research

Finally: This is possibly how the E-Cat works

The second generation E-Cat used in the Lugano test in 2014.

The second generation E-Cat used in the Lugano test in 2014.

After five years of debate on the much discussed energy device, the E-Cat, I have finally been shown a theoretical model that makes sense and which seems to be consistent with both laws of physics and experimental results, which I will present here.

As I have said before—only with a valid theoretical model, effective R&D on LENR based devices can start in earnest. And judging from the over 200 patent applications Rossi says he is preparing, Rossi probably has this kind of understanding. Quite possibly, the model he is using is close to what you’ll find here below.

This blog post will be fairly technical and a bit long, but for those wanting to get this understanding I think it’s worthwhile. Also note that it will be updated continuously with corrections of details that I might have misunderstood, or that need further elaboration.

And before I start—a special thanks to Bob Greenyer, co-founder of MFMP, who shared recent insights with me, and also insisted that I carefully read the patents of long-time researcher on nickel-hydrogen based LENR, Francesco Piantelli, who used to collaborate with Rossi’s scientific advisor, late Prof. Sergio Focardi. Below you’ll find a series of videos that Greenyer is producing on this topic (I will add more of them as they are published), and just like Greenyer, I would like to highlight the importance of Piantelli’s and Focardi’s work.

Let’s get started!

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First, a short crash course in necessary physics (jump this piece if you feel familiar with basic nuclear physics).

Reactions releasing energy are called exothermal, and the energy released always corresponds to a decrease in mass. This is determined by Einstein’s famous formula ‘energy equals mass times speed of light squared’ (E=mc²). And since speed of light is such a large number, very little mass is needed to obtain large amounts of energy.

For chemical reactions (burning wood, oil, digesting food etc), this loss of mass is so small that it’s hardly detectable.

For nuclear reactions (e.g. fission, like in nuclear power plants, or fusion, like in the sun and the stars) the loss of mass is more notable. It’s about a million times larger in the same amount of fuel as in chemical reactions, reflecting the fact that you get about a million times more energy from a certain amount of nuclear fuel as from the same amount of chemical fuels, such as e.g. oil.

This also means that one gram of nuclear fuel corresponds to one or several tons of oil. Intuitively, this difference between chemical and nuclear reactions can be understood noting that chemical reactions involve the tiny electrons in the atom, while nuclear reactions involve the nucleus which has a mass thousands of times larger than the electron’s mass, and which is held together by forces much stronger than those needed to keep the electrons in their orbits.

Energy from nuclear reactions can be obtained in mainly two ways—fusing small nuclei (fusion) or splitting large nuclei (fission)—both can be exothermal reactions. This works because nuclei happen to be most ‘relaxed’ when they have an intermediate dimension—specifically, the most relaxed of them all are the elements iron and nickel.

Normally you say that such nuclei have larger binding energy per nucleon. You can understand this by thinking that they are at the bottom of an energy hole, while smaller and larger nuclei are higher up in the hole. And if you want to split nuclei of intermediate size to get smaller nuclei, or fuse them to obtain bigger nuclei, you need to add energy, pushing them up from the energy hole, since these smaller or larger nuclei require stronger forces to remain intact. In an analogue way, energy is released when small nuclei are fused, and when large nuclei are split, making them fall deeper down in energy hole.

And since energy corresponds to mass, this can be measured as a loss of mass. Consequently, the isotope 56iron (26 protons, 30 neutrons), which is at the bottom of the energy hole, has the lowest mass per nucleon, which means that any reaction leading to 56iron implicates a loss of mass per nucleon which will be released as energy according to E=mc².

Normally, the released energy in nuclear reactions is carried away as strong electromagnetic radiation, called high-energy gamma radiation, and as particles such as neutrons with high kinetic energy. In LENR—Low Energy Nuclear Reactions—however, almost no radiation is observed. Yet, the high energy release per amount of fuel (grams corresponding to tons of oil) indicates that it is a nuclear reaction and that it cannot be a chemical reaction.

So what we are looking for is a model for transforming nuclei towards 56iron, without having strong radiation. This is often called the second miracle of cold fusion or LENR. The first miracle is how to make two nuclei fuse at low temperatures, since they are both positively charged and repel each other. This repelling is called the Coulomb Barrier, and according to known physics, a temperature of ten to a hundred million degrees is needed in order to make free nuclei move so fast that they can overcome this barrier (note however, that in LENR, nuclei are not free, but rather fixed in a lattice or possibly moving in a liquid). That is why hot fusion is so hard to achieve, and require billions of euros/dollars for building experimental reactors such as ITER.

Crash course finished!

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Let’s have a look at the proposed model which is extensively described in Piantelli’s patents EP2368252B1 (2013) and EP2702593B1 (2015). (The first was revoked in September 2015 after being challenged by Rossi’s company Leonardo Corp that basically claimed to have arrived at the same point before. However, the decision to revoke the patent has been appealed by Piantelli’s legal representative).

(Update: Also note this patent application by Piantelli: EP2754156A2, which I haven’t studied in detail yet. Update 2: The patent was granted on April 15, 2016)

1. The first step is to expose a transition metal to hydrogen. Nickel is for various reasons the best choice of transition metal, but any transition metal should do.

2. Next step is to obtain H- ions, i.e. hydrogen atoms with one extra electron. To do this, Piantelli heats the system to a certain temperature and also uses a certain pressure to control formation of H+ and H- ions when splitting hydrogen molecules, H2. In the E-Cat, hydrogen is provided through lithium aluminium hydride, LAH, which when heated transforms into hydrogen gas, aluminium and LiH, the latter consisting of Li+ and H- ions, making it an effective source of H-. This invention by Rossi, described in his patent, should be one reason that he has managed to achieve much higher power yield from the process, but it should be noted that Rossi until the second generation E-Cat reactor—the Hot Cat in 2012—used hydrogen from a canister (and maybe had another method for generating H-, even without knowing it).

Note: Some suggest that the H- concept might refer to a different form of hydrogen, akin to Randell Mills (CEO, founder of BLP) concept of hydrino, or Swedish researcher Leif Holmlid’s concept of ultra dense deuterium.

3. The system is now triggered in one of several ways ranging from thermal shock, mechanical impulse, and ultrasonic impulse to laser ray, electromagnetic fields, electric or magnetic pulse and particle beams. Before this step, the system is heated, in my understanding beyond the Debye temperature at which atoms are oscillating at the highest frequency in the lattice, and beyond which electric and thermal conductivity decreases significantly (the Debye temperature of nickel is +177°C). What the triggering essentially does is suddenly moving the conduction and the valence band of electrons.

4. This triggering leads to one of the electrons in the nickel atom being replaced by the H- ion (as described in the patent, this is in accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle and with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle). The shock affecting the levels of valence and conduction band is an important part in this capture process (see video below).

5. Since the H- ion has a mass that is almost 2,000 times larger than an electron mass, it tends towards orbits much closer to the nickel nucleus, while sending out Auger electrons and X-rays. In some way (to be explained in further detail), this is probably how the X-ray burst is produced that MFMP observed recently in a replication attempt of the E-Cat. One hypothesis is that this burst can be made to happen during pre-processing of the fuel (see video below). Such fuel, containing a meta-stable form of nickel with H- ions in one of the electron shells, could then be transported and introduced in reactors (especially if the nickel grains are covered and protected by LiH and Al). Then when the reaction starts, the burst will not occur. Only much less energetic X-rays (photons) will be released (when the H- ion is moving in smaller steps towards lower energy states in the electron shell?).

6. The low energy X-ray photons are being absorbed by a shielding material such as lead or tungsten, which is heated and then emits what is called black-body radiation—essentially infrared light or heat radiation which has a frequency of terahertz, possibly with the property of stimulating the process of replacing electrons by H- ions.

Note: An hypothesis by Bob Greenyer is that one certain time interval of external triggering heats the shielding material enough for it to stimulate further reaction for five times that time interval, without external triggering (power input). This would lead to a COP (coefficient of performance = power out/power in) of 6, which Rossi has steadily claimed as a guaranteed minimum.

7. When the H- ion is in an orbit close to the nickel nucleus, it loses its electrons thus becoming a free proton, and two things can then happen:

a. If the distance to the nucleus is minor than 10-14 m, the H nucleus—i.e. a proton—can be captured by the nickel nucleus, resulting in one of several possible nuclear reactions (see the patent) with mass loss and great energy release, according to Piantelli resulting in heat. (Why isn’t the energy released as high energy gamma radiation? Maybe because the proton is so close to the nucleus that it gets captured, without having a large kinetic energy as in hot fusion. Maybe also because the nickel atom is not free but fixed in a lattice?). This process has certain similarities with muon-catalysed fusion, and would be an explanation to the first miracle—overcoming the Coulomb Barrier at modest temperatures by getting enough close to the nickel nucleus, disguised as a very heavy electron. (And maybe also an explanation to the second miracle—obtaining nuclear fusion without high energy radiation).

b. (Maybe higher probability): If the distance is larger than 10-14 m, the proton is expelled from the metal atom through the repelling Coulomb force, with high kinetic energy (from 0 to 6.7 MeV) determined by Piantelli through calculation, and confirmed through cloud chamber experiments. NOTE: Piantelli has observed protons escaping from pre-processed nickel, well after the reaction has stopped. This indicates that the hypothesis in point (5) above could be valid—that pre-processed nickel with H- ions in the electron shells is meta-stable, and that protons get ejected once in a while. Not enough often, however, to keep a reaction, as described below, running.

8. These high energy protons can react with other atom nuclei, resulting in other nuclear reactions. Particularly, Piantelli proposes reaction with lithium or boron. Reactions with lithium yield alpha particles (which are nuclei of helium), and again, large amounts of energy, carried away as kinetic energy by the alpha particles (?). Such fusion between protons with much lower kinetic energy (225 eV) and lithium is described by  Unified Gravity Corporation in patent application WO2014189799A9.

Note: In his second patent, Piantelli proposed to have a second material, such as lithium, in front of the primary material, nickel, at a distance of about 7 cm. In order not to stop the protons, however, the surrounding pressure must be very low. In the E-Cat, on the other hand, pure lithium is part of the fuel and in direct contact with the nickel. Therefore there’s no need for low pressure. Probably, though, a particular preparation of the fuel is necessary. The presence of lithium in the fuel, also described in Rossi’s patent, should be the second important invention by Rossi that leads to higher power yield. 

9. The alpha particles get easily stopped, and grabs electrons to form helium, while also contributing to heat production when their kinetic energy is absorbed. They can also lead to further nuclear reactions with lithium.

10. The low energy X-ray radiation from (5) above could possibly be used to create electricity through the photoelectric effect, by exposing suitable materials to the X-ray radiation. The X-ray radiation could also be downshifted into visible light (with lower frequency), with the help of e.g. silver (Ag) or other elements with similar characteristics, which is possibly what Brilliant Light Power does in its ‘SunCell’. Both these effects could be in use in Rossi’s third generation reactor—the E-Cat X—supposedly producing heat, light and electricity.

11. A particular option, according to Piantelli’s second patent, is to use radioactive materials such as 232Th, 236U, 239U or 239Pu as secondary material. A part from producing energy, the process would then provide a possibility of a eliminating long-lived radioactive waste of various provenience, since the nuclear reactions would transform these elements through transmutation (a change of the number of protons) into other elements with shorter lifetime (half-life). Here’s a patent application by Piantelli on this method: WO2013046188A1.

Update: Bob Greenyer elaborated this model already in September 2015 in this piece at E-Cat World. The comments below are also adding to the picture.

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A couple of things are worth noting:

  1. Piantelli has obtained two patents based on this model, probably having significant experimental evidence for details in the patent. This would not be surprising since he has been doing extensive experimentation with this kind of process since 1989 when he first discovered a heat effect from nickel and hydrogen by coincidence, performing a biotech experiment. Piantelli also has a very advanced private lab.
  2. In the model of the E-Cat process, proposed by Norman Cook of Kansai University and Rossi, the process is initiated by a reaction between a proton and lithium. However, there’s no explanation as for where the protons come from. Point (7b) above could be one possible explanation.
  3. As far as I understand, MFMP and Bob Greenyer have a series of experimental indications that strongly support the theory described above.
  4. My understanding is also that the reaction paths described in Piantelli’s patents, precisely bring out the isotopic shifts observed both in the Lugano report, and in an earlier isotopic analysis performed on behalf of late Prof Sven Kullander on a sample of supposedly used E-Cat fuel provided by Rossi in February 2011. The result of the latter analysis was used by critics as a proof that there was no nuclear reaction in the E-Cat and that Rossi had faked the fuel sample.
  5. In a recent E-Cat replication attempt, MFMP observed a short high-count burst of low energy X-ray photons. According to an hypothesis by Bob Greenyer, there might be a way to pre-prepare the fuel in order to avoid this X-ray burst.
  6. One possible long-term outcome according to this reaction model, if nuclear reactions progress along long reaction paths, would be the formation of heavy and potentially radioactive elements. This might have been a concern in the recently concluded one-year 1MW test by Rossi and Industrial Heat, and a possible negative outcome, since it would make the technology much harder to certify and commercialise. Most probably, the the result of the ash analysis made by the third party institute (the ‘ERV’) is therefore crucial.

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Here are a few videos by Bob Greenyer from MFMP, explaining the findings with regard to Piantelli’s LENR model (several of the videos and more info can be found on MFMP’s website):

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Implications of the X-ray signal found at the replication attempt:

Why using 62Nickel in the LENR reactor?

A series of possible LENR based reactor designs, even with very low startup temperature (trying to publicise as many ideas as possible to make them non-patentable):

Understanding of Brilliant Light Power’s device, the SunCell, with regard to the findings from the MFMP replication attempt:

Thank you Piantelli — Piantelli’s and Rossi’s parts in the discovery:

Correlation between Piantelli’s and Randell Mills’ theories—Bremsstrahlung, Auger Electrons and more:

Pre-processing the fuel to avoid X-Ray burst:

Importance of valence and conduction bands, surface plasmons and nanostructure of nickel:

 

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BREAKING: The E-Cat has been replicated—here’s the recipe!

Schematic view of MFMP's reactor, called 'glowstick' (click on image).

Schematic view of MFMP’s reactor, called ‘glowstick’.

The ‘open science’ group, Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project, MFMP, that I mention at the end of my book An Impossible Invention, has announced that they have performed a true replication of the effect in Rossi’s energy device, the E-Cat. The group has also published a complete recipe of how to replicate the effect, adding a clear method for detecting a successful replication.

Update: Here’s a video from MFMP discussing the result.

In a letter to donors, MFMP’s writes:

“What we will share is that the way in which we discovered it and the journey of analysis (…) makes it virtually impossible to say that Rossi does not have what he claims. It also shows that, whilst he may have been optimistic in how fast this would play out, he has been telling the truth, quite openly for years. Not only that, nature itself has been telling the same story and it told us too.”

Bob Greenyer, co-founder of the group, explained to me that the successful replication was based on all available information MFMP had got from from experienced LENR researchers Francesco Piantelli and Francesco Celani, and from the Russian scientist Alexander Parkhomov who also claims to have replicated Rossi’s effect, as well as openly shared information by Andrea Rossi himself.

The main evidence for the effect in MFMP’s experiment is a combination of ‘excess heat’—i.e. thermal energy released from the reaction, beyond the input energy—and x-ray radiation—i.e. the same kind of low energy radiation used in medical radiography. Important is that the x-ray emissions were observed only together with excess heat.

The character of the x-ray signal is, according to MFMP, the best way to detect that the replication is successful. The energy of the x-ray photons are between 0 and 300 keV (medical radiography typically uses x-rays between 5 and 150 keV), and there’s a brief but massive burst of x-rays when the reaction starts. This was observed also at the first semi-public demonstration of the E-Cat by Rossi in January 2011.

The heat from Rossi’s devices supposedly comes directly from the reaction and from the low energy x-rays which are thermalised—turned into harmless heat—by shielding materials such as lead.

The experiments by MFMP have been performed during the last three weeks, with a duration of about 20 hours of excess heat/x-rays on February 1-2. Everything is publicly documented at MFMP’s website Quantumheat.org, also the recipe, which essentially explains how to prepare the fuel consisting of nickel, lithium, hydrogen and aluminium, and how to run the experiment.

The preparation is fairly complicated and probably requires significant practice to master. It must be underlined that attempts should only be undertaken by trained people and with all necessary safety measures in place.

MFMP now plans to do follow-up experiments with the isotope Ni62 (an isotope is a special variety of any element, with the number indicating the number of nucleons in the atomic nucleus) which might enhance the effect.

In the following months, we should also expect an increased activity of replication attempts all over the world, possibly leading to a broad confirmation of the effect in Rossi’s E-Cat. On the other hand, it can be noted that Rossi had this knowledge already some five or six years ago, and reasonably has been able to further develop the process since.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate MFMP for its achievement, as a result of intense efforts, supported by a large group of donors and people offering their advice. As MFMP ends the letter to the donors:

“We did it. We lit the New Fire Together!”

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Here’s the complete letter to the donors from MFMP:

Dear Donor,
During ICCF-17 in South Korea, shortly following the sad death of Dr. Martin Fleischmann, it became abundantly clear to a group of fresh attendees that the old approach to science, combined with the ostracisation of the great minds that had worked in the face of ridicule, was not delivering on the promise of of what we immediately called, “The New Fire”.
It also was clear that there was something to investigate and we were morally bound to do it.
We said that people would not believe, until they could experience it as if they were doing themselves and so the idea of Live Open Science was born. That was not enough, it had to be an effort that was free from commercial or government interests and that result and so it had to be conducted by the people, for the people. Our journey was made possible by the courage of Francesco Celani and we thank him profusely.
Your donations played a critical role in realising this vision, but you know that, what we know you will want to hear is what we have to share tomorrow.
We have been running and analysing an experiment live over the past Month. First for us in this experiment were:
– Parkhomov Baking of Ni(correctly done)
– Pre Hydrogenation of Ni
– Proper baking out of cell under vacuum
– Parkhomov pressure
– Piantelli de-oxygenation
– Piantelli ‘loading’ + proper dwell times
– Piantelli capture analogue
– Use of free Lithium
– Use of calibrated NaI
– Cycles attempting to create nano Ni distillates (inspired by “Bang!” discovery of dissolved Ni)
– Long Run
You can see that there are steps in there that came about only because of activities that were made possible by donations. The critical visits to Piantelli and Parkhomov.
Around the beginning of the month we saw what appeared to be up to a COP of 1.2, not earth shattering, but sustained and robust and in line with both observations by others and the Lugano report when adjusted for correct emissivity. Over the next weeks we tried various bookend calibrations which supported this finding.
We have said that only two paths would satisfy us:
Statistically significant Isotopic or elemental shifts from Fuel to Ash
Statistically significant emissions commensurate, correlating, or anti correlating to excess heat
We are happy to tell you that we believe we have satisfied our condition 2, yet of course we’d like to replicate ourselves. Actually, though, it goes much further than that. What we will share is that the way in which we discovered it and the journey of analysis that makes it virtually impossible to say that Rossi does not have what he claims. It also shows that, whilst he may have been optimistic in how fast this would play out, he has been telling the truth, quite openly for years. Not only that, nature itself has been telling the same story and it told us too.
By the 16/02/2016 we had given up trying to destroy the *GlowStick* 5.2, part of a long lineage of []=Project Dog Bone=[] experiments. After the reactor was turned off, Alan shared the remainder of the data files from the NaI scintillator kindly donated by a project follower called Stephen (Thankyou Stephen, really).
Project follower and open science legend, Ecco, first took a look at the data and found some anomalies – one SO striking that we thought there had been an equipment failure. We did not know the time that the anomalies occurred and had to wait until Alan woke to explain the time stamps so we could correlate it with the thermal and power data published live to HUGNet (Thankyou Ryan and Paul Hunt).
To our extreme surprise, the onset of excess heat followed the massive anomaly in emissions and the minor anomalies were during and only during excess heat.
This led us on a path of discovery, the sequence of which explains:
The massive count signal discovered by Francesco Celani during Rossi’s first public demo
How Rossi knew his reactor had started
How the E-Cat generates excess heat
How it self sustains
How it can scale easily
That it is safe
It also showed us how replicators can know they have succeeded in triggering the New Fire and how to enhance the excess heat.
Subsequent to this, we found out Rossi had travelled the same design journey and had publicly shared it in the past.
The irony is – this was all being conducted live in the open, including discussions and graphing, whilst people were distracted with news of the end of the 1MW 1 year test. Same day…
In the past week we have been checking, cross checking to verify and this morning we cleared our last serious doubt, again live, with shared data. Because this is already in the open we want people to know so that they can start replicating based on what works, moreover, the insight will allow people to immediately start improving on our results.
Thank you for making this possible
We did it
We lit the New Fire Together!

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And here’s the recipe in short form, as published by MFMP on February 24, 2016. For further details, please visit Quantumheat.org:

Prepare thoroughly (Ni + LiAlH4 + Li)

1. Bake Ni
2. Reduce Ni
3. Hydrogenate Ni
4. Mix: Ni + LiAlH4 + Li
5. Bake and vac reactor, add Mix, vac warm, add H2, Vac
6. Heat to above Mössbauer determined Ni Debye (say 135C), pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
7. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
8. Heat slowly to as close to Ni Curie as comfortable (Say 340C), pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
9. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
10. Slowly lower temp to above highest known Ni Debye (Say 220C), pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
11. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 1bar abs.
12. Go as fast as possible through Ni Curie
13. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
14. Cycle through 500C internal, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
15. Hold, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
16. Raise internal temperature to over 1200, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
17. Drop to around 1000C and hold, pressure regulated to approx 0.5bar abs.
18. Raise internal temperature to near boiling point of Lithium

Some of the above steps may in time be redundant.

1h Thermal > x/β- (0-100KeV) emissions thermalised in Lead > IR/THz (via blackbody) > 5h (SSM)

where ‘>’ means ‘leads to’

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.” 

– – – – – –

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.

– – – – – –

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

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.

Time to dispel the streetlight paradox of energy

streetlight_jokeThe current development in LENR, where things seem to be moving fast towards confirmation of a new energy source, could finally open a way to dispel what I call the streetlight paradox of energy.

It’s about time.

You’ve probably heard the joke about the drunkard who is searching under a streetlight for something he lost. A policeman sees the man and asks him what he’s searching for. The drunkard tells the policeman that he lost his keys, and they both start searching under the streetlight. After some time the policeman asks if he’s sure he lost them there. “No, I lost them in the park,” the man answers. “But then why are you searching here?” the policeman asks him, and the man replies “Because here’s where the light is.”

This is pretty much how we’re searching for ways to produce energy, looking in a narrow field of scarce energy sources, when there’s an incredible abundance of energy everywhere around us, stored in matter. It’s just a question of extracting it, but essentially we haven’t even started to try yet.

To explain, let me first quote what Bill Gates stated in his annual letter 2015: “The most dramatic problems caused by climate change are more than 15 years away, but the long-term threat is so serious that the world needs to move much more aggressively — right now — to develop energy sources that are cheaper, can deliver on demand, and emit zero carbon dioxide.

So this is what we’re looking for. And while there are several ways to categorize current energy sources, let me divide them in three types:

The first is by burning fuels like wood, peat, energy crops, oil, coal and gas. These sources are basically on-demand — energy available when you need it — and quite transportable, but apart from wood, peat and energy crops they’re not CO2 neutral.

The second is energy harvested at the moment from natural sources, such as wind, hydro, wave and solar energy. They are CO2 neutral, but not on-demand (except for hydro power at a certain extent).

The third is power from nuclear power plants — a nuclear process known as fission. It’s on-demand, CO2 neutral, but not very transportable.

Let me first note that the first two categories (i.e. everything except nuclear) are all derived from solar energy. Wind and water movements are caused by the sun, and all fuels in the first group originally derive from plants which grow by solar energy.

Since we want a CO2 neutral energy source, and since nuclear power is associated with significant safety risks, people mostly investigate energy crops from the first group, and everything in the second group. And in order to make energy from the second group on-demand, we store it in batteries or as hydrogen gas or other producible fuels.

Influenced by the ease of use of oil and gasoline, we end up with similar solutions — fuels or batteries that are on-demand and often transportable. They all rely on chemical reactions to produce energy, like most natural energy producing processes on Earth, including fire and the energy consumed by all living animals.

This is what I mean by the reference to the streetlight joke. Chemical reactions are abundant on Earth, but they have no importance as energy sources in Universe where nuclear reactions dominate completely. All the stars, including the sun, get their energy from nuclear reactions, and consequently energy from category one and two above is originally derived from a nuclear source.

Chemical reactions involve electrons — the tiny particles that surround the nucleus in the atom — whereas nuclear reactions involve the much heavier particles in the nucleus itself. And the crucial difference is that nuclear reactions release about a million times more energy compared to electrons, from the same amount of fuel.

In other words, one gram of nuclear fuel will yield the same amount of energy as about a ton of chemical fuel such as gasoline or wood, or the energy stored in a ton of batteries. Nuclear power sources are hugely more compact.

And here comes the hook.

In the end, all energy comes from matter, which was described by Einstein in his well known formula E=mc^2 — energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. And since the speed of light is so high, this means that there’s an enormous amount of energy stored in matter.

To be precise, one gram of matter, if transformed into energy, will yield about 25 gigawatt-hours, roughly corresponding to one day’s production from a nuclear power plant or to the energy from burning 568,000 US gallons of automotive gasoline.

And in fact, in any energy releasing reaction, be it chemical or nuclear, the energy corresponds to a slight decrease in mass of the ‘ashes’ compared to the fuel. In chemical reactions this decrease is so small that it’s hardly measurable. In nuclear reactions it’s a million times bigger, which means that nuclear reactions are a million times more efficient in turning mass into energy.

Yet they’re not very efficient. As an example, the first atomic bomb contained about six kilos of plutonium, but only about one gram of this mass was turned into energy at the detonation, corresponding to the amount of energy mentioned before.

By now I believe you might see where I’m heading.

There’s no lack of energy. The energy stored in matter all around us is simply immense.

The challenge is to harvest this energy at will in controlled situations. Chemical reactions, including batteries, have lousy performance. Yet, this is where we’re focusing our research, like the drunkard under the streetlight. Two single nuclear reactions are also found under the streetlight — fission (in nuclear power plants) and hot fusion which occurs in the sun and the stars, and in which researchers have poured billions of dollars for decades to turn it into a controlled energy source, without much success. The problem with both these nuclear reactions is that they produce lots of deadly radiation and radioactive waste, and require big structures to be run safely.

Yet nuclear reactions are desirable. They’re much more efficient than chemical reactions, they’re on-demand and they’re CO2 neutral.

And guess what — just outside the light from the lamppost emerges another nuclear reaction — LENR — which few people believe is possible, simply because it’s not under the lamppost.

Yet LENR promises what we need — an energy source that is cheap, can deliver on-demand and emits zero carbon dioxide. And since it’s nuclear it’s a million times more compact than chemical fuels. One gram of LENR fuel corresponds roughly to a ton of gasoline. And unlike fission and fusion it doesn’t produce radiation, nor radioactive waste. It just couldn’t be better, it seems.

But let me put it like this — if we can make LENR work, that is just the first step outside the light from the lamppost. It would be a solution to the energy problem for a long time. Still, given the amount of energy stored in matter there’s much more to discover, potentially letting us extract a large portion of the energy in every gram of matter in controlled forms.

LENR just means finally opening the door to dispelling the streetlight paradox of energy. And the beauty is that it probably also could open a door to important new knowledge on matter, physics and the universe.

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).

A few more researchers who were never recognized

Impossible-paris_300pxAs those of you who have already read my book ‘An Impossible Invention’ know, it’s written in memory of Martin Fleischmann (1927 – 2012), Sergio Focardi (1932 – 2013) and Sven Kullander (1936 – 2014). All these three persons were important for my work, and they all left us while I was working on the book.

Sadly enough, several other researchers within the field of LENR and cold fusion passed away during the same period, and I would like to commemorate them too in this post (click on their names to get further information about their lives and their careers):

Talbot Chubb (1923 — 2011), Scott Chubb (1953 — 2011), P. K. Iyengar (1931 — 2011), John O’M Bockris (1923 — 2013) and Emilio del Giudice (1940 — 2014).

Again, if LENR/cold fusion turns out to be an important energy source that might bring fundamental change to the world, which you probably know by now that I personally believe, none of these researchers were ever recognized for their important contributions to the knowledge in this field.

If my book can contribute to raising public attention for LENR, and increase the possibilities to build on these researchers work in order to find out as soon as possible if there’s a way to make this technology useful for humanity, I would be more than happy.

So far I have been overwhelmed by the response to the book. Many have given me strong support, for which I’m very grateful, and a few have criticized me, which has given me the opportunity to go through the arguments for bringing this story to public awareness.

Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson made a short review of the book at Nature.com, and you can read his review on the start page of Animpossibleinvention.com.

Frank Acland at E-Cat World made an interview with me, which is published here.

Several persons have written reviews that you can find at the book shop An Impossible Invention — Shop (you’ll find the reviews under each version of the book).

An intense discussion has been going on on my personal blog — “The Biggest Shift Ever”.

And many of you have emailed me directly with wonderful personal support. Thanks!

I’ve also found a few errors which have now been corrected in the e-book version:

The Italian words cappuccino and colazione were misspelled, as was the name of the road Viale Fulvio Testi in Milan, and also the name of the Italian steel mill company Falck (which I at one occasion called Salk). Due to an error in translation from Swedish, I put a binocular in the hands of Galileo Galilei, but of course he used a telescope.

As you know, this story is still unfolding and I’m receiving information that I will share in this blog, and that will also be added to both the ebook and the paperback in upcoming editions.

Stay tuned.