I was sad to hear of the death of Dr Martin Fleischmann yesterday. As I have recorded in previous parts of this series, it was he and Stanley Pons who offered what was dubbed “Cold Fusion” to the world in 1989, only to have it scornfully rejected by the vast majority of scientists at the time. As we now know, after F&P’s successors’ long and hard work over the last 23 years, their original approach – using electrolysis of heavy water on the surface of a palladium (Pd) electrode has been substantially proven by over 1700 peer reviewed articles and thousands of experimental reports – all available from the on-line LENR-CANR library. A recent LENR overview was provided by Tyler van Houwelingen’s presentation and, to get an insight into just how thorough the work has been, have a look at the video by the US Navy’s research team at SPAWAR. Thus, a huge and highly respected agency of the US Government has openly admitted that they have, indeed, been researching LENR all this time!
So for me and thousands of others who have been following LENR (the now preferred term for Cold Fusion), Fleischmann was eventually vindicated and, hopefully, he died realising that. However, very much in the manner of a retreating army falling back to the rear trenches, remaining skeptics retort that the F&P version of LENR, based as it is on electrolysis, does not produce enough excess energy to support commercial devices. They are now concentrating their sniper fire on the newer and still controversial methods based on pressurised hydrogen and nickel powder that reportedly produce far greater amounts of excess energy. In my last article, I pictured Andrea Rossi’s e-Cat, Defkalion’s Hyperion and the Brillouin Boiler as being the most likely winners of the “Tour de Fusion” but everything should be a lot clearer after two conferences. The first, in less than a week, is the17th Conference on Cold Fusion in Dajelong, South Korea. Andrea Rossi, will not be attending that but will be staging his own in Zurich.
Among Rossi’s latest claims are that his e-cat has now achieved much higher temperatures – up to 1000C(!) If even half this temperature can be sustained to produce continuous superheated steam, then it would be economical to produce electricity by means of a steam turbine and Rossi could already claim a kind of “gold medal”. However, I’d say Rossi should, for now, settle for the bronze medal by simply marketing a “Heat Multiplier” – one that effectively outputs more heat than it inputs, whether that input comes from an electrical source or any other. Heat pumps aside, we have yet to see anything like this at our friendly neighbourhood store. Such a device would quickly silence most of the skeptics, especially those who might quietly buy one to warm up the cold offices that their rather grumpy natures would suggest they inhabit!
The news from Defkalion has also been a little mixed in that they are apparently now moving to Canada, presumably because the ongoing unstable economic situation in Greece would make start-up business prospects too uncertain. We’ll await their re-location with interest.
Finally, Brillouin have also been rather quiet recently but they also will be making a presentation in Korea. I’ll be particularly interested to hear what Michael McKubre, who has recently joined their board of advisors, has to say. Remember that McKubre was one of Fleischmann’s best students and was among those who led the post-1989 work to restore credibility to Cold Fusion. A timely rallying cry from him would go a long way towards answering those who would prefer Fleishmann’s work to die with him.
P W Power