Saturday, 15 January 2011

Extraordinarily important announcement or not?

Readers may have noticed, in my side bar, that I say I am a ”Cold Fusion Advocate”. This is there because, since the early days of 1989 when the first press conference, by Fleischmann and Pons, was held announcing the topic, I have been following the subject via online (before the Internet!) bulletin boards. I have corresponded with the main archivists and publicists of the field and have seen (and held!) experiments they were doing to confirm various claims. I am pretty sure that the effect is real but it has always suffered from “reproducibility” problems. This means that the experiment can be conducted in exactly the same way and sometimes something happens and sometimes it doesn’t.This is not the way to convince fellow scientists that real science is taking place. Another “problem” was that, in most cases, the energy created was pretty small and hard to measure. To be fair, on occasion, explosions have taken place, metal and concrete has been melted but these events are rare and cannot be easily predicted in advance so most scientists remain unconvinced. The full story of the research is very much more complex than this quick sketch that I have drawn but that might come later. One of my contacts is Jed Rothwell – a major figure in the field – who runs the LENR-CANR. org website where the majority of the scientific papers published on the subject over the last 20 years can be downloaded.

One of the very few countries which carried on with the research was Italy. At 10 am today, Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi  are presenting a device which they claim is generating 10 kilowatts by reacting nickel with hydrogen. Much previous cold fusion research used very expensive materials like platinum and palladium (and deuterium – “heavy” hydrogen) which, if developed, could not have provided the new global source of energy that the effect promises – there simply would not be sufficient quantities of the elements  around. That is why they are part of the rare metals group! Very few researchers claimed to have had success with ordinary nickel and ordinary hydrogen. Tantalisingly, the experiments of these researcher seem to have produced quite a lot of energy – enough to heat a motel room (as Jed Rothwell once witnessed). Nickel/hydrogen systems seemed to be even harder to replicate than palladium/deuterium systems. It remains to be seen if this latest spectacular claim is valid but preliminary feedback from the preview yesterday are positive. Wait and see. I just might have to republish my article from the 80’s in “Infinite Energy” magazine where I put forward an ”Environmentalist’s perspective on Cold Fusion” in which I speculated that this might be the “answer” to global warming, Peak oil, pollution, exhaustion of resources and developing the third world.


Make no mistake. If this announcement is legitimate, the world just changed. And not in a small way…


Here is a link to the scientists blog which has several videos. This is the first one




What follows is a report from one of the first eye witnesses to see the demonstration. Bear with it because it has been translated from Italian.


Photo of the device from last month
I had reported that the Focardi and Rossi demo would be on Jan 15th (based on an online notice) that was the online press conference and that will happen tomorrow. Today there was the italian press conference.
Bologna, 14/1/11 - Focardi-Rossi Ni-H cold fusion test reactor - live report from demo now taking place Friday, Jan. 14, 2011; photos and video pending.
Here is a live update transcript

18.07 - Someone else asked if the nickel is the same increase in temperature. Rossi said that the reactor is fed a powder of nickel and that, compared to much lower temperatures placed, can be found granules of nickel zone (which based on the 1500 ° C).
18.05 - Someone asked if nickel can be used in addition to other metals. . Yes - Rossi responds - but clearly advantageous because nickel is inexpensive.
17.55 - Another application for Ferrari, there were variations in the details of the structure of the nickel? Yes, "replied Rossi - occurring isotopic variations were observed by comparing a sample of virgin nickel with another who had" worked "six months into the machinery. Ferrari states that asked if there were changes from a structural standpoint, the crystalline structure. Focardi himself explains that the electron microscope has identified a number of changes. So probably - Ferrari said - not so much energy could be derived from the same material as the energy potential of the crystal structure.
17.50 - Speaker Prof. Ferrari, Department of Physics, University of Bologna. It is clear - he says - that the device uses "something", something that is transformed, transmuted and eventually runs out. The question is, beyond what this "something", as it can be turned on until the car I keep the machine turning on the machine consumes picograms (thousandths of a billionth of a gram) of nickel and hydrogen to produce kilowatts. Therefore in this type of technology the problem of material consumption is not here with an ounce of nickel we can get 1,000 billion KW.
17.45 - He spoke to Prof Christos Stremmenos to expose its assumptions operation of Rossi-Focardi alas, I can not follow him. But concludes by saying that before it was built the steam engine was then developed the theory that explained the thermodynamic functions
17.40 - Levi Professor of the Physics Department has confirmed - in response to a question - he does not know how the reactor is built, it was limited to measuring what it produces.
17.38 - Celani points out that there was a slight increase (50%) of gamma radiation, but not consistently fluctuating. this is good because it excludes the possibility of a scam (artfully hidden sources of energy into the device). He says it interesting that there was a small flash of gamma rays is that the power is switched off.
17.37 - took the floor to Prof. Celani INFN Frascati.
17.36 - Prof. Levi announced that there was no consumption "measure" of hydrogen, also confirmed that there has been no radiation apart from the environmental fund.
17.34 - Rossi's statement that room there are representatives of a European industrial group that will produce large-scale apparatus, on the basis of the patent held by Focardi and Rossi. The reactor can be connected in series to raise the temperature produced, and in parallel to increase the amount of heat at the same temperature (as if they were electric batteries!).
17.32 - Someone asks how we can call this equipment. Catalyst Energy - Rossi answers - rather than reactor, a term is too general. Rossi maintains that at a theoretical level we can only speculate what happens in the machinery, but there is still much to study. Therefore, the performance (when a factor 15) can certainly go up, we are the Ford T, we arrive at Formula 1!
17.27 - Rossi explained that they were produced from the reactor about 10-12KW, the average energy input was 600-700W (was also measured the dryness of the steam). The experiment was performed by the patent holders and professors from the University of Bologna unrelated to the project
17.25 - Rossi now gives you the word journalists. This will be the most popular of the conference.
17.23 - A few minutes ago was closed hydrogen. The outlet water temperatures (C3) are falling apart (we are already about 65 ° C). Rossi has now announced the start of the press conference, I imagine that there will be an interesting debate. Different physicists have certainly found a lot to do!
17.20 - I'm listening to the comments of others have taken, take for granted the good faith of Focardi and Rossi. But the fact remains that we are faced with a "black box" and we do not know what's inside.
17.15 - The projector continues to display the PC screen with measurements updated in real time (every 2 seconds) to room temperature (C1), inlet water temperature (C2), temperature steam output (C3). The temperature curve (C3) shows that in about 30 minutes (from 16.30 to 17.00) has reached 101 ° C. For example, we have to 17:15:00 23.10 ° C = C1, C2 = 13.40 ° C, C3 = 101.30 ° C.
17.00 - The experimental setting is basically what I am going to describe here. A pump passes the water in the reactor where it is warmed by heat generated by the reaction of cold fusion Ni-H. It is measured the temperature of the incoming and outgoing (now as I said is stable over 101 ° C). The trigger is made by heating the reactor, the absorption apparatus 1269W at the moment is not yet provided us with the data of power output. Rossi explained that the equipment can produce depending on 6 or 7KW or otherwise - he added - up to 10KW. Not to mention of course, but thermal electric power.
16.55 - At this time the temperature of the water (steam) output from the reactor has reached 101.3 ° C and remains constant.
16.45 - Rossi and Prof. Levi are explaining the experiment in groups of six people at a time. I made several photos insert tomorrow.
16.40 - I managed to take a look around the room, the door is now open. The equipment is the photo I posted a couple of days ago on the blog. Pending no explanation, take this opportunity to point out a clarification made by Prof. Levi during his first presentation. Researchers at the University came into play to verify that the equipment will work, that actually produce interesting amounts of energy through cold fusion, and nothing else. And of course that this is not a hoax! Still there is a real physical theory able to explain point by point the phenomenon of cold fusion. And above all, the reactor is covered by an industrial patent: it is not reproducible by anyone on the basis of general knowledge of the principle of cold Fuson.
16.30 - - The RAI is carrying cameramen filming of the reactor according to the room. There is a lot of excitement among those present. I imagine that soon will return to speak out Focardi, Rossi and Levi.
16.25 - The reactor is operating and is producing heat! . Now the data of the experiment are shown in real time by a projector (the outlet water temperature begins to rise).
15.55 - Prof. Levi has finished speaking at the reactor and returned. I regret not being able to put hours of the photos now, I'll do once back at home. There are now around fifty people. Vi spiego la situazione. Let me explain the situation. We are inside a large square room (about 400-500 square meters) set inside an industrial warehouse, located in a corner is a room of 30 square meters where is the equipment. What happens in this room and show time in the room directly on a TV screen than thirty inches.
15.50 - Also - read Levi - were brought by the Department of Physics - INFN Bologna two sodium iodide scintillator to measure the radiation output.
15.45 - Rossi took the floor, anticipates that the reactor will be switched soon. Pass the word to Professor Giuseppe Levi, Department of Physics of Bologna. Explain the types of measures that will be made: 1) estimate the energy produced on the basis of the measure of how much water is vaporized in the second, and 2) to understand the source of the process of energy production seek to ensure that hydrogen is not burned (by measuring the mass at the beginning and end of the experiment).
15.35 - - took the floor Focardi, said colleagues in the Physics Department are taking action in the calibration of measuring instruments. In about 10 minutes the experiment is to begin.
15.30 - Focardi is very close to me, chatting with a colleague of INFN. : If anyone still doubted to what is happening here, here it is the text of the disclaimer that I necessarily had to sign at the entrance:
The undersigned . resident of ... Prov. made aware and conscious of seeing an experiment in energy production with a new kind of reactions between hydrogen and nickel and the possible consequent risks to people, property and animals DECLARE
wanted to attend my own risk to the stated scientific experiment to be held in Bologna, Via Electrician 6 / D, on 14/01/2011 from 15:00 to 20:00.
Explicitly exempts from any direct or indirect individual, company, event organizers and / or speakers of that scientific experiment that would like to attend. in faith
15.20 - I credited (there is a security service to keep out the curious) and I have taken a stand on the tables ready for printing. I am in a shed, the guests continue to arrive into account when about thirty people, I recognized Focardi and Rossi. I see that there is also a troupe RAI, so the news may already be on the TG tonight.
11.00 - I'm leaving now to Perugia, to Bologna. Pollute (and spend) less than those who travel to diesel and gasoline. Due to my multiple natural gas, and the original winning formula that Fiat has squeezed like a lemon and taken to a dead end (it's out of production last September) rather than continue to develop and evolve. With dismay of many who, like me, now can not find any cars on the market capable of replacing it.
09.50 - Rimando, who had not already read them, the post I wrote Wednesday and yesterday to prepare for this dramatic development of cold fusion. Certainly in the next few days, the relative Wikipedia entry will be integrated to what will happen today.
09.30 - I'm getting ready to leave for Bologna, where this afternoon to attend the demonstration reactor Ni-H-Focardi Rossi. A working prototype ready for production on an industrial scale. Technology made in Italy, even though - alas - Rumor that the patent has already been sold abroad. Rossi wants to avoid repetition of the collapse of a winning idea what was refluopetrolio (1). Moreover even Rubbia , Nobel Prize for physics, you have to "migrate" in Spain, after his run of ' ENEA and its Archimedes Project (CSP) here at home were blatantly and carelessly boycotted.


st-ouennais said...

Should this turn out to be a reproducible effect then it is indeed truly fortunately timed. It won't solve all our impending global crises, particularly food security. However it really could turn round the peak oil and CO2 emissions.

Unfortunately my instinct is this is still an irreproducible phantom effect. Worse, if people believe this is genuine when it turns out not to be we could waste time tackling those real problems.

Nick Palmer said...

That there is a physics of "cold fusion" is almost indisputable - that is that the physics of nuclear reactions that take place in solids are very different to those that take place in plasmas. There have been thousands of papers published and there are many different types of CF. Reproducibility of large effects has been difficult, whereas that of small effects is very good.

This demonstration appears to be a reasonably solid one of a large effect that is reproducible on demand - it also uses nickel/hydrogen which are considerably cheaper than palladium/deuterium which have been the most reproducible systems up until now...

I'm not holding my breath but this, if it pans out, is a game changer.