Straw houses and straw men

People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.

I think I read that story in Astounding Science Fiction when I was in high school.

The occasion for this post is a thread started by the old standard, Mary Yugo, who created a LENR Forum thread entirely based on a possible overstatement by Jed Rothwell, I’m not entirely certain yet.

Is there evidence for LENR power generation of 100W for days without input power?

He starts with:

Jed Rothwell has repeatedly asserted that there is significant and credible evidence for an LENR device which sustains a 100W output for days without any input power.

I’ve been seeing this go back and forth for days. Mary says “you said,” and Jed says “something else.” Often there is no link to the prior discussion, a particular LF peeve of mine, users who don’t use the quote facility when responding, so tracking conversations back can be tedious.

Yes, a 100 watt power release for days from LENR without input power would be remarkable. Has this ever happened? I don’t have any example in mind, setting aside the claims of Andrea Rossi, which are, to say the least, unconfirmed, hence not answers to Mary’s question. Continue reading “Straw houses and straw men”

Morrison Fleischmann debate

This is a study of the debate between Douglas Morrison and Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. This debate first took place on the internet, but was then published. It was also covered with copies of drafts from both sides, shown on

Phase 1 of the study
Participation is strongly invited.
Britz summaries of the papers

Phase 1 of the study

In this phase, the goal is to thoroughly understand, as far as possible, the expression and intentions of the authors. In the first phase, whether an author is “right” or “wrong” is irrelevant, and if something appears incorrect, a default operating assumption is that the expression was defective or incomplete or has not been understood. In later analysis, this restriction may be removed, and possible error considered.

The original paper being critiqued was M. Fleischmann, S. Pons, “Calorimetry of the Pd-D2O system: from simplicity via complications to simplicity,” Physics Letters A, 176 (1993) 118-129. I have a scan of the original published paper (and Steve Krivit hosts a copy), but I have used here use the more-available version, first presented as a conference paper at ICCF-3 in 1992. There is a later version, presented at ICCF-4 in 1993.

Morrison, D. R. O. (1994). “Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by Fleischmann and Pons using simple cells made to boil.” Phys. Lett. A, 185:498–502. I have a scan, but, again, will use the copy.

The original authors then replied with Fleischmann, M.; Pons, S. (1994). “Reply to the critique by Morrison entitled ‘Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by FLeischmann and Pons using simple cells made to boil'”. Phys. Lett. A, 187:276–280. Again, I have a scan of the as-published reply, but will use what is included in the copy for convenience.

If there are any significant differences in the versions, I assume they will be found and noted. Meanwhile, this is an opportunity to see what critiques were levelled by Morrison in 1994, and how Pons and Flesichmann replied. Many of the same issues continue to be raised.

Subpages here.

Original paper.

Morrison critique.

Original authors respond.

Review Committee (new members welcome. This is consensus process and, even after the Committee issues reports, additional good-faith review will remain open here, hopefully, or elsewhere.)


To participate in this study, comment on the Review Committee page, using a real email address (which will remain confidential) and then begin reviewing the Original paper. (The email address will be used in negotiating consensus, later. Participants will be consulted about process.) Again, the goal at his point is to become familiar with the original paper, what is actually in it (and what is not in it).

Comment here constitutes permission for CFC administration to email you directly (your email address remains private information, not used except for administrative purposes.)

Fleischmann papers are famous for being difficult to understand. Having now edited the complete paper, I’m not ready to claim I understand it all, but it is not as difficult as I’d have expected. The math takes becoming familiar with the symbols, but it is not particularly complex.

Subpages are being created for each section in the article.

If anyone has difficulty understanding something, comment on the relevant subpage and we can look at it. Specify the page number. (I have placed page anchors as well as section anchors in the Original, and equation and figure anchors as well, so you can link directly. There are surely errors in this editing, so corrections are highly welcome.)

Take notes, and you may share them as a comment on that subpage. Please keep a focus in each comment, if possible, on a single section in the paper. I may then reorganize these in subpages that study each section. Comments on the paper itself, at this point, are not for debate or argument, but only for seeking understanding.

(If a subpage has not yet been created for a section, show the subsection title in questions or comment, and these will be moved to the relevant subpage. At this point, please do not “debate.” The goal is understanding, and understanding arises from the comprehension of multiple points of view.)

Overall comment on this process is appropriate on this page.

As Phase 1 completes on the Original, we will move to the Morrison critique, and then, in turn, to the Pons and Fleischmann reply, again with the goal being understanding of the positions and ideas expressed.

In Phase 2 we will begin to evaluate all this, to see if we can find consensus on significance, for example.

Source for Morrison, and related discussions in sci.physics.fusion

Comments on Fleischmann and Pons paper.

— (should be the same as the copy on, or maybe the later copy (see below) is what we have.

Response to comments on my cold fusion status report.

— Morrison comment in 2000 on another Morrison paper, status of cold fusion, correcting errors and replying. This contains many historical references. Much discussion ensued. Morrison appears to be convinced that excess heat measurements are all error, from unexpected recombination, and he also clearly considers failure to find neutrons to be negative against fusion, i.e., he is assuming that if there is fusion, it is standard d-d fusion (which few are claiming any more, and which was effectively ruled out by Fleischmann from the beginning — far too few neutrons, and the neutron report they made was error. Basically, no neutrons is a characteristic of FP cold fusion. This was long after Miles and after Miles was recognized by Huizenga as such a remarkable finding. The discussion shows the general toxicity and hostility. (Not so Morrison himself, who is polite.)

You asked where is the “Overwhelming evidence” against cold fusion? For 
this see the paper “Review of Cold Fusion” which I presented at the ICCF-3 
conference in Nagoya – strangely enough it seems not to have been published 
in the proceedings despite being an invited paper – will send a copy if   

“Strangely enough,” indeed.

The 2000 paper is on New Energy Times. 

Krivit has collected many issues of the Morrison newsletters on cold fusion.

This is a Morrison review of the Nagoya conference (ICCF-3). Back to sci.physics.fusion:

Fleischmann’s original response to Morrison’s lies

— Post in 2000 by Jed Rothwell and discussion.

Morrison’s Comments Criticized

— Post by Swartz in 1993 (cosigned by Mallove) with Fleischmann reply to Morrison’s critique. Attacks the intentions of Morrison, but this was the original posting of the Fleischmann reply.

I am sure there is more there of interest. We can see how toxic, largely ad-hominem, polarized debate led to little useful conclusions, merely the hardened positions that continue to be expressed.

Hagelstein on the inclusion of skeptics at ICCF 10.

9. Absence of skeptics

Researchers in cold fusion have not had very good luck interacting with skeptics over the years. This has been true of the ICCF conference series. Douglas Morrison attended many of the ICCF conferences before he passed away. While he did provide some input as a skeptic, many found his questions and comments to be uninteresting (the answers usually had been discussed previously, or else concerned points that seemed more political than scientific). It is not clear how many in the field saw the reviews of the conferences that he distributed widely. For example, at ICCF3 the SRI team discussed observations of excess heat from electrochemical cells in a flow calorimeter, where the associated experimental errors were quite small and well-studied. The results were very impressive, and answered basic questions about the magnitude of the effect, signal to noise, dynamics, reproducibility, and dependence on loading and current density. Morrison’s discussion in his review left out nearly all technical details of the presentation, but did broadcast his nearly universal view that the results were not convincing. What the physics community learned of research in the cold fusion field in general came through Morrison’s filter.

Skeptics have often said that negative papers are not allowed at the conference. At ICCF10, some effort was made to encourage skeptics to attend. Gene Mallove posted more than 100 conference posters around MIT several months prior to the conference (some of which remain posted two years later), in the hope that people from MIT would come to the conference and see what was happening. No MIT students or faculty attended, outside of those presenting at the conference. The cold fusion demonstrations presented at MIT were likewise ignored by the MIT community.

To encourage skeptics to attend, invitations were issued to Robert Park, Peter Zimmermann, Frank Close, Steve Koonin, John Holzrichter, and others. All declined, or else did not respond. In the case of Peter Zimmermann, financial issues initially prevented his acceptance, following which full support (travel, lodging, and registration) was offered. Unfortunately his schedule then did not permit his participation. Henceforth, let it be known that it was the policy at ICCF10 to actively encourage the participation of skeptics, and that many such skeptics chose not to participate.

My analysis: the damage had been done. The efforts to include skeptics were too little, too late. The comment that Hagelstein makes about Morrison’s participation is diagnostic: instead of harnessing Morrison’s critique, it is essentially dismissed. Whatever issues Morrison kept bringing up, ordinary skeptics would have the same issues. Peter’s comment is “in-universe,” not seeing the overall context. Skeptics with strongly-developed rejection views would, in general, not consider attending the conference a worthwhile investment of time. That could be remedied, easily. My super-sekrit plan: if conditions are ripe, to invite Gary Taubes to ICCF-21. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!

(The time is not quite yet ripe, but might be before ICCF-21.)

Short of that, how about an ICCF panel to address skeptical issues and to suggest possible experimental testing of anything not already adequately tested? (And who decides what is adequate? Skeptics, of course! Who else? And for this we need some skeptics! This kind of process takes facilitation, it doesn’t happen by itself, when polarization has set in.)

(This is not a suggestion that experimentalists must anticipate or address every possible criticism. When they can do so, it’s valuable, and the scientific method suggests seeking to prove one’s own conclusions wrong, but that is about interpretation, and  science is also exploration, and in exploration, one reports what one sees and does not necessarily nail down every possible detail.)

Britz on the papers:

author = {M. Fleischmann and S. Pons},
title = {Calorimetry of the Pd-D2O system: from simplicity via complications to simplicity},
journal = {Phys. Lett. A},
volume = {176},
year = {1993},
pages = {118–129},
keywords = {Experimental, electrolysis, Pd, calorimetry, res+},
submitted = {12/1992},
published = {05/1993},
annote = {Without providing much experimental detail, this paper focusses on a series of cells that were brought to the boil and in fact boiled to dryness at the end, in a short time (600 s). The analysis of the calorimetric data is once again described briefly, and the determination of radiative heat transfer coefficient demonstrated to be reliable by its evolution with time. This complicated model yields a fairly steady excess heat, at a Pd cathode of 0.4 cm diameter and 1.25 cm length, of about 20 W/cm$^3$ or around 60\% input power (not stated), in an electrolyte of 0.6 M LiSO4 at pH 10. When the cells boil, the boiling off rate yields a simply calculated excess heat of up to 3.7 kW/cm$^3$. The current flow was allowed to continue after the cell boiled dry, and the electrode continued to give off heat for hours afterwards.}

author = {D.~R.~O. Morrison},
title = {Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by Fleischmann and Pons
using simple cells made to boil},
journal = {Phys. Lett. A},
volume = {185},
year = {1994},
pages = {498–502},
keywords = {Polemic},
submitted = {06/1993},
published = {02/1994},
annote = {This polemic, communicated by Vigier (an editor of the journal), as was the original paper under discussion (Fleischmann et al, ibid 176 (1993) 118), takes that paper experimental stage for stage and points out its weaknesses. Some of the salient points are that above 60C, the heat transfer
calibration is uncertain, that at boiling some electrolyte salt as well as unvapourised liquid must escape the cell and (upon D2O topping up) cell conductivity will decrease; current fluctuations are neglected and so is the Leydenfrost effect; recombination; and the cigarette lighter effect, i.e. rapid recombination of Pd-absorbed deuterium with oxygen.}

author = {M. Fleischmann and S. Pons},
title = {Reply to the critique by Morrison entitled
‘Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by FLeischmann
and Pons using simple cells made to boil’},
journal = {Phys. Lett. A},
volume = {187},
year = {1994},
pages = {276–280},
keywords = {Polemic},
submitted = {06/1993},
published = {04/1994},
annote = {Point-by-point rebuttal. F\&P did not use the complicated differential equation method as claimed by Morrison; the critique by Wilson et al does not apply to F\&P’s work; very little electrolyte leaves the cell in liquid form; current- and cell voltage fluctuations are absent or unimportant; the problem of the transition from nucleate to film boiling was addressed; recombination (cigarette lighter effect) is negligible.}

If it blew up, it must be LENR!

I’m writing this because I like the headline. It does bring up some more, ah, fundamental issues.

THHuxleynew wrote:

kirkshanahan wrote:

The results of doing this is to come up with an excess heat signal that is a) large and b) occurring when no current is flowing, meaning you essentially have an infinite instantaneous COP. The problem is that this comes out of applying the same calibration equation used for ‘normal’ operations. The steady state is so radically different in a ‘boiled-dry’ cell that everyone should know you can’t do that. But not the CFers…it shows excess heat…it must be real…and is certainly must be nuclear!

“The CFers.” Classic Shanahan. Classic ad-hominem, straw-man argument, one of the reasons he gets no traction with those who would need to understand and respect his arguments, if he has a real basis and actually cares about supporting science.

Below, I go into details. Continue reading “If it blew up, it must be LENR!”

No payoff = bad bet?

This is an obvious logical fallacy, yet the argument is surprisingly common from some who think of themselves as skeptics. They are, in fact, “pseudoskeptics,” because they are selectively skeptical, rejecting the ideas of others while swallowing their own whole.

We never have complete control over the circumstances of life. What works one time may not work another. Walking down the street can be a gamble; after all, we could get hit by a bus. Yet if we live as if we must avoid all danger, we die in a state of constriction and loss.

Ideally, we learn to assess risk and to make choices that recognize risk and consider possible returns. If the return is high, we may take higher risks. That’s all rational game theory.

So if I get hit by a bus, does that mean it was a mistake to walk down the street? Perhaps it was a mistake to be inadequately careful, but no amount of care can avoid all risk. The risk is small, so normal response to it is reasonable caution. Continue reading “No payoff = bad bet?”

Briefing on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Research

Working draft, for comment, not approved.

This is to be an Infusion Institute consensus document, a study of the briefing prepared in 2016 by the NRL for Congress. Comments are fully welcome and invited and facts and all arguments will be incorporated, directly or by reference. Correction of errors is especially welcome. Discussion here may be refactored for organizational purposes.

Comments by the editor, within the copied body of the report, are in indented italics. Some of these may not be appropriate in a final report. I have not copied all material, some that I considered heavily irrelevant I have left out. The original document pages may be read with the page links given.

The ultimate purpose is to write a cogent and focused briefing that could be used.

16-F-1333_ DOC_02_LENR_Briefing was our source document, we have removed the Black Vault inserted page 1, so that our page numbers correspond to those in the document. This is what we are working with:

DOD report to Congress


I have categorized these pages based on relevance to the charge. Red is very low relevance, if any. Magenta is peripheral relevance, possibly worth a sentence in a cogent review, not a whole slide as was used.

1. Briefing on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Research
2. House Committee on Armed Services Briefing Request
3. Preparation of this Briefing
4. Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) executive summary
5. U.S. is Well Represented in LENR
6. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment for Energy production
7. LENR proponents claim many potential military applications
8. Nuclear Physics and LENR
9. Physics of Nuclear Reactions
10. Types of Nuclear Reactions
11. Energy Production: Fission vs. Fusion
12. Challenge for Nuclear Fusion
13. Energy Required for Fusion
14. Quantum Mechanical Tunneling is Essential for Fusion
15. Muon-Catalyzed Fusion (MCF): Uncontroversial and Well Understood
16. MCF: Impractical for Energy Production
17. MCF: current research directions
18. Publications on MCF
19. Nations for MCF research
20. Electrolytic Cell: Early Experiments
21. Early Electrolysis Experiments Using Heavy Water Were Discredited
22. Lack Theoretical Foundation
23. SPAWAR Experiments Looked for Nuclear Products
24. Attempts to Address Reproducibility Yielded Erratic Results
25. Summary
26. Back up
27. Transmutation Involves the Electroweak Force and Is a Nuclear Reaction, But Not Fusion
28. In 2002 lwamura et al. Observed Transmutation and Excess Heat in a D2-Pd System
29. Ultra-Dense Deuterium: Origin in Rydberg Matter (RM)
30. Ultra-Dense Deuterium is Claimed to Have Remarkable Properties
31. Reanalysis of TOF Data Leads to Contradictory Results
32. Major caveat: Research on Ultra-dense Deuterium is Limited to One Small Group
33. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion
34. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion – Discredited Observations
35. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion Plausible

p. 1

Briefing on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Research

A scientific survey of the international literature in response to the FY16 NOAA (report on HR4909, 4 May 2016)

Office of the ASD(R&E) I Research

p. 2

House Committee on Armed Services Briefing Request

The committee is aware of recent positive developments in developing low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which produce ultra-clean, low-cost renewable energy that have strong national security implications. For example, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), if LENR works it will be a “disruptive technology that could revolutionize energy production and storage.” The committee is also aware of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) findings that other countries including China and India are moving forward with LENR programs of their own and that Japan has actually created its own investment fund to promote such technology. DIA has also assessed that Japan and Italy are leaders in the field and that Russia, China, Israel, and India are now devoting significant resources to LENR development. To better understand the national security implications of these
developments, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on the military utility of recent U.S. industrial base LENR advancements to the House Committee on Armed Services by September 22, 2016. This briefing should examine the current state of research in the United States, how that compares to work being done internationally, and an assessment of the type of military applications where this technology could potentially be useful.

The authors do not appear to have knowledgeably addressed the charge. What are the “recent developments” that the Committee mentioned? There is no clue in the briefing. Almost certainly, this would refer to the work of Industrial Heat, LLC, with Andrea Rossi’s technology.

Industrial Heat, in 2015, raised $50 million for LENR research (not for Rossi, for whom they invested about $20 million from a close group of investors, starting in 2012).

In 2014, a basic LENR research initiative at Texas Tech was funded with a $6 million private donation plus another $6 million in Texas state matching funds.

What is the current state of research in the U.S. and around the world?

This report is confused about what LENR is, and only looks at a few shards in the pile, with many irrelevancies and shallow, unbalanced assessments.

My opinion is that LENR is not close to ready for military or commercial applications; the authors here are correct on that, but … the point is to become ready or to be ready. That will require clear vision based on knowledge. The field is complex and the request deserved expert attention, which it did not receive.

p. 3

Preparation of this Briefing

• The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) was tasked by OSD to conduct a comprehensive survey on the current state of research  on low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) in the US, and an assessment
of the type of military appliications for this technology.

• A comprehensive collection and analysis of international literature on LENR since 2004 (the last Department of Energy review) was conducted.

p. 4

Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) executive summary

• The United States is active in LENR research in universities, government labs, industry and private research
• The status of knowledge, evidence, and technology indicates that it is premature to increase investments in LENR research
• LENR research has been challenged by a lack of reproducibility of results, and many of the studies have not provided the necessary scientific and theoretical foundations
• Beyond the lack of reproducible positive results to date, scaling to meaningful energy production levels must still be addressed.
• If LENR research can successfully provide a reliable energy source, and the underlying science can be established, it could lead to a broad variety of military as well as commercial applications such as
a compact, efficient, room temperature, energy source.

p. 5

U.S. is Well Represented in LENR

[chart showing First Authors by Function and National Affiliation. Given below is the number of papers by nation]

USA [47]
Japan [18]
China [9]
France [9]
Russia [9]
Italy [8]
India [4]
South Korea [2]
UK [2]
Ukraine [2]
Australia [1]
Finland [1]
Germany [1]
Malaysia [1]
New Zealand [1]
Switzerland [1]

That is 115 papers total. Standard for inclusion and period covered, not stated. This is far less useful than a proper study, which would state those things. It is possible that the period is since the 2004 DoE review. The conclusion (U.S. “well represented”) could be valid, but could also be invalid. One person or one small group might create that impression.


p. 6

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment for Energy production

TRL 9 Production
TRL 8 Full scale development
TRL 6 Exploratory development
TRL2 Technology development
LENR research: [placed below TRL 1]

Most results have not been reproduced independently;
Lack scientific and theoretical foundations.

Waste of an entire page to make a short and confusing statement. “Most results.” Okay, there are lots of unconfirmed results, that is not controversial. However, some are confirmed to various degrees. There is no examination of the confirmed results in this study. This is all meaningless without a clear definition of “LENR.” Confirmed experimental results are a “scientific foundation” for a new and unexpected effect. Both U.S. DoE reviews recommended further research, which would not have been recommended if there were “no foundation” as claimed here. LENR is a mystery, and without basic research, is likely to remain so.

It seems clear that LENR would be in TRL Level 1. The collection of effects called “LENR” are controversial, and expert opinion has been divided, see the 2004 U.S. DoE review — and that was a flawed review, wherein blatant errors were made, leading to literal misreadings of the claims in the review document. Fundamental research has been poorly funded, generally, but is continuing. This review shows little or no awareness of that.


p. 7

LENR proponents claim many potential military applications

This betrays that the authors are considering this a political issue, with “proponents” and … what? “opponents”? In the following paragraph the authors claim what could be potential military applications. Are they “proponents”?

If LENR research can successfully provide a reliable energy source, and
the science can be established, the following could result:
• Abundant, clean energy
• Compact, portable power source
• Inert and nonhazardous
• Processing of radioactive waste

The key word here is “could.” Claims of the characteristics of LENR applications are premature. It seems likely from what we know about LENR that it might be nonhazardous, but as the mechanism is not understood, it might actually be hazardous, it is not yet possible to test the effect adequately to rule that out. This review ignores what is actually known about the effects.

“Processing of nuclear waste” possibilities have been reported but are generally unconfirmed. This report makes no distinction between what is confirmed and unconfirmed. Unconfirmed results, if plausible (i.e., based on properly-done measurements, on the face, etc., deserve confirmation effort, but probably not governmental-level efforts yet, unless the reported techniques appear easy and inexpensive to confirm

Mosier-Boss et al. Final Report 2016

[link added. That is a 131 page pdf. What, exactly, is being cited? This is probably considered representative of what “LENR Proponents” write, but this is circular: if a researcher works on LENR, and reports positive results (i.e., indicating a nuclear effect) they will be considered, ipso facto, a proponent.] 

Energy Density of Fuels

[chart showing mass of fuel for a city of one million people, as 250,000 tons of oil, 400,000 tons of coal, and 60 kg. of “fusion fuel.” That fuel is stated as deuterium and lithium. The fusion reaction considered is deuterium-tritium fusion, and the neutrons that generates (dangerous radiation) converts lithium to tritium. However, D-T fusion is not LENR, this is high-energy fusion. There may be various LENRs; the most-confirmed reaction converts deuterium to helium (totally harmless) with a higher energy yield, experimentally found and confirmed. This clumsiness shows that the report is more or less a quick cut-and-paste.]

[chart from] ]

p. 8

Nuclear Physics and LENR

• Physics of Nuclear Reactions
• Physical challenges for Nuclear Fusion
• Two LENR research areas:

– Muon-Catalyzed Fusion: Broadly accepted, based on well-understood physics

Yes, Muon-Catalyzed Fusion is well understood and accepted. But this is not what is referred to as LENR, even though it technically is “low-energy.” MCF is the same reaction as is found in high-energy fusion, but catalyzed by muons, so it happens at very low energies. It generates harmful radiation, but is not practical for reasons they cover. Adding all this MCF material, as they do below, simply confuses the report. Did they include MCF papers in their tally of “LENR” papers?

In the field, a more specific term is the Anomalous Heat Effect. MCF is not anomalous, it’s understood. The AHE is also called the “Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect.” (FPHE). However, AHE is a little more general, because gas-loaded palladium is not the FPHE, though the reaction appears to be similar in some ways. The FPHE is an electrolytic effect.

– Electrolytic Cell : Has not been reproduced independently and has
not provided the necessary technical information to provide a
scientific foundation for scalable research.

This (has not been reproduced independently) is utter nonsense, basically repeating a widespread rumor that became established in 1989-1990. The various reported experiments and confirmations have provided a level of scientific foundation, as to the nature of the effect, but not yet as to detailed mechanism. The material conditions are difficult to control, particularly in the electrochemical experiments that are most widely confirmed (in spite of this difficulty), and until the reaction is well under control, scaling up is dangerous and is generally not done.

These authors clearly are not familiar with the literature. It is not that they disagree with it, but that they flat-out don’t know it, so they make statements unlike what someone knowledgeable would make. How is it that this report, for which $50,000 was budgeted, does not involve at least one author with serious knowledge of the field, or at least some review process, with discussion and critique and then a report of the status (including varieties of opinion.) Instead, the Briefing is unattributed opinion, hardly better than rumor.


p. 9

Physics of Nuclear Reactions

• Definition: a process in which two nuclei, or a nucleus of an atom and a subatomic particle (such ,as a proton, neutron, or high energy electron) from outside the atom, collide to produce one or more nuclides.

This is an example of a common kind of nuclear reaction, not the definition. Nuclear reactions may involve more than one nucleus, as a theoretical possibility. In plasma reactions, that would be very rare, but there is experimental evidence that, in the solid state, multibody reactions (more than two nuclei) actually occur. As well, this description does not include nuclear decay processes. This is a plasma physics approach, betraying the thinking of the authors. As well, there are nuclear reactions that don’t involve two nuclei.

If LENR, they think, therefore two-body reactions. This is very old thinking that denies a world of possibilities. Most “impossibility” arguments regarding LENR involve that assumption.

• A nuclear reaction must cause a transformation of at least one
nuclide to another.

That is better as one characteristic of “nuclear reactions.” It works if nuclear isomers are considered different nuclides. Better than saying “cause” would be “be.” However, nuclear isomers are normally considered the same nuclide at differing excitation levels. The delayed gamma decay of a neutron-activated nucleus is generally considered a nuclear reaction.

• In 1917, Ernest Rutherford demonstrated transmutation of
nitrogen into oxygen at the University of Manchester. This was
the first observation of an induced nuclear reaction, that is, a
reaction in which particles from one decay are used to transform
another atomic nucleus.
• The modern nuclear fission reaction was discovered in 1938 by
the German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann.

This is irrelevant to the topic.


p. 10

Types of Nuclear Reactions

Nuclear decay
Alpha Decay of a Uranlum-233 nucleus

This is an example. Some examples do not involve a second nucleus as does the U-233 example.

Nuclear fission

Shown is a very complex neutron-induced fission reaction (actually unreadable in the pdf I have). What is the value of this exposition wrt LENR?

Nuclear fusion

Shown is D-T fusion, collision energy not shown, products 4He + 3.5 MeV and a neutron at 14.1 MeV. While there is a SPAWAR report of 14 MeV neutrons, the levels are so low that this could be a very rare branch or secondary reaction of a different main reaction. And this is unconfirmed.

This has very little or nothing to do with the main topic here, LENR. If LENR is real, it is, as Pons and Fleischmann claimed in 1989, an “unknown nuclear reaction.”


p. 11

Energy Production: Fission vs. Fusion

This page is a completely irrelevant collection of materials copied about hot fusion reactors and reactions, and fission reactors. I am not cleaning it up from the very messy OCR, it is more work than it’s worth.


p. 12

Challenge for Nuclear Fusion:

Squeeze two positive charges together (against the Coulomb repulsion)

This is the standard skeptical description, that LENR must accomplish this “squeezing.” LENR is a mystery, we don’t know how it works. The best evidence, most widely confirmed, strongly indicates that the reaction is converting deuterium to helium, but how this is done is unknown. “Squeezing two positive charges together” indeed seems unlikely, for the obvious reasons that they cover, but we don’t know that this is what is happening. They cover cluster fusion later, but don’t seem to realize that this possibility (shown mathematically to occur — that is, predicted to occur from standard physics — from an initial starting condition that might be possible, vide Takahashi) is contrary to what they are assuming here as foundational for “fusion.”

Range of Strong Nuclear Force

Again, not cleaned up. This is all assuming that LENR is a two-body reaction the same as with plasma fusion. The physics of the solid state is far more complex. The core issue with LENR at this point is that there is very strong evidence for the reality of a nuclear effect, but it is not understood. There are conditions where it will relatively reliably occur (say, measurably, 50% of the time) but no theory (other than ad-hoc, operational theories that do not address mechanism) has been successfully tested to distinguish it from other theories, and all theories have defects, unexplained aspects, which will be covered below to some degree.


p. 13

Energy Required for Fusion

Again, this all is about standard hot fusion. It could be considered to rule out some LENR theories, but LENR is basically an experimental field, not a theoretical one. This exposition is all theory, reasons to consider that LENR violates existing theory, except that an unknown reaction cannot be considered to violate theory, because theory cannot analyze an unknown reaction to determine expected rate. A deep report on the state of LENR research would look at what is known and confirmed from experimental work. This report wanders and considers much that is irrelevant — and obvious. Yes. LENR wasn’t expected! Nobody argues that! Pons and Fleischmann expected to find nothing. But then found something. What did they find? Science advances through curiosity over discovered anomalies.

LENR is an incredibly complex field, overall. What I see here would be embarrassing in an undergraduate-level student paper on LENR. They obviously did not consult experts in the field, at all, or if they did, they ignored them. (But there is no sign of consulting experts in the emails released in the FOIA request).


p. 14

Quantum Mechanical Tunneling is Essential for Fusion

Yes, probably. But this is all theoretical, and the reaction they show is p-p -> d fusion, with a probability of 0.001 at a collision energy of 10 Kev, and 10-1921 at room temperature. Yes, that is the claim, based on what calculation? I have seen a nuclear physicist claim that the rate predictions from hot plasma break down at lower temperatures, the actual rate is substantially higher. That ridiculously low rate is naive and not experimentally-based, obviously. There would be no way to measure a rate that low, so this is a pseudoscientific claim.

How is this remotely relevant? They give the probability of winning the Powerball lottery as 3 x 10^-10. True, but because this is irrelevant, this is deceptive polemic. Why is NRL creating deceptive polemic? How were these authors chosen?

There is a calculation in a cluster fusion model of tunnelling rate, showing, from a very low energy initial condition, tunneling at 100% within a femtosecond. They dismiss this basically because the theory is incomplete, not realizing that a counterexample to what they think necessary has been shown. This is a product of radical unfamiliarity with the field. My point is not that cluster fusion theory is necessarily a reflection of the reality, but that fusion is far less impossible than they think. This is a scientific mystery, and solving scientific mysteries does not begin with believing them impossible. They are, obviously, unexpected!


p. 15

Muon-Catalyzed Fusion (MCF): Uncontroversial and Well Understood

Again, not relevant to the topic they were asked to research. This is something someone totally naive would do, not realizing that words (“LENR”) have meaning in context. This is interesting, though, because some naive analyses claim that nuclear fusion at low temperatures is “impossible”. In fact, they just gave it a rate of 10-1921 at room temperature! MCF is a counterexample. Bring that up and the pseudoskeptic will say, “but MCF isn’t practical.” Right. But wasn’t it just said that low temperature fusion was “impossible”?

They don’t realize the possible relevance. MCF is catalyzed by muons. Is some other form of catalysis possible? Theory might address specific ideas, but cannot address the general concept. It is impossible to prove a negative. Stated more positively, something that we haven’t thought of might be operating. How would we know? Well, we would see experimental results that we don’t understand. If we depend heavily on theory, as these authors are doing, we may reject those results as Probably Wrong, with no evidence other than our prior expectations.


p. 16

MCF: Impractical for Energy Production

Indeed. (Unless a way is found to handle the sticking problem, or another way to generate muons.) And this is not what is called LENR.


p. 17

MCF: current research directions

So they are spending much of the report covering what they were not asked to cover. MCF is not reported as LENR in the literature. Did they include MCF papers in that total above?


p. 18

Publications on MCF

All a complete waste.


p. 19

Nations for MCF research

Again, irrelevant.


p. 20

Electrolytic Cell: Early Experiments

• In 1989, Pons and Fleischmann claimed to have observed excess heat
from an experiment involving the electrolysis of heavy water using a
palladium electrode

This is correct. It’s the original finding. It was prematurely reported — they were not ready — and they used the word “nuclear” based on artifact in neutron measurements, and their methods and actual findings were incompletely reported, leading to:

• Numerous attempts failed to replicate these results

This is highly misleading, appalling in this report. First of all, “replicate” can be used imprecisely. Few even attempted to “replicate” the FP experiment, for various reasons. The more general word is “confirm.” There was early work that failed to confirm. These were not generally exact replications, they were approximate and were based, often, on inadequate information. (They actually are part of the data set that establishes the conditions of the FP Heat Effect.) Later, there were many confirmations. I’ve seen analyses that, overall, there are more “positive” reports than negative, but I’m not sure that I’ve seen a thoroughly neutral analysis of this. It’s difficult to define the terms. But “failed to replicate” implies an isolated, unconfirmed result, which is preposterous, given the history of the field.

• No nuclear products were observed along with the excess heat

Again, simply not true. Pons and Fleischmann reported neutrons (which was error, later acknowledged), tritium, and helium. Those are nuclear products. (Technically, so is energy.) Helium was confirmed by Miles in 1991 and over the years, not merely as present (which would be a relatively weak report because it could be leakage) but as quantitatively correlated with anomalous heat, at levels consistent with the deuterium fusion value of 24 MeV/4He. That is, some of the helium is trapped and not released in the outgas, where it is measured, so less helium is found than would be expected from that ratio. Some later work took steps to release that helium and found values fully consistent with 24 MeV/4He. Helium is a nuclear product.

The briefing was requested to be about recent research. Did they review, say, the Current Science special section on LENR, published in February, 2015? I see no sign that they are aware of what is going on. Did they look at the collaboration, announced at ICCF-19 (2015), between Texas Tech and ENEA, to confirm the heat/helium ratio (and, as well, to study exploding wires, a technique thought to possibly aid in assessing materials for LENR activity). This work was funded by a charitable donation of $6 million plus Texas state matching funds, another $6 million, and is under way.

It is quite likely that the Congressional request had the work of Andrea Rossi in mind. Rossi was funded by U.S. companies, first Ampenergo, then Industrial Heat, at least $20 million total. By the time of the briefing request, the lawsuit Rossi v. Darden had been filed, so they could have covered it. Instead, they show no awareness that it exists.

Below, the authors will refer to SPAWAR work. SPAWAR has found substantial evidence for 14 MeV neutrons from a co-deposition cell. This has not been correlated with heat, however, and is not confirmed. A careful study will distinguish what is poorly reported, well-reported but not confirmed, and confirmed. This wasn’t a careful study at all.

As well, there are many reports of tritium, in particular, but the levels are such that tritium is probably a secondary reaction or otherwise rare product. The main product appears to be helium. This is extensively confirmed. Controversy still remains. However, there is a current effort in a joint project between Texas Tech and ENEA, the Italian alternative energy agency, to redo this work with increased precision and more extensive effort to recover all the helium. 

• Measurement errors in calorimetry may have contributed to observation of excess heat.

Sure. In fact, that happens on occasion. However, Pons and Fleischmann were among the world’s top electrochemists, and measuring heat was a specialty. If their report was isolated, this might be passed off as something that might never be confirmed. But it was confirmed. There are skeptics, presented with extremely careful work by experts, who simply say, “they must be making some mistake.” There is one published skeptic remaining who claims that behind all the massive findings showing excess heat there is a different anomaly, something also not expected, but chemical in nature. This is an isolated opinion and has had difficulty finding publication lately. A thorough study would look at this, at serious reasons to think there might be “some mistake.” However, it gets very difficult to explain the heat/helium correlation with that hypothesis. This report is depending on a vague and unspecified error, in the face of massive contradiction by experts and strong evidence, confirmed by many labs. article/ O_O_O/cold_fusion_03

is a shallow pop science piece that misreports what Pons and Fleischmann actually did and how they thought. Using this for a serious report is appalling.

They did not expect to see substantial heat. They had decided to test a reasonable hypothesis, that the approximations used to estimate fusion probability were causing error in the rate estimate. That is, in fact, practically certain, the issue would be *how much* error. They expected that the fusion rate would still be below anything they could detect. Then their experiment melted down, releasing energy that they could not explain by chemistry. So they scaled down, for safety, and continued exploring the effect. Five years later, they were still not ready to announce, but legal considerations led to it. It was a mess. They were actually wrong about some aspects of what they had found. They made this or that mistake. But their basic finding, anomalous heat, has not been impeached (by other than that isolated skeptic mentioned above, who, though previously published, has been reduced to ranting on the internet. I even think that’s unfair. But that’s what is happening.)

• Also in 1989, S. Jones of Brigham Young University using similar electrolytic cells observed neutrons, but no excess heat.

It was his work that caused the premature announcement. However, the Jones was not an electrochemist and his cells did not approach the high loading conditions that Pons and Fleischmann attained. He would not be expected to find heat, from what is now known about the reaction. As to neutrons, his levels were very low; in general, neutron findings have never been correlated with heat, so if those findings are real, they are not related to the primary reaction. Again, this is actually irrelevant to the major charge of the Committee.


p. 21

Early Electrolysis Experiments Using Heavy Water Were Discredited

The page doesn’t support the headline.

• 2004 Review of LENR research by Hagelstein et al. claimed Helium production correlated with excess heat measurements

They did. However, the Panel, from the report, did not understand the data in a supplement provided for the Case gas-loading work (actually a different experiment from the FP Heat Effect) and read a clear correlation as an anti-correlation. This is easy to see in the 2004 Review report. So then they easily dismissed this as possibly leakage (a generic objection to helium results, even though in that work the helium levels rose above ambient. So then it’s claimed that maybe there was a helium source in the lab. However, the value of the ratio, then, becomes mysterious. Almost all work in this area shows a ratio that is within an order of magnitude, usually substantially closer, to the theoretical deuterium fusion value. 

• Review evaluated by Department of Energy in 2004, which recommended experiments to search for fusion events in thin deuterated foils , but not focused federally funded program for LENR.

The Report

… isn’t being fairly presented here. The actual recommendation:

The nearly unanimous opinion of the reviewers was that funding agencies should entertain individual, well-designed proposals for experiments that address specific scientific issues relevant to the question of whether or not there is anomalous energy production in Pd/D systems, or whether or not D-D fusion reactions occur at energies on the order of a few eV. These proposals should meet accepted scientific standards, and undergo the rigors of peer review. No reviewer recommended a focused federally funded program for low energy nuclear reactions.

I agree. Notice “nearly unanimous opinion.” What is a “focused federally funded program?” There were hopes in 1989 and again in 2004 that some kind of major program might be funded. My opinion is that this would be premature. What is needed is, indeed, focused proposals designed to address basic issues. The DoE has never funded this, beyond massively unfocused work in 1989 and maybe 1990. Throwing money at LENR is a Bad Idea. A lot can be wasted.

However, the idea that the question is “D-D fusion reactions” or not is misleading. The real issue is what the cause is of the FP Heat Effect and other reported phenomena. My opinion is that straight-out “D-D fusion” is unlikely. Something else is happening. The confirmed effect shows a helium ratio to heat that is the same as “D-D fusion,” but that is simply a reflection of the laws of thermodynamics. Whatever converts deuterium to helium must show that energy. What is known is that the energy shows up entirely as heat, without high-energy radiation, which is very unexpected. Something mysterious is happening.

In general, the DoE reviewers did not understand what they were seeing, so their specific recommendations might be off. It reflects what those not familiar with the field might think, after a quite brief one-day review, with little interaction. Actual funding decisions would be worked out between researchers and funding agencies. 

But the DoE review was better than this NRL report. Both have a similar shortcoming: they don’t actually establish or recommend any specific actions to improve the situation, to actually answer those basis scientific questions.

• Sufficient deuterium loading required for excessive heat, suggested as reason for early negative results [McKubre Proceedings of ICCF 2009]

This is weakly presented. It’s more than “suggested.” They do show a chart from the 2004 DoE review paper showing a substantial series of experiments, with many results at high loading, and few, declining to zero at loading of 80%. None of those early “negative results” had 80% loading. At the time, they did not know it was necessary — this had not been announced — and there is more: the Fleischmann-Pons work took many weeks of loading to begin showing the effect, and none of those early experiments waited long enough.

Is loading the issue? There are now some reasons to think that high loading is merely one of a number of conditions necessary to see the Heat Effect. High loading by itself isn’t enough. The critical factor, besides high loading at onset, is specific material conditions, and this is all well-known, and was even understood by the 2004 DoE review. The material shifts with time and repeated loading and deloading. Pons and Fleischmann believed that the effect was a bulk effect, happening inside the bulk. The helium evidence indicates otherwise. It’s a surface effect, from where the helium is found (released in the gas or in near-surface trapping). Instead of considering “conditions where the Heat Effect is found, this is often presented by some skeptics as some kind of an excuse, often with exaggeration of the unreliability.

• Even with large deuterium loading, negative results still observed [McKubre Proceedings of ICCF 2009]

That’s right. However, with some materials and high loading and other conditions that have been correlated with heat, a majority of experiments do show excess heat; the amount varies greatly. The heat/helium ratio cuts through this noise, and the variation in heat then becomes a control. If helium were leakage, it would be unlikely to vary with the heat (the “heat” in these experiments is small, it is not a large difference in temperature, and in some experiments the temperature is constant. It can be complicated.)

Reported Excess Heat vs Deuterium Loading Ratio
Hageistein et al. 2004 DOE Report

This was the chart I mentioned above. There are charts published elsewhere that show SRI and ENEA experiments with heat vs. loading ratio and some major early “negative replications” plotted on the same chart. Low loading equals no heat results, it’s that simple.


p. 22

Lack Theoretical Foundation

They show, again, a pop science presentation from a pop or high school level web site that misrepresents what Pons and Fleischmann thought they were doing.” As they have told the story (and who else would one get it from?), they were looking for possible deviations from the rate predictions of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. This is actually expected, some deviation, however what they found was not expected. They expected that they would not be able to measure anything, that the error introduced by the approximation would be too small.

What they were looking for was actually irrelevant, in the end. However, this idea that they were scientifically clueless is common. As has happened many times in science, they found something unexpected by looking where nobody had looked before (in palladium deuteride, at very high loading ratio).  Who predicted lots of neutrons? This was a prediction, not of Pons and Fleischmann, but of skeptics, who imagined that if they found something, it must be d-d fusion. They actually did not claim d-d fusion, if one reads their first paper, it was reported as an “unknown nuclear reaction,” precisely because levels of neutrons were very low (and, in fact, what they found was error, artifact, as to neutrons). This was truly a fiasco and one of the signs of “fiasco” is that what they did is still commonly misunderstood, because rumor, widely repeated, took the place of fact. This Briefing continues that.

They were also wrong about many things. They were not aware of how critical the material was, so, after announcing, they ran out of their first batch of palladium and ordered more. It didn’t work. This was totally embarrassing, but they then made a series of reactive errors. I won’t go into them all here, but this was a fiasco all around, assumptions made and actions taken on assumptions that led to more mess. The original meltdown in 1984: they didn’t photograph the damage and didn’t keep the material. They were afraid that the University Fire Department would shut them down. Fear leads to poor decisions. I would not expect a Briefing on cold fusion to cover all these historical details, but I would expect it to avoid those shallow “explanations.” 

Shown from the the page is :

Hypothesis/theory -> expected results -> actual results

Pons’ work

Lots of cold fusion is taking place in the palladium -> expect to see many neutrons released -> not many neutrons are released

This is not what happened. They did not start with that hypothesis. They started with an idea to explore. Exploratory research often does not proceed with the hypothesis/prediction/test process. They were looking where nobody had looked.

The mechanism of “cold fusion” is unknown: the prediction about neutrons would be valid for ordinary known hot fusion taking place, or even muon-catalyzed fusion, but not the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect. The known product is helium, neutrons are absent or almost entirely absent. This is a common error: to take the word for a thing and then assume that this, then, creates predictability. With cold fusion, observation comes first. There are basic theories in place, verified and confirmed, but not a theory of mechanism. For example, the report here looks at an idea from some theories that deuterium is being converted to helium. That results in a prediction of 23.8 MeV (energy) produced for each helium atom. That is a confirmed observation, but was unknown until 1991, though predicted before then.

What they actually found was a lot of heat, that they could not explain with chemistry, and they were prominent chemists. From the context, they asked the question if it was fusion. They then pointed out (in tgheir 1989 paper) that there were not nearly enough neutrons for the known fusion reaction — and there actually were none or very few. The pop sci story is told as if they did not realize this.

As far as I know, the first anomaly was a meltdown with a lot of heat. Not just a little. Not some calorimetry error. It’s been claimed that this was deuterium/oxygen recombination. That chemistry would not have been adequate to explain what they saw, at least probably not. Remember, they didn’t keep their materials, the experiment had been destroyed. Obviously, this was not going to get the world excited about “cold fusion.” But they kept working and they found effects, and when they eventually announced, it took time — these experiments took time! — but others found a heat effect as well, and other related effects.

It is all still controversial, but a proper briefing would explore the controversy and explain why people still are working in the field, what results have they seen that keep them going?

• Spin-Boson Oscillator Theory1

the energy released in deuterium- deuterium fusion goes into large numbers of low energy phonons that heats the system

• Hydroton Theory2

formation of nuclear active environments in nano cracks resulting from electrolysis or gas loading

As above with what was falsely alleged to be “Pons theory,” these two is placed in apposition to a supposedly opposite result. A minor point: not enough is presented of Hydroton Theory to make the prediction, what is shown is only the theory of Nuclear Active Environment, the site of the reaction. The helium prediction, then, does not address what is presented of the theory.

Predicts excess heat should be 23.8 MeV/ He atom, which is not observed in experiments.

They are baldly and ignorantly denying the most widely-confirmed result in cold fusion research. The prediction must be understood in this way, if the main reaction taking place in PdD experiments is the conversion of deuterium to helium, and if the heat and the helium are measured, and there is no significant energy leakage through radiation, and as the precision of the measurements increases, the ratio will approach that value, it must, by the laws of thermodynamics. In most experiments, helium in electroytic outgas has been measured, and it is thought that about 40% of the helium is retained in the palladium, which is consistent with most experimental observations. In two experiments (as to what has been reported, there is more work under way), steps were taken to release all the helium, and results moved to within experimental precision of the theoretical value.

1 Hagelstein and Chaudhary Proceedings ICCF-14 (2008)
2 Storms J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. (2012)

• Cluster Fusion Theory – seeks to investigate multibody fusion for enhanced fusion rates.
Four deuterons arranged in a tetrahedral symmetric configuration yielding 4 He atoms.

is placed in apposition with:

No mechanism given to produce tetrahedral symmetric configuration

Takahashi J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. (2011)

While mechanisms have been proposed, Takahashi is not concerned with that level of analysis, his work is the application of quantum field theory or quantum electrodynamics to the possibility of multibody fusion, and he has mathematically predicted fusion if the TSC conditions arise. He previously did experimental work that showed elevated rates of multibody fusion with ordinary hot fusion from deuteron bombardment of PdD targets, but Takahashi has not predicted TSC formation rate, so this is, again, off, merely a sign of an incomplete theory.

There is no accepted cold fusion theory of mechanism, though some have a level of support. Theoretical analysis of cold fusion is likely to require far more experimental data than exists. A basic report on cold fusion, at this time, will summarize the mechanism as a mystery and not belabor the theories, which are largely irrelevant to the foundation of cold fusion research, which is experimental observation, with only the most basic theories being involved. (One of these would be the “deuterium/helium conversion theory”, which is readily testable and which has been extensively confirmed.)


p. 23

SPAWAR Experiments Looked for Nuclear Products

• Research effort at SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific began shortly after Pons and Fleischmann announcement and ended in 2012
• Used a palladium-deuterium co­-deposition process to prepare the electrodes, seeking more reproducible results
• Experiments focused on finding the nuclear products from nuclear reactions occurring in electrolytic cells
• Used CR-39 solid state track detectors to look for tracks left by energetic particles

Mosier-Boss Final Report 2016

Triple tracks caused by breakup of 12C into 3 He due to collision with a fast neutron.

SPAWAR analysis ends at visual inspection, similarity to deuterium-tritium fusion
• Experiments were able to replicate CR-39 tracks, but noticed striking differences when compared to CR39 exposed to fast neutron sources

What “striking differences”? Experiments don’t notice something, people do. Who? The image compares tracks from LENR experiments with DT neutron tracks, i.e., fast neutrons. They certainly look similar to me. Triple tracks, in particular, are quite distinctive.

SPAWAR CR-39 neutron measurements leave many unanswered questions.

Indeed they do. This work is generally unconfirmed (though it ultimately deserves confirmation, and low-level neutrons from CF conditions have long been reported) and what is not mentioned is that the apparent fast neutrons are at very low levels. They probably have little or nothing to do with the main reaction. There is no balance in this briefing, no distinction made between isolated work and theories and the overall state of the field. For a briefing on this topic, isolated and unconfirmed reports would properly be given very little attention. To be sure, SPAWAR was a quasi-governmental effort. SRI was often funded by government agencies. There are experts on LENR working for various national labs. They were apparently not consulted in preparing this report. It’s appalling.

p. 24

Attempts to Address Reproducibility Yielded Erratic Results

McKubre Proceedings of ICCF (2009)

Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and Italian National agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) experiments try to address reproducibility using identically prepared samples from the same lot.
• 50% of trials showed no excess heat, while others showed variability of 500%

The reviewers show no sign of understanding the issues. 50% success was positive. From very early on, it was realized that excess heat depended on material conditions, and that even the same sample could give different results at different times, depending on its history. The dependence on material lot, where clearly shown (statistically) is powerful evidence for the reality of the effect.

But any LENR research program must accept the reality of the effect as-it-is, not as someone might want it to be. To develop control over the reaction, to improve reliability so that the level of the effect becomes predictable, are obvious goals for research, not claimed to already exist.

• Observations of excessive heat were still erratic.

They just repeated themselves.

Summary of Electrolytic Cell reports from 1998-2004
Storms, Naturwissenschaften (2010)

Plot above was used by [Storms 201 O] to demonstrate successes of LENR experiments
Most striking feature is the large number of null results

That is “most striking” to someone who is looking at failure instead of at success. Storms was interested there in the long tail. By the way, some skeptics claim the “file drawer effect,” that only positive reports are published. Obviously, the “believer” Storms forget to exclude the negative reports.

There are researchers who claim increased reliability, sometimes 100%, but so far such work has not been confirmed. However, there is a replicable experiment, extensively confirmed, which defines reliability in a different way. Set up the FP Heat Effect and measure helium. Some of the work on this has seen over 50% of cells with excess heat, and the no-heat cells serve as controls (good ones, because they are generally identical to heat-producing cells — except for the heat. And except for the measured helium, which is well-correlated with heat.

Predictability and reproducibility are still outstanding issues with LENR

In some ways, yes. The helium results are predictable. The specific heat release in specific cells is not so predictable; however, statistically, correlations are known. That is, while heat may vary, it does correlate with, as an example, deuterium loading ratio. 

What this briefing fails to do is to notice the progress that has been made.


p. 25


• After almost 30 years, the same issues are still present with cold fusion or LENR claims

This is misleading. Issues have strongly shifted. Controversy remains, and some who claim that cold fusion is an illusion repeat the same claims. They are no longer publishable, the mainstream scientific literature, recently published, almost entirely assumes the reality of the effect. A “briefing,” I would think, would be an executive summary of a far deeper report that would establish the factual basis for what is in the briefing. There is no sign that these authors even did that deeper research.

• Interesting anomalous effects exist that are difficult to reproduce and control.

This is correct, but “difficult” is vague. The difficulty of reproduction and control has commonly been overstated, as if “easy” and “difficult” are clear and objective labels to apply. Plenty of science is “difficult to reproduce,” but can nevertheless by reproduced by those who follow basic replication protocols, and who have the same materials to work with. Substantial progress has been made with control.

• Lack of theoretical understanding for the underlying processes

In other words, it is an “anomaly.” But this is also misleading. There is theoretical understanding that is partial. The underlying mechanism, the actual “fusion” process — even the name is uncertain — has no widely-accepted theory, but various aspects are understood; for example, I can state with reasonable confidence that the FP Heat Effect is a surface reaction, not taking place deep within the palladium lattice. That can be tested, and has been tested and confirmed, from the helium evidence. (That is, by the way, quite good news if one is interested in eventual practical applications, because palladium is very expensive and usage for power generation would create high demand; if thin films can work as well as bulk, palladium LENR might be practical at far lower cost.)

• Lack of independent testing and substantiation

That’s a half-truth. There is a vast body of experimental work to “substantiate” the basic Pons and Fleischmann claim of anomalous heat. To distinguish this from the “file drawer effect,” substantial and fully-reported specific replications are needed. Those are rare, but are not “lacking.” Much SRI work was designed to replicate and confirm other reports.

•  U.S. is involved in LENR research at universities, government
labs, industry, and the private sector.

It is. This is not documented to present a coherent picture to Congress.

• It is premature to invest heavily in LENA research due to the status of knowledge, reproducible evidence, and technology currently available.

I agree, with a major caveat that shows what is completely missing from this report. Both U.S. DoE reviews generated a similar recommendation, but both also recommended modest support through existing programs. What is “modest support”? It was not stated, and the huge failure of those reviews was in not generating specific recommendations and a specific process for monitoring progress. Instead, in fact, the research recommendation was widely ignored in favor of opinion that these reports “rejected” cold fusion.

So, how much funding should be allocated, and through what programs? What process would make these decisions? There has never been, to my knowledge, a coherent plan.

I developed one, which was to encourage specific confirmations of specific results, already confirmed, to increase precision and confidence. That is the work under way in Texas to confirm the heat/helium ratio. This is guaranteed to produce useful information; and if it turns out that a widely-confirmed result is nevertheless some kind of artifact, they would find out. It has been, as they say, almost thirty years. Isn’t it time to find out, instead of relying on lack of “proof” — a moving target, apparently — as if that were evidence for something?


p. 26

Back up

• This slide is intentionally left blank.

The biggest problem with LENR: minds intentionally left blank.


p. 27

Transmutation Involves the Electroweak Force and Is a Nuclear Reaction, But Not Fusion

Ah, Steve Krivit must love this! This is Widom-Larsen Theory propaganda, repeated, depending on, first, an untested and apparently preposterous theory — widely rejected within the field — and, then, a constricted definition of “fusion.” The conversion of deuterium to helium is widely confirmed, and W-L theory then comes up with an ad hoc “explanation” of this through a series of neutron captures and beta or alpha (helium) decays that then roughly explain the heat/helium ratio. Very roughly, outside the error bars, but … not far outside. In other words, there is a fusion fuel (deuterium converted to dineutrons) and a fusion product (helium). But, hey, it’s not fusion!!!

This is a semantic trick to allow W-L theory to be accepted as a “not fusion” theory. Do they take notice of the substantial published criticism of W-L theory? Of the lack of any experimental confirmation?

• Transmutation changes an atom from one element to another, which is accomplished by altering the number of protons

What distinguishes elements is the number of positive charges in the nucleus, which is equivalent to the “number of protons,” though this is a simplistic model. This entire discussion is off the legitimate point of the review.

Free Neutron Decay
n → p+ + e + v(electron neutrino)

Not shown: the energy release, 782 KeV. Wikipedia.

Beta Decay

14C6 → 14N7 + e + ve

It’s not explained here, but the beta decay shown is equivalent to a neutron in the nucleus decaying to a proton and an electron plus a neutrino, thus bumping the atomic number up while keeping the mass almost the same (the mass must decline a little to release the energy of the two forms of radiation). The energy: 156 KeV, for this particular decay, if I’m correct. Wikipedia on 14C. Wikipedia on beta decay.

Inverse Beta Decay/ Electron Capture

26Al13 + e → 26Mg12 + ve

This is not “inverse beta decay” [Wikipedia article] but electron capture [Wikipedia article]. Wikipedia on 26Al. The reaction energy is carried off by the electron neutrino, but the transmuted nucleus recoils, it is not low momentum.


• For isotopes unstable to these reactions, they spontaneously occur and release energy

Right. The rate may be low, however. This is more or less the definition of “unstable.”

• Widom and Larsen posit that localized condensed matter electric fields in metallic hydride surfaces can create “heavy” electrons (- 20 × e rest mass)

How large are such electric fields? How much energy is required to create these “heavy electrons,” and what does “heavy” mean here? What is the experimental evidence for such electrons? Setting that aside, a negatively charged heavy particle could catalyze fusion, an example is muon-catalyzed fusion.

• The “heavy” electrons are captured by the metal and the resulting neutron is ejected.

This is not what W-L theory claims. If it were so, however, the neutron created would have substantial momentum. What is claimed (for PdD experiments) is an interaction between deuterons and heavy electrons, not an interaction with the host metal.

This entire excursion into an unconfirmed and largely rejected theory does not belong in the kind of field overview requested. 

• These low momentum neutrons catalyze chains of nuclear reactions, e.g.
6Li3 + n → 7Li3
7Li3 + n → 8Li3
8Li3 → 8Be4 + e + ve [obvious error in description, corrected]
8Be4 → 4He2 + 4He2

Why one would start with 6LI is beyond me. 7LI is the more common isotope. W-L claim “ultra low momentum neutrons,” because these will have very high capture cross-sections, necessary to explain the general absence of slow neutrons, which are otherwise penetrating. ULM neutrons would be voracious fusors, likely fusing with the first nucleus that they encounter. 8Li has a half-life of under one second, beta-decaying to 8Be, which will then immediately (half life about 6 × 10-17 seconds) decay into the two helium nuclei as shown. However, the excitation energy of the 8Be would be about 48 MeV, which would normally be expected to show up in the kinetic energy of the alpha particles (24 MeV each). This massively energetic radiation does not occur in LENR experiments. (The “Hagelstein limit” is about 20 KeV, above that secondary effects would have been readily observed.)

Looking at the case of 6Li neutron capture, however, fast neutrons generate an immediate decay of the 7Li to helium and tritium. What about slow neutrons? I don’t know. 6Li has a nuclear mass of 6.0151223(5). A neutron has a mass of 1.008664 u, and 7Li has a nuclear mass of 7.0160040(5) u. The mass defect leads me to expect a nuclear excitation of 1.75 MeV. If this does not result in the normal fission to helium and tritium, it would lead to gamma emission; this is essentially neutron activation. (see the Wikipedia article).

The copious slow neutrons required by W-L theory would produce a host of effects that are generally not observed. (W-L proponents commonly assert transmutations that may have been reported, but omit that the reported levels are miniscule, and other expected transmutations are absent. Intermediate products would be expected to exist at higher levels than final products, normally, and that is not seen.) The absence of activation gamma radiation is explained away by another hand-wave: the heavy electron patches allegedly make a fantastically efficient gamma ray shield. Would they? Is there experimental evidence for this? Richard Garwin asked that question (because it would be easy to test the “gamma shield”) and Larsen’s answer was, ultimately, “proprietary.”

(… and what about edge effects? Wouldn’t some gammas escape? What about delayed gammas? How long do the “patches” last?)

This is not science, it is commercial promotion disguised as science. This is just as crazy as would be promoting Andrea Rossi’s results — secret, never independently confirmed — in this briefing. It would be worthy of a sentence, perhaps, simply noting the claim and what is known, which is mostly nothing. Unconfirmed.

Electric fields to create “heavy” electrons would require E ≈ 1011 V/m
(ICF lasers produce electric fields up to ≈ 1013 V/m).

Hey, only a hundredth of the ICF laser power is needed! For whom is this presentation intended? If you want to snow people, inundate them with irrelevant facts, and for bonus points, make each fact, by itself, verifiable. Then slip in a few “unfacts”  — or unwarranted conclusions. Few will notice unless they already understand the topic.


p. 28

In 2002 lwamura et al. Observed Transmutation and Excess Heat in a D2-Pd System.

• Deuterium gas is permeated through a multilayer substrate of palladium and
calcium oxide at 343 K for a week
• A thin film of cesium was added to the substrate, and lwamura et al. report that the cesium layer decreased commensurate with an increase in praseodymium, along with x-rays from 10 to 100 keV, and excess heat

I’m looking at the 2002 paper, and there is no claim of heat — there was no provision for measuring it — nor any claim of X-rays.

• lwamura et al. propose an electron capture theory to create a di-neutron D + e- → 2n0 + ve

The 2002 paper refers to an earlier paper (1998) for an “EINR model” as a “working hypothesis.” Sure enough, the 1998 paper is for different work, and that is where the heat and X-ray claims come from. This is common in sloppy cold fusion review: results from different experiments are amalgamated as if there is one very specific effect being studied. There is an available copy of the 1998 conference paper with the same title.

• The di-neutron can then create an element unstable to beta decay via neutron capture

AXZ  + 2n0 → A+2XZ → A+2XZ+1 + e

• Via a chain of four of these reactions cesium could be converted to praseodymium
• No reported observations of the other elements in the chain

Chained reactions involving two relatively rare events with no intermediate products are radically implausible (this is also a basic problem with the similar W-L theory).

• No rigorous development of this theory to check if these reactions are energetically favorable

It is common for shallow reviews to focus on theories, and often the theories are misrepresented. There is no “developed theory” here, and the 2002 transmutation results show, with various target elements, +8 amu, not +2 (hence the idea of a chain). This could indicate a possible involvement of a cluster-fusion intermediate, perhaps formed by the Bose-Einstein collapse of four deuterons (per Takahashi theory). A BEC, which includes the electrons, would be very small and charge-neutral, and might be able to easily fuse with nuclei. That would produce the observed transmutations in a single step, explaining why there are no intermediate products. Di-neutron fusion is way unlikely, di-neutrons are very weakly bound. My opinion. And my basic point here is that cold fusion theory is way premature, so why inflict it on Congress?

• NRL was unable to independently reproduce these results (2009)
• [Hioki et al. 2013] was able to reproduce these results of transmuted praseodymium after 250 hours of permeation treatments.

What is important, if anything, about the Iwamura work, is experimental evidence, not theory that they may have had in mind, and this work differs from the rest of the field enough that, absent clear confirmation (it is presently murky, NRL put serious effort into replication and failed, but then there is Hioki, so … maybe), the importance is not high; what is relatively urgent is the confirmation of basic results already supported, or basic results relatively easy to confirm. The field needs a solid foundation, and I’d assume Congress would want to know what is solid — or at least partially confirmed.

Hioki et al. measured 10-10 g/cm  of transmuted praseodymium after 250 hours of permeation treatments.

Is that a little or a lot? Were I a high school physics teacher reading a student’s paper, and this were included, I’d critique it for collecting random facts without explaining how and why they are significant. Absent much more information, that quantity is meaningless.


p. 29

Ultra-Dense Deuterium: Origin in Rydberg Matter (RM)

I have not undertaken the effort to gain a deeper understanding of Rydberg matter because almost all experimental work and theoretical analysis on it is from one person, Holmlid, and his work has not been confirmed. His claims and results don’t seem to match LENR results. There is some low level of theoretical consideration of Rydberg matter by some researchers, but much theoretical analysis without confirmed experimental foundation is a prescription for wasted time.

This flat-out doesn’t belong in the report, it is pure confusion here. (That is not a claim of error on the part of Holmlid, not at all. There is, however, no integration of his work with classic LENR work, so this is all highly speculative.)

• Rydberg atom – valence shell electrons are in highly excited state
• Cluster of Rydberg atoms can condense to form Rydberg matter
• In Rydberg matter, highly excited electrons become delocalized and act as a collective neutralizing
• Rydberg matter is sparse, largest observed cluster had 91 atoms
• Bond distance d is given by: d = 2.9 n2 awhere n is principal quantum number and a0 = 5.2 × 10-11 m is the Bohr radius

They expect a Congressperson to understand this? If this were important, it would be thoroughly explained, and if that made the report too long, it would be sourced so that a reader could readily find explanations. This briefing is incompetent.

Winterberg J. Fusion ENergy (2010)

The J Fusion Energy paper. There is an arXiv paper, late 2009. It is a purely theoretical paper, suggesting Bose-Einstein condensation of deuterium in “vortices,” and speculating that this might facilitate the “ignition” of “thermonuclear fusion.” Hot fusion, in other words. This is useless here. Physicists have been ruminating on cold fusion for almost thirty years, with no clear theory of mechanism having been successfully tested.

There is an image showing:

Rydberg Matter schematic electron distribution

The point is? That illustration is found in the Wikipedia article on Rydberg matter. As well, the following sentence is from that article:

• Rydberg matter has been formed from H, N, K, and Cs

The Wikipedia article is currently tagged for problems. It was apparently heavily edited by Holmlid, who did not understand Wikipedia editorial process (which is common for academics). This is all beside the point here. Why was this included? There was no charge to explore the state of research on Rydberg matter. It is not impossible that a connection will ultimately be shown, but this is one among thousands of possibilities. Why is it pointed out here?


p. 30

Ultra-Dense Deuterium is Claimed to Have Remarkable Properties

• Exotic form of Rydberg matter where nuclei act as the delocalized electrons
• Bond distance d = 2.3 × 10-12 m
• Density – 130,000 g/cm3 (compare to density of lead – 11.34 g/cm3)
• Room temperature super conductor*
• Superfluid*

•Predicted by theory [Berezhiani et al. 2010], not experimentally verified

• Nuclei of comets covered in RM
• Stable exospheres on Moon and Mercury explained by heavy RM
• RM is part of dark matter
• RM could explain Faraday rotation in intergalactic space

Remarkable claims, indeed. The world is full of remarkable claims. Which ones would belong in a report to Congress? 

[Badiei et al. Physica Scripta (2010)]

Is given as a source for a TOF experiment illustration. This is the paper.

Presented evidence for existence of ultra-dense deuterium is time-of­-flight mass spectrometry, claims do not match available evidence

That is a judgment, by whom? Based on what? However, this is clear: UDD is a claim being made by a very small group of people, as can easily be seen in the sources for that Wikipedia article, or by a Google Scholar search for those authors. Few papers have been written outside this very small group. To the extent I have looked at this, the papers, with time, go deeper and deeper, assuming that prior work is completely correct. Nothing has been, from my point of view, nailed.

Unless the charge were quite different, I’d not mention UDD at all in a briefing on LENR. At this point, with no UDD experimental evidence linking it to LENR evidence (heat and helium, no radiation), it’s confusing.


p. 31

Reanalysis of TOF Data Leads to Contradictory Results

[Hansen Int. J. Mass Spectroscopy 2016]

This is the Hansen paper. Received 18 November 2015, Accepted 20 January 2016, Available online 2 February 2016. This is an author preprint. This is the original paper critiqued. Received 10 June 2013, Revised 30 July 2013, Accepted 6 August 2013, Available online 16 August 2013.

*Holmlid’s comment on Hansen’s comment was rejected by the journal

Which means what? Hansen’s comment was quite brief and focused on a narrow aspect of the Holmlid paper. His response was longer.

Critique of Holmlid is rare, and as a result, he has built a huge collection of published papers over the years. That lack of critique does indicate a lack of interest, but it is not evidence for or against his work. That can happen for many reasons. Holmlid does not seem to be interested in engaging with critics, nor in building a community working on his line of research. His response indicates that there was no communication with him prior to the publication of the Hansen comment. That indicates a lack of professional courtesy.

None of this means that Hansen is right and his criticism of Holmlid seems thin to me. That is, Holmlid does answer the objection as to why the believed he was looking at deuterium, not protium. Could Holmlid be wrong? Of course. Anyone can make mistakes. But how likely is it?

None of this is particularly relevant to LENR, other than being fringe and possibly nuclear.

• Hansen reanalyzed TOF data using Holmlid data

Uh, the copy editor here says “Hansen reanalyzed Holmlid TOF data.”

• Laser ionizes RM, leading to Coulomb explosion
• Conservation of energy gives mv2 /2q = Ub + Ek/q

This is supposed to mean something? I’m sure it does, in context, but I’m not reading the paper to find the context, because this is all off point. If there is a relationship to LENR in the Holmlid work, they are not showing it and presenting a clear and cogent story, just snow.

• Holmlid assumes energy goes into rotational excitation, such that Ek = 630 eV
• Hansen analysis indicates data is more consistent with Hydrogen molecules being involved in Coulomb explosions, not Deuterium

Has that been definitively shown? According to whom? This work is not yet at the level where there would be serious overall review and balanced analysis. I’m not going to attempt it. It would be a major task, and it’s not important to my mission, supporting and encouraging LENR research, along the lines of what the DoE reviews actually recommended, but never implemented.

Hansen analysis casts doubts on validity of Holmlid interpretation

So could any criticism of any interpretation. I would expect a serious review to provide balance, and the basic problem here is the inclusion of the relatively unconfirmed work, with three pages, no less. They cover the objections in the third page, next. So why did they include this?


p. 32

Major caveat: Research on Ultra-dense Deuterium is Limited to One Small Group

• Work is published in mainstream, reputable journals
• ∼ 94% of the 84 articles were written by 4 authors in the same group headed by Leif Holmlid
• ∼ 88% of citations are self-citations
• No other group has reproduced the results
• No other experimental group has published a paper on ultra­ dense deuterium

Measurements has not be independently reproduced.

Apparently they ran out of funding and could not afford a copy editor.


p. 33

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion

This is another complete red herring. Often called bubble fusion, or sonofusion, this, if confirmed, would be hot fusion, not cold fusion.

• Cavitation is the process of boiling a liquid as a result of pressure reduction
• When the bubbles that form collapse, a shock wave can form capable of causing damage, e.g.
pitting on a propeller

Damaged Boat Propeller

No DoD report on LENR would be complete without an image of a damaged boat propellor. They even thoughtfully provide a Wikipedia link, just in case a reader doesn’t know what a propellor is. To be sure, that damaged propellor image is still on that page, but that’s not reliable for sourcing, they should have sourced the Creative Commons page for the image, which would give licensing information.


• Sonoluminescence is the generation of light from cavitation due to sound waves
• Acoustic cavitation fusion seeks to use these shock waves to locally heat the liquid to produce a plasma and stimulate fusion reactions

In other words, fusion through creating a very hot plasma. Not cold fusion at all. However, the description isn’t accurate. The shock waves don’t heat “the liquid,” but the contents of the bubble as it collapses. The sonoluminescence article is more informative.  


p. 34

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion – Discredited Observations

[Taleyarkhan et al. 2002]

I am not cleaning up the OCR on this, it’s not worth it. But this:

• Taleyarkhan et al. claim to have observed neutrons coincident with sonoluminescence indicative of fusion
• Internal attempts at reproduction failed to produce detectable neutrons
• External efforts by Putterman at UCLA also failed to reproduce Taleyarkhan’s results
• [Naranjo 2006] demonstrates that neutron spectra reported by Taleyarkhan not consistent with D-D
fusion, but with 252Cf source.
• An “independent confirmation” [Xu and Butt 2005], which was later determined that Taleyarkhan was deeply involved and led to findings of falsification and research misconduct

Discredited observations notwithstanding, extreme conditions do exist in collapsing bubbles

The temperature in the collapsing bubbles is controversial and not easy to measure. Some studies claim 100,000° K or more. And they keep covering this:

p. 35

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion Plausible

So? There are many approaches to classical hot fusion. Why is this relevant? (I have not cleaned up the OCR text).

See also:

Popular Science, May 13, 2016 Congress Is Suddenly Interested in Cold Fusion


Unspecified “they” is always a figment of our imagination

T is for Them :: U is for Us

Joshg is one of the most coherent writers identifiable as Planet Rossi.

On LENR Forum, he wrote:

JedRothwell wrote:

I had high hopes that I.H. would fund research. I think they would have, but they have been derailed by the lawsuit. They fired the technical staff. They may be funding a few studies, but I doubt they will contribute significant amounts of money.

So that R&D center they opened up near Raleigh headed by Antonio La Gatta is just a figment of our imagination?

This is common on Planet Rossi: “they” is fuzzy and amorphous. Genuine questions:

  • Is there an “R&D center” opened “near Raleigh”?
  • If so, who opened it?
  • What does this have to do with Industrial Heat and their plans?

First of all, see this LENR Forum report, posted by Alain Coetmeur, in May, 2016. The company in question is HMRI R&D, Inc. The Registered Agent is Paul T. Winter, very likely this CPA. This is largely meaningless, CPAs often serve as registered agents with very little involvement in the actual business. The business office shown is 13000 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513, which appears to be a 57,000 sq. foot office building, that was for sale and for lease in 2015. Other companies have the same address, so HMRI — or their accountant — may only have a small — or larger — office.

The creation filing, August 12, 2015, shows an “incorporator,” who is merely an attorney, Byron B. Kirkland with a Raleigh address, and then two initial Directors: Antonio La Gatta and John T. Vaughn, with the same address shown as is shown for the Registered Agent. These are the persons of interest.

Antonio La Gatta. La Gatta was working with R&D at TSEM, a sponsor of ICCF-19 in Padua in 2015. His sister is a manager of that company. She told the interviewer this, in May, 2015: “my brother Antonio will travel to the US to direct the new US operational units in Texas, in collaboration with MIT, Texas Tech University, Indusrial Heat [sic].”

This was a plan in May. While there may be a correct substance to it, it’s a confused rumor. “Collaboration” with MIT is meaningless. MIT is not involved with LENR. Peter Hagelstein, a professor of electrical engineering there, is. “Operational units” of what? TSEM? Perhaps HMRI is a “unit” of TSEM? As to Texas Tech, again, this would likely be a reference to the Duncan et al group there, which was announced at ICCF-19.

While a connection between Texas Tech and HMRI is certainly not impossible — they were looking for additional labs to work on the heat/helium project, beyond themselves and ENEA (Violante) in Italy — I have no information about such a connection. Industrial Heat is not connected to the Texas Tech project, which was independently funded.

However, Vaughn is an initial director. This is JT Vaughn, an officer of and investor in Industrial Heat — and a defendant in Rossi v. Darden. This news, however, does not establish that Industrial Heat “opened up a research center near Raleigh.” Cary is indeed close to Raleigh, about twelve miles. What is HMRI R&D up to?

There is some information in the Murray deposition, for which we have the full transcript. IH had a research operation, investigating various LENR approaches, and Murray reports on some of that. He testifies:

·1· · · · Q.· · Of all the systems you tested in Industrial
·2· ·Heat, were there any that you were able to validate and
·3· ·verify?
·4· · · · A.· · No.

This is thoroughly discouraging, for many. However, this, or most of this, may have been seeking to find a way for Plan A: rapid commercialization. Plan B was my name for retrenching, going back to the most basic science and nailing it. For Plan B, small results can still be very significant, even more so of the “small results” show correlations. Heat/helium is the quintessential Plan B project, because there are many supporting reports, and the vast bulk of the evidence confirms the correlation first reported by Miles in 1991. This has practically nothing to do with NiH research, which, if NiH effects are real and not artifact, would surely have some different ash. Murray goes on:

15· ·[…] And in many cases the heat that they were
16· ·producing, the excess heat, the anomalous heat was very
17· ·small.· They, they had amounts that were very small.
18· ·And so any small errors in their sensor systems or small
19· ·errors in their assumptions would mask that level.
20· · · · · · · So we went through and carefully analyzed
21· ·their data, and in a few cases we actually reproduced
22· ·their experiments.· We had two groups that in the
23· ·validation verification phase we came up with what I
24· ·would describe as nebulous results.· They weren’t
25· ·positive, but we certainly just couldn’t say here is a
·1· ·major problem that has to be overcome before we could
·2· ·legitimately verify and validate it.· And so in those
·3· ·cases we worked very closely with the inventors and
·4· ·organizations to help them do independent reproduction
·5· ·in our lab.
·6· · · · Q.· · Okay.· And those were successful
·7· ·reproductions?
·8· · · · A.· · No.· Ultimately, the reproductions, yeah, we
·9· ·didn’t find anything that had excess or anomalous heat.
15· · · · A.· · The first one was Dr. Mizuno in Japan.· That
16· ·was a plasma-based system.· And the second one, which
17· ·was very much at arms length, I did not have privy or
18· ·access to this one, was HMRI.· It was a, it was only a
19· ·partial investment into it.· And so I was kind of, me
20· ·and the rest of the engineering team were kept at arms
21· ·length.· We weren’t allowed to have access to all of
22· ·their data, so I just got summary reports and briefings
23· ·on some of the things they had done.
24· · · · Q.· · I thought you were able to reproduce their
25· ·experiments in your lab.
·1· · · · A.· · So, yeah.· No, we, what we did was, based on
·2· ·the limited knowledge we had of their system, we
·3· ·reproduced an electrolytic cell that to the best of our
·4· ·ability looked like what we had understood they were
·5· ·doing.· And we could not achieve the same results that
·6· ·they were giving us at this kind of arms length.

There is a little more description of the HMRI relationship:

25· […] Likewise with HMRI, the way the contract was
·1· ·structured, we were kind of at arms length, so we only
·2· ·got a little bit of information, and the information we
·3· ·were able to receive, we structured some experiments to
·4· ·understand it.· That was actually very late.· That was
·5· ·probably June of 2016.

There is more about HMRI, some misc findings, on Misc Mash. There is an indication that I could not confirm that an HMRI “proprietary process” was being “moved overseas.”

Back to Joshg’s claim, essentially that “IH” established HMRI “near Raleigh.” From what we have, HMRI is independent and the collaboration expected (from La Gatta’s sister) was arms-length, and limited. While there was likely some IH investment in HMRI, it was limited and it cannot be reasonably said that this Cary lab shows IH’s continued commitment to LENR research.

On Planet Rossi, though, extremely limited information is interpreted and extended and reports as fact, and then others repeat it and it becomes “well-known,” like the alleged $200 million investment by the Chinese, and then the question becomes “where did that money go,” rather than the question that would reasonably precede it, did it exist at all?

A brilliant example of all this arose on LENR Forum, it’s mentioned on the Misc Mash page.  March 2, 2016, David Nygren wrote:

Now we need to dig deeper! It is valued to over 1bn dollars?


This is not my field so please help. For you who are good at counting, do these tasks!
23M shares * $ 45 = weather over $ 1bn??

Here we have 20 companies listed (59 page / 8 Jun 2015)

Indeed, not his field. However, he does not show where the $45 came from. He links a listing of companies on a signature page for an authorization to issue Series A shares, i.e., ordinary shares, valued at $0.01 each, some for cash and some for other consideration. The total value to be alloted, I read as $11,098.78 plus $25.907.15, total $37,005.93. A tad short of $1 billion, eh?

Barty asked David what this meant. The blind leading the blind.

AlainCo provided some correct information (the $50 million investment by Woodford a few days later), but did not actually correct the Nygren error. AlainCo noted the use of different classes of shares that can allow company founders to retain control even when receiving a large investment. AlainCo’s other post on this, Mar 3, was much better but still confusing and inaccurate.

June 30, 2016, I came across the discussion, researched it, and corrected it, giving sources for everything. The Woodford investment has been incorrectly reported by news sources that apparently did not look at the original documents. Woodford invested exactly $50 million US. To be precise, Series A shares (not the original Series A, apparently, later called “ordinary shares”) were preferred shares, issued at $45.049996 per share, and two Woodford trusts bought 1,109,878 shares, which works out to $49,999,999.50. My guess is that they actually paid $50 million, so inquiring minds want to know where the extra fifty cents went.

sifferkoll immediately exploded:

are you playing stupid again Abd? I said $1bn valuation, which roughly means Woodford bought 5% of IH with $50M.

Later, I remembered the $1 billion error was sifferkoll’s, probably because of this post. My guess is that Siffer had written this on his blog — I’m not researching that now — and that Nygren had picked it up from there. Maybe. What Siffer is showing is a total lack of understanding as to how a company is valued, and what that means. Had Woodford purchased ordinary stock for $45 per share, this would have made some sense, though it would still not have created a billion dollars for Darden to somehow “disappear.” But Woodford did not do that.

My point here is that LENR Forum and those who write for it have no habit of correcting errors. We can see people coming up with false information years later, because they read it in a post, perhaps, in this case, a post by the Founder of LENR Forum. There is a reservoir of held ideas about IH and this case, based on what was stated back then based on assumptions from shallow research. “Toilet paper stock,” mentioned by Sifferkoll, is a common idea. “Shell corporations.” (But the only genuine shell corporation here is JM Products, Inc.)

Siffer wrote “Darden simply pocketed the money and made it dissappear [sic].” But what money? A billion dollars? In fact, Woodford invested $50 million and, while IH Holdings International doesn’t broadcast much detail, much of the money still exists, as cash or other holdings of IHHI (including some valuation for the Rossi License). Siffer has in mind a billion dollars that he made up, that never existed. And then there is the alleged $200 million from the Chinese, that apparently also never existed, or if it existed, it had little or nothing to do with Industrial Heat, it was Chinese money, invested in a Chinese project with very little connection with LENR, if any.

RvD: The Murray deposition

We have the entire Murray deposition, put up by Rossi as 215-03

These are notes from the deposition with my comments. The page numbers are links to the deposition page (the deposition page + 1 is the PDF page).

The first part of the deposition covers the issue of Murray’s background, and, as well, Industrial Heat’s other research. That is worthy of special attention; what is odd to me is that Rossi published the entire deposition, while Industrial Heat had it marked as Highly Confidential, and reasons for that are obvious: it could affect IH relationships with other LENR researchers, could affect the reputations of those researchers, and could damage IH relations with future researchers and inventors.

As someone highly interested in LENR, I find those matters of high interest, and will be following up on this in private conversations with the LENR community, which includes people presently or in the past associated with Industrial Heat. I do not expect to be able to publish the content of those conversations, I expect at least some of them to be embargoed. However, the LENR community needs grease, a different kind of grease than Rossi Grease.

153 On COP going up when input goes down

15· · · · Q.· · Okay.· So you’re not stating that the fact
16· ·that it was running on 37 percent of the reactors is
17· ·proof that this thing doesn’t work, are you?
18· · · · A.· · No.
19· · · · Q.· · All right.
20· · · · A.· · I’m saying that the behavior of the power in
21· ·the diagram that comes up a little bit later on, or
22· ·maybe it was before, when reactors went offline and the
23· ·COP went up is very unusual, that they would be
24· ·inversely, inversely related.

This, then, shows how the Wong report misrepresents Murray’s comment. The behavior is in a particular context, and Murray is not claiming this as a proof of non-operation. Murray is an engineer, with high experience, that’s totally obvious. He has actually worked with a megawatt power system (though he’s careful to explain that is peak power, not routine sustained power). He’s had to deal with dissipating a megawatt.)

If reactors are taken off-line and COP goes up, that would not be surprising if the reactors taken off-line were simply dissipating power, not adding to power output. So an engineer would be curious, and would investigate. Penon apparently did not answer Murray’s formal, written questions because, allegedly, he already answered them in February, 2015. But that was verbal, with no record of his answers. This was not the behavior of an experienced expert engineer, being paid to issue an “Expert” report, when asked to put his comments in writing. This is the behavior of someone hiding something, afraid of something.

COP depressed because reactors are not generating heating power would be a sign of a poor control system. A sane control system would be monitoring the output of each reactor, and adjusting input parameters accordingly, and would not allow the “dead weight” to continue more than a little.

154-16 “The contract.”

Annesser is not questioning about references to test or contract, but attempting to put the words “Guaranteed Performance Test,” or equivalent, into Murray’s mouth. It’s clear from evidence that IH did consider that some kind of test was going on in Doral. This was aside from, or additional to, the represented purpose, a sale of power and demonstration for investors.

Darden had, from evidence, told Rossi that even though the formal GPT clause had failed, they were still willing to pay for what they needed: the ability to make reactors that worked, independently, having been fully guided for this purpose, and Doral was an opportunity for Rossi to make a demonstration, showing that reactors worked. But it was not set up with appropriate monitoring and independence to serve for that purpose.

It’s reasonably clear that Darden did not, by allowing the Penon test plan we have seen — which was clearly inadequate for a genuine GPT on which $89 million would hinge — thereby approve a GPT, but only some kind of test. Had Rossi allowed full inspection and had Rossi allowed full instrumentation — even for a much shorter period — and if the Plant then continued to show high COP (even if smaller than 6.0), it would have been possible for IH to justify raising the money and paying Rossi what he wanted.

But Rossi did not allow that to happen. Annesser is grasping at straws, unintended meanings of words in emails, not actually consistent with evidence (i.e., we know that the Second Amendment failed, and Rossi knew that. If Rossi wanted a clear agreement to take its place, he could have proposed it; instead he created piles of “vague,” a Rossi specialty. Rossi put in a year of work, claimed to have risked his health, without having any clear agreement behind it, but only fuzzy thinking. He lied to IH, repeatedly and obviously — this will not escape the notice of the jury — and then his case depends on Rossi Says.

A&C are claiming that IH had no intention to pay, which is extensively contradicted by the evidence. What they have is that IH clearly considered the Second Amendment dead, which it obviously was, there is no reasonable doubt about that, and that therefore they could not be forced to pay, but could still pay if convinced that further investment was sound. This is translated by A&C to “no intention to pay.”

If Rossi was told by his lawyer (presumably Annesser) that the IH signature on the Second Amendment created a valid contract without the signature for Ampenergo, he would have grounds for legal malpractice, very expensive legal malpractice, because this is not at all in doubt.

There are conditions where the subsequent conduct of the parties can create an imputed contract, but it will be governed, not by the specific language of that failed amendment, but by the conduct itself. Any sane and ethical lawyer would advise the client to get it in writing, not to try to work around it with vague resemblances. If there were an agreement in writing, or clear evidence for an oral agreement, the possibility rises of estoppel against claiming “no agreement,” but an oral agreement could still runs into the Statute of Frauds, because this could be an agreement to be performed in more than a year (likely). (say it’s only a 350-day test, i.e., the reactor runs perfectly for the whole year, allow ten days for the report to be prepared and filed, and five days to pay on receipt of the report, that’s up to a year.)

This questioning was not about Murray’s expert experience, but about a legal issue that Murray has no real knowledge on. However, Murray could have been a witness to some kind of acknowledgement of “Guaranteed Performance Test,” but apparently has no specific knowledge, on some vague knowledge of a contract of some kind, it’s unclear what. It could be the Term Sheet, and it could be the original GPT, but translated into a voluntary relationship. Annesser does not, here ask the very specific questions to determine this.

For ordinary testing purposes, and to keep Rossi sweet, as it’s been called, IH could agree to Penon as an engineer responsible for validation, and, in general, A&C use “ERV,” because this then makes it appear to be part of a GPT process, and they use GPT to refer to Doral, as if that has been shown, and they then ask leading questions incorporating the assumptions. There is no doubt, from the test plan we have seen, that Penon was asserted as an ERV. There is no doubt that the plan gave a time duration matching the GPT. But there are other discrepancies, such as the time expiration; the original timing assumed that the Plant was ready to go as a commercial megawatt power plant and it had allegedly been tested. So it should have been “hook it up to a large radiator or a collection of small ones and fire it up.” I haven’t seen clear evidence on this (though it may be buried in the pile somewhere) but it appears that Rossi wanted, instead, to work on “improvements.” It appears that IH proposed an installation with a real customer, and Rossi rejected that because the Florida “customer” would be much more “convincing.” Yeah, right. That was where he was deceiving IH as to Johnson Matthey’s involvement, and that, again, will be totally obvious to a jury, if Jones Day is careful how they present their case.

(They have an embarrassment of evidence, way too much story to tell, whereas the jury will need a clear and simple story to follow, as simple as possible. This is where high-priced lawyers earn those fees. This can take high skill, even if the evidence is reasonably clear. Evidence does not “speak for itself,” I’ve read that trope dismantled by legal experts. Evidence will be read in a context, the mindset of the reader, and what the evidence “says” is then derived according to that mindset.)

Murray does not fall for the Annesser gambit, he explicitly denies that his comment about a test was about the “Guaranteed Performance Test.”

156-11: Consultant and advisor or ERV?

Annesser is creating room for doubt. Basically, IH probably did not tell Rossi, early on, that they had not agreed to Penon as “ERV” for a “Guaranteed Performance Test,” though they also did not object, apparently, when Penon referred to himself as ERV and to a test of 350 or 400 days. Rossi makes much of this in his own arguments, that they didn’t tell him. However, they didn’t tell him, in writing, what they could infer that he obviously knew: the Second Amendment had failed (“cancelled” was Rossi’s word for it), so the original GPT failed because not timely performed, and this was obvious since the test was not begun in 2013, unless IH formally waived the requirement. (If IH waived the requirement without Ampenergo consent, they’d have an issue to work out with Ampernergo, probably by paying them anyway).

IH knew that Rossi was hair-trigger. Annesser, above, even uses that, claiming that an otherwise normally reasonable requiest, allowed under the Term Sheet, was an attempt to provoke Rossi. I.e., Annesser is looking for blame, instead of fact. In this ERV discussion, he’s asking a leading question (And Lomax — no relation — properly objects.) Annesser is grandstanding, though we could also say that he’s fishing for wabbits. Murray doesn’t give him one, only the mouse of “probably they didn’t tell him.”

Of course, they wouldn’t tell him! Until it became necessary! It had become necessary for IH to have a fully-competent and highly-experience engineer inspect the Plant. So they would take the risk of irritating Rossi. Rossi, in fact, responded in a way that sealed it for them: they could not approve of this “test.” No matter what the “ERV” wrote; as it developed, the monitoring was not only inadequate on general principles, it did not follow the written test plan (though I don’t yet find that completely clear).

The Term Sheet provided a supposedly independent check on power, i.e., the customer was to monitor power delivered and report this to IH. However … this apparently depended only on Rossi reports of the number of operating reactors, not actual power, instead, nominal power, and then the Penon report depended on data provided by Rossi. It was all Rossi Says. For IH to allow this as a Rossi idea, letting Rossi do what he wanted to do, as far as what he openly disclosed, not much problem, only a little expensive. To allow this mess as an $89 million “GPT”? Preposterous. Rossi had tossed them a carrot, $1000 a day for power. They didn’t care about that, it’s obvious. Chicken feed.

What Annesser suggests might have been told to Rossi was not even true. They were not contesting Penon as an ERV, but as the ERV for a GPT. They were paying, I understand, a share of the Penon consulting fee, not as “ERV” for a “GPT” but as a consultant to “LI,” i.e., Leonardo Corporation but probably thinking “Leonardo, Inc.”

159-20: Flow meter below minimum rated flow

·3· · · · Q.· · I’m sorry.· The minimum flow rate was above
·4· ·the average flow reported by Dr. Penon, you conclude
·5· ·that all of the volume flow rate sensor measurements are
·6· ·invalid?
·7· · · · A.· · That’s correct.
·8· · · · Q.· · What happens when you fall below the minimum
·9· ·flow rate?
10· · · · A.· · These devices are designed to operate with a
11· ·full, completely full pipe.· And they’re actually
12· ·designed to have a valve on both sides of them.· And
13· ·when the flow meters operate below that, you can get
14· ·inconsistent results.· For example, you can actually
15· ·have just a very minor amount of water in the channel,
16· ·and it can turn the turbine wheel to indicate a much,
17· ·much higher volume.
18· · · · · · · So this particular meter was actually
19· ·designed for a flow rate, a nominal average flow rate of
20· ·about 40 meters cubed per hour, but it was operated
21· ·below its minimum point.· So you can’t make a valid
22· ·measurement when it’s operated below the minimum point.
23· · · · Q.· · Okay.· Let’s talk about this for just a
24· ·minute.· To begin, when it is operating within its
25· ·minimum and maximum flow rate, this, this meter, what is
·1· ·the margin of error?
·2· · · · A.· · The, these devices, it’s, it depends upon if
·3· ·you’re in the transitional region or you’re above it.
·4· ·You, I would have to look at the type certification from
·5· ·the manufacturer to know.
·6· · · · Q.· · But you don’t know sitting here today for
·7· ·this particular device?
·8· · · · A.· · No.
·9· · · · Q.· · Okay.· Now, if you operate outside, is it
10· ·your understanding that the margin of error increases?
11· · · · A.· · Yes.

Annesser wants Murray to say he can’t say that the Penon data is “wrong.” And, of course, he can’t say that. What he did was to point out that it was unreliable. In addition, he doesn’t mention this, but by using the flow meter well below the expected average flow, accuracy was lost, this was in addition to error cause by flow being below rating. It seems that this meter has dials indicating higher resolution for flow than what is immediately visible. These were, apparently, not used. This all led to very fuzzy flow numbers, not showing normal variation, thus increasing suspicion that something is in error. Not proof. But an ERV report for a formal Performance Test, one would expect, would be as close to proof as possible. Not merely sorta-kinda-coulda.

There is another reason for considering that the Penon data was somehow terribly in error, what I have called the “room calorimeter.” A running megawatt reactor will heat the space containing it. One way to confirm the heat would have been, in fact, to run a calibrated heat exchanger, with measured air flow and measured air temperature rise. And this would have been part of a JMP system for measuring delivered power. While Rossi has of late claimed there was a heat exchanger, there was no claimed monitoring of it.

12· · · · Q.· · Okay.· Did you ever do any testing on the
13· ·actual flow meter that was used for the Doral facility
14· ·350-day test, what we’re calling the guaranteed
15· ·performance test?
16· · · · A.· · The —
17· · · · · · · MR. LOMAX:· Objection to the form of the
18· · · ·question.
19· · · · · · · MR. ANNESSER:· What’s the objection?
20· · · · · · · MR. LOMAX:· To the extent that it gets into
21· · · ·any kind of attorney work product or attorney-client
22· · · ·privileged information.
23· · · · Q.· · Okay.· Go ahead and answer, sir.
24· · · · A.· · Repeat the question.
25· · · · Q.· · Did you do any testing on the actual flow
·1· ·meter used during the guaranteed performance test?
·2· · · · A.· · No.· That flow meter was taken by Mr. Penon
·3· ·back to Italy —
·4· · · · Q.· · Okay.
·5· · · · A.· · — at the end of the test.· I took pictures
·6· ·of it and collected data on what it was.

When an attorney first saw that the instruments had been taken by Penon, he made a one-word comment. Spoliation. This was compounded, later, by Rossi removing the piping (making it impossible to measure pipe slope and to verify details of piping around the flow meter, and then the claimed heat exchanger, making it impossible to confirm its existence, given a complete lack of photos of it, or other testimony as to its existence, even though aspects of that existence would have been obvious. And then Penon destroyed his raw data. Penon, rather obviously, did not provide raw data in his Report. His figure for pressure was likely not what was a provided to him, the pressure gauge readings, and those were, themselves, recorded with extremely poor precision (like the temperature readings). He converted absolute readings to barg, apparently, while retaining the label “bar,” which was preposterous.

This was an engineering nightmare. Fiabiani refused to provide the raw data, and that had to have been deliberate. He promised to provide a “report,” but he was not actually obligated to provide a report, that was his excuse for not turning over a copy of the raw data. Then he claims to have erased it all. This was either deliberate spoliation or terminal ignorance; and in any case, it made it far more difficult for IH to review the data and determine if it might be defective. That is spoliation in effect even if not deliberately. Apparently, though, Fabiani was warned, and decided to cast his lot with Rossi rather than with his contractual obligations.

·7· · · · Q.· · Okay.· I’d like to ask you to turn to Page 9
·8· ·of 39 of Exhibit 7.
·9· · · · A.· · Uh-huh.
10· · · · Q.· · And you continue to discuss the flow meter
11· ·here I believe.· And the last sentence of the paragraph
12· ·on this page states, “In addition, we have estimated
13· ·that the visible portion of the pipe has about five
14· ·elbows and one DN40 valve.”
15· · · · A.· · Uh-huh.
16· · · · Q.· · What are elbows?
17· · · · A.· · Elbows are pipe elbows.· So right angle or
18· ·45-degree angle turns in a pipe.
19· · · · Q.· · Okay.· Where were those elbows that you
20· ·were —
21· · · · A.· · On the inside of the container on the steam
22· ·side.
23· · · · Q.· · On the steam side, okay.
24· · · · A.· · Yeah.
25· · · · Q.· · How do you know what the inside looked like?
·1· · · · A.· · Because at the end of the test you and I and
·2· ·everybody else there had an opportunity to walk through
·3· ·and take pictures of and inspect everything on the
·4· ·inside of the container.
·5· · · · Q.· · On the steam, on the — I’m sorry.
·6· · · · A.· · I’m saying on the reactor.
·7· · · · Q.· · Okay.
·8· · · · A.· · It should be located —
·9· · · · Q.· · On the reactor?
10· · · · A.· · Yeah.· Near —
11· · · · Q.· · Okay.
12· · · · A.· · — the BF units at the back of the reactor,
13· ·all of the pipes coming off were what I believe are
14· ·DN40, 40-millimeter pipes.· I actually have a picture of
15· ·a pipe joint that actually flags it as a DN40.
16· · · · Q.· · Okay.· And those feed into a larger pipe,
17· ·correct?
18· · · · A.· · They feed into a main, and then the main goes
19· ·across to the Johnson Matthey facility.
20· · · · Q.· · Okay.· So, okay.· So here you’re talking
21· ·about the steam flow —
22· · · · A.· · Yeah.· We’re talking —
23· · · · Q.· · — that was —
24· · · · A.· · Yeah.
25· · · · Q.· · Okay.

Looks like Annesser was thinking of the elbows being in the Customer area or on the return side.

Notice that Murray says “Johnson Matthey facility.” He had been told, I’m sure, that the “real customer” was Johnson Matthey, which is what Rossi, at the same time as saying “our customer is JM Chemicals, Inc,” a Florida corporation, led IH to believe was the real customer behind JM products, the owner concealed by the corporation shell operated by Johnson. Johnson’s OFAC declaration that the owner was a “U.K. entity” was obviously designed to continue this deception. As we now know for sure, there was no “U.K. entity.” It was allegedly a plan, and stating a plan in a declaration like that is a lie.

Annesser doesn’t seem to notice the mention of what was known to as “JM” in the early negotiations.



Minds open brains not falling out?

First of a sequence of comments on Lomax’s recent blog here on Shanahan’s review of Storms posted in LENR Forum.

Lomax writes:

Ah, Shahanan, obsessed with proof, lost science somewhere back. Science is about evidence, and testing evidence, not proof, and when our personal reactions colour how we weigh evidence, we can find ourselves way out on a limb. I’m interested in evidence supporting funding for research, and it is not necessary that anything be “proven,” but we do look at game theory and probabilities, etc.

I agree with Lomax’s second statement here. Science is exactly about weighing evidence. And I understand the explicitly acknowledged bias: Lomax wants more research in this area. I disagree with the statement that “Shanahan is obsessed with proof”. It would be accurate to say that Shanahan, both implicitly and explicitly, is looking for a much higher standard of evidence than Lomax. There is no proof in science but when evidence reaches an amount that overwhelms prior probabilities we think something is probably true. 99.99% and we call it proof. The numbers are arbitrary – some would set the bar to 99.9999% but this does not matter much because of the exponential way that probabilities combine.

Let us see in detail how this works. Continue reading “Minds open brains not falling out?”

Shanahan’s Folly, in Color

Well, a little color. As covered in It was an itsy-bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot error, Kirk Shanahan digitised a chart from page 87 of Storms, The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction, even though the data was on the next page in Table 7. Ah, well, you do what you need to do.

So, today, I loaded the data in to a spreadsheet, and here it is, ODS, and if you need another format, ask. The first plot shows all the data, and looks like the Storms plot, but with a little extra and without the 23.8 MeV/He line; that is equivalent to about 2.6 x 10^11 He atoms/watt-sec.

Continue reading “Shanahan’s Folly, in Color”

With friends like this, does LENR need enemies?

On LENR Forum, kirkshanahan wrote:

It seems Krivit has issued me a challenge (Kirk Shanahan, Can You Explain This?) but provided no way to respond. So I’ll do it here…

My first answer is: Probably, what exactly do you need explained?

That was, of course, a direct answer to Krivit’s actual question. The post is undated, but it’s the latest “Recent News Article” at this point.

Krivit takes Fig. 1 from 1993Fleischmann-Pons-PLA-Simplicity and adds some lines to it to make the displayed figure.

And Fleischmann asks the question himself:

One can therefore pose the question: “How can it be that the temperature of the cell contents increases whereas the enthalpy input decreases with time. 9” Our answer to this dilemma naturally has been: “There is a source of enthalpy in the cells whose strength increases with time.” At a more quantitative level one sees that the magnitudes of these sources are such that explanations in terms of chemical changes must be excluded.

But Krivit is asking the question of Shanahan. Why? Slow news day? We know that Shanahan has alternative explanations, and most LENR researchers and students have rejected them, but what could be useful is a detailed and careful examination of them. Krivit refers in an update to Shanahan’s response, but it is more or less as expected, and Krivit does not address the issues.

Apparently he is unable to understand why the temperature can increase and the voltage decrease over time in the cell without excess energy from LENR being the cause.

For starters, Krivit refers to the plot of voltage as if it is a plot of power input. He’s not incorrect, because the experiment is likely constant current, in which case power will track voltage, but simply showing a voltage plot will not communicate that to a reader. There are also issues of possible bubble noise that could cause an error in measuring power. That has been addressed to my own satisfaction, but the point is that the matter is not as simple as Krivit imagines. To him, that plot would be a proof — proof, I tell you — of LENR. But it’s not going to convince any skeptic, without serious study. And I haven’t seen any converts from that plot. Shanahan went on:

I would suggest he read the section of my whitepaper discussing the flaws in the F&P calorimetric method. THH conveniently posted a link (Mar 2nd 2017 post #92 in thread “Validity of LENR Science…[split]” “Kirk’s white paper answering Marwan et al:…b1doPc3otVGFUNDZKUDQ/view) to it. Then think it through while chanting “CCS CCS CCS”.

Kirk does not know how to make links work. When text is copied, as he did, the link may look like a link, but it’s been munged with those ellipses in the middle. It is one of the little joys of LF software. Rather, follow the link and then copy the full URL from the browser bar. Shanahan also could have copied the link to that post 92, the date stamp is a link that can be copied. That’s what I do. The post number is also a link.

Here is his white paper.

BTW, there are other reasons besides ATER/CCS for this as well (and I suspect the cause of the drift shown in the Figure is actually not ATER, that comes later in the paper). Ask an electrochemist.

Shanahan has never successfully shown actual flaws in the Fleischmann calorimetry; rather, he has alternate hypotheses, unconfirmed. However, this could deserve careful discussion here. The LF style sequential commentary doesn’t lead anywhere but to useless smoke.

We have to assume constant current for the discussion to make sense. Fleischmann doesn’t actually say that the input is from a constant current supply, but gives the current as 400 mA.

Krivit responded to Shanahan, but didn’t.

April 28, 2017 Update: Shananah’s response: “Probably.” [That’s the extent of Shanahan’s explanation. He provided no specific details as to how the cell temperature steadily rises while the input power steadily decreases over several days in this graph. Dr. Shanahan, if you want to reply further, please send your comments to the contact page here. I will publish them so long as your reply is specific and exclusive to this graph and your response reflects professional etiquette.]

Krivit does not answer Shanahan’s question … at all.

The input voltage shows a decreasing trend, not the power, that’s what the plot shows. And this is not “steadily.” (Nor is the temperature “steadily” increasing.) But, yes, we know that this is a decreased power input. Shanahan simply pointed to his paper. Does it propose mechanisms? Well, “CCS” is Shanahan’s code word for an effective shift in cell calibration caused by unexpected recombination or a shift in where recombination occurs. Some such shift, as an example, could indeed cause an effect as shown. As well, shifts in loading could create such effects. How large is the effect?

At 4.9 V and 400 mA, the input power is about 1.96 W. The claimed XP is 115 mW by the end of day 6, or about 5.9% of input power. In an SRI series, this would be considered barely reportable. However, FP calorimetry was reputed to be quite precise, on the level of 0.1 mW.

Why is the voltage going down? With constant current, the cell resistance is going down, so the power supply lowers the voltage to keep current constant. Here is my stab at it:

Water is being split into deuterium and oxygen. That’s endothermic. Then the deuterium is absorbed by the cathode. That is exothermic initially, but moves toward endothermic as loading reaches the values necessary for the FP Heat Effect. Fleischmann-Pons calculations include these issues (or they would not be accurate; these are open cells, not cells with a recombiner where the potential energy created when deuterium and oxygen are dissociated. If there is an unexpected shift in this chemistry, the XP values would be incorrect. Ideally, the gases are measured, and loading is monitored. It’s complex. This is not a job for Steve Knee-Jerk.

And it’s not a job for me, either, unless I’m prepared to put a lot of time into it. I would much prefer to see a careful discussion here, with THH and, I’d hope, Shanahan, and others, as well; here, I’d organize this so that useful content is created. He is totally free and invited to comment here. THH has author privileges and I’d give them to Kirk as well, in appreciation for his years of service as the Necessary Skeptic.

THH wrote:

Going back to the original post. LENR advocates would I think agree that they get relatively little scientific critiques from mainstream scientists, or indeed anyone who is technically competent and highly skeptical, so interested in finding holes in arguments.

All this is symptomatic that this is debate, not scientific investigation, where “sides” are arrayed against each other, rehashing old issues, with issues never being fully resolved, with true consensus being elusive. To me, the big disappointment was the 2004 U.S. DoE review. It was superficial and hasty, like much with LENR. The review made claims pretending to be reports that were not supported by the review paper evidence (that were actually contradictory to it). The review process obviously did not include serious, interactive analysis of data, where errors would be corrected, instead they were allowed to stand.

The review did agree that further research was warranted, and half the panel considered that the anomalous heat was real, i.e., at least there is an anomaly — or collection of them — to investigate. If the DoE had actually been paying serious attention, they would have established a LENR desk. For their part, the review paper authors made no specific request. So they got no specific result. Funny how that works.

They need that. So I find no excuse for the process Kirk notes in the first posts here. Marwan et al may believe they have settled Kirk’s points. More likely (and my judgement reading the source material) they have partially addressed them.

… and possibly in a somewhat misleading way. However, the context is important. Kirk had been criticising LENR research strongly, on the internet, since the 1990s. I attempted to search for his posts on vortex-l, but that list is archived in zipfiles that Google does not search. Practically useless, typical Beatty.

Kirk’s points were answered again and again. To his mind, those answers were inadequate. I met Kirk on Wikipedia in 2009, when I first started investigating cold fusion. I saw him as the last standing major critic. I attempted to support examination of his ideas. I found him hostile and combative. I also attempted to present his ideas on Wikiversity. He cooperated with none of it.

If there are errors on Wikiversity, anyone could correct them.

The way to elucidate this is for them to defend their work against critiques of their defence – not to ignore the critiques of the defence and answer only the original points. Kirk similarly of course, but in this case I have noticed this phenomena less, he picks up on nearly all of the points made by Marwan et al.

His Letter to JEM was the last stand of published LENR critique. He has complained that JEM would not publish his final reply. This would be an editorial decision, not that of the scientists who replied to him, called the “Marwan” critique. Marwan and Krivit were the original authors, and Krivit dropped out, claiming editorial misbehavior. Vintage Krivit.

The Letter contained gross errors, so bad that the respondents did not even address them (and apparently did not understand them), and it was on a crucial point, Shanahan claiming to have analyzed data in a chart published by Storms, finding low correlation between heat and helium, when the chart actually shows quite the opposite. Shanahan had misunderstood the chart, which showed the scatter in heat/helium results, so the x-axis was heat and the y-axis was helium/heat. As the operating hypothesis is that there is an experimental ratio between heat and helium, that this may be a constant except for experimental error, what is actually shown is that as heat increases, the ratio settles, as would be expected from the lessening effect of fixed experimental errors. If the experimental data were perfect, there would be no correlation between heat and helium/heat. It took a long time before Shanahan admitted he had erred. His first response when I pointed it out to him was on the lines of “You will do anything to cling to your beliefs.” Pot, meet kettle.

That is water under the bridge.

From such a to and fro one can obtained a balanced view of the likely validity of each point. Normally both sides end up agreeing, or at least agreeing that areas of disagreement require further work. Typically what happens here is that points made are valid for a specific set of circumstances, and elucidating whether than covers the matters of interest takes time and effort.

The issue here is not primarily about who is right in this exchange. It is about how you convince independent observers that you are right.

Anyone with that goal has left science and is dwelling in politics and attachments. The assumption THH is operating on is adversarial, not collaborative. It’s also personal. Convince others “that you are right.

I prefer to set up process that will facilitate finding consensus, which may include creating new experimental results to clarify issues. There is a place in this for review and discussion of what has already been done, and I hope that this can take place here, but Wikiversity could also be appropriate.

See Cold fusion

Skeptical arguments


Many interested in cold fusion complain about Wikipedia suppression, but few, hardly any, would participate on Wikiversity, I found, which has standards much more like those of academia, it is not an “encyclopedia,” but more like an eclectic combination of university library, seminars, and studies, including student work.

In theory, then, Wikipedia would link to Wikiversity for “further study.” That would be standard, but was always suppressed by the dominant faction on Wikipedia. It is one of the actions of that faction that would not have been supported by the full Wikipedia community, but they got away with it because of lack of attention and clear stand, lack of unity and collaboration among supporters of cold fusion, or such collaboration expressed not in accordance with Wikipedia policies. Basically, the faction banned the editors with the editorial skills needed (such as myself and pcarbonn). They were about personal winning, and not actually aligned with Wikipedia policy.

In any case, I have uploaded the documents here:

The Marwan et al response to Shanahan

The Shanahan white paper

Why scientists oppose cold fusion

This appeared on Peter Gluck’s blog. It was based on a private CMNS list conversation, I think I can reveal that. Ed Storms gave permission for Peter to publish it (as Ed normally does). If others give permission for me to publish their private comments, I will, but this is what was on EGO OUT. My comments are in indented italics.

Inspired by ALAN SMITH who will speak about “Why Scientists Oppose Cold Fusion” at a conference at April, 30 invited by Prof. Huw Price
Event already announced by this blog


Edmund Storms’ opinion/answer to Alan Smith’s presentation to come

Alan, this is a good question that needs a straight answer. New ideas are always rejected initially. Normally, this rejection is half-hearted and short-lived. In the case of cold fusion, the rejection was clearly orchestrated and has been sustained.

Ed has become cynical and often despairing. There was a level of organization to the rejection, but that was not the only factor; the rejection was natural, in many ways, and ascribing causation to a conspiracy that existed (rather openly) misses the deeper causes and, to the extent that this became a common reaction in the LENR research community, it disempowered it, because the true failures were then overlooked and what could have and — I’d say “should have” — been the community response was, for the most part, reactive instead of collaborative.

To understand this strong opposition, we need to consider how the energy resulting from cold fusion would threaten and destabilize the world-wide energy economies. This economic system is so large and so connected with the economic life of nations that the threat had to be fought. In other words, the response is based on self-interest and not on the difficulty in understanding the phenomenon. The people in charge know full well that given enough resources, science will eventually master LENR. This success would clearly result in economic chaos. That threat has not changed.

This sets up a very-likely-imaginary view of the “enemies of LENR,” and assigns them vast power as well as high motivation. Struggling against that confuses us and is a formula for failure. Instead of understanding the skepticism, and cooperating with it, taking it as a reality to be addressed clearly and with confidence in the ultimate prevalence of truth — which we have no monopoly on — we created and maintained an idea that it was all useless, because “they” would not let us succeed.

“Just because you are paranoid does not mean that they aren’t out to get you,” is not a confirmation of the “truth” of paranoia, and it does not matter what “they” do, it matters what we do. Conspiracy theories are associated with losers, not because there is no conspiracy, but because the idea that there is, if it is allowed to dominate our thinking, is guaranteed to disempower us.

Evidence for this conclusion can be found when the nations and industries that are now investigating this energy source are examined. The two countries desperately in need of clean energy, Japan and China, have major programs and the companies developing megacomputer servers are interested.

Japanese funding for LENR research is thin. This is not clear evidence for the “conclusion,” it is weak, circumstantial, and probably misleading.

These countries and industries are interested because they have a self-interest that over rides the potential threat. I predict success by these efforts will force the rest of the countries and companies to develop the energy source as a means of self defense.

A major breakthrough anywhere would lead to such effects. This is Plan A. A hope of this was behind the level of support for Rossi’s work that arose in the CMNS community. It was argument from conclusions, and we abandoned, to the extent that we did this, ordinary scientific skepticism and reserve. We abandoned the normal necessity of truly independent confirmation, some of us. Plan B, is my term for the ordinary process of science, as recommended by both U.S. DoE reviews (but not funded by them, probably due to political forces). Plan B is not reactive and is not designed to “prove” anything, but to confirm — or disconfirm –, with increased precision, what has already been reported, with a special focus on what is already independently confirmed, i.e., on research very likely to generate useful results, not speculative.

Plan B is the follow-up research, the process of replication of experimental results. It is not “replication” that is actually vague confirmation of a class of results, without being specific and measurable, i.e., “some anomalous heat” — but unreliable — or “some nuclear result” — but not correlated with heat. Plan B takes the best research and attempts to improve precision, to expand confirmation, to general results that can be analyzed and compared statistically.

In other words, rejection has put off the day of reckoning but it has not eliminated the problem. Therefore, the threat needs to be understood and solved because this energy will eventually be available on a commercial scale. Unless introduction of this energy into the system is done in an effective way, chaos will surely result. The energy industry needs to figure out how to prevent this chaos rather than reject the idea because rejection is no longer working.

This is the thinking behind the suspicion, generally among supporters of Andrea Rossi, that Industrial Heat’s goal was to destroy Rossi’s reputation, to suppress his technology, argued with a justification that some Industrial Heat investors have investments in or have consulted with regard to solar energy. This would allegedly demolish their solar energy investments. Much more clearly, though, if they were successful with LENR, and owning licenses, the profits would dwarf any possible losses with solar power. The same argument applies to oil companies: some of them have supported LENR research, which could be viewed as a hedge. Viewing a competing technology as a threat rather than as an opportunity is a formula for ultimate failure. Sane investors see opportunities, not threats, as such. (They will see how variant technologies will alter the overall economics, and will balance risks and possibilities.) I doubt that Toyota stopped funding Pons in France because of this “threat.” Rather, the results did not have the clear commercial implications that might have been needed for continued funding.

Meanwhile, the phenomenon is a challenge to understand in the context of conventional nuclear interaction.

It is not a “conventional nuclear interaction,” so, of course! We don’t know what it is, even if some of us think we do. We know what it does, but not how it does it.  If we converse with the skeptics from a position that we understand the mechanism, it better be good! and not merely a speculation with many missing pieces, details to be filled in later.

This challenge is attracting young minds who will eventually discover how LENR works.

That skips a very necessary step. Ed’s focus on “figuring out how it works,” i.e., the detailed mechanism, when the reality of the effect has not been clearly and unmistakeably nailed down and demonstrated so that those young minds are not facing career suicide through an interest in LENR, puts the cart before the horse. The horse is — or will be — fully confirmed and published experimental reality, then creating something needing explanation, even if that is difficult, even if it might take the combined mainstream scientific community decades to develop.

It is not necessary to satisfy everyone. It is only necessary to satisfy funding sources (as we have seen with the Texas Tech heat/helium initiative) and develop peer-review-published cover for academics to 

This process is being accelerated by the increasing amount of information that is easily available on the web. The conventional journals no longer have the power to control information. In fact, LENR is part of the revolution in understanding that is now underway on the web involving many unconventional ideas.

It is essential for the breakthrough that will lead to adequate acceptability for LENR research, that will open the doors for graduate students to choose LENR study, that work be published in the journal system. It is possible that if true suppression continues, this could be challenged to break the back of it, but it is not clear that true suppression continues. Many CMNS scientists stopped submitting articles to major journals. It’s understandable, but it is not helpful overall.

So the message is; change is underway, either adapt or die.

We are all going to die. Adaptation allows us to live powerfully until we die.

Blaming the skeptics (and the “enemies of LENR”) is a failed strategy. I see nothing in Ed’s analysis that provides guidance for moving forward. Ed has made some quite interesting discoveries that may be related to his theories, but that do not depend on them. It is taking years for this work to be confirmed or disconfirmed. Why? Some of it is quite simple.

For example, excess heat in the Fleischmann-Pons experiment has long been correlated — or suspected to be correlated — with electrolyte temperature. However, heating the electrolyte has been avoided because it then leads to lowered COP, if the heating is done directly. Avoiding low COP was a reaction to skepticism. In fact, raising electrolyte temperature only requires continuous input power due to losses, and this is easily controlled and the effect on calorimetry is well-known, and heat-reduction calorimetry can be used, to maintain constant temperature, and constant temperature reduces the experimental variables, leading to improved understanding.

And Ed found that if the electrolyte temperature was maintained, elevated, though below boiling, anomalous heat continued even if electrolysis current was shut down. This was actually “heat after death,” but because of the input power for heating, might not be seen as such. However, with insulation, if desired, the temperature maintenance power could be reduced and with good enough insulation and with enough anomalous power, input power might actually be eliminated entirely, requiring temperature control through cooling.

That continued anomalous power did not depend on “current density,” i.e., electrolytic power, appeared contrary to prior studies. But it is possible. Has this been confirmed — or disconfirmed? Not to my knowledge.

No goal, no go, just drift

One of our best conversations here started with this commentary by THH on a blog post with a frivolous title, Touch and go at the Planet Rossi spaceport.

I’m interested in the U of Texas work. But there are many subtleties about how to eliminate mundane explanations. How sure are you that they are looking at this more rigorously than LENR typical?

Okay, one question or issue at a time. How sure am I? While Stuff Can Happen — even masters at a craft can make mistakes — there are, indeed, some masters involved, professionals, highly experienced, and fully aware of the history of LENR and, my sense, fully aware of what is needed for a LENR breakthrough. I’m a bit concerned about lack of recent communication, but this merely a reminder to self to make it happen. Continue reading “No goal, no go, just drift”

Validity of LENR Science

I tend to write about what is in front of my face. On LENR Forum, digressions on the thread, Rossi v. Darden developments Part 2, were finally split to new threads. So the following appears as if it were a new post. I will get to the topic at #Validity, after looking at the administrative aspects.  Continue reading “Validity of LENR Science”

Pseudoskepticism vs Skepticism: Case studies:

There are some resident skeptics on LENR Forum. There is no clear dividing line between “skeptic” and “person interested in science.” However, pseudoskepticism, by the name, imitates genuine skepticism. The core of it is skepticism toward the claims and views of others, combined with apparent certainty — or at least practical certainty — toward one’s own beliefs. A pseudoskeptic may often assert that, no, they don’t believe in their own beliefs, but this is simply denial, and the belief is obvious to the discerning and knowledgeable.

“Pseudoskeptic” is not a complete description of any person. No argument is wrong because it is advanced by a pseudoskeptic and, in fact, most pseudoskeptics hew toward the mainstream, and a result of that could be that there is a substantial possibility that they are right. Continue reading “Pseudoskepticism vs Skepticism: Case studies:”

Conversations: Simon Derricutt 2

Continuing the conversation:

(Abd comments in indented italics.)

Simon Derricutt wrote:

Abd – my memory runs a bit different than most, I think. When I was designing digital circuits I found I needed to know far more than my brain could actually hold, and of course the half-life of knowledge in electronics design was somewhere around 18 months then. I needed to have a lot of books (and later on CDs) open at the same time to be able to check on precise details of any particular component. I thus learnt to hold only the important points and an index in my head, and I really only needed to be able to find the information quickly. These days I tend to only note the important points and rely on a search to find the source data.

Of course. Especially as we age, holding a lot of information as readily accessible becomes more and more difficult. However, key concept: it is still there if it has been seen. Then intuition functions to bring up associations with it. It’s crucial to recognize the fuzziness of all this. Intuition provides indications based on that massive association engine, the human brain. Then we verify and confirm (or correct), and each time we do that, our “understanding” — a fuzzy concept, generally — becomes deeper.

As such, I noted the fact of the cloud-chamber experiment, and that it was stated at the time that the Nickel was the obvious source (tracks have one end on the Nickel) and that it decayed over a couple of hours. I will need to search for that source again. Krivit mentions it in your link, but not in the detail I remember. As you say, though, Piantelli did keep secrets – maybe in the hope of achieving a working system first. Since cloud-chambers were used initially as a quantitative test, some of the disclaimers seem a bit odd.

I cited the apparent original publication. In addition, as I mentioned, Krivit has it. There are two photos, showing two tracks, both originating in the nickel. The cloud chamber examination was two months after the experiment, so they would not have, in a short time, been able to see the decay you remember. I think others have assumed that the cloud chamber examination was prompt, so maybe you read this elsewhere. One of the problems in the field is a lack of clean-up. I worked on a Wikiversity resource where that could happen, but there has been, so far, little interest and participation. Posts on this blog can be cleaned up, but that is going to require wider participation. “Journalists” like Krivit are interested in the flash, not so much in building reliable resoruces; Krivit will sometimes add a note about an error, leaving what was based on it prominent and obvious (and in error) while the correction is obscure.

Maybe I’ve spent too much time reading comments on the blogs, but the general impression I get there at least is that something dramatic is needed to reverse the rejection.

Yes, that opinion is common. As to too much time, the harm is only if you believe what you read as accurate; even when the general sense is sound, the details are often off. I’ve often been accused of nit-picking, but if you’ve got nits, you’ve got lice. In an academic environment, courtesy would be to thank people for corrections! There has been a search for the dramatic for about 27 years. As my trainer would say, “How’s it workin’ for ya?”

Instead of accepting what we had, and then using ordinarily scientific techniques to study it, to characterize it, to create data that can be subjected to statistical analysis, etc., too many kept changing their protocols, looking for something better than what Nature was revealing. This created a vast pile of essentially anecdotal evidence.

Miles went beyond that (and so did McKubre and SRI). There is a lost performative in much of the thinking of the cold fusion community: convincing to whom? Once there was the idea of a vast rejection cascade, the mass of “mainstream scientists,” who must be convinced, a paradox was set up: a rejection cascade means that a general consensus has formed of bogosity, and such a consensus requires truly extraordinary evidence to overturn, and “extraordinary evidence” has been misunderstood to mean some specific demonstration that simply can’t be explained any other way than by a nuclear reaction. Yet such demonstrations have existed for many years. The vast majority of them are not reliable, i.e., there is no specific protocol to follow that will generate the effect, that is both convincing and easily replicable. If it is not easy to replicate, and with the expectation of bogosity, who will bother?

Absolutely, a reliable high-heat experiment that could be reduced to a reliable kit, if it is inexpensive, would manage the revolution. Got one? You mention the Nanor and a possible price of $30,000. If that is a fair price, this thing is far, far too expensive for something reported to generate a few milliwatts. Few would buy it, if any, but IH might — and, in fact, I would not be surprised to find out that they have already arranged independent testing. They are working with Hagelstein and the connection between Hagelstein and Swartz is close enough that Hagelstein would not talk with me, because Swartz. He did not explain, but it was obvious.

If a “believer” buys such a kit, tries it, and confirms heat, what then? The report would not be trusted, unless it was very unusual for a cold fusion report, and could be confirmed without buying another device. But if the kit comes with an NDA, this is useless (though a prohibition against dismantling it could be acceptable, if the heat levels are high enough).

This is the bottom line: Plan A does not require public support, it basically asks us to do nothing until the Home Depot product appears, or the like, a true, available, commercial product. So great. I can enjoy the weather or whatever, politics, how about carbohydrates in human diet?

Relying on Plan A is disempowering! It more or less assumes that nothing can be done, but someone (Rossi? Who?) will save us. If what Fleischmann thought was correct, i.e., that it would take a Manhattan-scale project to commercialize cold fusion, we might be waiting a long time. Who is going to invest billions without a solid science foundation?

Pointing out how accurately P+F could measure heat flows, or the correlation in Miles, just leaves the sceptics still sceptical.

Again, by being fuzzy about whom we would seek to convince, we leave ourselves up the creek without a paddle. First of all, if we care about science, we must be skeptics. It’s essential to the method. Secondly, it is not necessary to try to change the minds of skeptics. Behind this is an idea that they are wrong, and if you believe someone is wrong, you will almost certainly have damaged access to them. What can be done is to ask skeptics to review evidence, to suggest experimental tests, to help design good work. Some of us have many years of study of the field. When we see a skeptical objection, we may rush to correct errors. Far more powerful is the Socratic method, i.e., bring evidence before the skeptic, asking for review.

Most of the well-known skeptics cannot handle this. And trying to convince them is mostly a waste of time; what they write can be useful in exposing the array of proposed artifacts or errors. The goal of convincing skeptics leaves us out of the equation. Rather, we would properly be constantly looking to prove ourselves wrong. If we fail, maybe some skeptic can help us! I’ve been reviewing some old discussions, where Thomas Clarke was very active. To me, he appears to be a genuine skeptic, not a pseudoskeptic. We need more people like him…

It is not necessary to convince the mainstream. What is necessary is to convince editors at a mainstream publication that a foundational paper is worth publishing. That’s a specific group of people. While it is possible to create political pressure, that is not where to start, because any attempt to try to force someone to abandon their prejudices will create back-pressure, resistance. It is necessary to convince, for a given project, a single funding source, and such exist that are not attached to cold fusion being bogus.

What I saw, within a couple of years of beginning my study of LENR, is that there was little effort going into foundational science, and heat/helium was occasionally mentioned, often without the critical correlation information. The Miles work is apparently reliable. Without requiring a reliable heat-generating protocol, it is only necessary to have some heat, enough for significance, and then the ratio can be estimated.

This was most missed: Huizenga recognized the importance of Miles. Instead of imagining Huizenga with fangs, that demon who attempted to destroy cold fusion, we needed to underscore what he had done. By that time, the early 1990s, the rejection cascade was entrenched. But why wasn’t there more follow-up to Miles. I certainly don’t have the whole story, but much of it was politics, and specifically a strategic decision made by Pons and Fleischmann. For starters, the helium results they had seemed to negate their theory of a bulk reaction. The appearance is that they torpedoed the Morrey collaboration that could have established cold fusion, firmly, by 1990. Why? The only reliable result (the ratio of heat to heluim) in the field was largely ignored, and was still being ignored when I recognized it from reading Storms. I began conversations with him, and he agreed to write a paper on it.

He submitted the paper to Naturwissenschaften, and they came back and said that they would prefer a review of the field. He then wrote his 2010 review. I think it was a mistake (though easily understandable). A focused paper on heat/helium would have been far more powerful; instead that clear message was diluted by a mass of details, and the same thing had happened in the 2004 U.S. DoE review. Hagelstein et al through everything and the kitchen sink at the panel, apparently assuming that the weight of the papers — it was huge — would cause all skeptical objection to collapse, but the crucial information was buried in all that detail. Most of it was targeted to there being “something nuclear.”

And people still argue that way. It’s fuzzy and unconvincing, except for someone who undertakes seriously independent study, and to do this objectively probably takes years.

But my Current Science paper often elicits positive responses from skeptics. Essentially, they agree that this is worth further investigation, and that is a huge breakthrough! It only takes a few to expand understanding of LENR.

The cold fusion community is very poorly organized. Suppose some graduate student’s thesis is rejected because it related to cold fusion. This actually happened (in 1990?). How quickly would we have pickets on-site? Is there a community consensus about the most important necessary investigations? Short Answer: No.

(But there is a relatively broad agreement that the heat/helium work is worth doing. To be sure, when I first started chatting up this idea, there was objection, basically on the level of “we already know this so it is a waste of time.” However, it was not — and is not — necessary to convince everyone. In the end, it is the funding source that must be convinced. Do we have professional fund-raisers involved? Not until Industrial Heat, AFAIK!)

The reason that Thermacore didn’t repeat their test was that they were not certain whether there was a chance of a fission-type explosion, and I presume Brian Ahern will run his test at a sufficient distance, just in case it isn’t a benign meltdown. You are right in some ways that it won’t help, but if it works it will change the atmosphere from a refusal to believe to an acceptance that there is a real effect.

There is a good chance that it will work. I predict that, unless other aspects of the context change, it will change only one aspect of LENR community opinion: the reputation of NiH will go up. It will have no impact, in itself, on mainstream opinion, unless there is far more there than a single meltdown (i.e., exact replication!). If there is major heat, then a Miles-class study might identify the ash. If Storms is correct, the major ash would be deuterium, tricky to measure, but with a lot of heat, it could be done.

Ideally, if Ahern cannot confirm LENR with the Thermacore experiment, perhaps he can identify artifact. That would be quite useful, and too little work of this kind has been done. We must stop thinking of “negative replications” as bad. The data is golden, it is only premature conclusions which create problems.

It may make possible the years of work then needed to explore the parameter space. This, I think, is the value of an “impressive” demonstration at this moment. I think “dramatic” may be a better description. I thus think Brian’s experiment is actually useful at this time, though earlier on it may have backfired by giving Rossi a peg to hang his story on.

It’s speculative, Simon. It’s Brian’s time to spend, and possibly his money. To progress, it is not necessary to convince everyone. Key, for me, is prioritizing what will then loosen up funding and support. A search for Massive Heat could be very, very expensive, much more expensive than fundamental research. However, the same group as is doing heat/helium also has a planned program with exploding wires, prior work having shown an ability to quickly test materials for LENR in this way. Color me skeptical, but … they do know what they are doing!

You are right that I’m hoping for something to convince scientists that there is something real to be investigated, and that thus there will be more tolerance of those that do investigate and less rejection of results that are against current theory. Back in 2011, when I was not convinced by Rossi, I spent around 3 months reading (thanks, Jed!) and ended up considering that the effect itself was real and worth investigation.

Most who engage in that long-term study come to that conclusion. Consider that half the 2004 U.S. DoE panel considered that the evidence for an anomalous heat effect was conclusive. Conclusive. That’s a big word! And that panel was unanimous in recommending research on fundamental issues. So, that being 13 years ago, what happened? Bottom line: we did not hire APCO. We sat around like victims, bemoaning that nobody would listen to us. Many of the old-timers are wallowing in despair. It’s embarrassing! My message has been, hey, guys, you won! How about starting to behave as if you did?

How about the generosity of victors?

Rossi’s control-system was crazy.

Well, depends on the purpose, doesn’t it? Given the massive appearance of at least some kind of fraud, his control system worked for him. It made no sense for a commercial system, but we don’t know exactly how the 1 MW plant control system worked. It had the potential of controlling cooling, which is what would be needed. I would imagine, as well, thermal plugs that would open at overtemperature to overcool, rapidly, a reactor, in case the normal control failed. The reactors have to have an insulating space, to allow the reactor temperature to be higher than the coolant temperature. A thermal plug could flood that space, it might destroy the reactor, maybe, but better than an explosion.

Boilers are dangerous, as Jed has been pointing out. A 1 MW plant would be very, very dangerous, making one without having years of experience, bad idea. Rossi’s whole 1 MW plan was grandiose, and obviously so. It was not good business, at all. Unless the goal were fraud!

Mitch Swartz did run LENR 101 courses at MIT, and demonstrated the system running. Yes, it was proprietary and he wanted to make money from solving it, but in the course of that he’s also produced students who believe LENR is real because they’ve seen it, and thus there’s a better chance of one of them getting a good theory that is crazy enough to be true. That’s the advantage of the newly-minted physicists where they haven’t been told something is impossible.

I’ve heard Mitchell speak. He is quite different from, say, McKubre, or Hagelstein, for that matter. Both are cautious. Swartz is flamboyant and dramatic, he has a story about how horrible the U.S. Patent Office is. The actual history deviates a bit from how he tells it. It is not clear what the audience was for those courses, many came from outside. Someone who “believes LENR is real because they’ve seen it,” though, is, from those demonstrations, inadequately cautions and would be unable to handle community pressure, because, as McKubre has said, watching excess heat is like watching paint dry. At the level of heat involved with those demonstrations, there really is almost nothing to see, and then one must trust the analysis of the demonstrator.

It is not difficult to overcome the “impossible” meme. The simplest way is to ask what it is that is impossible. Imaginary conversation, using Nate Hoffman’s Old Metallurgist and Young Scientist:

OM: You say that cold fusion is impossible. What does that mean?

YS: Fusion at room temperature is impossible!

OM: Why?

YS: The coulomb barrier.

OM: The coulomb barrier must be overcome for the nuclei to get close enough to fuse. Is that it?

YS: Yes. To get close enough, an incoming nucleus must have enough energy to climb that barrier.

OM: Yes. Easy to understand. Now, what about muon-catalyzed fusion?

[Watch as eyes betray internal confusion, unless they have extensive experience with this process.]

YS: That’s not the same! There are no muons present!

OM: How do you know?

YS: Well, they would have been reported!

OM: Yes, I’d think so. But you just said LENR was impossible at low temperatures! Was that accurate?

YS: Obviously I had forgotten about muon-catalyzed fusion.

OM: Okay, we are now talking about possibilities, not realities as such. It is possible that there is some form of catalysis other than with muons?

YS: I can’t imagine it.

OM: Right! However, can you say that it is impossible?

If, at this point, they insist that something unknown is impossible, see if there is something else useful to talk about, because they are absolutely nailed to a pseudoscientific claim, unverifiable. Humiliating them by rubbing their nose in it will not make any friends. However, many scientists at this point would acknowledge possibility, but might still assert improbability, with a fairly good argument:

YS: If this existed, we would have seen evidence for it already.

And at that point, one takes them through the existing evidence. If they start wanting to see proof, tell them that proof is for fanatics, that science runs on the preponderance of the evidence, and begins when we start to actually look at evidence rather than simply shoving ideas and beliefs around.

Mills is not claiming LENR because his theory says it isn’t, and if LENR is shown to happen then his patents are only worth the paper they are written on. I think that some of his measurements (maybe a lot of them) are probably good but that the explanation is not right. I suspect he’s got part of the puzzle.

Frankly, I have only expectation from having watched Mills for years, and I know that such expectations can be different from reality. I’m not considering investing in BLP, so I don’t have any need to know at all. I know that LENR is real, heat/helium nails it, as to any reasonable preponderance of the evidence. So research into a reality is useful, regardless of whatever happens with Mills and hydrino theory.

One of the hazards of coming to accept the reality of LENR in the face of what appears as scientific consensus is that we become, then, more vulnerable to unreasonable acceptance of other wild claims. However, this is the thing about apparent consensus. It is usually right, or at least partially right. We tend to focus on the exceptions, which certainly exist. However, social mechanisms do not need to always be right, it is enough if they, overall, increase survival efficiency. Then we have faculties for dealing with exceptions, but most people are not trained in them. It can take training!

I’m maybe not the best person in persuasion, since I just present what I think is true and why. As such, when I’m explaining something against what they believe, it requires them to think about things. Maybe that’s why my Free Work idea has languished for a while….

Ya think? Simon, there is a whole ontology and body of practice for dealing with transformation. Your idea is reasonably common among smart people, smart but untrained. It is disempowering, as you may realize.

If you present what you think is true, your presentation will be, frankly, half-assed. The first step is not our expression of “truth,” because that’s a fantasy, not reality. The first step is listening! In my training, convincing someone of something is actually rejected as a goal. One of my program leaders called it “slimy.” The goal is to present opportunities for a person to make a choice, hopefully an informed choice. Believing that we know what is right for others (“the truth”) is arrogant! However, you do have your experience to share, as it may be appropriate, and you will know far better what is appropriate if you have “listened with loud ears.” 

Open doors and widows [sic]? A nice mind-picture.

Thanks. Words can do that. Widows also open, but in a different way.

AFAIK we still don’t have an exact solution for a 3-body gravitational problem except in cases of 3-way symmetry. There are now so many quasi-particles around that a solution for solid-state has to be a numerical approximation, and maybe even then we don’t have enough variables tagged.

Bottom line, and it’s quite simple: what we don’t know is huge. In the training, a circle is drawn, the “circle of all knowledge.” Then there is a small wedge drawn, a pie slice. “What we know that we know.” And then another slice, next to it, “What we know that we don’t know.” And then the rest of the circle (most of it) is labelled with DKDK. What we don’t know that we don’t know, and it is then said that this is where transformation comes from.

Then the training proceeds to demonstrate this, in many ways, and in extended training, it is not uncommon to see what would appear as miracles, unreasonable results arise anyway, etc. At no point is one asked to “believe in” anything. That is not how it works.

“The point is not at all to convince the person that cold fusion is actually happening, only perhaps that (1) it is not impossible, (2) there is evidence for it, (3) the idea is testable, and (4) tests are under way, fully funded.”
That’s a good plan.

Thanks. I thought so, and so did others, who encouraged me.

At the time, I noted the LR115 but I think you also had CR39 available if required. Long time ago, so I said CR39 now as the better-known sensor material that I could remember. Still, I couldn’t see the point of replicating the experiment myself just to be able to say I’d done it.

Nobody has replicated the SPAWAR neutron findings, so there is another purpose. I only have a little CR-39, quite old, that was given to me. It requires development at higher temperatures with more concentrated NaOH, it’s more dangerous. Yes, it’s better known, but LR-115 tracks are crystal clear, because a full track is clear, bright, against a red background. It’s a thin detector layer, much more precise, and then stacking is possible. I’ve thought about experimenting with the basic CR-39 material to make my own detector layers and perhaps color them. Again, this is something that could be done at home. Basically the material can be dissolved, I think it is in MEK, and then that can be evaporated. One would simply want good ventilation, MEK fumes are not safe.

One advantage of CR-39 is apparently a broader detection range for particle energies. LR-115 has a narrower range. (If a particle’s energy is higher, the energy deposited per unit length goes down, until high energy particles leave no track. In my images of alpha tracks, they are a long cone, and the fat end is where the particle was almost stopped.)

For Rossi’s systems to self-loop, there would need to be a heat-to-electricity conversion in order to supply the high-grade heat needed. A Sterling engine would do this better than a steam engine. The claimed COP was big-enough to do this. Controlled (and rapid) cooling would be needed as well, but nothing too difficult to design.

There is a much easier way for self-loop, that does not require electrical conversion, if it is acceptable to have powered start-up, and that is taking the fuel into self-sustain, but controlled cooling above self-sustain temperature, but below the point of damage. I.e., if the reactor is below self-sustain temperature, cooling is off, the reactor is heated to start, presumably electrically, though gas-fired would certainly be possible. As it reaches self-sustain temperature, and passes it, no more heating should be needed, input power would go to zero (except for control systems, of course, and those should not use much power, it is only imagining that it’s needed to heat the reactor that leads to much higher power needs).

The Rossi claim that he needs to keep the reactor temperature low, because of the risk of runaway, indicates that there is a self-sustain temperature that Rossi is staying short of. With good insulation, heat generated remains and increases the reactor temperature. Obviously, if cooling remains constant, at self-sustain, the reactor would run away, because control through heating would be lost at this temperature. So, obviously, one needs tightly controlled cooling. I thought of an array of mirrors that would reflect heat back at the reactor, but that could be rotated to let heat through. However, pressurized water cooling could be simple. At any time the cooling can be increased to take the reactor below self-sustain and it would shut down. If necessary, the water could be — with suitable venting! — brought into contact with the reactor chamber itself, very rapidly cooling it through flash boiling.

Basically, if the fuel exists that would behave as needed, engineering a self-powered reactor should not be difficult. The problems are with reliability of the reaction itself. If there is a fuel that would work, for how long would it work? For “proof” purposes, it needs to work long enough to generate enough energy to be well beyond the possibility of chemistry. That is not necessary for science, though it would obviously be desirable.

For IH, once I understood that they didn’t necessarily believe Rossi but were instead forcing him to reveal what he had, their strategy made sense.

Right. What they did was allow the possibility of it being real. If they had “believed” that it was fraud, 

IIRC, Miles’ experiment took around a year to do. As such, I didn’t really expect it to be replicated even with the prospect of better accuracy since there has been a lot of thinking since.

Well, the difficult thing is getting the reaction to happen at all. The actual heat/helium measurements were not so time-consuming. I don’t expect exact replication of Miles, as such. Miles has already been confirmed in a more general sense, i.e., electrolytic PdD. Remarkably, a Miles outlier, his PdCe cathode, shows that there may be unknown sensitivities. I hope that PdCe is eventually tried and that, if anodic etching does not release helium expected from the heat, that the cell is thoroughly analyzed. However, I would not suggest any altered cathodes for initial work. The point is to build up data that can be correlated across many samples. Exactly what they do will depend on the methods and equipment available. Miles had a sampling protocol, samples were sent off blind. 

For Larsen, W-L theory predicts things that aren’t seen in the experiments, with neutron-activation being the big problem.

It’s nice to know there are some grad-students on the job. It has seemed that for the most part the experiments are by old people who thus can’t be sacked for having heretical ideas. Plan B looks pretty good. We may not see the flowering of it in our lifetime, but there’s always the chance of a lucky breakthrough from one of those grad-students who has an inspired guess and is allowed to test it out, since the field is real science.

I would not advise that, frankly. However, this would be between the grad student and their advisor. The grad student’s career is on the line. I wouldn’t want to base that on a guess. On the other hand, if there is valuable information that would be gained by testing the guess, maybe. By the way, searching for the Grand Artifact imagined to be behind cold fusion reports could be valuable work.

Discussions like this are good at exposing what I don’t know. Useful but a bit public. As far as possible, though, I don’t base my opinions on belief but on data, so if I find out new data my opinions may change. Alternatively, finding out that what I thought was good data may not be (as in Piantelli’s cloud-chamber) can also change opinion. That’s maybe the benefit of that post-it wall, in that such variations in how sure we are about some data can be graded and moved around as needed.

Simon is welcome to write me privately. The Piantelli cloud-chamber data is interesting but simply not conclusive.

Conversations: Simon Derricutt

This comment by Simon Derricutt is worth review in detail. So, below, my comments are in indented italics.

In reply to Abd ulRahman Lomax.

Abd – I suspect the Journal of Scientific Consensus exists as Wikipedia. Generally, Wikipedia is pretty good at stating what is generally-agreed, and where there’s disagreement there will be a lot of editing going on as the factions try to get their view to be the one that’s visible.

Ah, favorite topic! We then cover many issues. Continue reading “Conversations: Simon Derricutt”

Focardi’s TedX talk

Translation from E-Catworld.

(The video may also be viewed with CC translation on YouTube, cursor at the bottom of the screen, press the CC button.)

My comments are indented.

The following Transcription and Translation of “TEDxBologna – Sergio Focardi – L’E-cat e la fusione nucleare con il Nichel e l’Idrogeno “ is released under Public Domain by its author Mirco Romanato its author.

Anything wrong in the transcription and in the translation is my fault. 

I have often pointed out that there is work that can be done to support investigation of LENR, and that deep knowledge is not required, only some level of effort and attention — and it can be fun. Translating a video can seem like work, but, in fact, one who does translations will learn a great deal. Ask Jed Rothwell. Or me, for that matter: I don’t do translations, but I often reformat and copy-edit documents. Seeing the text, even if I don’t “study” it, creates exposure and exposure creates familiarity, and familiarity develops understanding. Those who are interested in following this path through the wilderness, ask me! There are millions of entry points, you can find your own, but having some guidance can help you get started. My thanks to Mirco, and as to any errors, we wisely never let the possibility of error stop us, trusting that our friends will point them out. In fact, our enemies also will, so, if we frame this usefully, our enemies can also be our friends, provided we pay attention.

00:24 The talk I want to do, I’m starting from the origin, is about what today is called Cold Fusion.

The term can lead to confusion. Martin Fleischmann regretted mentioning it. It was premature, and in some ways it is still premature, until the reaction is clearly understood based on verified confirmation and strong evidence, and it is not. We may be close to clear and unmistakable confirmation of what the reaction discovered by Pons and Fleischmann does, but not how it does it. With NiH reactions, Focardi’s primary subject here, we don’t know the ash, what he states was an error, possibly a result of deceptive diversion, but no longer claimed even by Rossi.

00:30 It started around 22 years ago when an American researcher, an American chemist, stated to have produced energy using a nuclear fusion process obtained using Palladium, a metal, and Deuterium, a heavy Hydrogen.

The “statement” was an error, in that it was premature. Fleischmann was not an American chemist, but was working with one, Stanley Pons, and the work was done at the University of Utah, which is, of course, an American university. Martin was British. In fact, the first paper did not claim fusion, though the title was misprinted; Martin claimed. In the rush to publish, Electrochemically induced nuclear fusion of deuterium? dropped the question mark. However, that may have been a later rationalization, because the second document published, 29 June 1989, had a title claiming cold fusion. Fleischmann, M., et al., Measurements of gamma-rays from cold fusion. Nature (London), 1989. 339(622): p. 667.

The gamma ray findings were blatant error, and Petrasso, in that issue, apparently demolished the argument. What Pons and Fleischmann actually found was anomalous heat, which, as chemists, they considered implied too high an energy density to be chemical in nature. The first paper actually claimed, in the text, after some speculation about known fusion reactions — all an error, unwarranted (in hindsight) — “an hitherto unknown nuclear process or processes (presumably again due to deuterons).” The “presumably” was probably misleading as well, certainly it was premature. Using circumstantial evidence when exploring something totally new is … weak, useful only for speculation and creating questions to be addressed experimentally. What seems likely to me — we still do not know for sure — is that molecular deuterium is involved, the electrons are crucial to the process, but “deuterons” implies the ions and the reaction being located inside the palladium lattice, which, AFAIK, Fleischmann continued to believe, another probable error.

01:00 After this, many started to work on his path, and after 22 years  they have not obtained big results.

“Big” in the sense of high power. However, most experimental work has not been aimed at high power, it is aimed at studying the conditions of the reaction and how to control it. Until the reaction is controlled, high power is dangerous and can be counterproductive. Big, though, is impressive. If one is reacting to skepticism, one may want “impressive.” Much cold fusion research was diverted and damaged by this goal, which is essentially unscientific, it is a polemic purpose requiring motivation toward some particular conclusion. This has affected some otherwise excellent scientists, and the motivation can be visible, which then feeds pseudoskeptics grist for their mill. They can smell it.

01:11 For what regard me, with a friend of the Siena University, decided to work in the same way but using Hydrogen and Nickel and obtained a number of results: production of energy by interactions between Hydrogen and Nickel.

NiH is sometimes called “Piantelli-Focardi.” From and, with some corrections:

1993 F. Piantelli, Atti Accad. Fis., Serie XV, Tomo XII, pag. 89-96 (1993)
1994 Focardi, S., R. Habel, and F. Piantelli, “Anomalous heat production in Ni-H systems.” Nuovo Cimento Soc. Ital. Fis. A, 1994. 107A: p. 163.
1996 S. Focardi, V. Gabbani, V. Montalbano, F. Piantelli, S. Veronesi, [title unknown], Atti Accad. Fisioc, Serie XV, XV 109 (1996)
1998 Focardi, S., et al., Large excess heat production in Ni-H systems. Nuovo Cimento Soc. Ital. Fis. A, 1998. 111A: p. 1233.
1999 Focardi, S., et al. On the Ni-H System. in Anomalies in Hydrogen/Deuterium Loaded Metals. 1999. Bologna.
1999 A. Battaglia, L. Daddi, S. Focardi, V. Gabbani, V. Montalbano, F. Piantelli, P. G. Sona, S. Veronesi, Nuovo Cimento A 112, 921 (1999).
2000 E. G. Campari, S. Focardi, V. Gabbani, V. Montalbano, F. Piantelli, S. Veronesi, [title unknown], ICCF8, Conference Proceedings 70, F. Scaramuzzi editor, (2000) 69E.
2002 E. G. Campari, S. Focardi, V. Gabbani, V. Montalbano, F. Piantelli, S. Veronesi, Atti [sic] TESMI Workshop, Lecce, december 6-7 2002, A. Lorusso and V. Nassisi editors, 35-42 (2004).
2004 Focardi, S., et al. Evidence of electromagnetic radiation from Ni-H Systems. in Eleventh International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. 2004. Marseille, France.
2004 E. Campari, S. Focardi, V. Gabbani, V. Montalbano, F. Piantelli, S. Veronesi, “Overview of H-Ni Systems: Old Experiments and New Setup,” 5th Asti Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen- / Deuterium-Loaded Metals, Asti, Italy, (2004)
2004 Focardi, S. and Piantelli, F., “Produzione Di Energia E Reazioni Nucleari In Sistemi Ni-H A 400 C,” XIX Congresso Nazionale UIT, 2004 (PPT)
2010 Focardi, S. and A. Rossi, A new energy source from nuclear fusion., 2010.01:30

What I immediately notice is the dramatic shift. In 2010, now with Rossi as co-author, Focardi is making a fusion claim, but has no strong fusion evidence, only anomalous heat, “too high for any chemical process.” Before that, he followed scientific prudence in his article titles, at least, only the 2004 slide presentation refers to “nuclear reactions”. I have not reviewed the articles themselves, yet.

Following this I restarted the work with the Engineer Rossi and we started to work on the same path: building system able to produce energy using hydrogen and nickel
01:54 Now, what we can see are the results of this work.
02:07 There are, this is the first picture, this is one of the first experiments done with Engineer Rossi
02:20 And you can see, at right, there is a small red bucket, containing water and some materials and left the hydrogen canister used to put hydrogen inside this capsule where we had put the nickel.
02:50 Heating together nickel and hydrogen we obtained energy and, as result the heating of the water.
02:58 The experiment is, obviously, very crude, because it was not worth, for this experiment to build more refined objects.
03:10 This is the next experiment. This time, instead of the bucket of water, there is that donut-like object to the right where some water circulated and there was the capsule containing nickel and hydrogen.
03:35 The tube you see at the lower right is to bring hydrogen, at the center there is a canister of hydrogen, and in this way we obtained a confirmation about the previous experiment with a cleaner system than the previous.
03:53 The third picture, it is another, third, method to measure. This time there is a closed circuit. You are able to see well, in the background at the right, the tube, where is inserted the cylinder, again at the right. In the tube some water was circulated. In this cylinder happen this heating process and it is a nuclear reaction between nickel and hydrogen
04:30 and what we observed experimentally was the difference of temperature between the two extremes of the cylinder
04:37 So, the three experiments confirmed that the system was really able to produce energy under the form of heat. We obtained the heating of the water.
05:00 This it was one of the latter objects built by the Engineer Rossi, that take the name of e-cat, where “cat” is a shorthand for catalyzer, that is used usually and currently, to experiment with the reaction between nickel and hydrogen and produce heat. And the heat produced is demonstrated heating water with various devices and this is one example.

None of this is going to be strongly convincing in itself, because there are many ways in which demonstrations can be faked, and some where the illusion can fool even the inventor. However, Focardi was no dummy, and it would be unexpected that major error would escape his notice. However, major fraud might. Scientists are not trained to recognize fraud, generally.

Science is heavily based on trusting experimental reports; a scientist who fakes data loses all credibility and may have demolished his or her career. Errors are made, yes, lots of them. But Focardi might not be looking thoroughly and carefully for failure modes. We saw Sven Kullander miss the obvious, that a humidity meter cannot measure steam quality, and, then, that there could be overflow water, not evaporated, under the observed conditions. We saw the “independent professors,” with the Lugano test, overlook what was clearly visible, apparent color temperature showing that their temperature calculations were far off, indicating a need for a strong calibration, which they did not do, believing a story that made no sense. Scientists, in general, are not trained to deal with skilled deception. As well, some forms of insanity are “high-functioning” and such people can be extraordinarily convincing.

It is totally understandable why anyone seeing this talk could become highly interested and even convinced that the Rossi Effect must be real. From ordinary considerations, regarding scientific testimony, the burden of evidence shifted. I still do not consider the matter closed entirely. From evidence not available in 2011, however, the burden has shifted back.

However, even then there was cause for caution. That Focardi published with Rossi in a faux journal, created and controlled by Rossi, was a red flag. That, without clear evidence, he shifted from careful scientific presentation to a dramatic claim was a red flag. His behavior with Steve Krivit was a red flag. His avoidance of true independent testing was a red flag. All of these had possible “explanations,” as long as direct evidence was missing.

05:50 Now, this is the next product built by  Engineer Rossi, again based to the same process, similar to a train wagon (NdR a shipping container) but smaller. Inside we see some boxes and everyone is a generator producing the same effects I described before.

That was the idea, yes. However, the project was crazy, part of a plan to create something dramatic. It made no real business sense. The idea would be that a megawatt plant would demonstrate reliability, and that it would be difficult to fake a megawatt. Nice big round number. but suppose COP were 6 — as actually claimed. That would then require 160 KW power input. With electrical power, ordinary service is perhaps 20 KW. I think 40 KW or so is available. The thing could not be powered to produce an actual megawatt, at that COP. So … when Rossi demonstrated this, he needed a 500 KW or so genset on site. And what power did he measure? About 500 KW. Focardi was not, in his TedX talk, claiming that the megawatt plant had actually been tested.

A sensible plan would have been to test individual reactors more thoroughly, generating reliability data. Much easier to handle, and much easier to measure the output heat, and if that measurement is done independently, which could have been arranged, even with a “black box” reactor, data actually needed to confidently design and manufacture a megawatt plant, or a plant of any capacity, would have been developed.

Something else was happening than ordinary business sense. This was all visible by the end of 2011. I do not know how much of this became known to Focardi before he died, June 22, 2013, not quite 80 years old. At that point, the Validation Test was about to be performed under Rossi supervision, by Fabio Penon. IH had, the previous year, bought that megawatt plant, apparently. (Skeptics generally assume there was only one plant. I do not know the fact.) Focardi would have been happy to see the recognition, knowing that the truth would come out. At my age (72), I find that kind of impression comforting. I don’t have to know the truth, I only need to trust it.

06:31 making work together all these elements, we would have 1 MW of power produced
06:45 This was not already started with all the generators together; it will be before the end of this month. At this time we can say there is a change in the sizes we are talking about. But every box we can see is like the old generators we used to react hydrogen and nickel to obtain heat.
07:17 This is clearly a nuclear reaction as in the experiments we did – we are doing them by two years, two years and half, I don’t remember the exact date we started. At the end of the experiment, when we analyze the materials used, the material put in the capsule, that originally was nickel and hydrogen we find again nickel but also copper.

Unfortunately, “clearly” was subjective and personal. The copper finding, he considers important evidence here, was abandoned and may have been deliberate deception, I am not documenting that here, only that this claim did not persist, and that this idea shows Focardi jumping to conclusions, losing his objectivity. To come to a scientific conclusion about this alleged transmutation, one would need many samples, and for something so remarkable, independent confirmation. Yet Forcardi talks about this being “proof.”

07:57 Now, the copper is the element following nickel on the periodic scale. It is at its side and the nucleus of copper differ from the nucleus of nickel only because it have a single proton more. Proton that was introduced, captured, by the nickel in a process of nuclear reaction. So when we affirm this is a nuclear reaction between nickel and hydrogen, this is another proof it is not a fantastic statement. We have the proofs, because as result in the end copper is formed.

That would be a great reason for dropping some copper in, wouldn’t it? Focardi befriended Rossi or did Rossi select Focardi as someone easy to fool? Once again, listening to the talk, not knowing the later fact of the claim being abandoned or acknowledged as error, this is very convincing!

08:43 Now, one of the problems when we talk about these topics is the problem of safety. And, in this case the danger for the safety is the radioactivity, because being a nuclear reaction people foresee radioactivity emitted in the reaction. This is real, but we are lucky this process produce only gamma rays and not neutrons.

Does it produce gammas? If confirmed, that would be “nuclear evidence.” It could be faked, by the way. In the original Rossi-Focardi paper, “no radiation was observed at levels greater than natural radiation background.” This is somewhat in contradiction with what Focardi claims in the talk about Bondeno; this, then, reveals a certain lack of precision and clarity. No careful testing, using control experiments, is described. He saw some elevation above background, so the claim in the paper was incomplete, at least. It looks like he never followed up. Gammas from neutron activation, if that is what was happening, have characteristic energies, which can be measured. Rossi prevented Celani, was it?, from using a portable instrument at the first 2011 test that could have measured gamma energies.

I must say I pointed to the danger of neutrons from the start with the collaboration with Rossi; and Rossi, obviously, took the measures needed because, if there would be neutrons, the things would be difficult, because neutrons can be shielded but it is not a simple problem. Luckily there are not neutrons. But there are gamma rays. The presence of gamma ray I have experienced directly, in the first experiments in the laboratory Rossi had in Bondeno, because often I did the measures when Rossi was occupied doing his bidding. I, in the first measures used an instrument detecting radioactivity and measured the gamma rays. Not very dangerous, not big compared to the normal background, but anyway present. And it is obvious there was no reason to raise the natural radioactivity level.

So from a single observation, Focardi makes a definitive claim, “there are gamma rays,” instead of merely noting that there was one measurement, with no details given, that indicated the presence of gamma radiation.

10:40 But we never detected neutrons as this was my main fear because neutron are difficult to shield. But hey never showed. The problem of the gamma rays was solved simply adding, around the generators, small sheet of lead that are able to shield the gamma ray. So we can say, there is no risk of radioactivity when we work in this way. This is good not only for us but for when there will be commercial applications.

In a more careful study, a gamma detector would be designed together with the reactor, so that it could measure the unshielded gammas. As a precaution, researchers do often have neutron detectors around, but the evidence for neutron radiation in LENR experiments, aside from muon-catalyzed fusion, a different animal that resembles hot fusion in its behavior, is that if it exists, or when it exists, it is at extremely low levels, not harmful.

The Other Side

Because I’ve been studying Rossi v. Darden, I often am writing about Rossi’s blatant deceptions, which have come to be more than the raving of a yellow journalist about con artists and felons, they are now clearly evidenced in presented exhibits, and, as well, in the arguments Rossi has presented in his pleadings.

However, there is another side, and today, looking at something mentioned by Dewey Weaver, I came across this 2011 video, of Sergio Focardi‘s TedX talk, that presents it, clearly. The CC button will present subtitles, for me in English. I don’t know about other languages.

May he rest in peace.

Continue reading “The Other Side”

Britz cold fusion bibliography

The Britz cold fusion bibliography and brief review site has been, with permission, mirrored here.

This is as the site was a few days ago, Dieter has made a few changes which will be copied here. The plan is to integrate this with the main WordPress installation here, so this access is temporary. There were difficulties with running the HTML importer.

The original site location is

Dieter is a skeptical or neutral electrochemist who listed papers and books based on being in journals or peer-reviewed sources or equivalent. He did not include the specialty journal JCMNS. He wrote brief summaries of each document.

The plan here is to expand this as a selectable subset of a full archive and research resource, with links to actual journal publications and readily accessible copies, or, in some cases, local copies, where legal.

(As a nonprofit host, under U.S. law, content may be hosted here under a Fair Use claim for various purposes. Subject to practical considerations, we will ordinarily respect take-down requests from lawful owners of content. We will also note that content that was hosted was taken down upon request. We will not remove live links to content hosted elsewhere, unless legally compelled.)