The Peak Oil Crisis: Cold Fusion Update

April 16, 2014 7:56 PM27 comments

There are at least four contenders in the race to bring a cold-fusion powered heat-producing device to market in the near future. These are the Rossi E-cat project now based in North Carolina under the aegis of a new firm called Industrial Heat; the Brillouin and SRI effort to develop a nuclear reaction boiler out in California; the Defkalion Green Technology’s effort in Vancouver and Greece to market a heat producing device later this year; and finally BlackLight Power’s radically different “hydrino” technology which, if it proves to work at a commercial scale, could trump all the rest.

Of the four, Rossi’s E-cat has received the most publicity – at least on the internet if not in the mainstream media. Last week a new book by Swedish journalist, Mat Lewan, entitled An Impossible Invention, was released. Lewan relates the story of Andrea Rossi and his E-cat in much detail from the time when Rossi first decided to research the phenomenon, through the first semi-public demonstration in January 2011 to the current time. If nothing else, Rossi is important to the cold fusion story as he was the first to demonstrate commercial-scale production of heat and may be the first to develop a commercially viable product.

Lewan, who trained as a scientist before becoming a journalist, started as a skeptic. However, after attending many demonstrations, making measurements of his own, and conducting extensive interviews with Rossi and independent scientists, he has become convinced that Rossi and his heat generating device are for real. He concludes that we are on the cusp of a new age in which virtually unlimited quantities of clean, cheap energy will be at the service of mankind.

The Rossi story, however, is nearly as bizarre as that of the mainstream media’s treatment of the cold fusion story. Rossi came upon the idea that he should work on cold fusion in 1995 while sitting in an Italian jail for six months – but that is another story. Upon release he returned to the U.S. where he had been developing thermoelectric generators for the U.S. government and began experiments with nickel and hydrogen as a way to produce heat without a chemical reaction.

After years of experiments, and the encouragement of a well-respected Italian physicist, Sergio Focardi, who Rossi had called in to evaluate his work, he finally hit upon powdered nickel, a catalyst (possibly lithium), and a reactor configuration that would produce commercial quantities of heat – well beyond the test-tube scale that many other scientists had been observing over the previous 20 years.

In 2010 Rossi and Focardi self-published a paper about their work, but of course left out the details of the key catalyst. As cold fusion devices are generally un-patentable due to prejudices left from the Fleishman-Pons era, the only protection an inventor has for now is to keep key details proprietary. This withholding of information by Rossi, and others working in the field, coupled with no firm idea as to how what is known as the production of “anomalous heat” actually works, has made the whole topic highly controversial.

While the semi-public demonstration in January 2011 met its goals of producing steam before an audience of invited scientists and members of the press, the claims that the device was powered by a nuclear reaction raised a storm of controversy focusing on the notion that such a device could not be real. While a few Italian newspapers covered the event along with a handful of websites specializing in cold fusion, the mainstream media stayed silent and largely remains so to this day.

Interestingly enough the first demonstration seems to have raised the most interest in Sweden. Five days after the first demonstration Lewan wrote a story for his Swedish newspaper, Ny Teknik, which attracted widespread attention in Sweden, and eventually led to support for Rossi from the country’s electric power industry. The next two years were taken up in a search by Rossi for a partner that would test his device, bring credibility to his work as well as finance its development, and allow him bring a heat producing device to market.

At one time or another, partnership deals were about to be struck with five different organizations in Greece, Sweden, and the U.S. but for one reason or another they fell through, sometimes with recriminations. During this time however, Rossi, possibly with the help of a noted Japanese scientist, came up with a new design for his device which raised its operating temperatures considerably. In October 2012 Rossi concluded a deal with a then-secret U.S. partner in whom he had enough confidence to turn over the secrets of his designs and catalysts to the new partnership. At the end of 2013 the news leaked that Rossi was now with Cherokee Investment Partners in Raleigh North Carolina and was working out of a new firm called Industrial Heat to develop and market products based on his designs.

Currently Rossi and Industrial Heat have their latest device out for lengthy off-site testing and evaluation by an independent team of scientists financed by Sweden’s electric power institute. It is hoped that the results of these test will be available within the next few months and will be long, thorough, and independent enough to convince the world that Rossi’s device does indeed produce the claimed amounts of heat.

In an even more interesting development, BlackLight Power announced last week that they have designed and are patenting a device that can continuously produce the mini-explosions that occur as hydrogen atoms are converted into what BlackLight calls “hydrinos.” BlackLight says the blinding flashes resulting from these conversions, some 50,000 times brighter than the sun, have been directed onto solar cells to produce large amounts of electricity. They say they have designed a one-cubic-foot device that will produce 10 million watts of power. If this proves to be true, cold fusion may be obsolete before most know that it exists.


Tom Whipple is a retired government analyst and has been following the peak oil issue for several years.




  • Antiehypocrite

    This is utter nonsense – fusion is NEVER going to happen.

    Here’s a summary of the situation.

    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

    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.

    Do you see fusion anywhere here?

    Renewable energy might as well not exist beyond hydro.

    • Thanks Antie…you tell it like it is.

    • Actually nobody really knows if it is fusion, fission, or some wierd combination thereof, or something we just haven’t considered before. All anybody really will tell you they know is that the energy densities are nuclear.

      Cold Fusion is a legacy name at this point.

      • right, the big error in cold fusion have been to focus on theory and not on experimental results.

        Focusing on experimental results is what some call the “Beaudette Doctrine” that he explain in his book

        the idea is that if we have solide chemistry-grade evidence, whatever the physicist moan about the theory is to be ignored.

        Cold Fusion is a chemistry domain experimental phenomenon, based on calorimetry expertise.

        as it is well described in the book Excess Heat, there is only 4 critics written against Cold Fusion calorimetry, and they are all bullshit.

        Can you imagine that the consensus agains cold fusion is based on such horse manure ? it is!

        this paper making parallel with BS data on titanic Wreckage and cold fusion is shocking…

        the story is simple :
        some incompetent lower scientists claimed that cold fusion was debunked in bad papers, bad books… all physicist loved that without reading, supported those toilet papers, and the press and editors followed in the general consensus… people were aware that it was nothing real, but after suffering from insultes, defunding, harassment, most of them avoided the domain…

        there is no consensus in science.

        • Steve Jones

          ok so what?
          NONE of these so called “cold fusion” devices have never made it to market!
          Why not?
          Why would someone care about “cold fusion devices”
          that have NOT made it?
          what is the use of speculating endlessly about “cold fusion devices”?
          The so called “cold fusion devices” will NEVER make it to market!
          They do not exist!
          Why do they not exist?

  • Jeez, Tom, why did you have to mention BLP? You were doing so well. BLP’s demonstrations are embarrassing and thus Mills is embarrassing.

    Rossi et. al. yes; BLP and Mills no.

    • I confirm that vision.

      At best Mills just have classic lab toy less productive than Fleischmann…

      Brillouin is also to track, as they are supported by US agencies (Navy…) through SRI

      if you read the book of Lewan, you will see that Nasa is in the domain, that even Boeing, Volvo is standing at the window, and I can say you that Boeing is not the only one … and some are not only standing but preparing to jump.

      • Steve Jones

        ok so what?
        NONE of these so called “cold fusion” devices have never made it to market!
        Why not?
        Why would someone care about “cold fusion devices”
        that have NOT made it?
        what is the use of speculating endlessly about “cold fusion devices”?
        The so called “cold fusion devices” will NEVER make it to market!
        They do not exist!
        Why do they not exist?11111

        • Simple: it takes time to go from R&D to prototypes to commercial products. If those are numbered 1, 2, 3 then Rossi and Industrial Heat are at around 2.8, awaiting the results of long term (6 month) independent testing (expected in ~June).

          The trek from R&D to commercial product usually takes around 3-5 years (for most any non-trivial tech product) if not more. That’s exactly where we are with LENR reactors.

  • Skeptics, please note: we’ve been you. But we got here early and out of intense curiosity picked through the available information and data and have come to some startling conclusions.

    There is an emerging industry based on the LENR phenomenon and it’s not a little wave. We’re about to get drenched. Rossi and Industrial Heat lead the way with a published 3rd party validation back in May 2013 ( and two previous validations. If the next one, a 6 month long validation at a neutral site expected to be released over the next couple of months, is positive then commercialization and industrial products cannot be far behind. But consider that Rossi is accompanied by other firms claiming to be commercializing the same technology: Brillouin, Defkalion, LENUCO, Clean Planet, Nichenergy, JET Energy and others. This is not a master scam… this is an emerging industry.

    The data points are too numerous, varied and persuasive to come to any other logical conclusion. We’re about to see the emergence of a near ideal energy source. It’s going to change everything. Open-minded readers can visit and read “Are Low Energy Nuclear Reaction Devices Real?” for more information.

    • Wrong. If cold fusion is possible, everything we understand about quantum physics is false. Its just snake oil.

      • this is a myth.

        (unlike free energy claims) Cold Fusion does not negate the known quantum physics.

        It respect Thermodynamic laws, at least not worse than any nuclear reactor does.

        The myth is that incompetent hot fusion nuclear physicist just apply free space simplifications, two body hypothesis, for phenomenon happening inside a lattice…

        With that reasoning you would declare that superconductors, semiconductors, are impossible… you will negate 90% of nanotechnology and graphene findings…

        stop joking.

        Edmund storps propose an approach which is the most conservative I know:

        (video )

        – respect usual physics laws (TD 1/2/3, momentum, Heisenberg, qm, Gibbs energy). no New Physics.

        – one single phenomenon, one single place at the source of all cold fusion variants

        his proposition based on metallic 1D hydrogen in lattice defects, is not confirmed but it show that you can respect classic QM…

        of course you have to abandon the free space physics and accept that in lattice some collective phenomenon are involved.

        serious reader should also read his cold fusion review and of course the cited papers

        there is a preprint

        the paper is in Naturwissenschaften 2010

        note that claiming cold fusion violate known physics (like the hbbits to introduce new physics for cold fusion) is a common fallacy .

        It have been indeed observed against High temperature superconductors, forcing evidence to be hidden in footnotes

        Charles Beaudette in “Excess Heat”

        propose that description of pathological skeptics (some would say deniers in fact, but Beaudette name honest skeptics “critics”) :

        In general, skeptics display the following habits.

        1. They do not express their criticism in those venues where it will be subject to peer review.

        2. They do not go into the laboratory and practice the experiment along side the practitioner (as does the critic).

        3. Assertions are offered as though they were scientifically based when they are merely guesses.

        4. Questions are raised that concern matters outside of the boundaries of the claimed observation.

        5. Satire, dismissal, and slander are freely employed.

        6. When explanations are advanced for a possible source, ad hoc reasons are instantly presented for their rejection. These rejections often assert offhand that the explanation violates some physical conservation law.

        7. Evidence raised in support of the claims is rejected outright if it does not answer every possible question. No intermediate steps to find a source are acceptable

        don’t feel stupid to use that old fallacy, as the greatest scientist, including kelvin have fallen in that fallacy.

        It is very common

        and Kuhn even think it is required to make “normal science” (the science between crisis) efficient:

        Max Planck: A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grow up that is familiar with it.

        But Kuhn argues that Planck’s famous remark overstates the case.

        -Neither proof nor error is at issue.

        -The transfer of allegiance from paradigm to paradigm is a conversion experience that cannot be forced.

        -Proponents of a paradigm devote their lives and careers to the paradigm.

        -Lifelong resistance is not a violation of scientific standards but an index to the nature of scientific research itself.

        -The source of the resistance is the assurance that

        —the older paradigm will ultimately solve all its problems.

        —nature can be shoved into the box the paradigm provides.

        -Actually, that same assurance is what makes normal science possible.

        -Some scientists, particularly the older and more experienced ones, may resist indefinitely, but most can be reached in one way or another.

        -Conversions occur not despite the fact that scientists are human but because they are.

  • This is very funny. On the one hand, we have Tom Whipple who seems to swallow every extravagant claim by convicted felon, Andrea Rossi, and Defkalion, one of whose founders, Stremmenos,called unmitigated liars in public. On the other hand, we have the conspiracy theorists who are so misinformed that they think a working high power LENR reactor technology could be suppressed by some mysterious and nefarious “powers that be”. It’s too hilarious for words.

    The reality is different. I will only mention a few of the ridiculous infelicities in the article.

    – Rossi did not “demonstrate commercial-scale production of heat”. He showed a lame collection of leaky junky tubing and electric heaters, powered by a giant diesel generator, and which he called his “megawatt” plant. He claims he sold over a dozen of these, that anyone can buy one for $1.5 million (US), yet he can not point to a single customer who will admit to owning one and be interviewed. And you don’t think that’s strange? Two and a half years after this wondrous product was first put on the market?

    – Blacklight Power’s “mini explosions” and intense bursts of light are not made by the conversion of hydrogen to hydrinos. They are made by a giant welding generator dumping 12,000 amperes into water. What nonsense!

    – Rossi’s new partner Industrial Heat had one news conference and that’s it. No web site, no forum, no news, no announcement of factory or labs, absolutely nothing. Ampenergo, Rossi’s 2011 US partner, has faded into oblivion. Their web site still exists and has not been touched since 2011!

    Lewan, the late professor Kullander and his colleague Hano Essen participated in at least six separate tests of Rossi’s original low temperature (and easy to study) ecat. At no time did they press Rossi to do a single properly calibrated run to check that output heat was correctly accounted for. Every evidence is that the output steam was wet but was accounted for as dry. Correction of this error would have shown that the ecat makes no excess heat at all.

    In one experiment involving a heat exchanger rather than steam, the output temperature thermocouple was obviously (from Lewan’s own photos) misplaced so that it would read higher than it should, again biasing the output heat measurement in Rossi’s favor.

    There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that high power cold fusion/LENR has ever been achieved by anyone anywhere. But apparently, concerns for actual evidence don’t stop people from publishing nonsensical claims like those in this story.

    Feel free to prove me wrong. I’d like nothing better but I don’t expect it to happen soon.

    – Finally, Rossi did not “develop thermoelectric generators for the US military”. Instead, he cheated the Department of Defense out of several million dollars, delivering 27 devices, none of which worked. His claimed prototype which was said to deliver 100 watts and to be 20% efficient has never been seen by DOD or anyone else who can be interviewed. There is no evidence it ever existed and none that it was ever properly tested. DOD was so embarrassed by being ripped off by Rossi in this manner that they removed their 150 page, 2004 report from the internet. Fortunately, it is public record and a copy of it can be obtained from Steve Krivit’s web site.

    Any independent thinkers who are troubled and curious about these issues should consult the web sites of Steve Krivit and Gary Wright.

  • Thanks, Tom! You explain better than anyone…. I’ve done a bit (via the World Future Society/Futurist) to move the conversation into the mainstream:

  • derek whipple

    You’d have to have gone made mad thinking we are at some kind of drastic change in regard to wide scale energy solution, or even in as far to think my language is a virus from outer space. It is, but this article is hopefull futility. warp and woof, a system of false dreams. I wave past out the door, not them, even the words out
    there in california where they
    worship the words. In hell,
    or this ordinary place
    california, the division of where one is.

  • Wow, just mention that LENR or some variant is getting closer to market and just watch the parade of fossil fuel shills come streaming out of the woodwork. Entertaining yes, but futile. The rising tide of clean energy in all its many forms is unstoppable.

  • Steve Jones

    ok so what?
    NONE of these so called “cold fusion” devices have never made it to market!
    Why not?
    Why would someone care about “cold fusion devices”
    that have NOT made it?
    what is the use of speculating endlessly about “cold fusion devices”?
    The so called “cold fusion devices” will NEVER make it to market!
    They do not exist!
    Why do they not exist?

  • This is all nonsense, and impossible.

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