ICCF

Here’s Swedish LENR company Neofire

Peter-bjorkbom-neofire-skuren

Peter Björkbom — photo: Mats Lewan

Apart from the well-known companies with LENR based technology, such as Andrea Rossi’s partner company Industrial Heat, and Brillouin Energy, founded by Robert Godes, there are a series of small rather unknown companies that have popped out in the last few years.

One of them is Swedish Neofire that surfaced in February 2015. It turns out to be founded in 2010 and run by one single person – Peter Björkbom – whom I came to talk with at ICCF-19 in Padua last week.

Björkbom, 48 years old, from the town of Borlänge in the heart of Sweden, told me that he was interested in physics and chemistry sinc childhood, and that he had some equipment.

“Since my early teens, I have always had access to some kind of chemistry or physics lab in my home. I always had that interest for physics, and a passion to perform experiments. Later, before starting with LENR, I was building a CO2 laser among other things.”

At high school, however, he was persuaded to focus on electronics and computer science, and once out of school, he started working with software development and founded a consultancy firm that he later sold to Swedish Protect Data, just before the collapse of the inflated valuations of IT companies at the end of the 1990’s, thus making a god profit.

He remained in the company for a few years, and came to work with systems for building energy management, which sparked an interest for energy technology.

In 2004, he began thinking of starting a new activity. In the energy industry, he saw a possibility to get back to his interest for physics and chemistry, and since he already in 1989 had been intrigued by the news on Fleischmann and Pons and their bold idea about cold fusion, he played with the idea to try to replicate their experiment as a start.

So he began to study what had been done in the field. And later, in 2010, he founded Neofire and started to build his own secret LENR lab, with the money he got when he sold his IT consultancy firm.

“For obvious reasons I didn’t want to talk about it,” he told me.

He initiated with experiments based on electrolysis, just like Fleischmann and Pons, and already from the start, he considered the use of lithium to be important.

Even though lithium has attracted much attention within the LENR field lately, particularly since the release of the Lugano report where lithium was shown to be present in the E-Cat reactor, the use of lithium was established already by Fleischmann and Pons and has always played an important role in many experiments.

Fleischmann and Pons used lithium salts in the electrolyte since it makes water split into oxygen and hydrogen almost without byproducts, which are normally produced otherwise.

However, Björkbom never saw any positive results in these experiments.

In 2011, when Rossi started to show the E-Cat, he became interested and began to do gas loaded experiments with nickel and hydrogen, like Rossi. Then he got some results.

“There was no good stability, and the effect was weaker than what Parkhomov (see this blogpost) and Rossi have reported, but in my eyes, it was very promising.”

His focus now, however, is on a different kind of device, which he is not yet ready to describe further. He’s working on this almost full time, though he still does some IT consultancy as a side activity.

The main goal is to achieve a stable process that can be implemented in a commercial LENR based device.

Björkbom explained to me that one difficulty is calorimetry – i.e. how you measure heat output exactly. He said that he doesn’t like the method based on thermo camera measurements, which was used in the Lugano report, and he noted that many groups struggle with the calorimetry issue.

“A simple design would be needed by many, with enough accuracy to detect excess heat with certainty, when COP* is larger than 1.2,” he said.

In Padua, Björkbom was assisting the open science group MFMP in one of its attempts to replicate Rossi’s LENR effect in a reactor inspired by the E-Cat and by Parkhomov’s rector designs.

“We’re very pleased to get his help,” Bob Greenyer from MFMP told me.

I asked Björkbom if he had any advice for people wanting to start doing LENR experiments.

“Start to browse the lenr-canr.org. There are many ideas, experiments and data to learn and take inspiration from. Much has already been tested,” he said.

– – – –

*COP – Coefficient of Performance – is the ratio between gross output energy from the device and the input energy necessary to keep the process running. A COP larger than one means that the process produces net energy or excess heat. If the net energy is larger than what can be explained by conventional energy sources, e.g. chemical burning, it’s called anomalous heat.

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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.