In Chemical & Engineering News, a publication of the American Chemical Society.
Cold fusion died 25 years ago, but the research lives on
Original article and comments. … Krivit reaction. … And more from Krivit.
Reaction on lenr-forum … and more on lenr-forum.
My interest being community process, always, I decided to study the comments on this article as they stand today. I may update this. Italics indicate quoted material. I have quoted the comments in their entirety, because cherry-picking (even if motivated without intention to bias) could create bias.
Tom Parsons (Mon Nov 07 06:10:23 EST 2016)
Nice article! Unfortunately you associate Mills and the hydrino to cold fusion but the energy is chemical in nature and not nuclear. If you had done a little research you would have known this.
The connection between cold fusion and Mills is weak, so the heavy emphasis placed on Mills in the article was a journalistic error.
Gregory Smith (Mon Nov 07 09:43:32 EST 2016)
Good Grief. Surprised and disappointed you are even covering this.
The one thing Mills is unarguably good at is finding optimistic investors. For anyone still tempted to invest in this… If someone has already spent $100 million over 25 years with no net effect other than increasing their own bank account, why would you want to trust them with more money
Standard knee-jerk pseudoskepticism. Adds nothing of value, simply reacts to a shallow interpretation, and is poorly stated. (If I spend lots of money, I might be quite happy if I increase my own bank account as an effect. So the problem is? — but that’s not what he meant.) There are people who invest without doing due diligence. They are called “fools.” It doesn’t matter what the field is. And if a company deceives them, failing to disclose clearly relevant negative information, it’s investment fraud, possibly criminal. So … where are the civil or criminal claims? The lack of them, however, proves little other than the situation may not be as simple as the kibbitzer claims.
MoreMoneyThanSense (Mon Nov 07 13:41:17 EST 2016)
It’s not mentioned in the article, but Mills recently demonstrated a working prototype that not only produces 2MW (over 500x input power) fueled by ordinary hydrogen, but, astonishingly, even self-sustains a plasma in the absence of an ignition current. Plasmas in the absence of a source of charged particles has never been shown terrestrially. Maybe those investors know something you don’t? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUBheBH9eio&t=265
This is standard “believer” commentary. It assumes that demonstrations by an inventor are a kind of proof which can be shown to skeptics. No. Not. Never. The comment about investors, though, is cogent. Maybe they do know something. But what might be known, secretly, to those who are certainly under non-disclosure agreements is not something that can be alleged in a conversation like this, as if it has some useful meaning.
Kahuna (Tue Nov 08 13:51:22 EST 2016)
A slight correction. Mills has not demonstrated the 2MW of power from the yet, that is only the expectation for the SunCell design and theoretically will happen within the next few months. The plasma part of your statement appears correct however, and it would seem to be the most difficult part of the job IMO. When the SunCell can “close the loop” with no external power source and produce prodigious energy for extended periods, I suspect many more folks will pay attention to Mills and BrLP.
Believer comment, but clarifying. This believer (if that is a correct description) is making it clear with something that might weaken the claim. I.e., it hasn’t happened yet. Believers like this can be especially useful.
Mary Yugo (Wed Nov 09 12:41:50 EST 2016)
Not “when”… IF. And based on Mills’ history, it seems exceedingly unlikely.
Mary Yugo! Cold fusion attracts various loose cannons and obsessive commentators. “Mary” is a male physician in his seventies, his identity is known, and what powers him to fill discussions with repetitive fluff that only rarely adds anything other than snark, obvious if the point of view is accepted. There is nothing above but a personal opinion, which Mary, pretending to be a woman (it’s not just the name! and Mary is not transgender, we think.) thinks obvious.
Okay, if it’s obvious, why does it need to be said over, and over, ad nauseum, in contexts where the issues are already covered? Mary is one of a class of pseudoskeptics who apparently thinks that if not for “her” diligent efforts, the world would waste all its resources on pseudoscience and we would all die, perhaps from Sniffex explosive detectors failing to detect the bombs, or our Power Balance bracelets will fail to improve our performance and we will break our necks on the pole vault or something horrible like that. Mary usually picks fairly easy targets, but somehow latched like a lamprey on the side of cold fusion. To be sure, she had Andrea Rossi as an excuse. But CMNS scientists generally are silent the Rossi claims or reject them. When it looked for a time like Rossi might have a real effect, particularly because of the support of Industrial Heat being known, and the existence of some tests that appeared independent, there was some commentary from scientists that attempted to fit the Rossi effect into Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. Now that it has become known that Industrial Heat could not confirm Rossi claims — and is now counterclaiming fraud –, that has almost entirely disappeared.
MoreMoneyThanSense (Fri Nov 11 09:02:24 EST 2016)
Well-meaning people can disagree on whether the 2MW was “proven”. Four independent experts representing top research universities have separately concluded via differential water bath calorimetry that up to 2MW of power was being generated at over 500x gain. I personally communicated with many of them. Dr. Mills described the glove box continually alarming due to the inability to vent the excess heat being generated. We also have evidence of thick tungsten electrodes and solid molybdenum liners being wrecked in seconds. I spoke to a lab tech who experienced these effects. So yes – I think we do have evidence of unprecedented power being created.
Mills may have that evidence, but “we” don’t. More accurately, we have evidence of a claim. It happens to be an extraordinary claim. So if we are sane, we will defer judgment, looking for more evidence, and, in particular, for independent testimony and testing. If we have money to invest, that we could afford to put into such an obviously risky venture, we may communicate with the inventor and make our decisions based on private information. In all that, if we don’t have “fraud” in mind as a possible back-story, we will be foolish. What is totally remarkable about Industrial Heat is that knew all this, they knew all the “negative” considerations about Rossi, and still they went ahead. On the face of it, and at this point, they lost maybe $20 million. However, I find them truly remarkable. They increased, by their action, the funding available for genuine research and cleared the way for it. I find that little short of astonishing, but it is what actually happened.
Ritter does not mention the $50 million Woodford investment, and his account of the events around the formation of Industrial Heat follows the Rossi narrative, not what we now know better from court documents and other evidence. (I’m sure that his article could not possibly cover all aspects of the situation, due to space limits and, as well, the time he had for research.)
Becktemba (Mon Nov 07 18:25:30 EST 2016)
Money talks, B.S. walks. Keep on walking.
Standard useless snark.
Steve Katinsky – LENRIA (Thu Dec 01 05:21:03 EST 2016)
Some efforts require more than $100M to develop. Also, time is often a function of money.
A mere $200 million towards LENR since inception is a drop in the bucket in relative terms. Many single satellites, individual drugs, navy ships, bridges and tunnels, and single buildings utilize far, far more resources than this. Many of them more than an order of magnitude more, and some nearly two orders of magnitude greater.
These mundane examples return many orders of magnitude less economic return than the possibility if LENR were developed to become a useful energy contributor.
A quick though experiment to put things into perspective Let’s estimate the value of future LENR energy in today’s terms. We can justifiably assign a value of $2 trillion a year once it were mature. Also, let’s be very conservative an apply a total value of future LENR energy for our purposes to be calculated over a short 10 year period. This short value period can offset and mitigate any disagreement over other probabilities we are about to assume below. We shall also ignore the economic value of positive environmental impacts on this exercise that may be incalculable.
The above assumptions provide us with a total value of $20 trillion for LENR energy for our exercise.
Let’s now assign some placeholder probabilities for our thought experiment. This is arbitrary, but none-the-less an effort has been made to be conservative to balance the beliefs of those within and outside of the field.
For the probability that the large but diffuse body of LENR research has in fact observed excess heat beyond that can be explained by chemical energy, we shall assign 20%. Many think the evidence is incontrovertible, while others that it is pathological science.
Then, let’s say the if observations of excess heat are found to have been true, the second order probability that the science can lead to a useful and meaningful source of energy generation is 10%.
For the purposes of our thought experiment, then let’s ask under the aforementioned conditions, what amount of investment is warranted from an economic standpoint, or from a alternate perspective, how much would a prudent gambler bet on LENR research?
It is a simple calculation that shall be left to the reader. However, $200 million might be seen as an irresponsible and reckless response. Stunningly so.
Our future activity and investment of resources in this realm must be proceeded by the idea that we are willing to be wrong. Once we get past this hurdle, the numbers can be our compass absent any other agreement or collective intellectual commitment.
End though experiment.
Steve Katinksy is a cold fusion figure, I know him through his involvement with LENRIA. He is apparently a venture capitalist. He is not just making abstract comments here. I have never seen him comment on a blog before (and this is typical with most of the real scientists and investors involved.) “Bullshit talks, money walks.” He is apparently walking much more than talking. The argument he makes here is an obvious one. I normally value events that postpone cold fusion practicality as a trillion dollar per year lost opportunity cost. (That includes some factor for the possibility that, even if real, cold fusion will never be practical.) His analysis has $2 trillion per year. Not a big difference in practical terms. He may have been and may be putting in cash. I’ve been putting in time, my life. It will take all of this, for many people…. Because the risk of short term loss and even total long term loss, nobody should put in what they cannot afford to lose. Basic investment principles.
Kirk Shanahan (Mon Nov 07 10:53:33 EST 2016)
David Nagel’s comment “LENR is real…” is misleading. Non-nuclear explanations exist for all but a few of the observations made by cold fusion (CF) researchers. Of course, those explanations negate the likelihood of ‘saving the world’, and the knee-jerk response of the CF community is to reject them out-of-hand. In fact, a group of 10 prominent authors recently responded to my critique of CF by using a ‘strawman’ argument, i.e., they misstated my arguments and then ‘proved’ that ‘my’ argument was wrong. It is that kind of response and the adoption of such obviously flawed arguments that easily characterizes the bulk of the CF research as ‘pathological’.
 J. Marwan, M. C. H. McKubre, F. L. Tanzella, P. L. Hagelstein, M. H. Miles, M. R. Swartz, Edmund Storms, Y. Iwamura, P. A. Mosier-Boss and L. P. G. Forsleyi , “A new look at low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) research: a response to Shanahan”, J. Environ. Monit., 2010,12, 1765-1770
 Kirk L. Shanahan, ‘Comments on ‘‘A new look at low-energy nuclear reaction research’’ ‘, J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 1756–1764
Kirk Shanahan! Shanahan is the last significant skeptic published in a significant journal, and his “recent” is more than five years ago. In that Letter (which was obviously not carefully edited), he did attempt to address the conclusive, extensively confirmed evidence that the AHE is real and is nuclear in origin, i.e., the heat/helium ratio being confirmed as consistent, within experimental error of the theoretical value for deuterium conversion to helium, and failed miserably, making a total bonehead error that was so bad that the 10 scientists didn’t even understand it, they just rejected it as the nonsense it was. He developed, more than a decade ago, his own theory of a heat anomaly, i.e,. of unknown origin, but, in his theory, a chemical effect. He is correct that it has been misrepresented, but that is due to how he has presented it, naming it, misleadingly, “calibration constant shift.” In fact, his proposed effect is unexpected recombination of deuterium and oxygen at the cathode, which is fully immersed in heavy water. That is contrary to known chemistry, but … given a choice between unknown chemistry and unknown physics, which do we pick? His proposal has not been experimentally verified, and he blames everyone else for that. I have analyzed his claims many times, and mostly have found that he’s stretching the evidence, and creating Rube Goldberg explanations for effects he doesn’t like. With that exchange in JEM, he was left sputtering that the editors refused to print his continued rebuttal of the “10 authors.” He hasn’t been published since then. It’s a tad ironic. Refusal to print rebuttals afflicted cold fusion authors, early on. Notice that this has become a personal story. The problem is that the world is not listening to Kirk Shanahan.
Christopher Calder (Mon Nov 07 11:51:50 EST 2016)
Both Mitsubishi and Toyota have reported experimental success in transmuting one element into another. Excess heat may be difficult to measure. Transmutation of elements requires fusion by definition, and is pretty solid evidence something has happened. That said, we all need a working product that makes useful amounts of energy to feel confident that LENR can work for us in a productive way. The world does not need small amounts of energy from small lab experiments. The world needs vast amounts of energy that can be delivered 24-7-365 on demand. I think the mathematical odds suggest that there is something very real going on, but we do not know yet if it will ever be anything of value. Accurately measured lab experiments trump old theory. If you feel that only experimental results that can be explained by old theories are correct, then how can new and better theories ever be born? It’s called “progress”.
Calder reported facts. They “reported.” He is sanely suggesting more thorough research. Of course, here comes Shanahan, to report the obvious and then push it a bit further.
Kirk Shanahan (Tue Nov 08 08:59:45 EST 2016)
Heavy metal transmutation claims are not well supported. Basically, ‘transmutation’ products can be found as contaminants in the starting materials, materials typically in use in the laboratory, or just flat out contamination from spilled chemicals. There is a Web site that deals with this in a pro-cold fusion-biased fashion at http://news.newenergytimes.net/page/2/ See the article and references on David Kidwell’s work. I also made some direct comments in the paper I mentioned before:
Kirk L. Shanahan, ‘Comments on ‘‘A new look at low-energy nuclear reaction research’’ ‘, J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 1756–1764
Citing New Energy Times is hilarious. No reader of CEN needs to know that a transmutation finding could be contamination. Kidwell, a careful Naval Research Laboratory researcher, reported a possible contamination problem with one of the reported transmutation. The linked page doesn’t mention Kidwell, but Krivit had, in May 2016, published Latest NRL Salvo Attacks Validity of Mitsubishi LENR research.
This was a casual comment, expressing a personal opinion, in a private email discussion, on the CMNS mailing list, and not any kind of official announcement. Krivit is a yellow journalist. He is looking for scandal and high conflict. There is no such conflict, on the level he reports. Kidwell is completely welcome in CMNS circles, but as a direct result of Krivit’s report, with a leaked comment violating privacy, he unsubscribed to the mailing list.
NRL, in general, has taken cold fusion reports seriously, and did attempt to confirm the Mitsubishi (Iwamura) results, and failed. This happens in cold fusion research, a smallest and seemingly insignificant change in experimental conditions can shift results. It took years of careful work to establish reality in spite of that. Transmutation, in almost all cold fusion work, is a very minor effect, compared to the essential finding, the transmutation of deuterium to helium. At about a million times down from helium production levels is tritium, and tritium production, though widely confirmed, has never been correlated with heat. Bringing it up confuses the main issue.
At the end of his report, Krivit mentions Kidwell’s keynote address at ICCF-18. I was there, and Kidwell’s address was a personal story of “joy, no joy” in his cold fusion replication efforts, a not uncommon story. It was not as characterized by the anonymous “businessman” whom Krivit cites. Why wasn’t Krivit there to report directly? He had a press pass waiting at reception. But he didn’t show up. His relations with the CMNS community have become hostile and his reception would have been icy, people who used to cooperate with him extensively, including co-authoring papers, won’t talk to him any more. He also attacked the Shanahan Letter, but refused to join with the “10 authors” in the formal response. See Krivit Responds to Shanahan’s Department of Energy-Sponsored Comments and Lenr Researchers Deal Decisive Blow to Shanahan. His reason for not participating makes no sense. There was no strict limitation on response length (obviously, in spite of a policy that he was trying to get enforced against Shanahan), but shorter is better, and particularly since one could refer to outside pages for details. I think it was an excuse, because, by that time, his relationship with his co-author could not have been much worse.
Christopher Calder (Tue Nov 08 12:52:21 EST 2016)
You charge contamination, but with no proof or evidence of any kind. You criticise others who have done real work because you say their evidence is not good enough. Then you make a baseless charge with no evidence at all. Why should we believe you? It is easy to criticise, but difficult to do real work that creates new science.
Kirk Shanahan (Tue Nov 08 15:10:24 EST 2016)
No Chris, I suggest contamination to explain the evidence they
present, which I essentially believe but believe is
misinterpreted. Contamination is the ‘go-to’ explanation for unusual elements showing up in one’s sample. When it was first reported that a Pd-CaO thin film structure ‘transmuted’ into other elements, the fist thing I did was find on-line a Certificate of Analysis and look at it. Amazingly enough, one of the primary contaminants was what was being observed. Likewise, another claimed transmutation (producing Mo I think) was challenged by the Toyota group I believe as a peak mis-identification of sulfur. Interestingly the analytical technique employed uses ultrahigh vacuum technology, which requires high T bakeouts, which in turn require the use of thread lubricants such as MoS2 to prevent galling. And then we have ‘wild’ Pr in the lab where the samples were made. And yes, the researcher there claimed cross-contamination couldn’t have happened, but we chemists know better. ‘They’ on the other hand, forego the normal explanation and instead suggest a new, ground-breaking nuclear reaction(s) to explain the appearance. And I agree, it is difficult to do real science, but I also like the Feynman quote about the easiest person to fool being yourself.
I like the Feynman quote as well, but it is misapplied as a form of critique of others, it was intended to encourage vigorous self-examination. I’ll mention that, as a freshman and sophomore at Cal Tech in 1961-62, I sat with Feynman in those lectures on physics, and heard his famous stories first-hand, fireside, in Page House. Feynman was a major influence on the arc of my life. Shanahan is adding totally inappropriate detail here, as if this were a debate over transmutation. Calder has acknowledged the issue, but Shanahan is tenacious and, essentially, obsessed.
Robert Godes (Tue Nov 08 13:35:24 EST 2016)
I agree with Christopher Calder. Further you ignore incredibly strong evidence from world class researchers like John Bockris, who came out squeaky clean after numerous attempts to discredit his experiments that produced tritium. Tritium can only be produced by a nuclear reaction. 1 vindicating piece of evidence was the fact that John proved that Trina levels decayed much faster than the natural half-life of tritium in cells that were active. With a half-life of approximately 12 years there was no evidence a reduction in tritium of cells that have not shown activity before the test. Kirk, you should really stick to plain chemistry.
Kirk Shanahan (Wed Nov 09 10:49:26 EST 2016)
This would be the Robert Godes of Brillouin Energy Corp.?
He noticed. Continuing….
“… ignore incredibly strong evidence from world class researchers like John Bockris, who came out squeaky clean after numerous attempts to discredit his experiments that produced tritium.”
Squeaky clean? Well, not really. I think you refer to the brouhaha that Taubes fostered which I discount. There are several problems in that arena. Probably not space here to discuss adequately.
But Bockris did claim to do heavy metal transmutation in carbon arcs under D2O. I loved the result from Bhabba though, where they replicated him, then added a dust cover and cut their yield in half.
“1 vindicating piece of evidence was the fact that John proved that Trina levels decayed much faster than the natural half-life of tritium in cells that were active. With a half-life of approximately 12 years there was no evidence a reduction in tritium of cells that have not shown activity before the test. “ I assume ‘trina’ is supposed to be ‘tritium’ and not ‘Toyota Research in North America’. Again, lots of problems with what you suggest, not enough space here.
“Kirk, you should really stick to plain chemistry.” Thanks for the advice, I shall do so. Probably much better than sticking to LENR…
Stock Shanahan. Cherry-picked results, and a snarky conclusion. Britz currently has in his database of peer-reviewed and academic publications, about 1500 “cold fusion” papers, and there are many times that number of conference and other informal publications to pick from. Tritium results are not central to the major issue, the reality of the effect. They are not central to practical implications, either. Tritium is a major piece of circumstantial evidence, and the Bhabha Atomic Research Center was thoroughly expert in tritium measurement. Notice how a Bhabha result, out of many results, and with no specific citation, that was possibly positive, is turned, by Shanahan, by implication, into negative. (I have not reviewed tritium research, in general, but when I submitted my 2015 Current Science paper, Replicable cold fusion experiment: heat/helium ratio, to the Special Section editors, one of them was involved with that research, and objected to my apparent deprecation of tritium results. I explained that this was merely distinguishing direct from circumstantial evidence, as to the heat effect, and he accepted it. Then I needed the anonymous reviewer approval, who originally disliked my paper strongly, but ended up approving it enthusiastically. I had largely rewritten the paper to address his objections. I cited Shanahan’s JEM Letter, see note 20.)
Mary Yugo (Mon Nov 07 12:33:16 EST 2016)
When considering Andrea Rossi’s claims, please be sure to read his extensive criminal history in Italy best summarized by Steven Krivit here: http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/RossiECat/Andrea-Rossi-Energy-Catalyzer-Investigation-Index.shtml and carefully detailed on his web site with extensive citations from Italian news sources of the period. Search “Krivit Rossi Criminal” in Google (no quotes).
There are innumerable other reasons not to believe any of what Rossi says, including major deficiencies in each and every test of his claims, performed by Levi, Lewan, and a group of Swedish scientists. The main issue with the tests is a woeful lack of proper calibration and a complete lack of independent replication.
Rossi is also a prolific liar, making claims on his blog (JONP) of robotic factories, mysterious anonymous military customers and dozens of sales of megawatt devices starting in November 2011, none of which have ever been heard from since.
Whatever you think about LENR and cold fusion, Rossi is a clear case of deception as was Defkalion, a company which tried to steal Rossi’s non-existent technology, which lied to investors, and which disappeared without a trace about two years ago. No investor money was ever recovered in the Defkalion case.
As for Mills, he has been making the same grandiose claims for more than 20 years including claims that industrialization was within 2 years made repeatedly more than two decades ago. He has never had proper and complete independent replication. His current experiments seem to involve the dumping of huge amounts of electrical power into a small volume. Of course it makes a bright flash!
People need to be skeptical and require properly performed and carefully calibrated fully independent testing before giving people like Rossi, Hadjichristos and Xanthoulis (Defkalion), and Mills millions of dollars! So far, many have been gullible and undiscriminating about what constitutes adequate due diligence for investments. In my opinion anyway.
Of course “Mary” would cite Krivit, even though he disbelieves most of what Krivit claims, in general. The claims of criminal history are rooted in fact, that Rossi was extensively prosecuted for many charges; however, ultimately, almost all were dismissed, and what was left was relatively minor, technical infraction. This was all ad-hominem argument, repeated ad nauseum by Krivit in every mention of Rossi.
From evidence presented in Rossi v. Darden, an addition to what was quite visible by 2011, Rossi’s statements cannot be trusted to be literally true, though there is often some factual foundation. A possible sale, for example, under negotiation, may be presented by Rossi as done. A factory plan, under negotiation, may be presented as an extant reality. All this was known to Industiral Heat when they invested in 2012 (actually buying a 1 MW Plant, i.e., so the “none” claim above is obviously false, for we know of one real sale, for $1.5 million.). However, did the plant work? That’s a different question, legally open at this point, where Rossi has 10 days to respond to Industrial Heat counterclaims on the issues.
To Krivit and Yugo, there is no need for messy and expensive details like lawsuits and actual and careful review of past history, it’s all obvious. This is pure pseudoskepticism and/or yellow journalism.
Ed Wall (Tue Nov 08 11:32:10 EST 2016)
Mary, you are right about Rossi. There is generally a small group of people with scientific backgrounds who are willing to give anything the benefit of the doubt, at least at first, even a criminal like Rossi. I’ve seen plenty of fraud in the “new energy” field, too. Krivit is to be commended for revealing it and other fraud, which is a thankless job, bringing much needed accountability to this stuff.
You are wrong about Mills. He has not been making the same grandiose claims for 20 years. He made the reasonable assumption that if scientists objectively studied his theory, and the evidence that supported it, the projections he made would be realized. Instead, he has been lumped in with people like Rossi and those scientists who have no actual theory to guide their experimental design. He has progressed through experiments that consistently showed excess heat and anomalous spectroscopic data, which match his theoretical predictions. What you call “huge amounts of electrical power” is in the range of 10 kW, producing output light power measured in the MW range. This is not a carnival sideshow.
I had the same skepticism toward Mills and his GUTCP I had held for years, until I read Holverstott’s stuff:
Particularly his recent book. ‘Randell Mills and the Search for Hydrino Energy’ It might be the best $8 you spend this year.
The entire Mills issue was an error here. The article, by title, is not about “Alternative Energy Claims.” Mixing the two is guaranteed to produce confusion, unless one is a pseudoskeptic and rejects it all for any of many “obvious” reasons that could be in contradiction with reality, and to know the difference takes much more than casual reaction.
Mary Yugo (Wed Nov 09 12:45:37 EST 2016)
Of course, the issue is not power but energy, a common error among free energy crooks. I think this is indeed a carnival side show and a profitable one for Mills. And excess heat claims are often simply the result of bad measurements.
Let me know when the device can be disconnected from power for extended periods. And let someone independent of Mills inspect the equipment and set up. There are lots of ways to cheat in those types of demos.
Who are these “free energy crooks”? Energy is simply integrated power. It is easier to find artifactual anomalous power, for short periods, than anomalous energy for a longer period. Notice “Mary’s” claim about “often.” No quantitative data, this is pure and unsupported allegation. Yes, there have been artifacts, errors in measurement. That’s obvious. And, yes, there have been some apparent scams.
However, as is typical, this fact is then converted into a brush with which to tar all results, no matter how careful the measurements, no matter how honest the effort.
If we want to consider ad-hominem arguments reflecting on the probity of individual claims, how about “Mary Yugo” being a pseudonym, with the real identity of Mary Yugo being conclusively known, and yet “Mary” continues to lie about being female. And, no, there is no claim of being transgender. Mary Yugo is an internet troll, heavily obsessed with disrupting genuine conversation on the issues.
Ed Wall (Tue Nov 15 13:41:52 EST 2016)
The cynical ‘let me know when I can get one at WalMart, then I’ll believe it’ negates the whole impetus for curiosity. If Mills produces a unit running “closed loop”, critics can simply say it is fake. Maybe power is beamed in by a maser, or the system overlords are messing with our heads. If he gets 10 PhDs to sign affidavits attesting to the validity of the test, critics can say they were bought off with favors on Jeffrey Epstein’s famous island. No facts required.
Did you even look at Holverstott’s accountability link (above)? Have you even read the introductory sections for the GUTCP? Have you even studied chemistry or physics? If you are just trying to save people from their own gullibility, your work is like pushing on the tide.
I worked for Eugene Mallove for 2 years. I have a BSEE. I designed and built many calorimeters and ran many experiments with them. Although my first calorimeter was to investigate Mills’ claims, the only thing I accomplished with it was to learn how difficult calorimetry tends to be. I also worked with Krivit.
I considered Mills to be a medical student who wandered too far from school. His lack of a degree in physics made me think he was way off track, particularly in condemning quantum mechanics. I certainly no longer see things that way. I underestimated his intellect several times, and I do not intend to do that again.
There is a collection of standard arguments being played back here. Wall is reporting his personal experience (which is worthy of respect, even if he may be in error.) Working for Mallove will credential Wall with some, de-credential him with others. Mallove, in my opinion, though he did much valuable work and made important contributions, erred in mixing cold fusion with “free energy” claims of all kinds, in his magazine, Infinite Energy. The net effect, unfortunately, is to mix up what is far more legitimately “emerging science,” or fringe at worst, with what is clearly fringe at best, or worse, pseudo-science or possible fraud.
Commercial claims, where the work is largely (and even legitimately) secret, are another category. Pseudoskeptics lump it all together as stupidity and gullibility; genuine skeptics reserve judgment, looking for or awaiting confirmation or disconfirmation. The “Walmart” argument is more commonly stated as “Home Depot,” and obviously is not about science, but about practical application. The article here is about science, not necessarily practicality.
Mary Yugo (Mon Nov 28 13:19:03 EST 2016)
Let me know when Mills has a truly independent test by a renown commercial test lab like UL or CR or a government lab like Sandia or ORNL.
Until then, remember that he has been making the identical claims to marketability for more than twenty years without a shred of production. His current demo consists of dumping kilowatts into a tiny volume of fluid for short periods. Of course it causes a bright flash! That does not mean he produces energy from the claimed reaction. Show me proper calorimetry done by someone highly reputable and completely independent of Mills… and published in a main line peer reviewed journal, please.
Yugo repeats what is obvious to anyone who studies the history of Mills claims. Why should Mills “show” Yugo anything? Is Yugo an investor or prospective investor? Because Mills is clearly pursuing commercial possibility arising from his own theories, if he has something, he is not going to “show” it until and unless he is ready to patent it. No genuine peer-reviewed journal is likely to publish a paper on findings that are not fully and independently testable, and secret technology is only independently testable under narrow conditions that Mills might well not agree to, and that might not be acceptable to a journal. I think the focus on Mills in this article was an error, mixing up what is not commensurable. Mills is not claiming “cold fusion,” and CMNS researchers mostly ignore Mills.
sam north (Fri Nov 11 17:34:35 EST 2016)
Steve Krivit was invited to Italy to see Rossi work. He managed to get himself kicked out of A.R. lab after
one day. Not too bright when he had a chance to do a better investigation of A.R. work.
This is a standard polemic from “sam north,” the screen name of a pro-Rossi troll. (Possibly sincere, but he generates distracting commentary of no value.) Krivit did see Rossi’s work in 2011. When he made a negative report, Rossi attacked him. His original report was of interest. His becoming a Rossi Attack-Bot was not. Rossi kicked out of his “lab,” i.e., any demonstration, many independent researchers whenever they showed an inclination to verify measurements or question Rossi’s results. This was by no means confined to Krivit, so North’s comment is simple FUD, attempting to unfairly discredit Krivit. I have often pointed out serious problems with Krivit, but this has not been one of them.
Barbara Emerson Ph.D. (Tue Nov 15 10:30:55 EST 2016)
In 1995, Dr. Robert Park, then the spokesperson for the American Physical Society, gave a talk and explained that “when a charlatan is exposed, the outrage of his victims is most frequently aimed at the one who strips away the mask.”
In the case of Steven Krivit’s 2011 investigation of Andrea Rossi, Krivit went to Bologna, interviewed Levi, Focardi and Rossi. Krivit filmed Rossi’s E-Cat in “action” and revealed the piddly amounts of steam trickling out of the black hose. (This was after Krivit made three requests for Rossi to pull the hose out of the wall.)
Krivit interviewed Rossi at the end of his second day there. But until Krivit began to publish the results of his investigation, Rossi was all warm and cheery with him. The videotaped interview concludes with Krivit asking “Any final comments you’d like to make?” Rossi responds “Well, my final comment is that you made a very good job. Very, very highly professional. Congratulations.”
Links to the transcript and video tapes are here http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/RossiECat/Rossi-Interview-Transcript-Excerpts.shtml
Krivit left Rossi on good terms. A day later, Krivit published that video on YouTube for all to see the plain truth: Rossi’s E-Cat was a hoax. Predictably, Rossi’s attacks on the messenger began. Krivit has done the LENR field a tremendous service by exposing this nonsense.
This appears factually accurate to me. I disagree with the conclusion, in part. Krivit’s original reporting was quite useful. His continual barrage of references to Rossi as a “convicted felon” — not necessarily correct — was not. Indeed, by being obviously off-point, it distracted from the real issue, the lack of fully-independent confirmation, and when Industrial Heat did invest in Rossi technology, that was seen, pending results, as a rough kind of confirmation. We now know better. Krivit can crow “I told you so,” but Rossi was a ready and vulnerable target. Krivit’s approach became that of an advocate for certain positions, rather than that of an independent journalist.
Steve Ritter (Wed Nov 16 14:39:32 EST 2016)
Steven Krivit tells C&EN: I was scheduled weeks in advance to be in Rossi’s garage for two days. I was there for two days. I did not need more than two days to do my investigation. I did not get kicked out of Rossi’s garage. I left when I was done, a few hours in advance of my scheduled train. I left on good terms with Rossi. At the end of my last interview, on the second day, Rossi thanked me for doing a very good and professional job.
I see no reason to reject Krivit’s account. Rossi is an enigma, my default hypothesis is that he is insane. This may or may not be combined with deliberate fraud, but he clearly can be deliberately deceptive, as is shown by evidence presented in Rossi v. Darden (see the Hydrofusion email; all significant case documents to date are hosted here.)
Christopher Calder (Wed Nov 09 15:29:45 EST 2016)
You make some very valid points, and there is no doubt that Andrea Rossi has a history of lying about his work, but then again so did architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who did accomplish a few positive things despite his growing Pinocchio noise. I have never trusted what Rossi has said himself, but look at the odds of him fooling so many hands-on helpers and fellow scientists he sought for advice. Scientist Sergio Focardi was a wonderful and honest man who went to his grave stating that Rossi’s device was real and had a actual top limit COP of 200. He made those statements because of experiments he conducted himself, not just because of what Rossi told him. What has happened with Rossi could mean that the entire E-Cat phenomena is a fraud, or it could mean that Rossi is withholding key informations from Industrial Heat to avoid Industrial Heat handing over his industrial secrets to his competitors. After his break up with Defkalion, you could understand that fear. You may turn out to be 100% correct, but at this point in time I do not think we can say that fore sure.
Calder is not careful, reporting as fact what is actually inference. We are seeing here some of the “Planet Rossi” tropes or memes, that have been repeated among supporters, and sometimes by Rossi himself, often enough that they are accepted as fact. For example, one idea on Planet Rossi is that Rossi deliberately did not trust Industrial Heat with his “secrets.”. However, if this is true, then Rossi grossly violated his Agreement with IH, and the entire basis for his lawsuit is toast. That is, even if his faux Guaranteed Performance Test actually showed the claimed results, by being unable to independently confirm Rossi results, IH would have been completely unable to raise the funds to pay Rossi as agreed, and the context, then, of the Rossi demand is within a failure to perform as agreed. But Planet Rossi does not think these things all they way through, and is searching for rationalizations of Rossi behavior.
Barbara Emerson Ph.D. (Wed Nov 16 10:06:58 EST 2016)
There is no evidence that Sergio Focardi did those experiments himself. When Krivit interviewed Focardi, and asked him what his contribution had been to Rossi’s work, he replied (translated from Italian) “I think the most important thing has been about the security. I always made recommendations to Rossi about the problem of neutrons.” But what about the basics, Boyle’s law?
Videos and photos of their early cells reveal that they were not instrumented with temperature or pressure sensors inside the chamber. Can you imagine a qualified scientist or engineer heating up a sealed metal vessel by several hundred degrees without such safety precautions? Rossi’s own words about Forcardi, from Krivit’s interview with Focardi: “I must emphasize that he does not know how the reactor is built…” Can you imagine a qualified scientist operating an experiment for which he had no knowledge about its construction?
No, the elderly and ailing Focardi did not do those experiments himself. He went along for the ride, for the fame and to satisfy his pride. Rossi manipulated him, as the video shows, answering questions for Focardi (who was fluent in English), and putting words in his mouth. It’s called credibility by association and Rossi knew exactly what he was doing.
Again, cogent, though I’d set aside the conclusion as a speculation, possible but unproven. Who is Barbara Emerson? I see nothing with Google other than this comment. Maybe someone else can find something, but public discussion of cold fusion is heavily infected with sock puppets and faux personalities. There are few people who could write as well as “Barbara Emerson,” on this topic, most people don’t have the knowledge or familiarity. I have a suspicion as to who this might be, but it’s not useful to mention it yet. It’s not a woman, though. “For the fame and to satisfy his pride,” however, would be typical accusation from this person.
Eric Hermanson (Mon Nov 07 12:41:25 EST 2016)
I’m a 4-year student of Mills’ theory. It is well thought out, derived from first principles, and most importantly Brilliant Light’s experimental data, which has been validated by Bucknell U, Rowan U, and University of North Carolina, matched what’s predicted in the theory. Mills’ theory is correct, and the SunCell works. It’s not their fault it took so long; changing the world isn’t easy.
Kirk Shanahan (Tue Nov 08 08:38:31 EST 2016)
Well, I am not a student of Mills, but I do know Mills has used calorimetric methods to bolster his claims in the past. However he makes the same mistakes the classic cold fusion people do, so I have very little. Doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in him.
Kirk Shanahan (Tue Nov 08 14:58:44 EST 2016)
Ummm…last part should read…
“so I have very little confidence in him”
I need to do a better proofreading job before hitting “Submit”
Summary: “Yes it is.” “No, it isn’t!” Yes, there was a kind of validation. We could argue about those results. I’m not going there.
robert carlson (Thu Nov 17 21:18:26 EST 2016)
if there were a lower energy version of hydrogen it would show up in the emission lines of stars or hydrogen gas clouds, but all emission lines have been accounted for, and no hydrino appears. mills racket reminds me of the spin bomb where you could pack a nuke into a hand grenade size device that explodes when all the uranium inside reverts to a homogenized spin state.this hoax also collected millions in funding from the DOD no less. strangely muon initiated cold fusion is possible but you need a source of muons that is energeticaly expensive so the result is moot.
This, at least, gives a theoretical argument regarding Mill’s theory. That something else didn’t work is completely irrelevant, even if it reminds this person of Mills. As to muon-catalyzed fusion, it is not “moot,” unless one is simply looking for practical energy generation. MCF has a problem, the muons are captured and decay before they can catalyze additional fusions, so the energy of muon production becomes relevant, there is, with that energy in consideration, and even through the muons themselves are catalytic, they do not participate in the reaction, no known practical method of utillizing muons for energy production. However, MCF demonstrates something. First of all, it is a direct contradiction to the idea that nuclear reactions at low energies (“low temperature”) are impossible. They are possible. However, MCF creates, with hydrogen isotopes, the same reactions as seen with hot fusion, neutrons and all. Something else must be happening with the FP AHE, because those products are missing, except for the rare helium product, and then the energetic gamma is missing.
Mike Lynch (Mon Nov 07 14:51:49 EST 2016)
I liked this piece, but you could have included more about the history of Mills’ efforts. See my piece http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaellynch/2015/06/01/warning-signs-for-energy-technology-investors-3-yes-they-can-be-that-stupid/#67f7cf2e4d46.
Well, obviously I’d have preferred no mention of Mills at all, since this is not relevant to cold fusion (except for some obscure historical connections.) The Forbes article links is on point with respect to Mills. However, comments there seem to have been disallowed, so here is my summary: “Shallow bullshit, at best rehearsing the obvious, but with no depth. How does he know what investors in BLP have seen or not seen. Yes, anyone investing in BLP should realize the problems and possibilities, i.e., should due due diligence and not depend on vague promises. Beyond that, they make their choices.”
Bing (Mon Nov 07 16:24:27 EST 2016)
“BLP is currently testing a device called the SunCell in which hydrogen (from splitting water) and an oxide catalyst are introduced into a spherical carbon reactor along with dual streams of molten silver. An electric current applied to the silver ignites a hydrino-forming plasma reaction. Energy from the reaction is then trapped by the carbon, which acts as a “blackbody radiator.” When the carbon heats up to thousands of degrees, it reemits the energy as visible light that is captured by photovoltaic cells, which convert the light to electricity.”
Sounds obsurd. If there are heat generated, why not simply heating up water to generate steam, which in turn powers a steam turbine? What kind of efficiencies to convert heat to light and then from light to electricity?
Yes, it can easily sound that way. I’d say that Ritter could have been more careful. He was here repeating BLP claims as if fact. The “if, then why not?” argument is common. There can be reasons why not. And, indeed:
Francis Stillman (Tue Nov 08 10:18:31 EST 2016)
I believe the idea is to eliminate as many moving parts as possible thereby increasing the longevity of the device. The efficiency with CPV cells can get into the 30- 40% range. What is the best one can achieve with a spinning turbine and generator? Besides, when the input (water vapor) is basically free, who really cares about efficiency?
This “idea” would be about ultimate application, not about testing. These arguments go nowhere.
Kahuna (Tue Nov 08 14:08:12 EST 2016)
You obviously have not any research into the SunCell at all. Your question has been asked and answered many times and with good logic given the questionable assumptions of Mill’s theories being right. Its probably worth the time to do a little research before commenting on relative Carnot Cycle vs. CPV power generation efficiencies in this application.
This is a relatively neutral comment. “Why not” arguments like the one presented have often been discussed ad nauseum. Underneath them is typically a sense of fraud, that this is the real explanation. It is quite difficult to assess commercial claims, because legitimate commercial concerns can lead to behavior that can look like fraud. And fraud can then hide behind some alleged necessity for commercial secrecy. Hence investors in any company making “extraordinary claims” should properly exercise high caution, should understand the risks, all of them. Standard pseudoskeptical rant is not helpful.
Kyle (Tue Nov 08 20:47:19 EST 2016)
What kind of efficiencies do you get from heating up water, then using the pressure to turn a gigantic turbine, which drives a generator for electricity.
The way Mills is doing it requires no moving parts and no pressurized steam, and no gigantic turbine and generator.
The way Mills is doing it is as efficient as the solar panels are, and those are increasing in efficiency all the time, i mean you could use a pressurized co2 turbine which is way more efficient and smaller than a typical turbine but its still much larger and more complex and more expensive than just turning the thing into a giant lightbulb and using non moving parts and panels.
When they start getting the 10,000 suns intensity capability solar panels with multiple junctions and reflect any light that escapes back into the blackbody radiator, again all with non moving parts, then we’re laughing. Goodbye turbines.
Kyle presents an argument that fully accepts the BLP story of what is happening. Given that story, the argument is plausible, which is about as much as I can say.
kyle (Tue Nov 08 20:54:14 EST 2016)
And its not just heat to light…the reaction creates heat AND mostly uv and ultra uv light, which is absorbed by the graphite radiator, which becomes hot. When it reaches blackbody temperatures and becomes incandescent it releases 5million watts per square meter in light energy (depending on temp. and emmissivity (Sp?))
You’re saying to at that point , heat water, drive turbine to drive generator, pump back to radiator to heat it up again…
Well the radiator is there….hot…giving off light….so instead of all that previous stuff why not just surround it in pv? done.
Kyle is demonstrating scientific naivete, not just bad spelling. There is no such thing as “black body temperatures.” Kyle has not understood what he’s read, and I can expect that he might be “gullible.” But the argument is not necessarily wrong.
Andrew Moore (Mon Nov 07 17:54:57 EST 2016)
Dr Randal Mill’s Brilliant Light Power isn’t producing hard to measure anomalous heat it’s producing millions of watts and has contracts with significant engineering companies to produce a commercial product as well as multiple third party validation. It’s also nothing to do with cold fusion other than the very detailed theory produced by Dr Randall Mills can explain this phenomena.
Moore naively accepts BLP claims. Basically, by cherry-picking 20 years of events, one can make claims like this, but producing “millions of watts” in a small-scale experiment without massive cooling? This is same problem as faced with the alleged Rossi 1 MW plant operating in a warehouse in Florida. There is the power/energy confusion here, though Moore is probably not a “cold fusion crook,” i.e., “Mary Yugo’s” caricature. “Producing millions of watts” for how long? It is not difficult to do that for a short time. Doing it continuously would lead to the energy dissipation problem. The whole lab would become uninhabitable. Moore is correct, however, that “it’s … nothing to do with cold fusion,” and then he points to the possibility that Mill’s hydrino theory could explain “this phenomena.” Too bad about the grammar…. No, hydrino theory cannot explain cold fusion results, there is the problem of the heat/helium ratio, as a major difficulty. If hydrinos did serve as catalysts, similarly to muons, the reaction produced would be the same as classic hot fusion. It isn’t. Period.
Dr. Melvin H. Miles (Mon Nov 07 21:51:34 EST 2016)
Despite the title of this article, cold fusion never died for those who found experimental evidence in their experiments. Various critics tried to initially kill this field with their faulty experiments and unscientific ridicule. For a review of experimental results on the palladium-deuterium system, see the chapter on cold fusion in the recent Wiley book: “Developments In Electrochemistry: Science Inspired By Martin Fleischmann”, Editors Derek Pletcher, Zhong-Qun Tian and David Williams, ISBN: 9781118694435, 2014, pp.245-260.
Dr. Melvin H. Miles
This is an extremely rare appearance of Dr. Miles in a public forum. Miles is the one who discovered the crucial heat/helium correlation, announced in 1991, and published over ensuing years, and confirmed by many independent research groups. Cold fusion met with extensive replication failure, at first. Later analysis of those experiments has shown that there was no way they could have shown the effect, they were, indeed, faulty (in several ways). Add to this the difficulty in demonstrating the effect even with “correctly-performed” experiments, the appearance of replication failure was obvious. Miles original efforts failed to show the effect, but when he obtained material from Fleischmann, he was then able to confirm. His failure was included in the 1989 ERAB panel report on cold fusion; before that report was issued, he attempted to contact them to tell them he was now seeing results. They did not return phone calls, and his new findings never made it into the report.
I won’t go into the whole history here, but that the Pons and Fleischmann reports were met with vituperation was a radical violation of scientific courtesy. That journals refused to publish experimental results based on a lack of “theory” to explain them was slamming the door in the face of an anomaly. This is all known and easily verified history, not some wild conspiracy theory. I have seen no evidence of an organized conspiracy, beyond very little easily explainable in other ways. It was an “information cascade” that created the appearance of a “scientific consensus,” without having the factual basis ordinarily needed for that.
Kirk Shanahan (Tue Nov 08 09:28:36 EST 2016)
Classic cold fusion certainly did not die as Dr. Miles has correctly stated. What did happen is it went ‘underground’ so to speak. Cold fusion researchers primarily stay within their self-defined community, holding their own conferences (they just had the 20th International Conference on Cold Fusion, http://iccf20.net/), publishing their own journal (J. of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, https://www.iscmns.org/CMNS/CMNS.htm), forming their own scholarly society (https://www.iscmns.org), and so forth. However, their participation in what would be called ‘mainstream’ science is minimal, and often fraught with errors (see esp. the references I made in my earlier comments). Their biggest problem is the apparent requirement that “it must be nuclear” to be considered valid by them. This adversely polarizes their behavior and fosters an “us vs. them” attitude, which they then reflect back. To be fair, the ‘mainstream’ does the same to them. What has been lost was the stance of “they probably found something, but it likely isn’t what they claim” that I found prevalent back in 1989/90. For the record, my first paper in this field delineates what I think is the alternate explanation. Unfortunately, if I am right, it isn’t going to ‘save the world’, or even win a Nobel prize…
Shanahan, “A systematic error in mass flow calorimetry demonstrated”, Thermochimica Acta, 387 (2002) 95
CMNS researchers are, indeed, mostly publishing in JCMNS or through conference papers. However, it is not exclusively so, see the Recent Sources page on Wikiversity. Shanahan, as usual, places vast weight on his own work, and cites his 14-year-old paper, with ideas that have been roundly rejected, as if it’s important. He will, of course, claim that the rejection was unfair, etc., but it’s all based on cherry-picked fact. Experiment A might be vulnerable to a particular artifact, therefore all experiments are vulnerable, etc. Shanahan is correct about the reactivity involved, sometimes, on both sides. What he has done, however, is to obsess about his own theories, as if they must be “proven wrong” or else they stand. No, unless there is experimental evidence for them, more than a very biased and speculative analysis of existing work, they will be ignored, and Shanahan’s arguments are not generally such as to inspire workers in the field to put time and money into testing them, beyond taking normal precautions regarding the core of his theory, unexpected recombination — or, with closed cells with recombiners, calorimetric error due to heat generation in an unexpected location. Both of these ideas have been tested, at least on occasion, and were not confirmed.
Joseph M. Fine (Mon Nov 07 21:57:24 EST 2016)
Another possible explanations of the excess Heat produced by LENR, including Heat Generation within the Earth and a potential stucture of dark matter are the postulated composite particles – known as Tresinos – that were proposed by Dr. Frederick Mayer and the late Dr. John Reitz.
These are not electrons in lower orbits of a Hydrogen or Helium atom, such as the Hydrinos of Dr. Mills, but stable combinations of electrons and protons orbiting each other. It is extremely fortuitous that electrons don’t randomly collide into protons and, poof, turn into neutrons – or the Universe, this magazine and your readers would never have come into existence. Rather, several of these electrons and protons can clump together into neutral or charged clusters and turn into charged Tresinos (when composed of three particles) or neutral Quattrinos (when composed of 4 particles). Due to the small size of this comment box, I’m constrained to leave several links. Thank you for your effort at reporting this story.
The relevance here is obscure. This is common with discussions of fringe energy topics, all topics get mushed together as if connection. Possible, but more likely not. To some extent, the story here did this by combining reporting on Mills and on cold fusion.
Dr. Friedrich Menges (Tue Nov 08 15:26:46 EST 2016)
Whether you think Mills is right on Hydrinos or a total crackpot, there is a new book covering Mills’ story and also giving a long list of (published) papers, artcless and books. It’s from author Brett Holverstott and simply called “Randell Mills and the Search for Hydrino Energy”. Certainly worth a read and you might be better positioned to make up your mind about all this afterwards…
This is a normal and possibly useful comment, providing a path for individual investigation.
Paul Maher (Wed Nov 09 00:04:08 EST 2016)
The one outfit that you omitted is Brillouin Energy. It is interesting to note that the founder of Red Women of All Nations and spokeswoman for the Standing Rock Sioux has aligned her First Nation Tribe with the “Green Heat”, the gift from “Mother Earth” that the two Roberts at Brillouin have developed. Do not dismiss Phyllis Young, she may be channeling Mother Earth, or a pretty endearing spokeswoman at any rate.
Several pieces on you tube. Here’s a pretty good one.
May The Weak Force Be With Us ALL,
Arggh. The physics in that article on truth-out completely sucks. Widom-Larsen theory (very much rejected by the CMNS mainstream) is accepted as reality, possibly based on old and naive statements from a NASA researcher. (“slow neutrons” would not be safe, for starters, but WL theory claims a Rube Goldberg gamma shield, as a distinct effect, highly implausible.) Brillouin is for real, but is also “secret technology,” with a little sort-of independent confirmation. Godes, the founder, commented here. I find Godes’ theory highly improbable, but … improbable theory, even wrong theory, can lead to real experimental results, and the proof is in that pudding, not in theory.
Dr David J.Fisher (Wed Nov 09 11:45:56 EST 2016)
Why not leave it to the community of physicists to decide? There is a long history of those (chemists, electrical engineers) who have been taught physics only on a ‘need-to-know’ basis coming to ridiculous conclusions because they are unaware of the vast variety of phenomena that may be producing ‘anomalous’ results. It is also a common observation that an inventor who has a ‘perpetual motion’ machine, also has an anti-gravity machine in his workshop. Guess who has applied for a patent on (what amounts to) an anti-gravity machine.
The legitimate point here is that scientists are expert in what their training and work experience has provided them. However, why “the community of physicists”? What we call “cold fusion” started as a finding in electrochemistry, and properly should have been judged within that field. But it had some implications for nuclear physics, and then the nuclear physicists rushed to confirm/disconfirm a result in a field where they had no familiarity. As well, as McKubre has well laid out, the Pons and Fleischmann findings were in an unexplored territory, PdD loading above 70%, and this was traditionally thought unobtainable, so the early negative replication by the electrochemist Nathan Lewis of Cal Tech did not attempt to go above 70% — and did not have information from Pons and Fleischmann as to what was necessary, which is all very obvious in hindsight. To get that loading required masterful technique, it was far from simple, even in the hands of experts..
Much of the “negative” replication was looking for neutrons and high levels of tritium. When these were absent, it was taken as evidence that there was no “fusion.” That, however, made assumptions about what “fusion” would be, when, in fact, Pons and Fleischmann had claimed an “unknown nuclear reaction,” and in hindsight would have been better off not mentioning “nuclear” at all. But … they were right, it was, indeed, a nuclear reaction, which we now know from widely confirmed and direct evidence, not reported first until 1991.
And if people don’t think the extant evidence adequate, there is an effort that is under way, and very adequately funded, to confirm the heat/helium ratio with increased precision. The lead investigator is, in fact, a physicist, Robert Duncan, but he is working with the electrochemist Michael McKubre and the ENEA researcher Vittorio Violante, both highly experienced. So if one wants to wait, it would be their results to wait for. Not “the community of physicists” as a whole, who will probably follow what they see in the pages of Nature or Science or Physics, the journal of the American Physical Society. Watch!
(In the past, all three journals rejected papers based on lack of theory, and Nature, in particular, promised to never publish another paper on cold fusion, and they did this before the clear evidence was known, and without any definitive experimental finding of artifact in the core original report of anomalous heat. However, times have changed. We will see. I predict that Nature will publish this, if it is submitted to them, it would provide them with a perfect excuse to dump an old policy that was a Bad Idea from the beginning, for they could claim that they were right, and really were waiting for something like this work.)
Kirk Shanahan (Fri Nov 11 08:15:43 EST 2016)
That might be fine if they learn chemistry. After all, if it isn’t fusion, but shows systematic trends indicating that *something* is going on, then it must be chemistry, right? The physicists missed that from the start. Why not just let the *whole* field of science examine the claims and evidences…I find your arbitrary assigning of competence somewhat disturbing…
Here I am in agreement with Shanahan. The original work would legitimately have been to study anomalous heat, as the result of an experiment in electrochemistry. Only if this study, upon vigorous effort, failed to show artifact would this have moved into something for the physicists to explain. In fact, from the beginning, physicists, including notable ones, came up with possible theories, but most of these can be later seen as not adequate. Cold fusion remains a mystery, as to mechanism. But we do know what is happening, from evidence that Shanahan brushes aside: helium is being produced from deuterium. That’s a nuclear product, so … it must be a nuclear reaction if the various possible artifacts are ruled out, and strong correlation, which has been found, gets very difficult to explain away, because artifacts must match. The obvious one, that heat leads to leakage, would completely neglect the experimental work, because temperature in heat and helium producing cells is very little increased, if it is increased at all. (Anomalous heat might be balanced by reduction in heating power of a cell, or other conditions.)
Ludwik Kowalski (Wed Nov 09 17:46:39 EST 2016)
We do have institutions, such as NSF, DOE, etc., responsible for spending tax money wisely. Why are we still waiting for a definite “yes no” answer about a NSF, puzzling discovery made 28 years ago?
Kowalski’s appearance in a public forum is also rare, typical for CMNS scientists. His question is cogent, and answers to this question would show good journalism. What did happen?
Both U.S. DoE reviews (1989 and 2004) recommended more research to answer basic questions. Did the DoE fund such? Basically, no. Why not? That is a political question, not a scientific one. Part of the problem is that CMNS researchers did not approach the DoE with satisfactory proposals. Part of the problem is that the APS Washington office, i.e., Robert Park, exercised substantial influence over the DoE, as well as with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Part of the problem is that the public did not demand answers.
I mention above research currently being done to answer the most fundamental question, the nature of the ash from the AHE. The lack of a plausible and confirmed ash was one of the major — and reasonable — skeptical objections in 1989-1990. The correlation was reported in 1991, and was confirmed by SRI research and others, funded by the Electric Power Research Institute, it think (or by later DARPA funding or the like). Not the DoE. The current research is being conducted, principally, at Texas Tech University, under a grant from a major private philanthropist, matched by State of Texas research funds, totalling $12 million, which is plenty for the purpose, there will be money left over for other projects. Still no DoE money for what the DoE itself, through its own expert panels, recommended. This is an unstable situation! However, until someone pushes it, an unstable tower can still stand.
Edward Wall (Tue Nov 15 14:39:02 EST 2016)
Ludwik, I frequently wonder the same thing. How hard can it be to establish a simple fact that significant anomalous energy exists or not? Thermacore established in many runs of many experiments, including a massive nickel & light water experiment yielding 50W of excess heat, that the claims of Mills had some serious basis. What about the supporting work of Dr. Jonathan Phillips of LANL, who published papers that ended his teaching career at UNM, further establishing the claims of Mills in the spectroscopic data and by finding inverted populations of ions in an Evenson cell? How to explain inverted populations, except with a source of great energy at extremely short wavelengths? How to explain the broadened spectral lines? How to get such powerful extremely short wavelengths generated with microwaves and hydrogen? All of these data are supported by GUTCP, not QM.
Our government institutions may be responsible for spending tax money wisely, but my 23 years working for the federal government would not lead me to expect wisdom to have much influence. Politics is all about expedience, generally opaque. We should all save our cynicism for the next elections, not waste it on Mills.
There is now a declared effort to repeat the Thermacore findings (the strongest ones only very recently came to light), which were remarkable. It appears that this work was originally following Mill’s ideas, but the confirmation effort has been declared by a CMNS scientist. The idea is that this might be an NiH reaction, somewhat analogous to a PdD reaction, the basis for “cold fusion” claims. The specifics of the reaction would be unknown, but this is the point: is there anomalous heat? That is a pure experimental question, theory is actually not involved. If the heat cannot be confirmed, there is not much point speculating about theory.
Kirk Shanahan (Mon Nov 21 10:38:15 EST 2016)
Ludwick, The answer is simple. Those involved in the research will not consider non-nuclear explanations. Funding orgs and outside scientists see this and recognize the pathological nature of the work, and refuse to spend more money and time on it. But the so-called ‘true believers’ keep on with their work *without incorporating criticisms*, meaning they just produce more of the same inconclusive data and flawed conclusions, which is rightly rejected as ‘nothing new’. So the wheels keep spinning (as on ice), and no progress is made.
Kirk is directly insulting the scientists involved. I know what these scientists consider, and “non-nuclear” explanations, for the vast majority of them, are always on the table. It certainly would be for Kowalski, and for Miles as well. What has actually happened is that Shanahan’s theories have been considered and rejected, by the researchers, such that they are not willing to spend more time and money on “studying” his ideas. I have asked Shanahan for specific critiques that might affect the ongoing and upcoming research, and he goes silent, usually with some excuse about my being a blind believer or something.
Shanahan’s story is actually very personal, not science, and is unconfirmed by controlled experiment. I’ve studied his work extensively, but it’s very poorly explained and laced with highly speculative assumptions, as well as cherry-picked evidence and, in some cases, Rube Goldberg explanations, i.e, preposterously complicated ideas about the causation of simple effects. (SPAWAR triple-tracks, diagnostic of neutron C-12 breakup, being supposedly caused, according to Shanahan, by shock waves from mini-explosions from his unexpected recombination, penetrating CR-39 plastic and blowing plastic off the back side. In fact, there are shock waves from whatever is happening in those cells (which he points out), but they are barely detectable with a sensitive piezoelectic sensor used as a cathode substrate, they are far, far from what could have this effect on the plastic. I’ll leave it at that for now. Shanahan is endlessly creative, inventing “chemical” explanations, but in the real world, we stop with simplicity. It’s a heuristic, and, in fact, for many skeptics, cold fusion was exotic enough that “they must be making some mistake” was adequate. That is fine as a personal choice, but gets wonky when enforced as a general social suppression, without stronger evidence than that.
Kees de Vos (Mon Nov 14 01:56:04 EST 2016)
I might be a mediator and addressing this mostly to Kirk Shanagan. Everyone could be blamed for failing to discover a major mistake in Physics. Just recently I had it confirmed by EricPDollard’s youtube movie (I expect everyone to be familiar with) for the first time since 1977 when I discovered it. About everyone wrongly interpretes the repelling electrical forces which have to be explained only by how the fieldlines go (attracting forces). Funny enough you can see in the same video that this “mental \\ visual” misinterpretation again is being twisted towards a “physical reality”. Even Mr. Dollard doesn’t seem to see the full importance of this anomaly. Repelling exists or does not and the concept once in the math never gets out the system and that includes quantum mechanics. This same problem shows up in the theory of magnetism. It means that you have to consider basics again. If you want to join first consider the fact that what we all are trying to measure and discover intimate details in physical reality without really being conscious of the other fact that every damn electron knows all this before during and after all that has happened at almost any moment.
So I mean to get real serious about this if you want to start understanding what’s going on.
Sorry. I’m 72, and totally willing to throw everything I think I know in the trash. Except I can’t, the brain just keeps on doing its thing, which is to pull up memory and past associations. So I live with it. Throwing it all in the trash, I would then focus on my children and grandchildren. Not bad, in fact. However, I know too much and they expect me to express what I know and to stand for it. And people expect me to write. So I do. I have many Favorite Topics not related here. I will generally avoid bringing them up, and I recommend the same to others. Remember context, and speak to the listening, and if you don’t know what that means, start listening. It’s always worth listening, and listening includes observation. It’s how we learn.
Tom Jones (Wed Nov 16 13:37:31 EST 2016)
Having read this story, I looked at the calendar twice–and it turns out today is NOT April 1st. But it certainly feels so…
I know to expect it by now, but it still amazes me to see that people think their own comments like this are worth taking up the time of a possibly large audience. Yes. Cold fusion as a topic often brings up the reaction, “Wasn’t that debunked 25 years ago?” It never occurs to these people that what they have thought for many years as having happened never actually happened. Ask these people for the definitive event, similar to what happened with polywater and N-rays (whcih are often compared to cold fusion, as examples of “pathological science”) and they normally change the subject, because there was no such event. Again I’ll point to the McKubre paper in Current Science, 2015.
Jones is showing ordinary ignorance, unsurprising. The “ignorance” here would be of the continued existence of research, including research being published in peer-reviewed journals, and of funding by major investors and institutions, still continuing. It never stopped, though there may have been a nadir somewhere around 2005, and many researchers had difficulties. Being interested in cold fusion, famously, was a career-ender, so the field was mostly left to older, tenured professors and others who didn’t care about all that.
Meindert Ackermann (Thu Nov 17 13:27:48 EST 2016)
As Steven Krivit points out, there are serious problems with Ritter’s article:
Steve Ritter (Wed Nov 23 14:01:56 EST 2016)
Others have commented on Steven Krivit’s Internet posting: http://bit.ly/2fG9GfD. More discussion of LENR is available at this forum: https://www.lenr-forum.com/forum
Nice. Congratulations, Mr. Ritter, good move, supporting readers in further research if they are interested.
I started that thread. It critiques both Ritter’s article and Krivit’s response.
Charles Fraser (Wed Nov 23 07:24:02 EST 2016)
Regarding the isolation of Hydrinos:
Mills, He, et al, “Comprehensive identification and potential applications of new states of hydrogen” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 32 (2007) 2988 – 3009.
I’d guess that “no comment” is a comment.
Steve Torstveit (Mon Nov 28 13:18:05 EST 2016)
Please read the comments at this link: http://news.newenergytimes.net/2016/11/15/correcting-the-lenr-record-chemical-engineering-news/#more-43698
wizz33 (Mon Nov 28 20:27:32 EST 2016)
you might also like this
What is this about? I don’t watch hour-long videos without some idea of what it’s about, unless recommended by someone I know and trust. I quickly found that this is about a certain fringe physics body of work called the Electric Universe. Not of interest here at all.
Gregory Goble (Thu Dec 01 07:53:09 EST 2016)
Excellent article… thanks. In a follow-up you might ask Andreas Rathke, the Airbus Defence & Space researcher you interviewed, if he is aware of these three recent Airbus LENR patents, the first one filed has been granted.
‘Method and apparatus for continuous production of LENR heat’ (Patent granted)
German – https://patents.google.com/patent/DE102014014209A9/de?q=G21B3%2f002&q=G21B3%2f00&q=G21B3%2f00&q=G21B3%2f00&sort=new
English translation – https://patents.google.com/patent/DE102014014209A9/en?
‘Method and device for generating and for fusing ultra-dense hydrogen’
German – https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/pdfs/68c1946240676e28bf57/EP16160302NWA1.pdf
English translation – https://patents.google.com/patent/EP3070051A1/en?q=G21B3%2f002&q=G21B3%2f00&q=G21B3%2f00&q=G21B3%2f00&sort=new
“Material assembly for a fusion reactor and method for producing the same”
German – https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/pdfs/e35c23a4b83a3c0099e6/EP16160300NWA1.pdf
English translation – https://patents.google.com/patent/EP3070050A1/en?q=G21B3%2f002&q=G21B3%2f00&q=G21B3%2f00&sort=new
Greg Goble is a commonly-seen “believer.” Such often think that patents are very important. They aren’t. To obtain a patent, it is not necessary to demonstrate a real effect or actually working devices (except under unusual conditions). Mostly, patents are granted because the work met patent requirements, which are that they be original, not previously patented, and the fees are paid, process pursued, etc. They provide some technical rights as to licensing, should someone use the patented idea. The patent shows that the one applying for the patent has an idea and considers it worthy to patent, and that consideration can arise for many different reasons.
The first patent cited is https://patents.google.com/patent/DE102014014209A9/en
This is covered on lenr-forum.com It was also posted on ecatworld.com by greggoble. Goble is correct that the application gives a grant date, but he ignores the “pending” status display. I don’t know the situation. There is a discussion of patent status on stackexchange. Following the advice there, I find that this application is only “DE,” i.e., in Germany, apparently granted there. There is no record of any other action on the patent. I.e., each nation would eventually act with respect to a patent, given occasion to do so. They may or may not accept the patent.
I have not reviewed the patent itself.
Patent information is of very low value in discussion the scientific reality of some claim. If someone is considering investing in a company, and is convinced that they have a real technology, then the holding of a patent becomes important for commercial reasons. Otherwise, the patent could be completely useless.