The Peak Oil Crisis: The Search for Cheap, Clean Energy

February 4, 2014 1:56 PM14 comments

There are now two new potential sources of energy which seem to be too good to be true. This is why most, upon hearing what they might offer, reject the notion that they can possibly be true. Water for fuel? Nonsense! Electricity for a tenth of the current price? Absurd! An end to carbon emissions and anthropogenic climate change? Only our green technologies – wind, sun and water can do that! Fundamental principles of physics and chemistry could be wrong? More nonsense, we understand these so well that there is little of significance left to be discovered.

There are now four separate companies saying they have developed, had verified by outside parties, and in some cases demonstrated to outside groups, prototypes of devices that could be central to the next age of civilization. The amazing thing in all this activity is that hardly anybody recognizes that it is happening. Most of the skepticism is rooted in recent history when the scientific community and the US Department of Energy denied that there might be other ways to extract energy from atoms or that scientific understanding of physics is not complete.

For those watching all this story unfolding for years the pace seems to be picking up, for in the last two weeks all four of the companies working on commercial products have publicly reported progress – which as usual was mostly ignored by the media.

In New Jersey BlackLight Power held a presentation last week for some 70 invited attendees. The two-hour presentation is available online at http://www.blacklightpower.com/whats-new/. So far as we know only CNN-Money TV attended the affair — perhaps they were the only one invited. The network later ran a short TV story laying out BlackLight’s claims that their technology, which is based on a new theory of physics/chemistry and which is not cold fusion, can produce unlimited amounts of cheap, clean energy from water. To CNN’s credit they even ran a short interview with a scientist who has extensively tested the technology and says it works as claimed.

During the demonstration, the inventor of the process showed a device that fired off what is claimed to be bursts of hydrogen turning into high energy plasma which can be used to produce electricity. There was also discussion of the way BlackLight’s plans to automate these bursts to produce electric power continuously.

The company says it has recently developed a “solid fuel-catalyst that can produce billions of watts per liter from the formation of ‘hydrinos’ using H2O as the only source of fuel.” This statement alone is a claim so far beyond what is known by mainstream science that skeptics are in an aroused state of disbelief – despite the existence of letters of validation from four scientific organizations testifying that they have participated in building and testing the technology and it works. The testers say the devices have produced from 10 to 2000 times the input energy.

BlackLight says that the development of this solid fuel-catalyst is an important step in building commercial devices that can one day replace all current forms of energy ranging from electric power generation to heating to transportation. Most people want to know when? BlackLight has been developing this technology in a relatively open fashion for the last 20 years, with the aid of about $80 million it has raised from private investors. During their visit, CNN was told that it will take about five years to go from where they are now to a commercial product.

Coming on the market sooner could be a device from Vancouver-based Defkalion. On January 16th, Defkalion announced that they will have a “pre-industrial” version of their Hyperion cold fusion device completed and ready for certification by the second quarter of 2014. The Hyperion will be a relatively small source of heat that, if it works as claimed, could find a market for industrial and commercial heating applications, especially in places where fuel is hard to come by. The company is talking about selling the device for $7,000 and says that the annual cost of operation should be less than 1 cent per Kwh.

Two weeks ago a North Carolina company, Industrial Heat, announced that they had indeed purchased the rights to the Italian inventor Rossi’s E-Cat technology and are hard at work verifying the technology, getting patents, and developing a marketable product. This announcement confirms what the blogosphere had discovered several weeks back that Rossi and his device were now in the hands of a billion dollar venture capital firm that likely can afford further development of the technology. Rossi says that he is expecting the report of a second and longer test of his device within the next few months. The company which bought the rights to Rossi’s technology, says they did so only after extensive testing convinced them that cold fusion was real and that Rossi had a technology that could be commercialized.

Our last company, Brillouin Energy of California, which is working with SRI Laboratories on developing a cold fusion powered boiler for power stations, gave extensive televised interviews of their operations and finances a few weeks ago. Brillouin says they have signed an agreement with a medium sized Korean company to license the technology and build the boilers for the Korean market. They hope to have a prototype in operation before the end of the year.

What is remarkable about all this activity is that it is taking place with close to zero funding from a still skeptical government and on a relative shoestring as compared to projects of much lesser importance. There has been close to zero government participation; no major corporate involvement, except by SRI; and little involvement by university scientists most of whom still maintain that cold fusion cannot possibly take place and that there is no such thing as BlackLight Power’s compressed form of hydrogen.

Some of this activity is bound to make its way into the mainstream media one of these days. We should know more before the year is out.

 

  • Antiehypocrite

    It’s like that sign in the bar that says ‘Free Beer – tomorrow’

    Always tomorrow for these miracle energy cures. The thing is we need a miracle now because:

    High energy prices = less consumption because everything
    including the fuel in your tank costs more = layoffs = less tax revenue =
    government cutbacks, layoffs and debt increases = less consumption = more
    layoffs = less taxes ===== economic
    death spiral.

    Compounding the problem is the fact that a weak labour
    market means real wages drop – as they are across the world right now – that
    means everything is more expensive and your buying power is dropping at the
    same time.

    Governments recognize this and are trying to offset with
    debt, easy lending (they are purposely inflating bubbles), lower interest rates
    and money printing.

    Of course they will fail – because the disease is expensive
    oil. And there is no substitute (did you know that industrial farming requires gas for fertilizer and oil for pesticide consumption – without these the soil is DEAD)

    The economic death spiral will accelerate when the QE and ZIRP no longer have any effect and the confidence game collapses.

    This moment will be known as the end of the industrial revolution by the few who survive.

    This is not a Hollywood movie where the hero saves the day. This is the reality we are facing – the end of growth is here http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/forums/hong-kong-property/threads/151173/do-high-energy-costs-=-the-end-of-growth?/

    • PappyYokum

      I agree with the Free Beer tomorrow conclusion. Waiting for cold fusion researchers to produce something practical is like waiting for the Second Coming.

      It all sounds very promising, but when you actually see what these companies have to show for their efforts, after two decades, it doesn’t look like much progress has been made in that time.

      The economic analysis is wrong, however; Credit creation and QE money printing is responsible for the High energy prices along with U.S. policy to keep supply off of the market. [e.g. Iraq and Iran]

      People are going to consume to meet their needs. Needs cannot be cut indefinitely, so the supposed death spiral is not going to happen.

      The Fed says QE and zero interest rates will encourage borrowing for economic expansion. The problem is the QE is not being lent at the low rates because the reward doesn’t outweigh the risk of lending. (The banks have parked the money for .25% interest.) It is also discouraging saving which is needed for investment because there is no reward to deferring consumption by saving which must precede lending.

      To encourage saving, interest rates must rise. Higher interest rates harm borrowers, however. The biggest debtor is the government, so its interest is in keeping interest rates as low as possible. The Fed does what is best for the banks and the government. It will continue to buy bad debt from the banks to make them look solvent, and government debt to keep interest rates low – for as long as it takes and that could be forever.

      • Antiehypocrite

        High energy prices = less consumption because everything
        including the fuel in your tank costs more = layoffs = less tax revenue =
        government cutbacks, layoffs and debt increases = less consumption = more
        layoffs = less taxes ===== economic
        death spiral.

    • df_rocket

      In the voluminous writings he composed during his eleven years imprisonment under the fascist regime, Antonio Gramsci repeatedly cites the aphorism, “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will” (which he ascribed to the novelist Romain Rolland). In one of his letters, he expanded the idea: “The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned … I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.”

  • dicksamson

    Authoritative, informed analysis of potentially important developments, neglected by the media.

  • Gerard McEk

    Fine article, well written and up-to-date. It is about time the main stream media pick this up. How much prove do they need for this?

  • Bertuswonkel

    Thanks for covering this. I am not so sure Blacklight and the LENR field are working on different things. To me it seems they have a different explanation for the same novel effect they are exploiting. Also want to note that SRI is not actually working with Brillouin. Mike McKubry was asked to asses and help improve their experimental set up. This was a consultant job and not to my knowledge a full collaboration.

    • df_rocket

      One of the scientists, I think it was McKubry, in the field made the comment about the “Law of Conservation of Miracles”. And that all these phenomena, pistol shrimp, LeClair effect, Blacklight Power, Hagelstein’s Nanor, National Instruments Celani demo, and Brillouin Energy’s Quantum Reaction Hypothesis are ALL the same miracle. But I agree with one of the posters that it is taking forever to have something sold on the end-cap of Home Depot!

  • Christopher Calder

    The United States Department of Energy is now funding research into Low Energy Nuclear Reaction, at least at a low level. That is a sign that the DOE finally realizes that all those hundreds of scientists around the world who have reported positive results, including scientists at Mitsubishi, Toyota, DARPA, and NASA, are not all lying. The statistical odds of it all being a hoax or a crazy measuring mistake must be over a million to one by now, …probably over one billion to one.

    I trust the math and simple logic of the situation even though I do not understand all the scientific arguments for and against. I don’t care if it is fusion, electron capture, or hydrinos. I just want it to work, and I think it will eventually.

    • Antiehypocrite

      Even if it could work there is nothing that can replace oil and gas.

      Case in point – 98% of arable land on the planet is farmed using oil and gas based pesticides and fertilizers.

      That was your ‘green revolution’ and that revolution resulted in 7.2 billion mouths to feed.

      Remove the cheap oil and gas and you are left with dead soil – and it would take 3+ years of intensive organic inputs to produce a crop on that soil.

      What will 7.2 billion people eat for those 3 years????

      (of course we could never feed 7.2 billion people if the world could flip a switch to organic farming)

  • William Pierce

    cold fusion has been ”5 years away” for the past 50 years…that darn goal post just keeps moving down the field

    • Veblin

      Cold fusion was reported by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann on the 23rd of March, 1989. The 25th anniversary will be next month. Some industrial cold fusion products are planned to be available later this year or next. 2014-2015

      Only a fool who knows nothing about this field would make the foolish statement, “cold fusion has been ”5 years away” for the past 50 years”. You don’t even know where the field and goal posts are because you lost your way before the game started.

  • df_rocket

    There sure is a lot of people doing demos. One of the scientists, I think it was McKubry, in the field made the comment about the “Law of Conservation of Miracles”. And that all these phenomena, pistol shrimp, LeClair effect, Blacklight Power, Hagelstein’s Nanor, National Instruments Celani demo, and Brillouin Energy’s Quantum Reaction Hypothesis are ALL the same miracle. But I agree with one of the posters that it is taking forever to have something sold on the end-cap of Home Depot!

    • df_rocket

      The power of pistol shrimp:

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