Skip to comments.The Fusion Revolution
Posted on 11/14/2011 11:34:43 PM PST by Kevmo
The Fusion Revolution
When the first human animal figured out how to make fire at will, life on earth changed forever. The fictional character Sherlock Holmes once said that "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Using that logic, I have come to the conclusion that fossil fuels will soon become obsolete, and human history will again be dramatically altered. A total switchover to fusion power will take decades, but basic economics tells us that fusion reactors will win in the marketplace over their more costly competitors. Imagine a clean new world where oil and coal are only used to make chemicals, and where every nation on earth has equal access to low cost energy. Scientist Andrea Rossi's "Energy Catalyzer" (E-Cat) pressure fusion reactor promises to accomplish all of this and more.
Rossi states that he uses micrometer grain sized nickel dust enriched to contain more of two useful isotopes, N-62 and N-64. The nickel is then processed to increase the number of surface tubercles (protrusions) to provide greater area for heat producing reactions with hydrogen gas under pressure. Secret catalysts are added to break apart molecular hydrogen gas (H2) into atomic hydrogen (H1), and to make nickel more receptive to hydrogen nuclei. It has been speculated that the catalysts are iron dust (about 10% by weight) and very fine carbon powder. The iron dust might be added to break apart H2 into H1, and the carbon powder added as a "scavenger" for contaminating oxygen, and perhaps for other, less obvious purposes. Rossi states that the total cost of nickel processing plus the catalyst adds just 10% to the total cost of the fuel. Heat is applied to the pressurized nickel-hydrogen mixture to get the reaction started. The low energy nuclear reactions (LENR) that result drives the nuclei of hydrogen atoms into the heart of nickel, turning small amounts of nickel isotopes N-62 and N-64 into the copper isotopes CU-63 and CU-65. Every 6 months the fuel load is refreshed and the old metallic fuel is sold as valuable scrap metal.
According to Rossi, in the latest E-Cat design the ordinary resistive style heating elements are quickly turned off as the reactor becomes self-sustaining, then switched on again for ten minutes every half hour to keep the units operating in a stable, safely productive zone of pressure and heat. If Rossi uses higher pressures to output greater heat and produce continuous, totally self-sustaining operation, E-Cat output can become unstable, releasing too much energy too quickly, resulting in explosion. Rossi states that he has purposely exploded dozens of E-Cats during stress tests in order to determine the exact limits of safe operation. Rossi therefore operates his first generation E-Cats in a powered down mode, finely balancing pressure and heat. Future E-Cat designs, perhaps incorporating new construction materials, different reactor shapes, and more refined microprocessor controls should result in improved performance over time. The first internal combustion engine looks like a joke compared to today's designs, and Rossi's first generation E-Cats may look very primitive compared to what will be available in the world marketplace in the year 2021.
Rossi claims that nickel-hydrogen fusion can give the world electricity at a cost of just one cent per kilowatt hour when produced by large scale LENR (low energy nuclear reaction) power plants. Even if we skeptically triple that cost to 3 cents per kilowatt hour, it is still an incredible bargain. We currently pay at least 40 cents per kilowatt hour for intermittent electricity produced by solar panels, 15 cents per kilowatt hour for unpredictable wind power electricity, and 8 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity produce by natural gas fired power plants. Rossi states that just one pound of nickel can unleash as much energy as burning 517,000 pounds of oil, which is approximately 1,590 barrels worth. Fortunately, the earth has enough easily mineable nickel to supply all of our energy needs for millions of years.
In 2007 Rossi asked Professor Sergio Focardi to help him test his E-Cat prototype and verify that it did not emit dangerous radiation. Conventional "hot" nuclear fusion using lasers to super-heat deuterium and tritium creates so much radiation that it would be impossible to shield in a small, portable device like the E-Cat. Through extensive testing the two scientists found no dangerous levels of radiation escaping from the E-Cats lead lined fusion chamber. No radioactive materials are used in the reactor's construction, and the temporary internal gamma ray radiation produced by pressure fusion stops when the reactor is turned off, leaving behind no residual radioactive elements and zero toxic waste. After four years of studying the E-Cat, Professor Sergio Focardi gleefully declared that "This is the greatest discovery in human history," and went on to say that "The results will be immense: clean energy at (almost) zero cost."
The men behind the most important invention of the 21st century
Left Picture - Rossi on left and Focardi on right
Middle Picture - Stremmenos and Rossi working together, Focardi by fan
Right Picture - Stremmenos on left, Rossi in middle, and very interested Chinese official, Hauard Chen, on right
Andrea Rossi - Master of Science and Engineering from the Università Degli Studi Di Milan. His degree is also known as "Philosophy of Science and Engineering." It is a broad science and engineering degree, not a degree in classical philosophy. Andrea Rossi has been an accomplished engineer since age 22, starting and owning several energy related businesses.
Sergio Focardi - Professor Emeritus of Experimental Physics at the Università di Bologna and author of numerous books and scientific articles. Focardi has a history of researching nickel-hydrogen fusion even before teaming up with Andrea Rossi.
Christos Stremmenos - Former physics professor at the Università di Bologna and former Greek ambassador to Italy. Stremmenos has many social ties to the current Greek Government because of his history of valiant political opposition to the military dictatorship in Greece during the 1960s. Stremmenos researched nickel-hydrogen fusion before meeting Andrea Rossi.
Sometime in the year 2010, Andrea Rossi contacted Dr. Joseph Levi, a physics professor at the University of Bologna associated with the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). After conducting preliminary tests in private, Levi set up an historic public demonstration on January 14, 2011, attended by 50 scientists from the University of Bologna and the INFN. The E-Cat produced 12.4 kilowatts of heat with an input of just 0.4 kilowatts, a gain of 31 times input power. In a third test conducted by Levi in which the E-Cat was setup to produce large amounts of hot water rather than steam, the E-Cat produced a minimum of 15 kilowatts of heat continuously for over 18 hours, and outputted peaks of heat up to 130 kilowatts. This experiment showed that a potential measuring error caused by the production of incompletely vaporized water, known as "wet steam", was not a factor in determining the E-Cat's energy output. Dr. Levi stated that "Now that I have seen the device work for so many hours, in my view all chemical energy sources are excluded.
On March 29th, 2011, two Swedish scientists participated in a test of Rossi's new mini E-Cat, which produced over 4.4 kilowatts of heat from a volume of only 50 cubic centimeters (3.05 cubic inches), just one twentieth the size of the original one liter E-Cat prototype. Hanno Essén is an associate professor of theoretical physics at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, and ironically a former chairman of the Swedish Skeptics Society. Essén stated that "In some way a new kind of physics is taking place. Its enigmatic, but probably no new laws of nature are involved. We believe it is possible to explain the process with known laws of nature. He went on to say that "We checked everything that could be checked, and we could walk around freely and have a look at most of the equipment."
Sven Kullander, a Professor at Uppsala University and chairman of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Energy Committee, also participated in the test. Kullander stated that "My belief that there is an energy development far beyond what one would expect has been strengthened significantly as I have had the opportunity to see the process for myself and perform measurements." Their group report stated that "Any chemical process for producing 25 kWh from any fuel in a 50 cm3 container can be ruled out. The only alternative explanation is that there is some kind of a nuclear process that gives rise to the measured energy production."
Sherlock Holmes would ask what are the odds that Rossi, Focardi, Levi, Essén, Kullander, Christos Stremmenos, and a dozen other top scientists could all go insane at the same time, deciding to throw away their reputations, careers, and scientific legacies by endorsing a fraudulent energy scheme. How could a public test closely observed by 50 scientists be faked? The E-Cat produced so much energy that if the power had come from the wall socket, the power cord would have melted. No tiny hidden battery could have possibly unleashed so much energy, and the small amount of hydrogen gas consumed during the reactor test was independently measured at less than 1 gram, thus simple combustion is ruled out as an energy source. Overall hydrogen consumption for the E-Cat is estimated at 0.01 grams of hydrogen to produce 10 kilowatt hours of heat. The only reasonable explanation for the excess energy produced is some form of low energy nuclear reaction (LENR). Thus, no matter how improbable it is that Rossi and others have discovered a new field of physics, it must be true according to the practical logic of Sherlock Holmes.
Unlike the notoriously flawed "cold fusion" experiments using deuterium and palladium conducted by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann in 1989, Rossis invention is decidedly "hot" in that the reactor yields generous amounts of reliable heat. The reaction is so powerful that even a first year engineering student could easily measure the E-Cats healthy net energy gain. We therefore know with certainty that the E-Cats energy is real and not an illusion created by measuring error, a possibility that haunted the work of Pons and Fleischmann. Rossis initial scientific paper on the E-Cat was rejected by established journals because even Rossi himself could not come up with a sufficiently detailed explanation of how the E-Cat works. Building an E-Cat is easier than explaining what happens inside the E-Cats reactor core. Andrea Rossi's explanation below is from a recent EV World interview and has been edited for clarity.
"To make it simple, what happens is that nickel has a particularity that protons spread from it's surface with extreme efficiency very close to the nucleus, even if repelled by the so called coulomb barrier forces. When we inject protons of hydrogen at high pressures and temperatures, they go pretty close to the nucleus of the nickel. At those points we have nuclear effects that produce gamma rays which add more energy. We increase the pressure leading to extremely high pressures... similar to ones that happen inside White Dwarf stars. In that situation the so called Gamow Factor, which is a probabilistic calculation of the coulomb repelling forces, is overcome. At that point enough energy is produced to make it worth being recorded." - Andrea Rossi
Professor Christos Stremmenos has submitted his own ideas on how the E-Cat functions here. Purdue University Professor Yeong E. Kim's paper suggesting that Bose-Einstein theory may explain E-Cat phenomena can be found here. Remember that scientists and engineers do not invent the laws of nature and can only attempt to explain the functions of nature within the limitations of our mortal human abilities. Andrea Rossi himself has paid the University of Bologna to test the E-Cat and come up with their own theories on how it works in a year long study program to begin in November of 2011.
Much experimentation will be needed before the full potential of E-Cat technology is realized, and as always the original inventors work will be greatly improved upon by other scientists from around the world. As pressure fusion is a completely new, inherently nontoxic technology, there are no regulatory barriers to slow its rapid technological advance. The growth of E-Cat use may thus be as exponential in progression as the use of personal computers in the 1990s. E-Cats may end up being sold by large chain stores and familiar online retailers. No precious metals are used in the low cost, easy to manufacture E-Cats, and any company with the technological skills required to build an air conditioner can produce them in large numbers on assembly lines. That means even poor, relatively undeveloped countries will be able to manufacture them.
Finding safe ways to scale up E-Cat technology to the giant gigawatt size needed to replace major fossil fuel and fission nuclear power plants will take a few years of research by big corporations. If E-Cats turn out to be as economical as expected, they will eventually be used to power cars, trucks, trains, ships, aircraft, and spacecraft. Imagine a luxury sedan you could drive for thousands of miles without refueling, or a small aircraft you could fly from New York to Beijing nonstop at low cost.
The American based company, Ampenergo, will handle E-Cat sales and technology licensing contracts in the Western Hemisphere. A European based E-Cat licensing and manufacturing deal with the Greek company, Defkalion Green Technologies, has come into question after a dramatic argument with Rossi. Rossi accused Defkalion of not living up to their financial agreement with his own company, Leonardo Corporation, by not coming through with an expected lump sum payment. A conciliatory Defkalion claims that both Rossi and Defkalion are under great pressure from banks and major corporations interested in preserving our reliance on fossil fuels. See Defkalion's dramatic statement, as if lifted from a best selling novel, or even from the Keanu Reeves movie, Chain Reaction. Rossi states that "The issue (with Defkalion) is just financial, not personal, nor technological, nor scientific." Rossi has recently sold his own home in order to raise funds to finish his one megawatt E-Cat reactor, so all of his own personal chips are now on the table.
Defkalion states they are surging ahead with plans to mass produce their own unique version of E-Cats, which they call Hyperion Modules. [NEWS: See November 14th, 2011, Defkalion press release with pictures of their latest Hyperion Modules and lab equipment] Internet rumors suggest that Defkalion's fusion reactors perform even better than Rossi built E-Cats, and that Defkalion figured out their own "secret catalyst" without Rossi's help. I predict we will not know all of the real facts until a major motion picture is made of the birth of E-Cat technology, something along the lines of the 2010 movie, The Social Network, about the birth of Facebook. May I suggest to Hollywood movie moguls the working title, The New Fire. Dramatic tension continues to build, and the stakes could not be higher. With the world economy in shambles, E-Cat technology represents the only magic bullet solution that can lead us out of global financial and ecological calamity. What will happen next?
Rossi's recent October 6th public test in Bologna, Italy, of a single E-Cat reactor cell in "self-sustaining mode" produced energy for almost four hours with inconsequential energy input, which was carefully measured and subtracted from the energy output measurements. If the E-Cat was not producing heat from low energy nuclear reactions (LENR), then the constant flow of water would have cooled the E-Cat down to room temperature. Instead, the E-Cat maintained stable heat production and continued to boil water. As the E-Cat did not lose any weight during the test, chemical reactions can be ruled out as a source of the heat. Defkalion's public reaction (and here) to the October 6th test has added more drama and soap opera interest to this breaking news story.
An unnamed corporate or military customer (possibly DARPA or SPAWAR) tested Rossi's one megawatt (heat) E-Cat power plant on October 28th, 2011. The test was conducted by Domenico Fioravanti, who reportedly is a NATO colonel and engineer with 30 years of experience in thermodynamics. The reactor was run in half power self-sustain mode for over 5.5 hours. That means there was no energy input during 5.5 hours of continuous operation. "According to the customers controller, Domenico Fioravanti, the plant released 2,635 kWh during five and a half hours of self sustained mode, which is equivalent to an average power of 479 kilowatts."
Rossi states that the first E-Cat reactors he sells will be for heating and cooling, including a low cost home heating model, a 40 centimeter (15.75") cube weighing 60 kilograms (132 pounds). You can keep up with fast moving E-Cat events through e-catworld.com/ The Swedish engineering journal, NyTeknik, helped with the October 6th testing and has a news story published here, and a technical report here. Below is NyTeknik's graph of the October 6th E-Cat test with notations by Andrea Rossi.
If E-Cat technology works as promised, and as every public and private test to date indicates, then humans will gradually replace all fossil fuels with energy from nickel-hydrogen fusion. There will be no risk of radioactive pollution because E-Cats contain no radioactive or fissile materials. Fusion power will put an end to biofuels and all the environmental damage and food price hyperinflation they create. E-Cats will raise our standard of living by lowering the cost of food, shelter, clothing, consumer goods, transportation everything.
Andrea Rossi has potential competition in the design of very large scale nuclear fusion power plants. Tri Alpha Energy uses boron and hydrogen as nuclear fuel, which breaks up into three helium-4 nuclei and three alpha particles, a process that produces little or no radioactive waste. Rossi's reactor must heat liquids to push turbines to make electricity. Tri Alpha's reactor can theoretically create electricity directly with no turbine required, increasing efficiency while reducing size and construction costs. Tri Alpha's concept is so appealing that famed Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, has invested millions of dollars into the highly secretive Rancho Santa Margarita based company.
If nuclear fusion does not work as hope, then the next obvious alternative is the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR), which is the safest, cleanest, and most efficient fission reactor design available. After the serious nuclear accidents in Japan, however, any development of LFTR technology or other new fission reactor design will be painfully slow, perhaps too slow to avoid further dramatic collapse of the world economies which rely so heavily on affordable energy. Let us all hope that nickel-hydrogen fusion does work as claimed, because billions of human lives will be saved by a major reduction in energy costs.
Christopher Calder email = archive100 AT inbox DOT com
Rossi's paper - "A new energy source from nuclear fusion"
Interview with Andrea Rossi
Andrea Rossi's website - "Journal of Nuclear Physics"
Rossi's patent application
main website, with overview of all major energy sources - The Renewable Energy Disaster
The Cold Fusion Ping List
Unfortunately, if Rossi did the following:
1) hired a bunch of actors to pretend to be the customer reps,
2) created an elaborate year-long special-effects-derived series of demos,
3) bribed, hypnotised or otherwise fooled Focardi, Levi, Kullander, Essen, Bianchini, Stremmenos
4) arranged for Piantelli, Miley and a host of others to try to fool the world into thinking that cold fusion was real,
5) got NASA, SPAWAR, The Defense Threat Reduction Agency and The Defense Intelligence Agency to say nice things about the field,
6) got Bushnell to make a fool of himself,
7) and convinced his former partners to set up another company called Ampenergo to pretend that they had a contract for The Americas for a substantial sum ----- or that they just did this with no proof because they have worked with Rossi and trust him because hes such a fine fellow,
8) sold his profitable company to his ex-partners in order to spend that wealth on a multi-million dollar scam; ----- certain that once he got all the above ducks in a row he would pretend to sell the first device ----- and then reel in the true target of his dastardly plan
9) and convinced a bunch of Greek crooks to set up a dummy company called Defkalion ----- to pretend to fight with him over the non-existent eCat, ----- to perpetuate the illusion and spin it off into a competing mirror-scam
[the second (this time genuine) buyer of a 1MW plant that will net him $2 million dollars ----- until they want their money back or sucker a $100 million dollar deal under the table ----- because he has experience in pulling the wool over all these idiotic eyes ----- and knows that they will just take his word for it ----- and not want to test if his 1MW plant can heat a small village without truckloads of coal or oil or a big fat electric cable coming into the container from beneath the floor (no you cant lift the carpet!) ]
10) and that, in order to pull this off, Rossi had to risk discovery by interviewing all the people he subsequently fooled so that he could only invite the gullible Professors and not the brilliant anonymous posters on the Internet who surely would have found him out
then, yes, all bets are off and Im with the guys who think that Rossi is an idiot and they are all geniuses.
The Cold Fusion Ping List
Convince me: Why is Rossi onto something?
Rossi isn't a scientist.
Are Stremmenos and Levi on Rossi’s payroll, or is Sterling Allan’s Leonardo website a fraud?
I can buy or build a hydrocarbon powered genset. Yes, I can actually machine the parts for the engine and wind the alternator. I know they work.
The author of this piece discounts history in transition from one source of energy to another.
Great Britain, wood to coal. US, wood to coal to petroleum.
Those changes were abrupt, quick, and disruptive.
I suspect the next change will be the same.
There are plenty of hydrocarbons on Titan, if we want to go get them.
I remain, agnostic. Show me.
The same goes for hydrocarbons on Earth.
The whole article (the above is just an exerpt) is worth a read
True, but on Titan, there are less @$$holes to drill through to get to the hydrocarbons. ;)
The problem I have with the numbers presented is that they all deal with power, not energy which is power*time. The right units are kilowatt hours not kilowatts. I do believe that measuring the energy is a fairly trivial exercise but the numbers presented do not show this; they show power which is not the same and only part of the story. And not the interesting part either. The way this is presented smells of fakery because it would be easy to do the right measurements and calculations, they are just not being done and sufficient detail is not provided to do them at this remove.
Never trust a man with a woman’s name.
A truism if there ever was one!
It may or may not be quick, it all depends on how simple and practical Rossi’s machines are to install.
With the previous transitions, much of it had to do with the fact that we were running low on convenient and low cost supplies at the time, much of it due to the limits of technology of the day.
SCAM, scam and more SCAM
Actually yes it is - up to the point where they talk about Rossi (on whom I’ve yet to form an opinion). Information on which we should all be savvy is contained therein. For example, if I read it right, 1.7 gallons of fossil fuel to produce 1.0 gallon of biofuel - which in turn is 33% less efficient. He runs the gamut of all the “traditional” alternative energy sources.
Though I’m skeptical about Rossi for other reasons, that’s an immaterial argument. Discoveries frequently come from outside the field.
Long dissertations are not necessarily convincing. Brevity is much appreciated.
We shall soon see either a scam disintegrate or a new energy source.
When the dust settles, I’m betting it’s just another scam. Rossi has been known to do this in the past.
So to claim proof we need to have input to the magic box in KWh and the output in KWh and then we need to figure out the maximum stored energy in the magic box part of the system we are not allowed to examine. This also needs to be in KWh to keep things simple and consistent.
We can know the maximum volume of the magic box. Given this volume we should easily be able to determine the maximum stored energy. Simply pick the densest energy storage method possible, multiply that by an order of magnitude (10 for those in Rio Linda), and you have a fairly conservative number for maximum stored energy. If the stored energy in the magic box exceeds this number you have a whole 'nother breakthrough which is interesting in its own right. We'll call this stored energy Z. This is also measured in KWh.
So, the canonical experiment is this. You pump X energy into the magic box, measured in KWh. You measure Y energy coming out, also in KWh. When Y - X >= Z (maximum stored energy calculated above) you have something interesting.
As far as I can tell this experiment has not been done. In the work that has been presented, input is measured in KWh and output is measured in temperature and the volumes of water involved are never quite specified. Not quite enough information is provided to do the relevant calculations.
So, color me skeptical.
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