Yesterday you'll recall that I began a piece about Dr. Andrea Rossi's E-CAT cold fusion reactor, and about the fact that some European scientists gave it an initial "pass," and that in spite of what has always been the two largest hurdles for any scientist examining claims like Rossi's: (1) the claim to produce or output more energy from a device than is put into it, and (2) the unwillingness of the inventor to allow access to all aspects of the device and/or ingredients in a formula. In this case, both.
The article which piqued my curiosity was this:
The article itself points out why cold fusion became semi-respectable in this paragraph:
"As for what’s happening inside the cold fusion reactor, Andrea Rossi and his colleague Sergio Focardi have previously said their device works by infusing hydrogen into nickel, transmuting the nickel into copper and releasing a large amount of heat. While Rossi hasn’t provided much in the way of details — he’s a very secretive man, it seems — we can infer some knowledge from NASA’s own research into cold fusion. Basically, hydrogen ions (single protons) are sucked into a nickel lattice (pictured right); the nickel’s electrons are forced into the hydrogen to produce neutrons; the nickel nuclei absorb these neutrons; the neutrons are stripped of their electrons to become protons; and thus the nickel goes up in atomic number from 28 to 29, becoming copper.
"This process, like the “conventional” fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium, produces a lot of heat. (See: 500MW from half a gram of hydrogen: The hunt for fusion power heats up.) The main difference, though, is that the cold fusion process (also known as LENR, or low energy nuclear reaction) produces very slow moving neutrons which don’t create ionizing radiation or radioactive waste. Real fusion, on the other hand, produces fast neutrons that decimate everything in their path. In short, LENR is fairly safe — safe enough that NASA dreams of one day putting a cold fusion reactor in every home, car, and plane. Nickel and hydrogen, incidentally, are much cheaper and cleaner fuels than gasoline."
Remember the "Mr. Fusion" coffee-maker-reactor powering Michael J. Fox's and Christopher Lloyd's Delorian automobile in Back to the Future? Well, LENR or Low Energy Nuclear Fusion is the real life model.
It is important at this juncture, however, to recall that there is an even more specific theory of such reactions out there, one that, in fact, makes some sense within the standard model: LANR, or Lattice Assisted Nuclear Reactions, and indeed, one gets a pictorial graphic or sense of this model of cold fusion from the article itself, with hydrogen atoms embedding into the crystal lattice structure of nickel. Indeed, even in other versions of cold fusion with palladium and deuterium, the LANR theory can make sense.
So why the ruckus over Pons and Fleischmann and their claims? What, really, might have been going on?
Time for that good old fashioned high octane speculation again, for I suspect that the real problem with the controversy was historical and political. Pons and Fleischmann were not the first scientists making claims to having achieved low energy fusion reactions.
In fact, the first one to do so (that I'm aware of) was Nazi scientist Dr. Ronald Richter, who claims to have observed similar phenomena in plasma experiments in Germany... in 1936! (see my The Nazi International, pp. 260-261, 293-294, see also p. 321 for his reference to the use of iridium and rhodium). Richter was doing it all: rotating plasmas, magnetic fields, plasma shock waves and metal lattices (iridium and rhodium), but most importantly, he anticipated in general outline the LANR or lattice-assisted theory by some decades, because as he was attempting to explain his ideas to a (very) skeptical scientific public in Argentina, he indicated that the basis of his energy anomaly, in his opinion, was some sort of resonant or transductive effect with the local lattice structure - he called it a "cellular" structure - in space-time itself.
So perhaps while the U.S. Air Force was secretly interviewing the very scientist that was being publicly excoriated as a mountebank and fraud, the idea occurred to someone within the American black projects establishment that the ideas might be worth looking into... And then of course there was Philo Fransworth and his 1960s Fusor patents, achieving sustainable fusion reactions of a few seconds in a device no larger than a softball(and a lot smaller and cheaper than the gigantic tokamak magnetic bottles).
Suppose any of these ideas or devices - from Richter to Farnsworth or even to the modern theory of LANR - had been made practical? Then, along came Pons and Fleischmann, and upset the applecart... such things could not just appear suddenly on the world economic stage without prolonged study as to their implications: could the technology be cheaply weaponized and proliferated? What would the impact on the world economy be? How would one transition to it?
Rest assured, such questions were and are being asked in the secret meetings of banksters and corporate CEOs while they're engaged in mock sacrifices. And if you don't believe me, re-read that Brookings Report on the implications of peaceful space activities very closely....
See you on the flip side...