E-Cat

Rossi’s engineer: ‘I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe’

Fulvio Fabiani

A few days ago I had a conversation with Rossi’s closest technician and engineer since 2012, Fulvio Fabiani, which I will report on here. Let me first make clear that the quite lengthy report has absolutely no value if you’re convinced that the E-Cat technology doesn’t work. At the most it will be anecdotic. People considering the E-Cat technology to be valid will, on the other hand, find some of Fabiani’s statements to be interesting.

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Fabiani, 48, was born and grew up in Rome, Italy. He had a great passion for information technology as a child and made his first video game at the age of 12. He studied electronics, electro technology and computer science, and for some years he made a military career as an officer in the Italian Military Force.

He also worked as a consultant for court cases regarding information technology, and as a system administrator at the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics before moving to the US, working for the airport security technology provider InVision Technologies. Later, he specialized in certification of circuit boards in gaming & gambling machines, which led him to working with communication technology between online gaming systems and bank systems, traveling across a series of countries in the ex Soviet Union for seven years.

In 2012, a common friend introduced him to Rossi who was then looking for a person who could develop and improve the power supply system for the first version of the E-Cat, and Fabiani was invited to have a look at Rossi’s device.

“I have to admit, and I always said this, that when I came there I didn’t believe it was working,” Fabiani told me.

“As a skeptic I started there, and in the beginning Rossi wouldn’t let me see any data. Gradually he gained confidence since I solved a few problems. And after some time I found myself with the truth in my hands, having made some calculations, and I was amazed. I made the same calculations twenty times and I tried to find the error, but there was no error.

“Now after seeing everything that Rossi is doing, and the levels at which we have arrived, there really is no error, but already at that time he saw things that ordinary people were not yet able to see.

“Either you have seen this from the start, or you have to remain puzzled. If you’re skeptical, then until you have a 100 percent proof, until the hammer hits your finger, you won’t believe that your adversary has a hammer.

“Many people play on this, and especially on the fact that Rossi has a rather closed character, as many geniuses. He is a genius who has an impressive way of reasoning. I sometimes find it difficult to follow him.   You should see him when he arrives disheveled, shirt inside out, running around in the laboratory. He reminds you of the scientist from ‘Back to the Future’.

“He comes with a paper fluttering, saying ‘Oh, I had this idea, we have to try this’, throwing away 15 days of your setup of a reactor because he wants to try something different, and you have not even finished the idea that he had previously. Rossi is an avalanche of great ideas.

“He has an ability, not of imagination but of reasoning about physics that is impressive. I see him analyzing immense formulas of physical behavior of matter that leave me speechless, and sometimes he goes: ‘Look, they made a sign error here, how is that possible?’ Because he’s not reading the book. He’s analyzing it, hair by hair. He studies 24h because he analyses everything that others say, because they don’t convince him. He’s like that, also regarding what I say to him, even though he doesn’t know much about electrical engineering and electronics. But he looks it up. He questions the world itself.

“I know him well by now. We have conflicts and arguments but also friendship and mutual trust, all this because as an engineer in charge I have to run things well. There are times when he doesn’t even turn them on, because he has already gone further, and so I’m skipping some operational steps. But he has already simulated their behavior in his head, and therefore he doesn’t care. That is genius.”

Talking about the validity of the E-Cat technology, Fabiani continues:

“With the failures, I found myself having to believe in it. Why? Because when something fails, you see the behavior of the object. The next time you adjust it, then you see that it behaves very differently. And then you realize that it is something unique. We have it all filmed, which still cannot be disclosed. We have photographs of creatures that emit pure light that have completely melted the reactor down, all in a very quiet way. You just turn off the stimuli system and the reaction is switched off. It’s impressive.

“I can assure you that the shutdown of the reaction is immediate. The response at ignition with the certified technology is medium fast since we use this technology to produce steam. With steam, inertia when starting up is necessary because of the mass of water that becomes steam. But with ideas we have plans for everything, even instantaneous reactions. Now I’m working on many of Rossi’s new ideas including the E-CatX*, while also being responsible for power supply & control and maintenance on the long term test [of the 1 MW plant**].

“Until now the test is in line with the result that we expected. We encountered the biggest problems during the design and installation phase of the test plant. The most difficult thing was the choice of materials needed to withstand this new kind of energy release and this type of operation for such a long time. And we have found many little flaws—teething problems. For example, also the choice of bolts has led to a revision because some bolts were not sufficiently treated with anti-corrosive, and so they rusted. But if you don’t test you cannot say that you have a product to sell.”

As for Rossi’s ability to take advice, Fabiani says:

“Rossi doesn’t like standard reasoning. He is not a linear researcher. I find myself arguing with Andrea because his views are not compatible with other points of view in a way so you can exchange information. I am lucky that after three years I now have a certain confidence, and this confidence allows me to do things in my own way regarding the power supply system, because what he thinks is not feasible for standard and linear technicians. I’m acting almost as an interpreter from his ideas to the standard world.

“Over the years we realized that the reaction needs more stimuli than only heating. Everyone thinks that thermal stimulus is enough but that’s just the beginning. It’s not enough for maximum efficiency. It’s the base, the synthesis of the reaction. But the reaction has almost behaviors as of living matter, and it has responses as a function of the stimuli. They can be of many types other than thermal. And these are the ones that trigger, let’s call it the most fun part of it, allowing excellent gains in terms of response to the stimuli.”

Fabiani about his role:

“Rossi is the head and runs the R&D. I’m his right arm, his left arm and his legs too. We have staff, technicians who help us. Only R&D has about 12 people with me included. I’m the link between Rossi and the others for everything that regards R&D. I don’t have knowledge on the reaction because the formula is not my concern. When it is time, Rossi makes his mixtures according to his formulas, puts the charge in the cores and gives me the complete cores. A reactor is composed of a core, an excitation system, and a system for heat exchange. I look after the excitation system and the system for heat exchange, and also the physical realization of the core. But the core must be filled with the mixture of powders that Rossi from time to time recalibrates in function of the effect that he wants to achieve.

“To be more precise I am bound by an agreement with Industrial Heat, and I’m available for Rossi to be his right arm. I cannot give any more details due to an NDA”.

Talking about future development, Fabiani says:

“I have really seen… Did you see Blade Runner? The quote at the end, ‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe’. It’s true. I assure you that I have seen things that only I, Rossi and a few other people saw. We really saw things… I really saw the new frontier of energy. There is nothing in comparison. You cannot imagine. I speak of the E-CatX* and many others of Rossi’s experiments. We have tried lots of things, and we have made some twenty and more different reactors. And I can assure you that with some of them we have truly seen a new world. Energy density, reaction capacity, in the sense of things never seen. The new frontier of energy.

“The field that this reaction opens up is so vast that it’s almost impossible to imagine all the capabilities and possibilities. I have always been a lover of science fiction, and yet I was never able to believe that the famous star ships you see in the movies would become possible, because it seemed too far away. But I have to say that when I saw what Rossi was able to open, I’m seeing that world getting closer. Maybe before I die I will see those starships. Yes, it’s a child’s dream.”

Fabiani about the 1 MW trial plant**:

“My ‘baby’ as I call it, because I and my colleagues put it all together, I see my baby walking every day, and now I can even feel her breath, as I call it. You feel it when she produces steam and bubbles. We have learned to identify some moments of the reaction as a function of the type of boiling inside. Just try to imagine. Now we really know what she’s doing by the ear. And everyday I collect about 1.5 million records. And it is impressive.”

Mats: What will you do next year, after the end of the one-year trial?

“Haha, I don’t know. The game is getting too big to be handled only by Rossi and me in person. It’s something that will change the face of the Earth, so … I don’t know. Since I’m not involved in anything related to the business development or the technology development at the industrial level, and since I don’t have any deeper knowledge on the direction in which things are going, I prefer not to say too much about it.

“About 10 or 15 top level managers are involved—surely there is Rossi and Darden, but I don’t know them all well. Is not of my concern. I think it’s right to keep things compartmentalized to avoid information leaks.

“In discussions on Internet forums everyone says they are slow, but I only see people really devoting all their resources and all their time to make this happen. So many people talk, but they don’t even know what it means to industrialize an object like that.”

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* E-Cat X is an experimental high-temperature reactor based on Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat technology, which supposedly would produce both heat and light.

** Since mid-February 2015, Rossi and his US industrial partner Industrial Heat are running a one-year commercial trial on a customer’s site with a heat plant producing 1 MW. The plant is made up of four 250kW modules, each based on E-Cat technology. Unless something unexpected happens, the trial, which is controlled by a major independent third party certification institute, should be concluded by February or March 2016, and the results should then be presented.

Note: Fulvio Fabiani has signed NDAs regarding E-Cat technology with several parties, which obviously limited what he could say in this interview.

Swedish scientists claim LENR explanation break-through

Rickard Lundin, photo: Torbjörn Lövgren, IRF.

Rickard Lundin, photo: Torbjörn Lövgren, IRF.

UPDATE January 18, 2017: The patent application referenced in this post is now public here (EP3086323).

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Essentially no new physics but a little-known physical effect describing matter’s interaction with electromagnetic fields — ponderomotive Miller forces — would explain energy release and isotopic changes in LENR. This is what Rickard Lundin and Hans Lidgren, two top level Swedish scientists, claim, describing their theory in a paper called Nuclear Spallation and Neutron Capture Induced by Ponderomotive Wave Forcing (full length paper here) that was presented on Friday, October 16, at the 11th International Workshop on Anomalies in 
Hydrogen Loaded Metals, hosted by Airbus in Toulouse, France.

The basic idea is that ponderomotive forces at resonance frequencies shake out neutrons from elements such as deuterium and lithium, and that these neutrons are then captured by e.g. nickel, resulting in energy release by well-known physical laws.

Hans Lidgren

Hans Lidgren

Lundin and Lidgren have made a brief successful experiment and they have verified the model through calculations against results from well-known LENR experiments such as the Lugano report with Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat. Earlier 2015 they also filed a patent application describing the process.

“We did an experiment on our own but we stopped it. We realised that we were sitting on a neutron source and that’s not something you should do in your basement,” Rickard Lundin, Professor of Space Physics at Swedish Institute of Space Physics and member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA)*, told me.

The scientists are now preparing for a well-planned experiment with all necessary safety measures, ideally with a transparent reactor body since the effect according to the scientists releases a lot of light.

Ponderomotive forces derive from the electrical part of oscillating electromagnetic fields, and act on all particles, bodies or plasmas. They are all characterized by a transfer of electromagnetic energy and momentum to charged or non-charged particles. One of them, the gradient force, works independently of the sign of charges.

Initially the phenomenon was thought to describe the “heaviness” of light — the ability of light to have a “pushing” force on matter. What Lundin and Lidgren have investigated and published in 2010 is that the phenomenon has a resonance frequency, specific for each particle or cluster of particles, and that the force increases close to the resonance frequency, being repulsive on the low-frequency side but attractive on the other.

“The forces are not intuitively predictable, and a bit strange, for example making hot bodies attract matter,” Lundin says.

Lidgren, M Sc in Physics Engineering, and co-founder of the oil exploration company Rex International Holding, started to investigate the phenomenon when he discovered strange characteristics of satellite orbits while analysing satellite altimeter surveys to detect potential hydrocarbon reservoirs.

The light from the sun was expected to have a pushing force on satellites, but Lidgren discovered the contrary. After a pendulum experiment in vacuum, showing the same effect, Lidgren and Lundin published their paper “On the Attraction of Matter by the Ponderomotive Miller Force“.

Lundin was a colleague in the Academy of Sciences (KVA)* with late Prof. Sven Kullander, previous head of the KVA Energy Committee. Prof. Kullander became closely involved in investigations performed by Swedish researchers’ on Andrea Rossi’s devices. Lundin’s interest started with the publication of the Lugano report.

“When I saw the Lugano report and the isotopic shifts it all became so obvious,” Lundin told me.

He explained that extracting neutrons from the nuclei of deuterium and/or lithium requires energy, and that the trick is to do this in the most efficient way.

“Our method is more precise, using the lowest possible amount of energy [through resonance] to shake loose the neutrons. Others like Rossi are creating turbulence through square waves [in the electrical current feeding the heat resistors controlling the reaction — square waves containing a large number of harmonics and thus many different frequencies], and they get a turbulent wave spectrum risking that some frequencies become a little too high,” Lundin explained to me.

After getting this insight, Lundin still kept a low profile since the topic is so infected and also because of a conflictual situation in the Academy of Sciences ever since Kullander openly declared his interest in LENR and Rossi’s technology.

“I think the critic is based on fear since this research has been so stigmatised before. If there is something scientists fear it is to become like pariahs. It takes a lot of courage to go against established views but I think I belong to those who have learned to take criticism,” Lundin told me.

Lundin and Lidgren submitted their paper to the open preprint website Arxiv.org and to the peer-reviewed journal Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, PPCF, but both declined to even let reviewers have a look at it, the latter arguing “that the content of the article is not within the scope of the journal”. Arxiv.org even blocked Lundin from submitting further papers during July and August.

“I have quite a good track record with many publications and this is the first time something like this happens to me. It’s rude not to offer ordinary review. To me it’s important to get comments and criticism from research colleagues who can say ‘that cannot be correct’ in order to improve the paper,” Lundin said.

As for the excuse from PPCF, Lundin commented:

“The word plasma is used at least 50 times in the text, and is central to the spallation process as we describe it. However it is not ‘controlled fusion’ in the classical sense — fusion of two elements/isotopes transmuted into a new element (e.g. deuterium + tritium => helium + one neutron). But surely it can still be described as a fusion. Neutron capture means that a free neutron is merged with a nucleus/element which is thereby transmuted to a heavier isotope of the same element (for example 58Ni + 2n -> 60Ni + energy). The problem is probably the terror that has developed over the years for touching the term cold fusion (and LENR).”

It was Elisabeth Rachlew, Emeritus Professor and hot fusion and plasma researcher at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, and also a member of KVA* and the successor of Prof. Kullander as head of the KVA Energy Committee, who advised Lundin and Lidgren to submit the paper to PPCF. Rachlew also did a review of the paper.

“I thought the paper was very interesting, and I was amazed when it wasn’t even sent to reviewers. The answer from PPCF should have been sent immediately, but instead it took months. I guess they were anguished,” Rachlew told me.

The advantage with the theory by Lundin and Lidgren, apart from that it fits with experimental data and observations, is that you don’t need to overcome the Coulomb Barrier — the repulsive force between the positive charged nuclei in the traditional concept of fusion, which is one reason why many scientists think that cold fusion is impossible.

“I also thought so — you can’t overcome the Coulomb Barrier [at low temperatures]. So fusing nuclei with protons won’t work. You may perhaps initiate a very weak process but not reach a level with significant energy release,” Lundin told me.

Neutrons, which have no charge, can easily be captured by an atomic nucleus without this problem. A few other  LENR theories are also based on neutrons but what this model adds is a solid explanation of where the neutrons come from, which is often lacking in other models.

“Our model describes quite a natural process. It’s probably one of the main sources for maintaining a high temperature inside Earth, since there’s high pressure, high temperature and good availability of neutron producing elements [through this process] with basically unlimited resources of deuterium,” Lundin said.

In the conclusions of the report, the authors write:

“This report demonstrates, theoretically and experimentally, that nuclear energy production may be accommodated in rather small units, operating at modest temperatures (≈900-2000°C), and produce sustainable power output in the range 1 – 10 kW – at minute fuel consumption (few grams per year). (…) The magnitude of the power output, delivered from a miniscule amount of fuel, demonstrates that it is a nuclear process with great potentials. Properly utilized the process has potentials of becoming an unlimited and sustainable energy source, producing essentially no long-lived radioactive waste.”

And in the acknowledgements:

” (…) We are particularly thankful to Prof. Sven Kullander, who promoted a nuclear process for the ‘Rossi experiment’ up to the bitter end (deceased 2014). The diligent work by Prof. Kullander in the Energy Committee at the Royal Academy of Sciences, and his follow-ups of the Rossi-experiment, was critical for this work.” 

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P.S. The person who first told me about this research was another member of the Academy of Sciences*, member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science (IVA) and former VP of R&D at the multinational Swedish-Swiss power, robotics and automation corporation ABB, Prof. Harry Frank — just to give you an idea of at what level the interest for LENR has reached in Sweden, while the science editors of the national Swedish Radio, SR, and a few outspoken scientists insist that it’s all fraud, or at least that nothing has ever happened in the field, and that nothing probably ever will. SR was even rewarded for this.

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* Committees of the Academy of Sciences, KVA, act as selection boards for the Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry.

The Italian edition — Un’invenzione impossible — is finally out!

AII_cover_it_200pxI’m happy to announce that the Italian edition of An Impossible Invention — Un’invenzione impossible — is finally out. I’m particularly satisfied since the story is closely related to Italy to which I have personal connections, my wife being Italian.

A great thanks to Alex Passi who has made the translation, and who preferred not to be compensated but instead asked me to donate part of the sales revenue to scientific research, which I will do. What research that will receive the donation is still to be defined.

It will be interesting to see how the Italian edition will be received in Italy. From my blog statistics I can see that most people following this story live in the USA, Sweden and Italy, in that order.

However, although Italy is one of the countries where important cold fusion (LENR) research have been made, there are also fierce critics of everything that regards cold fusion, and of Rossi and the E-Cat in particular.

The Italian edition is based on the second English edition, published in November 2014. When creating the print original and e-book files for the Italian edition I have also made minor corrections to the English and Swedish editions, and they are now live. No content has been added though.

I personally believe that we’ll have to wait at least until the presentation of the results of the ongoing trial of the 1 MW plant by Rossi and Industrial Heat before having anything substantial to add to this story.

This is also a good occasion to thank the Italian graphic designer Marco Renieri for the excellent cover art of the book in all three versions.

Un’invenzione impossibile is available as paperback at Create Space and Amazon, as e-book in Kindle format at Amazon, and as e-book in the standardised Epub format (suitable for most ebook readers including iPad and iPhone) at my own web-shop An Impossible Invention — Shop.

A tutti i lettori italiani — buona lettura!

Rossi has been granted US patent on the E-Cat — fuel mix specified

(Last updated on August 25, 9.17 pm CET). Today Andrea Rossi was granted a patent on his LENR based heating device the E-Cat. The patent, which has the filing date March 14, 2012, can be downloaded here: US9115913B1

As far as I understand, the patent describes the so-called low temperature E-Cat that Rossi showed in semi-public demonstrations at several occasions in 2011, and which is also used in an ongoing 350-day trial of a 1 MW plant, but since it describes core parts of the technology it is probably also valid at a certain extent also for more recent E-Cat models with higher operating temperature.

Note that LENR is not mentioned explicitly in the patent, but also note that the contents of the fuel mix are specified — lithium and lithium aluminium hydride as fuel and a group 10 element, such as nickel in powdered form as the catalyst. This is important since fuel and catalyst specifications are lacking from an earlier patent application by Rossi on the E-Cat.

The earlier application has widely been considered far to weak to have chances to be granted. It was originally filed in Italy in April 2008, and an Italian patent was granted in 2011 but the approval was based on old rules, basically not involving any validation of the claims.

The lack of fuel and catalyst specification was highlighted in October 2014 when the Swedish-Italian report on a 32-day test of the E-Cat in Lugano, Switzerland, was published, containing a chemical analysis of the fuel before and after the experiment. Being public from that point the fuel mix would not longer be patentable.

Now it appears that the experimenters were allowed to do the analysis because the patent application containing this information was already filed.

It also appears that the earlier application has been used on purpose by Rossi as a cover-up while working on the second application.

Since the Lugano report was published, several attempts at replication of the effect have been made, most notably by the Russian scientist Parkhomov, who seems to have obtained a few positive results.

We are now reminded that Rossi has been using this fuel and catalyst mix since at least 2012, giving us an idea about his lead. It’s also clear that he understood already at that time that nickel was the catalyst and not the fuel, which was an earlier hypothesis by Rossi and his scientific advisor, late Prof. Sergio Focardi.

On the other hand, the patent offers new detailed information that should be useful for those trying to replicate the effect.

It’s interesting to note that the only reaction specifically described in the patent is the chemical reaction releasing small amounts of hydrogen, avoiding the need for a hydrogen canister which was used in the early demonstrations of the E-Cat in 2011.

This chemical reaction cannot be the main heat source. The main heat source in the E-Cat is a strongly exothermal reaction, only mentioned as such in the patent, and the very core of the E-Cat technology – a reaction that is supposedly LENR based, thus nuclear, and that should consume very small amounts of hydrogen, but for which a theory and a detailed description is still lacking.

This is the controversial part of the E-Cat, and although the fuel and the catalyst are described in the patent, the reaction in itself is not.

However, it says in the patent that a wafer with two fuel layers and a layer with an electrical resistor, typically of the size 12x12x1/3 inches, will sustain about 180 days, providing kilowatts of heat. No chemical fuel of that size can provide anything close to that amount of energy.

The document was sent to me by Rossi who told me he knew about the patent being granted already  a month ago, but that it was officially published today. He had no further comments except that he thought it would accelerate commercialization of the E-Cat technology.

As a final comment I note that the patent describes several aspects of the low temperature E-Cat that I have observed myself or have been told about by Rossi or by witnesses.

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The website Ecat.com, that is run by Rossi’s commercial partner Hydrofusion, based in Sweden, has published a Q&A with Rossi with regard to the patent. One of the questions makes clear that Rossi has filed several other patent applications, but that he ranks this one as No. 1.

What to learn from an historical cold fusion conference — ICCF19

Tom Darden Speaking at ICCF19 — Courtesy MFMP.

Tom Darden Speaking at ICCF19 — Courtesy MFMP.

Last week, the international conference cold fusion, ICCF-19, was held, and I would argue it was historical, for several reasons.

The first is the ongoing trial by Rossi’s and his US partner Industrial Heat of a commercially implemented 1 MW thermal power plant based on the E-Cat. From credible sources I get confirmation of what Rossi states — that the plant is running very well — which means that we should expect important results presented at the end of the 400 day trial, backed up by a customer who certifies the useful power output and the measured electrical input from the grid. Such results will be difficult to challenge.

UPDATE: Since a COP (Coefficient of Performance — output energy/input energy) ranging from 20 to 80 has been reported, I can confirm that I have got the same information, although I think it’s wise not to pay too much attention to numbers in this case).

(We also got good insights in the values and views behind Industrial Heat/Cherokee through the speech by CEO Tom Darden at ICCF, which is a must read for anyone wanting to understand his and the company’s background. Even more material is found in this extensive interview with Darden in Infinite Magazine).

Since these results will be presented before the next ICCF, this year’s conference may have been the last before a major breakthrough for cold fusion.

I attended the last days of ICCF-19 and I saw that it was historical also in another way, with a high number of attendees, close to 500, among them many young researchers which is promising since the field has been lacking new talent for many years.

I was struck by the positive attitude and the good energy (!) that characterized the conference. The research that was presented ranged from energy production to topics such as aerodynamic applications, biological transmutation and remedy of nuclear waste through LENR. This should remind us of several things.

First, that LENR covers a whole range of possible applications and also possible openings to new aspects of our knowledge on matter, energy and physics in general, backed by solid experimental work, although this is not yet recognized.

Second, that there’s a vast experience of LENR experimental behavior and suggested theories in this community.

Let us not forget this huge experience. I know that several LENR researchers have found themselves in difficult situations because of the focus on Rossi and the E-Cat. Popular views on the E-Cat have stolen the attention and been an indirect reason for closing down some research programs.

This is sad. Because when results from Rossi’s MW trial will be presented, if not before, we will have a breakthrough for the view on LENR as an existing phenomenon. But we will still lack a solid, accepted theory for explaining it, which is necessary to carry on efficient engineering, also for Industrial Heat, even though Rossi has come a long way through intuition and some possible theoretical concepts.

And to build that theory, all existing experience will be a gold mine. We will also need more experimental data from stable processes, hopefully from the E-Cat and from a series of new replications that are now going on.

Among them are the efforts by MFMP and by the Russian scientist Alexander Parkhomov (it became obvious at ICCF-19 that Russia is very active in LENR research, and Parkhomov’s successful replications of the Lugano experiment are now backed by data on isotopic elemental shifts). Another effort will be made by the experimenters who performed the long term test of the E-Cat in Lugano last year. They have now confirmed that they have built an own reactor and will start attempts in May at replicating the process running in the E-Cat.

A personal take-away from ICCF was also that I got the opportunity to meet several people in this community who I mention in my book, but who I had only been in contact with via phone and email, or not even that.

This was the case with Carl Page (brother to Google founder Larry Page) who has been involved in the field since a long time, and who told me that he is an angel investor in Brillouin Energy, a LENR company which I also learnt more about, talking to its founder and CTO, Robert Godes.

Carl Page is en early investor in cold fusion, but this year it was clear that more investor activities are starting, which is also a good thing if they are as responsible as Page and as IH/Cherokee seem to be. Another approach on investment, ecosystem and support for companies wanting to get ready for LENR applications is LENR Cities.

On ICCF-19, the new Industrial Association for LENR, Lenria.org, was also presented (web site not yet active).

What we should expect next are more results from replication attempts. I’ll keep you posted.

It seems big banks know about cold fusion

The oil price keeps falling. And most analysts seem convinced that they know the reason — it’s about supply, or demand, or Putin, or Saudi Arabia, or Syria or…

But what if it were something completely different, known only by top people at the world’s biggest banks. And you. That a new, clean and basically infinite energy source might replace oil (and gas, coal and nuclear).

Torkel Nyberg, who runs the blog Sifferkoll.se, has studied this hypothesis for several years. And half a year ago he got what looks like a smoking gun.

visitsSifferkoll.se was where the Lugano report on the 32-day test of the E-Cat was first published on October 8, 2014, and the interest turned out to be huge. As of today, the report has been downloaded about 150,000 times. Most downloads are made from the US, followed by Russia, Ukraine, China and Japan (see the diagram).

So who are all those people? Enthusiasts following the LENR topic? Researchers? Or maybe also some other kind of people?

park

Ratio between stock index Russel 2000 and oil price since 2012. Note October 8, 2014, when the Lugano report was released.

What Nyberg also noted was that at the exact time of the release of the report, the ratio between stock value (Russel 2000 index) and oil price (USO) took off like a rocket (see the graph). As of December 30, 2014, the increase was +84 percent.

And as you can see in the graph below, this was the first time in 22 years that stocks and oil were decoupled in that manner.

Now, Nyberg has also noted something else, which has not been publicized much. Since 2010/2011, when Rossi’s E-Cat was noticed publicly for the first time, the positions in oil futures and options at the commodity futures exchange NYMEX and the Intercontinental Exchange ICE have changed radically.

spyuso_22y

Ratio between S&P500 and oil price for the last 22 years.

There are basically four groups on these exchanges, Nyberg told me — oil producers, swap dealers (big banks), managed money (pension and saving funds), and others.

Earlier, oil producers had hedged their sales through contracts with a “short” position (contracts that let you earn money of the price falls). But since 2011, big banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have essentially overtaken this role. From initially having about 200,000 contracts with a “long” position (letting you earn money if the price increases), they have drastically changed strategy, moving to as much as 500,000 contracts with a short position, together with oil producers, securing the possibility to sale oil at $90-$95.

They have sold some of this but do still have almost 400,000 such contracts. With each contract applying to 1,000 barrels, and at an oil price at $45 per barrel, that corresponds to unrealized earnings of about $20 billion. And yet they seem to keep waiting. Which means that they expect the price to fall further.

The information is public at cftc.gov and yet few have commented on it. Nyberg wrote a piece on his findings on Oilprice.com two years ago, without much people picking up this data, although the post has had 38,000 hits by now. And since then the change has only been reinforced, Nyberg says.

The hypothesis is that big banks know about the E-Cat and LENR since 2010 (possibly because Rossi might have had early contacts with U.S. military), and that they act on this information but want to keep it secret as long as possible. The longer they can maintain the information advantage, the bigger gain they can make the day LENR reaches public awareness and oil price plunges to almost zero.

And the losers? Owners of large oil fields — mostly nations and oligarchs. And “Managed money” — i.e. savings and pension funds — that have long positions in oil. In other words, you and me.

As Nyberg points out, shale oil is the common explanation for why the banks don’t believe in an increased oil price. But as he also notes, it’s strange that analysts at the big funds don’t come to the same conclusion.

“We’re talking about oil analysts with basically the same job on Wall Street, just with different employers … Yet they make completely different analyses of such a well documented and publicized phenomenon as shale oil. Something must be wrong,” Nyberg says.

And indeed, pulling out the details on the banks’ positioning, together with the timing of the Lugano report, undoubtedly makes an intriguing case.

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BTW — I’m glad to see that Nyberg found this little mostly unnoticed update in the second edition of An Impossible Invention.

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This post was updated with the SP500/oil price graph, and a quote by Nyberg on February 2. 

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UPDATE 2: Back in 2012, BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset management company, wrote in a report called ‘US Shale Boom: A Case of (Temporary) Indigestion’ (p 11): “We are closely following start-ups experimenting with new technologies such as low-energy nuclear reaction and fusion. If successful, these efforts could completely change the current status quo and hurt traditional energy producers. It is worth watching this space. People tend to overestimate what can be done in a year, but underestimate what can happen in a decade.”

Torkel Nyberg said that the Lugano report was downloaded by Blackrock minutes after it was released in October 2014.

UPDATE 3: Ooops — I forgot to mention the interest in LENR showed by Bill Gates (who received the first copy of my book in Stockholm on March 31, 2014). In November he went to visit ENEA, a renowned LENR lab in Italy, ‘on a personal trip to learn more about the innovative work the agency is doing’, and in the Annual Letter 2015 he was hinting about an energy source such as LENR.

Maybe it was just a coincidence that his close and longtime friend Warren Buffett sold off a $3.7 billion investment in Exxon Mobile during Q4, 2014?

Replication attempts are heating up cold fusion

The small reactor used by Alexander Parkhomov, glowing from heat.

The small reactor used by Alexander Parkhomov, glowing from heat.

In just a few weeks, the whole landscape of cold fusion and LENR has changed significantly and, as many have noted, 2015 might bring a breakthrough for LENR in general, with increased public awareness, scientific acceptance and maybe even commercial applications. This is great news.

For those who haven’t followed the latest events, let me summarize.

Most important is the apparent replication of the E-Cat phenomenon by the Russian scientist Alexander Parkhomov. On December 25, 2014, Parkhomov, a respected and experienced physicist, published a short report on an experiment where he had used a reactor similar to the one used by the Swedish-Italian group in the Lugano experiment with Rossi’s E-Cat, and with similar materials in the fuel.

This kind of replication, based on the information in the Lugano report, was what I predicted in the second edition of my book.

Parkhomov reported significant excess heat from a very small amount of fuel, just like in like other LENR experiments, and the amount of released energy was in the range of kilowatts just like with Rossi’s devices, which sets them apart from most other LENR experiments. Although the report was more of research notes than a scientific paper, the method was so simple and straight forward that it was quite convincing. Obviously it was also important that Parkhomov had performed his experiment without any contact with Rossi or the experimenters at Lugano.

A review of Parkomov’s report is made by long time LENR researcher Michael McKubre in the magazine Infinite Energy. Meanwhile Parkhomov has held two seminars in Russia on his findings, and he has released a second, updated report.

Parkhomov’s report has inspired other groups to attempt a similar replication of the E-Cat effect. Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project, MFMP, which I report on in my book, had already planned a similar experiment, and the group is now ready to start this work, with support from Parkhomov.

Renowned LENR researcher Brian Ahern has also plans for a similar experiment.

I also know that the Swedish-Italian group that performed the Lugano experiment is working on continued investigations of the effect, although I cannot report any details of their work.

Apart from these, there are most probably many others who are trying the same thing without giving notice. It must be stressed though that such replication attempts should only be initiated by trained personnel in proper labs with rigorous safety equipment. The nano materials used are hazardous and unexpected effects, included radiation, cannot be excluded.

One reason for believing that many attempts are being made is that the Lugano report which was published by the blog Sifferkoll.se just a few hours before I published it here, has been downloaded from Sifferkoll about 150,000 times by now. Torkel Nyberg who runs the blog recently told me this.

Apparently the interest is great all over the world (let me expand on Nyberg’s views on a possible connection between the Lugano report and the falling oil price in a separate blog post). The increased interest has also been reflected in more media reports than before. One of them is a recent piece in Wired UK, noting that “if Parkhomov’s work can be copied, the Chinese may not need a licence.”

Apart from attempts at replicating Parkhomov or building on the information in the Lugano report, I would also expect more and more researchers to do other experiments within the same domain.

Some useful knowledge of this kind might come out of the collaboration between MFMP and the Italian researcher Francesco Piantelli, who used to work together with late Prof. Sergio Focardi before Focardi started to help Rossi (read about Piantelli and Focardi in my book).

MFMP went to see Piantelli in his lab in Tuscany, Italy, in January 2015. I joined them for a few days to take part in the discussions, and found out that MFMP had a good contact with Piantelli, learning a lot from his long experience of LENR systems with nickel and hydrogen, which are different from the kind of system Rossi, even though the main elements are the same.

I have no direct knowledge about Piantelli’s experiments or results. As you can read in my book, he has strong opinions on how scientific work should be performed and reported, and it’s not easy to access his work. But he could very well have gained substantial amounts of knowledge which could show to be useful. On the other hand, also Piantelli warns for unexpected effects, including radiation.

It’s a good thing that MFMP sticks to the idea of open science, publishing results and experiments in real time, and that the members have declared that they will never sign any kind of NDA. In this way, there’s good hope for new knowledge being communicated to other interested researchers, and that the this knowledge might grow significantly over time.

All in all, things are starting to move, and they might move very fast now. On the other hand, as I note in the second edition of ‘An Impossible Invention’, it seems that we will not get much information from Rossi and his industrial partner Industrial Heat during 2015.

Rossi still claims that he and IH are working with a 1 megawatt plant installed at the premises of a customer on commercial terms, but that they will not be ready to show the working plant until it has been running for a year.

There’s no way to confirm this, but let me just say that I have reasons to believe that the megawatt plant exists and works and that the collaboration between Rossi and IH goes on.

In any case, this year might be decisive, and I invite you to talk about this with friends and colleagues who have not yet discovered what’s going on (for anyone who wants to know a little more, An Impossible Invention is now available both as e-book and paperback through Amazon).