The Possibility of a New Alternative Energy: LENR

How would the world change if you could go to Home Depot and pick up a $500 unit that would fulfill all your electricity needs?  Or perhaps, you would buy a unit to replace your water heater and this would not only give you electricity, the waste heat could be routed to heat your water and your home.  If an invention like this came out, it would solve all energy issues and it is hard to comprehend the vast changes our world would undergo.

An Italian inventor, named Andrea Rossi, claims to have created what he calls an “Energy Catalyzer.”  This system operates with Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR), sometimes known as “cold fusion”, however, no one really knows how his “E-Cat” supposedly works.   Rossi has kept his invention under a shroud of secrecy, revealing the device to no one, until he can establish patents.  He has an Italian patent already, but is currently awaiting a U.S. and international patent [1].

Research into LENR been a difficult road, with claims being made from experiments that could not be repeated by other labs.  It started with the Fleischmann-Pons experiments in 1989, where they found a phenomenon of excess heat [2].  Excess heat occurs when you get more energy out of the system than what is put in.  Others tried to reproduce the experiments, but it turned out to be a slew of failures and the scientific community outright discredited the research behind it.  Cold fusion even became synonymous with junk science.  Regardless of the past, within the last five years there has been a renewed interest in researching LENR and researchers have found anomalous heat many times [3].  NASA has also recently started researching this process as an alternative power system for their space ventures [4].

Rossi’s E-Cat has a high likelihood of failing to live up to the claims he has made for it and his approach to unveiling his invention is questionable.   He has run a few demonstrations, but both were black box demonstrations and fail to assuage the massive amount of skepticism that remains [5]. However, it is hard to call it a scam as he has privately funded the project himself and is one of the few parties at risk [6].  If it does not work, the only real damage done is to Rossi’s reputation and those out there that have put a lot of faith into this.  Until Rossi is ready to prove his system, skepticism is probably the best approach and the E-Cat will be revealed in time.

Whether or not LENR will affect the future of energy policy is hard to say at this point in time.  The science behind these experiments is not well understood, but if it does become understood, and it is a viable process for power production, the world will change drastically.  I cannot think of many aspects of our world, which would not at least indirectly be affected as a result of a discovery like this.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Catalyzer

[2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion

[3]http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4955212n

[4]http://pesn.com/2012/01/12/9602009_NASA_Admits_LENR_Cold_Fusion_Game_Changer/

[5]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4JUJhkpc3I&feature=player_embedded#!

[6]http://pesn.com/2012/01/14/9602012_Momentous_Breakthroughs_Announced_During_Anniversary_E-Cat_Interview/

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Possibility of a New Alternative Energy: LENR

  1. Interesting post, I appreciate you looking into what is traditionally the “Black Sheep” of the scientific world that many scientists and policy makers will not even glance at. However I question your assumption that “If it does not work, the only real damage done is to Rossi’s reputation and those out there that have put a lot of faith into this.” I would contend that for the LENR (cold fusion) community to move forward they need to interact with the scientific community in formal ways. There have been very few peer-reviewed articles published about LENR largely because the methodology and scientific assumptions are often far out of line with mainstream science. Until these projects can be peer-reviewed and move beyond the “black box” stage, they will continue to be treated like scams. If Rossi’s device proves to be bunk, it is likely that other scientists pursuing non-traditional forms of energy or scientific inquiry will become marginalized even further!

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