Sunday, October 9, 2011

Andrea Rossi, ECat & Cold Fusion 2

We conclude our brief discussion of the research that has gone into producing cold fusion or more properly Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR).
A History of Cold Fusion Research
We base a lot of our information on the excellent information provided by the New Energy Times website.

Fleischmann & Pons
In 2003, at the Tenth International Conference on Cold Fusion, Dr. Fleischmann one of the famous pair of electrochemists who were disgraced and isolated due to their announcement of achievable cold fusion, wrote a paper titled, Background fo Cold Fusion: the Genesis of a Concept.  In it he explains that the idea that a "way of influencing Nuclear Processes by Chemical means" was considered impossible due to Quantum Mechanics.

So his research was done confidentially beginning in the 1960s.  He found that it might be possible to explain these electrochemical processes through Quantum Field Theory since it was well known "that the Quantum Mechanical Paradigm is incomplete and that the inconsistencies produced by this paradigm are removed by Quantum Field Theory..."

There were others who inspired Fleischmann and Pons.  Krevit explains:
...Fleischmann and Pons were the first to introduce the subject of low energy nuclear reactions to the world, they were not the first to perform related research. Fritz Paneth and Kurt Peters performed related work in 1926, though they retracted their claims after bearing the brunt of the displeasure of the likes of Sir Ernest Rutherford. Fleischmann also credits the "cold explosions" work of Nobel Prize winner in physics Percy Bridgman in 1929, as well as physicist Alfred Coehn in 1947, for a significant basis for his inspiration.
We provide some short videos on Fleischmann & Pons' announcement.  If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:

Laboratories throughout the United States and parts of the world tried to duplicate the experiment and failed to get the same results.  This brought forth charges that results had been falsified.  It did not help that "hot fusion" experiments which were being funded at the time by the U.S. government were being cut back.  Thus the traditional scientific community, losing their funding turned on this maverick team and effectively censored them in the academic community. But there were additional mistakes that Fleischmann and Pons made. As Krevit states,
Fleischmann and Pons used methodologies appropriate for their expertise: electrochemistry and calorimetry. Their experimental results, however, brought them into forbidden territory: nuclear physics. This set the stage for a showdown between them and the world's physicists. The primary measurement tool used by Fleischmann and Pons - calorimetry, the science of measuring heat - was and is unfamiliar to and untrusted by nuclear researchers and is considered inadequate by most nuclear physicists to justify the claim of a nuclear reaction. 
Making matters worse for Fleischmann and Pons were numerous problems with the way they and the University of Utah administrators publicly introduced the discovery. Scientists are expected to be cautious and conservative, particularly when public trust is an issue. When Pons stated at the March 23, 1989, press conference "We’ve established a sustained nuclear fusion reaction," he and Fleischmann couldn't have looked more ridiculous and suspect in the eyes of many of the world's nuclear physicists. 
Their failure to sufficiently inform and share information with their peers, even at the University of Utah, earned them no good will. They also extrapolated their observations, and this resulted in an exaggeration of their claims. What got them into really hot water, though, was that Fleischmann and Pons made it sound like cold fusion was an easy experiment; this couldn't have been further from the truth. Thousands of scientists around the world hurried off to try to make Utah fusion, and when they failed, their anger fueled the already burning hostility; Fleischmann and Pons went running for cover. 
Last, Fleischmann and Pons did make a significant error in their neutron measurements, which they admitted within days, but not before a few incautious skeptics jumped the gun and went to the media alleging that the two had committed the sin of science fraud.
In a battle of the papers, Fleischmann & Pons produced a July 1990 paper in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry titled, Caliometry of the Palladium-Deuterium-Heavy Water System.   Although the paper was attacked by another paper published in the same journal in 1992 titled, group funded by General Electric.  In the end, although they were highly critical of the 1990 paper, the group headed by a man named Wilson, concluded that it was possible that "...we cannot prove that no excess heat has been generated in any experiment."  Despite the current view that no other lab has been able to duplicate the results of the Fleischmann & Pons experiment, one has.  In 1989, John O'Mara Bockris, professor at Texas A&M University, published the rifts replication of the excess heat effect, titled, Sporadic Observation of the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect, published in the Electrochimica Acta.  If the reader wishes to see a defense of the cold fusion paper, they may read Charles Beaudette's Review of the Wilson Critique, published in 2002, in a book titled, Excess Heat: Why Cold Fusion Research Prevailed.

For obvious reasons to military applications, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory has been investigating cold fusion.  If you wish to see a detailed amount of the research that is unclassified, you can look here.  Yet it is interesting to note a critical statement made by Fran E. Gordon, Head of the Navigation and Applied Sciences Department at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego,
As I write this Foreword, California is experiencing rolling blackouts due to power shortages. Conventional engineering, planned ahead, could have prevented these blackouts, but it has been politically expedient to ignore the inevitable. We do not know if Cold Fusion will be the answer to future energy needs, but we do know the existence of Cold Fusion phenomenon through repeated observations by scientists throughout the world. It is time that this phenomenon be investigated so that we can reap whatever benefits accrue from additional scientific understanding. It is time for government funding organizations to invest in this research.
We shall see if people like Rossi will eventually succeed to produce reliable results with the production of excess heat.

1.  Miles, M. H., Bush, B. F., & Johnson, K. B. (1996). ANOMALOUS EFFECTS IN DEUTERATED SYSTEMS. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from
2. Szpak, S., & Mosier-Boss, P. A. (n.d.). THERMAL AND NUCLEAR ASPECTS OF THE Pd/D2O SYSTEM. Retrieved October 9, 2011, from

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