by Mark Scheinbaum
May 29, 2012
PANAMA CANAL EXPANSION: THE REWARDS ARE OUTPACING RISKS
BRADENTON, Fla., Jan. 12, 2011 -- The National Aeronautics & Space Agency (NASA) revealed today that it is working on a "new form of energy" that can transmutes common materials to a "different element" and that can replace fossil fuels for use in homes, space and other transportation systems and infrastructure. A patent for the work was filed by NASA in October.
NASA Senior Research Scientist Dr. Joseph Zawodny, who had briefed NASA scientists about the technology last September, said "This other form of nuclear energy releases energy by adding neutrons. Eventually, they gain a sufficient number of neutrons that they decay into something of the same mass, but a different element," he said.
"It has demonstrated ability to produce excess amounts of energy, cleanly, without hazardous ionizing radiation, without producing 'nasty' waste."
The production of more energy than is input in any process has long been thought to violate hallowed laws of physics that say no process can create more energy than is used to produce it. The NASA work suggests that the energy is transformed, rather than increased, and that the transformation itself - the loss and buildup of protons in a new element - is the source of the heat energy created. The "different element" may sometimes be copper and other common materials, rather than an exotic new byproduct of low-energy nuclear collisions.
The work echoes other physics theories that also rely on the interaction between hydrogen, carbon and nickel hydrides. One such theory, the "hydrino" reactor created by Dr. Randall Mills of BlackLight Power in Cranbury, Mass., has yet to be demonstrated although a demonstration has been promised several times in recent years.
Dr. Mills and other cold fusion scientists have recently formed a consortium that may intend to either enhance or head off work that would award a patent on the new energy to the U.S. government. NASA contracted with Dr. Mills for hydrino research that could propel rcokets into deep space several years ago. So far, venture capitalists have poured $70 millionm into Mills' hydrino apparatus.
A spectroscopic study based on Mills' theory at the Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics organized by Gen III partners, a technology validation firm that investigates claims for venture firms, did find predicted emissions below the ground state of hydrogen - a region earlier thought not to exist - in February 2010, according to the BlackLight Power website.
The combination of inexpensive nickel, catalytic carbon and abundant hydrogen through electrolysis is also at the core of the Rossi technology, and he too has reported occasional instances of transmutation of these materials to copper during the operation of his Energy Catalyzer.
An unidentified NASA spokesman says the energy can support "transportation systems and infrastructure." A video released by NASA exemplifies that with images of passenger planes and trains.
"The easiest implementation of this would be for the home," Dr. Zawodney adds in the video
"You would have a unit that would replace your water heater. And you would have some sort of cycle to derive electrical energy from that. And then it would dump its waste heat into the water, or air-handling system for the building.
"So it would be a dual-use thing," he continued, "so it would be sitting there producing heat, then you'd derive electricity from it to run your electronics. Power the house, power the building, power the light industry. And then the waste heat would be used for environmental control and warm water.
The video has the weighty title, "NASA's Method for Enhancement of Surface Plasmod Polaritons to Initiate & Sustain LENR in Metal Hydride Systems."
A NASA spokesman, Dwayne Brown, cautioned that NASA is not yet ready to say it has achieved any enormous breakthrough.
"We're not in a panic here that we have developed a new form of energy," Brown said from his Washington office. Brown said he had not yet seen the video, but was informed about its content by Langley Research Center public information officer Mike Hefferan, whom said he has seen it but was unprepared to comment.
Hefferan, a former Miami Herald reporter, said he has seen the video but has not been able to contact Dr. Zawodny for comment. "He's apparently on leave," Hefferan told AR.
"This is capable by itself of completly changing geoeconomics, geopolitics and solving climate and energy, NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell has said.
According to reports on a lecture at Orebro University in Sweden, the distinguished retired Swedish physicist Sven Kullander of Uppsala University, who is chairman of the energy committee of the Swedish Royal Academy of Science (which selects Nobel Laureates in Chemistry), Italian engineer Andrea Rossi sold a 1-megawatt device to NASA after a 9-hours-long eleventh demonstration on October 28, 2011, at the conclusion of which the agency reportedly purchased that device. , and then ordered 12 more - at $2 million each. He has also publicly ruled out the possibility that any chemical reaction is producing the excess heat produced by the Rossi device.
After an interview in which NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell appeared to endorse the Rossi device, the agency refused to comment on further developments. NASA conducted a confidential meeting of the space agency's top research scientists at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland on Sept. 22 and declined to talk about the presentations there. Four briefings at the meeting, in the form of PowerPoint presentations, were later obtained by New Energy Times editor Steven B. Krivit, who released them to the public, just as he made the video available today. In them, Bushnell calls the Rossi device "a game-changer."
NASA has never acknowledged being present at the Bologna conference, and has filed a patent application for its technology. Rossi has been unable to obtain a US patent, although Bushnell indicated in the interview that Rossi's work influenced the NASA effort. The extensive technical collaboration with NASA may make either patent application a tricky proposition. Given its alleged properties, the technology could generate hundreds of billions in revenues in coming years for secrecy concerning the device, The Associated Press, which sent Science Writer Peter Svensson from New York to Bologna, Italy, to cover the Rossi demonstration, has not reported on the event. The AP appears determined to maintain a shroud of secrecy over the device and any new discoveries surrounding LENR.
Unquestionably, the technology described would have great impact on the oil, gas, nuclear, automotive and electric power industries if it performs as NASA described. That may be one reason it has enjoyed such a low profile debut.
Rossi said he has taken orders for 10,000 units of a home heating version of the so-called Energy Catalyzer (or "E Cat" devices over the Internet, and also said he hopes to produce a million each year using robots, possibly at a plant in Massachusetts, where state officials have welcomed the idea.
But should Americans hope their home heating bills wil be $0 in 2013? Surely not. This nation has lost the competitive edge that once made it no no less than a hungry, pouncing tiger when it comes to innovative technology. Today, no mainstream newspaper has even mentioned the NASA work, and none are likely to (at least partly because of the Pons-Fleischmann debacle in 1989), and even if they did, some of their most powerful advertisers would foster strong objections, while skeptics would jeer at the authors.
One problem NASA faces in licensing their technology is that at least one credible scientist says it is his, not theirs. In a note published Jan. 17, 2012, Andrea Rossi - who famously invented the 1mW cold fusion device called the Energy Catalyzer - told readers of pesn.com, a leading alt-energy site.
"The fact that NASA is trying to copy my work," Rossi wrote, "honors me. But their theory is wrong. We will beat them, as well as all the other competitors with our E-Cats: the E-Cats will have a too low price to allow NASA or anybody else to compete with us. They are Goliath, very big and strong; we are David…"
Amid competing claims of authorship, can either technology prosper?
In fact, it would take a great and fearless leader to deliver this incredibly disruptive technology to the American people. Unfortunately, no galvanizing American opinion leader is present on the world scene. Sales, assembly and installation of the units would require the nation to create tens of millions of new jobs, and a whole new type of vehicle engine, while eliminating a few million jobs in the competitive energy industries. Presidential contender Mitt Romney has said recently that the version of cold fusion developed in Utah would be a great boon if it can be duplicated..
"I do believe in basic science," Romney said. "I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with -- with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. "It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it," Romney told the paper's editorial board. There was no indication Romney was aware of NASA's new work, however.
For President Obama, the benefits of alternative energy development have been elusive and problematic, especially since the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar energy form that lost a $500 million federal investment. Yet, the President's first State of the Union message demonstrated a desire to boost this sector of the energy industry, which is the largest in the world.
In a speech to a tech conference on January 29, 2010, presidential energy advisor and EPA head Carol Browner noted:
In his first State of the Union address, President Obama said no area of the economy is more ripe for innovation than the energy sector. The President has also said that "comprehensive” energy and climate legislation is needed to create incentives that would make clean energy profitable. He has always listed job creation as one of the benefits of comprehensive energy and climate legislation.
Now the President has an opportunity to get far out in front of the energy discussion, especially since the new technology is owned by the United States, but there is a question: Does he have the wit or will to do that?
After Solyndra, that's unlikely. The failure of Solyndra, like the initial failure of cold fusion in 1989, may paint alternative energy advances with such a broad brush that Americans will never know what they could have had. The promise of LENR could quickly slip away to rival nations - and they would get the huge advantage of unlimited cheap electric power that might have been ours.
Resources: Four sets of PowerPoint slides made available by NASA from the Sept. 22 confidential briefings were released through the Freedom of Information Act to New Energy Times.
Defense Intelligence Agency Unclassified Report on the state of Cold Fusion Research: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/BarnhartBtechnology.pdf
More: Sterling Allan's Peswiki Main Page has covered developments in the LENR field assiduously for years. Read those reports at:
AR Correspondent Joe Shea has written extensively on the technology discussed here. The American Reporter is grateful to Steven B. Krivit of New Energy Times for supplying the URL for the new NASA video, which was first published by FreeEnergyTruth.com