cold fusion dream lives on: NASA is developing cheap, clean, low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) technology that could eventually see cars, planes, and homes powered by small, safe nuclear reactors. When we think of nuclear power, there are usually just two options: fission and fusion. Fission, which creates huge amounts of heat by splitting larger atoms into smaller atoms, is what currently powers every nuclear reactor on Earth. Fusion is the opposite, creating vast amounts of energy by fusing atoms of hydrogen together, but we’re still many years away from large-scale, commercial fusion reactors. (See: 500MW from half a gram of hydrogen: The hunt for fusion power heats up.)

LENR is absolutely nothing like either fission or fusion. Where fission and fusion are underpinned by strong nuclear force, LENR harnesses power from weak nuclear force — but capturing this energy is difficult. So far, NASA’s best effort involves a nickel lattice and hydrogen ions. The hydrogen ions are sucked into the nickel lattice, and then the lattice is oscillated at a very high frequency (between 5 and 30 terahertz). This oscillation excites the nickel’s electrons, which are forced into the hydrogen ions (protons), forming slow-moving neutrons. The nickel immediately absorbs these neutrons, making it unstable. To regain its stability, the nickel strips a neutron of its electron so that it becomes a proton — a reaction that turns the nickel into copper and creates a lot of energy in the process.

The key to LENR’s cleanliness and safety seems to be the slow-moving neutrons. Whereas fission creates fast neutrons (neutrons with energies over 1 megaelectron volt), LENR utilizes neutrons with an energy below 1eV — less than a millionth of the energy of a fast neutron. Whereas fast neutrons create one hell of a mess when they collide with the nuclei of other atoms, LENR’s slow neutrons don’t generate ionizing radiation or radioactive waste. It is because of this sedate gentility that LENR lends itself very well to vehicular and at-home nuclear reactors that provide both heat and electricity.

According to NASA, 1% of the world’s nickel production could meet the world’s energy needs, at a quarter of the cost of coal. NASA also mentions, almost as an aside, that the lattice could be formed of carbon instead of nickel, with the nuclear reaction turning carbon into nitrogen. “You’re not sequestering carbon, you’re totally removing carbon from the system,” says Joseph Zawodny, a NASA scientist involved with the work on LENR.

So why don’t we have LENR reactors yet? Just like fusion, it is proving hard to build a LENR system that produces more energy than the energy required to begin the reaction. In this case, NASA says that the 5-30THz frequency required to oscillate the nickel lattice is hard to efficiently produce. As we’ve reported over the last couple of years, though, strong advances are being made in the generation and control of terahertz radiation. Other labs outside of NASA are working on cold fusion and LENR, too: “Several labs have blown up studying LENR and windows have melted,” says NASA scientist Dennis Bushnell, proving that “when the conditions are ‘right’ prodigious amounts of energy can be produced and released.”

The interior of Lockheed Martin’s fusion reactor shows a series of rings used to create magnetic fields that confine plasma

by Joseph P. Farrell / October 26, 2014

We have a claim, but as yet, no backup data or any real technical details, for the subtitle points out that “Lockheed Martin says it will have a small fusion reactor prototype in five years but offers no data.” Indeed, the second paragraph points out the difficulty, and subtly suggests – at least to my mind – what the target of Lockheed’s unusual announcement, and its timing, may really be: “Nuclear fusion could produce far more energy, far more cleanly, than the fission reactions at the heart of today’s nuclear power plants. But there are huge obstacles and no hard evidence that Lockheed has overcome them. The so-far-insurmountable challenge is to confine hydrogen plasma at conditions under which the hydrogen nuclei fuse together at levels that release a useful amount of energy. In decades of research, nobody has yet produced more energy from fusion reaction experiments than was required to conduct the experiments in the first place.”

Nobody has produced fusion reactions that is, in hot fusion containment method experiments, unless, of course, you want to recall and believe the 1960’s claims of Philo Farnsworth for his “Plasmator” and “Fusor” devices. Recall also the more recent claims – about which we blogged a few days ago – of Sweden’s University of Uppsala and Italy’s University of Bologna study of Italian physicist and inventor, Dr. Andrea Rossi, and his E-Cat cold fusion reactor, a study which minced no words: there are nuclear reactions and processes occurring in Rossi’s device, which appear to be producing excess heat, at thermal energies far below those involved in the hot fusion process. And for Farnsworth fans, recall that his claims were to have produced sustained fusion reactions for small periods of time at hot fusion energies, in devices a little bigger than a common softball. Farnsworth made his announcement in the 1960s, and then his patents were quietly shuffled out of the limelight by their owner, IT&T, and they, and Farnsworth, were seldom heard from again.

U.S. Patent 3,386,883 – fusor — Image from Farnsworths patent, on 4 June 1968, This device has an inner cage to make the field, and four ion guns on the outside.

This, in my opinion, constitutes the possible real reason for the Lockheed announcement, for the University of Bologna and University of Uppsala studies of Dr. Rossi’s device were released a short time before Lockheed upstaged their announcement. It was, in other words, a bit of clever distraction to get people to focus attention solely on the “big money hot fusion” approach, an approach which power elites can easily monitor, and away from the always controversial subject of Lattice Assisted Nuclear Reactions, or “cold fusion.” There is, however, a suggestive statement in the Lockheed announcement, and I hope you caught it (Farnsworth fans will have done so immediately):

“Tom McGuire, project lead of the Lockheed effort, said in an interview that the company has come up with a compact design, called a high beta fusion reactor, based on principles of so-called “magnetic mirror confinement.” This approach tries to contain plasma by reflecting particles from high-density magnetic fields to low-density ones. Lockheed said the test reactor is only two meters long by one meter wide, far smaller than existing research reactors. “In a smaller reactor you can iterate generations quicker, incorporate new knowledge, develop faster, and make riskier design choices. That is a much more powerful development paradigm and much less capital intensive,” McGuire said. If successful, the program could produce a reactor that might fit in a tractor-trailer and produce 100 megawatts of power, he said. “There are no guarantees that we can get there, but that possibility is there. The small team developing the reactor at the company’s skunkworks in Palmdale, California, has done 200 firings with plasma, McGuire said, but has not shown any data on the results. However, he said of the plasma, “it looks like it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.” He added that with research partners Lockheed could develop a competed prototype within five years and a commercial application within a decade. The company is even talking about how fusion reactors could one day power ships and planes.” (Emphasis added)

Smaller reactors? Magnetic mirror confinement? If this sounds similar to the principles employed by Farnsworth, that’s because, in its basic outline, it is, and Farnsworth of course did it (or at least claimed to have done it), in much smaller devices than the big fusion projects. And for those who have followed the origins of such notions about fusion, it also recalls the processes suggested by Dr. Ronald Richter, even earlier, in Argentina. Richter of course, suffered public derision and denunciation, all the while the USAF was secretly interviewing him (suspiciously, after America’s Ivy and Castle series of hydrogen bomb tests), and Farnsworth was shuffled off the stage while a wall of silence descended over him and Richter ever afterward, until Pons and Fleischmann broke the story of their claims. So in other words, viewed a certain way, perhaps Lockheed is really admitting that their ideas merely went deeply black.

Farnsworth–Hirsch fusor during operation in so called “star mode” characterized by “rays” of glowing plasma which appear to emanate from the gaps in the inner grid.

What is interesting to contemplate in all this is the wider context, for consider, we’ve seen now over the past few years the release of a bewildering array of technologies and stories, from 3-D printing, which I have argued is one of the first steps on the technology tree to a kind of “Star Trek replicator”, to the use of that technology already to examine things on one planet(Mars), and 3-D print them on another (Earth). We’ve seen the stated goal of DARPA to make the USA “Warp capable” in 100 years, and more recently, stories about the successful tests of “tractor beams.” Add fusion power and… well, you get the picture: it appears that the power elite, while busily slow-burning the old financial system (to borrow the analytical hypothesis of former HUD Assistant Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts), are also slowly and deliberately releasing stories of new technologies. In this case, however, the release appears to have been timed to draw attention away from the pesky subject of cold fusion, which is a shame, for it might be that when Rossi’s approach, and that of Lockheed (if it would bother to share some hard data), might show common areas, and perhaps fruitful new avenues for experimentation.

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