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Author Topic: NASA taking a closer look at "Cold Fusion"/LENR  (Read 6393 times)
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    Earlier this year, NASA put out a video discussing their research into Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, aka "cold fusion."  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxeKeuh_2Bw

  "Cold fusion" is the term that I and my colleagues used at BYU where I initiated studies in this field in 1985-86, years before we even heard of Pons and Fleischmann.   (See
http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/transcripts/majorforums/2003_11_20_lamb.htm  -- nice summary by BYU Prof. John Lamb
and
http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/131history.html -- a brief history;
and )

Cold fusion or LENR was part of my definition of "novel energy" aka "freedom energy" as expressed publicly in March 2010 (see below), and I prepared several PPT slides on this energy approach for an invited BYU Physics Dept. Colloquium scheduled for Sept. 2012 (which has unfortunately been canceled by a vote of that Physics faculty in March 2012).

  NASA is willing to allow discourse on this novel-energy approach.  According to NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell, the game changer for NASA's pursuit of LENR experimentation is a new theory:
Quote
However, via collective effects/ condensed matter quantum nuclear physics, LENR is allowable without any "miracles." The theory states that once some energy is added to surfaces loaded with hydrogen/protons, if the surface morphology enables high localized voltage gradients, then heavy electrons leading to ultra low energy neutrons will form-- neutrons that never leave the surface. The neutrons set up isotope cascades which result in beta decay, heat and transmutations with the heavy electrons converting the beta decay gamma into heat.

The theory indicates several key issues/circumstances are required to enable-to-optimize LENR and explains the various experimental observations, including the often long initiation times required in some experiments. If the theory is experimentally validated in detail, it provides the understanding to shift LENR research from discovery into engineering development. The theory indicates energy densities, some several million times chemical. The current experiments are in the 10's to hundreds range. However, several labs have blown up studying LENR and windows have melted, indicating when the conditions are "right" prodigious amounts of energy can be produced and released. There are some six or so groups claiming device outputs in the 100 watt range and three others claiming kilowatts. Efforts are ongoing within NASA and other organizations to validate (or not) these claims. It should be noted that these devices are essentially "Edisonian," the result of attempts at experimental "discovery" vice ab initio design from the weak interaction theories per se.

The rest of his article is here:  http://futureinnovation.larc.nasa.gov/view/articles/futurism/bushnell/low-energy-nuclear-reactions.html
A diagram of H2 gas entering a metal lattice is shown (attached) from this paper.  IIRC, the experimenters at BYU were the first to use this method in actual experiments, in circa 1986.  Notice the progress in the field, from looking primarily at enhanced d-d fusion reactions in metals, which has been verified at low levels*, to metal-enhanced weak interactions of electrons and protons, followed by isotope formation and decay and energy release.           *http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CFsQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.journalof911studies.com%2Fvolume%2F200704%2FJonesWTC911SciMethod.pdf&ei=mOcEUP6pK4L69QSyoO3jBw&usg=AFQjCNEPHAicD2i3JeU8WYgGU8KfXSKI5Q&sig2=_J45CGrd0F4JkzdC1prDIQ

The new LENR theory was discussed in a CERN Colloquium (that was not canceled) in March 2012.
I am intrigued that NASA takes this novel approach to energy sufficiently seriously to discuss it publicly and to pursue it experimentally.
 

 
I should note that while I have expressed reservations about claims by Rossi in Italy regarding p-Nickel reactions, primarily because of his refusal so far to permit acquisition of gamma-ray spectra by independent scientists, I would like to keep track of updates from NASA or other serious studies regarding the LENR approach to alternative energy production.

Appendix:

Jones post March 2010 (http://www.overunityresearch.com/index.php?topic=762.0)
Quote
I would define a "novel energy" (NE) device that has merit for science and for society as follows -- here are my criteria at this time:

1.  Energy from a non-conventional source.  This excludes:  fossil fuels and biomass burning, solar (including wind and wave power), geothermal, nuclear fission or fusion (although I should not exclude cold fusion -- but see point 3).  It does not exclude:  earth's gravitational or magnetic fields, galactic magnetic fields.  Even currently unknown sources are allowable -- and sought.

2.  More power out than in (that is, COP = Pout/Pin > 1), also known as "overunity" (OU).  This does not mean that principles of physics such as conservation of energy are (necessarily) violated.  It does imply a novel energy source.  Multiple methods of measurement are preferable, but the experimental method and the measurements must bear scrutiny (e.g., a peer-reviewed paper would be great!)

3.  The observation of OU must be repeatable.  A device must work every time specified conditions are met.  Successful replication must be demonstrated also.

4.  The power output must be capable of scaling up.  (Unlike extracting tiny currents from a magnet or iron pyrite, for example.)  To be more than a curiosity, a scaled-up working device should produce at least tens of watts.

5.  I would prefer that results and inventions be freely available worldwide, and not controlled by some big corporation or government entity.  A benefit to humanity is sought, not beaucoup-bucks for an elite few.

6.  If a theoretical model is claimed, the basis of that model needs to be empirically demonstrated.   For example, if a proton-nickel --> radioactive copper isotope production is claimed (as in a recent Bologna, Italy claim), then demonstration of copper isotope production is required.  This could be done by detecting the decay products of the produced radioisotopes, which should not be difficult to measure quantitatively.





  

 
   
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One of the best places for papers about cold fusion is here:
http://lenr-canr.org/
The next ICCF conference will be held soon, August 12 – 17, 2012, in Daejeon, Korea. These conferences are always the source of interesting news in the field.

   
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  I appreciate the link, exn..  http://lenr-canr.org/
I went there, glad to see pursuit of this research at the Univ of Missouri in Columbia, MO.  http://mizzouweekly.missouri.edu/archive/2012/33-28/reactor/index.php

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April 18, 2012 Volume 33, No. 28
Nuclear researchers attempt to locate new source of renewable energy
John Gahl

In 2011, John Gahl, professor of electrical engineering and director of MU’s Material Science Program, received a Mizzou Advantage grant to conduct low-energy nuclear reaction experiments using the Reactor’s cyclotron. Rob Hill photo.

MU RESEARCH REACTOR

Replicating heat reaction is primary goal

Not long ago, the idea that a scientist could generate energy using little more than a beaker of water, a bit of metal and some electricity was met with widespread skepticism.

Today, so-called low-energy nuclear reactions, or LENR, are being recorded in laboratories around the world. Scientists from the Naval Research Laboratory, the National Energy Laboratory of Italy, as well as research teams in France, Japan and Israel have all observed the phenomenon — a wallop of heat when electricity is applied to palladium, nickel or platinum submerged in deuterium-enriched water.

Many scientists are convinced that a new source of clean, cheap renewable energy is within reach. But the experiments to generate the heat don’t always work, and when they do, experts can’t agree why.

MU researchers are trying to understand the physical science behind the heat effect. Last February their research received a monetary boost via a $5.5 million gift from philanthropist Sidney Kimmel.

Kimmel gift helps research

Some of the research at the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance will take place at the MU Research Reactor, the largest and most powerful university-based reactor in the country. In 2011, John Gahl, professor of electrical engineering and director of MU’s Material Science Program, received a Mizzou Advantage grant to conduct low-energy nuclear reaction experiments using the Reactor’s cyclotron.

Gahl said the Kimmel gift allows him and his colleagues to build on that research, which involves shooting particle beams of deuterium at palladium isotopes under various conditions. The results could help researchers evaluate the different theories proposed for the heat effect.

“We’re taking a look directly at the theoretical constructs that have been put forward as a way to explain these phenomena,” Gahl said. “The theories are falsifiable, so we should be able to construct experiments to show whether this theory or that theory is absolutely incorrect.”

Researchers will also be working with scientists from Energetics Technologies, a private company that set up shop at MU’s Life Sciences Incubator two years ago. With financing from Sidney Kimmel, Energetics has been working on commercial applications for low-energy

nuclear reactions, focusing on what the company calls the SuperWave fusion process.

That process was featured in a 60 Minutes segment in April 2009. Rob Duncan, MU vice chancellor of research and a physicist, was asked by the CBS news program to evaluate Energetics’ scientific claims. Duncan came away impressed with the possibilities of the heat reaction.

Federal investment needed

In a 2009 review of the science, the Defense Intelligence Agency reported that low-energy nuclear reaction research was “increasing and gaining acceptance” worldwide, most notably in Japan and Italy. Russia, China, Israel and India have also committed considerable resources to the research “in the hope of finding a new clean energy source,” according to the agency.

The report concluded that whoever harnesses the reaction for commercial use “could revolutionize energy production and storage for the future. The potential applications of this phenomenon … are unlimited.”

Yet Duncan estimates that only $2 million in public money has been invested in trying to understand the anomalous heat effect. “I think it’s unusual, given the body of evidence, that there isn’t more money being spent to inquire what’s going on,” he said.

Duncan said federal investment is important because it could speed development of the technology. As it stands, while privately funded labs are reporting results, most of the research is considered proprietary and not readily available publicly to other researchers.

“Competitive grants  — awards based on proven scientific merit — are the key to really getting at what is happening,” Duncan said. “Because then clever research groups around the country can apply for federal funding to try and figure it out.”

Harnessing heat reaction

Figuring out why anomalous heat is generated is only one piece of the puzzle, said David Robertson, professor of chemistry and associate director of research at the Reactor. Scientists need to nail down the specific conditions under which the heat effect can be repeated.

Right now, the success rate is roughly 20 percent, according to Robertson. That means that four of five experiments fail to generate the heat. Identifying and correcting those mistakes could uncover the secrets that lead to an alternative form of energy.

“Quite frankly, our technology has gotten to the point where, if we can reproduce the excess heat effect and we know what’s going on, we know how to harness it,” Robertson said. “That’s not the hard part.”

— Brian J. Wallstin
   
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I'm learning more about NASA's interest ... and greed enters the picture... but before getting to that (its late here), please review this short vid put out to the public BY NASA on 23 May 2012, about seven weeks ago. You can see how seriously NASA is taking this new LENR, clean-energy process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42hrCRx1JJY&

Below is a snapshot, showing the date and that indeed this is by NASA.
   
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Ah, just found the abstract by the NRL group for the ICCF18 conference in July:

Quote
Low Energy Nuclear Reaction Research at the Naval Research Laboratory

D.A. Kidwell1, D.D. Dominguez1, A.E. Moser2, J.H. He2, K.S. Grabowski1, G.K. Hubler1 C.A. Carosella1, C. Cetina2 and D.L. Knies1 1Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375 USA 2NOVA Research, Inc., Alexandria, VA

We have explored the field of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) for about eight years focusing on transmutation, electrochemistry, and gas loading with the latter two being the most fruitful. In electrochemistry, palladium foil is loaded with deuterium in a closed electrochemical cell contained in a calorimeter. Occasionally, excess energy is produced that is much larger than can be accounted for by chemistry or the electrical input into the system. Unfortunately, the poor reproducibility (<6%) prevented discovery of the trigger for this excess heat. In gas loading, palladium nanoparticles are pressurized with deuterium. While the resultant heat is very reproducible, it is much lower than from electrochemical experiments and therefore harder to characterize as unconventional chemistry. In both approaches to LENR only energy (as heat) is produced – neither nuclear products nor transmutations have been firmly established.


Science is data driven. Once a hypothesis is formed, the most important scientific task is to disprove the hypothesis. Only after failure to find conflicting data is a hypothesis accepted as likely correct, but that acceptance can change on a moments notice when new data arises. Although simple in concept, LENR experiments have subtle pitfalls to trap the more casual researcher, and much of our effort has gone into uncovering these pitfalls. Through a historical perspective, I will discuss the application of the scientific method to selected results and how incorrect conclusions could have been easily made.

In contrast, we can find no artifacts to explain the data for some of our results, and therefore we must conclude that an unknown source of energy exists and is worthy of more attention.
http://iccf18.research.missouri.edu/files/day2/Kidwell_Keynote.pdf

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[SIZE="4"]we can find no artifacts to explain the data for some of our results, and therefore we must conclude that an unknown source of energy exists and is worthy of more attention.[/SIZE]
[/B]

"we must conclude that an UNKNOWN SOURCE OF ENERGY EXISTS" -- just as I have been saying for a LONG time!  They did not say "fusion" or even LENR!  they said, UNKNOWN SOURCE OF ENERGY.  Finally!!
   
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