“In 1989, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced that their electrochemical experiments had produced excess energy under standard temperature and pressure conditions. Because they could not explain this physical phenomenon based on known chemical reactions, they suggested the excess heat could be nuclear in origin. However, their experiments did not show the radiation or radioactivity expected from a nuclear reaction. Many researchers attempted to replicate the results and failed, As a result, the physics community disparaged their work as lacking credibility, and the press mistakenly dubbed it "cold fusion." Related research also suffered from the negative publicity of cold fusion for the past 20 years, but many scientists believed something important was occurring and continued their research with little or no visibility. For years, scientists were intrigued by the possibility of producing large amounts of clean energy through LENR, and now this research has begun to be accepted in the scientific community as reproducible and legitimate.“The scientific evidence for anomalous heat generated in metal-hydrogen systems is already overwhelming and continues to strengthen. At an important event on June 3, 2013, four major research institutions concluded definitively that the large amounts of excess heat they witnessed in numerous experiments were not the result of instrument artifacts and could not be explained by known chemistry. This latest confirmation of LENR begs the question: "How many confirmations are needed before something is considered confirmed?"
So it needs to be said that if LENR is real then LENR+ gains credibility. In the online community that follows LENR and LENR+, LENR is considered a given and seldom debated. If that is the case, LENR+ doesn’t need to be something entirely new it just has to be something optimized. Can LENR still be debated? Sure. Some people dismiss it out of hand because a solid theoretical explanation for it is missing, or because they distrust all of the people and organizations involved, or as a case study in pathological science or a way for fringe scientists to get money and notoriety. There are several truths worth keeping in mind though: observation trumps theory; conspiracies, scams and hoaxes become less likely as the number of participants and observers rises; and pathological skepticism is not the same as healthy skepticism.
Point: With solid scientific evidence for LENR, claims of LENR+ gain credibility as a matter of magnitude of a known phenomenon.
Counterpoint: Fraudulent, sloppy and/or pathological science cannot be dismissed as the underlying causes for the many papers supporting anomalous heat and transmutation. If evidence for LENR is suspect then LENR+ gains no credibility.
But we have been thrown some scientific-type bones in the form of five significant semi-independent certifications/validations since late 2011.
“...data collected indicates that unless Rossi has been able to rig an extremely sophisticated trick (which no one who attended the demo has accused him of) he indeed managed to show that he has discovered a new source of nuclear power...”
“...The E-Cat energy source is not conventional. In the Ragone diagram, its energy density places it very far from any conventional source.”
“...DGT system successfully produced more energy out than input giving a coefficient of performance (COP) in excess of one...”
“...the results obtained place both devices several orders of magnitude outside the bounds of the Ragone plot region for chemical sources...”
“...the performance of the E-Cat reactor is remarkable. We have a device giving heat energy compatible with nuclear transformations, but it operates at low energy and gives neither nuclear radioactive waste nor emits radiation.”
The Ragone plot, in case you’re wondering, shows the specific energy (energy per mass) and specific power (power per mass) of various energy sources. The reason LENR+ has everyone so excited is that it blows chemical energy sources away in terms of specific energy, rivaling “conventional” nuclear sources while being much less expensive or problematic.
The four E-Cat tests (to some degree supported by the one Hyperion test) are increasingly convincing. There are shortcomings in all of them to be sure, especially when viewed through the lens of ironclad science or preventing any type of conceivable fraud. All except the last test were conducted at facilities of the device creator, with some level of owner participation ranging from running the show to just having a representative present for assistance and IP security. Measuring heat and electrical energy can be complicated too so there is never any shortage of criticism about the calorimetry and other energy measuring devices in any given test. Often the “independent” testers have been involved one way or another leading up to the tests, raising doubts about their impartiality. Importantly, the devices were offered up as black boxes only in order to protect IP, so there was no disassembly down to the nuts and bolts to search for any hidden tricks.
Still, the tests are compelling -- not absolute proof, but convincing if one discounts elaborate fraud. The tests involved over 12 scientists who are clearly putting their reputations on the line publishing results “in violation of accepted science.”
The independent tests of the E-Cats performed between November 2012 and March 2014 are the most convincing of all. They involved scientists from several different respected European Universities who persuaded Rossi to let them test the devices (not the other way around) and who were given complete freedom to perform any measurements they wanted. One of the scientists signing his name to the results is Dr. Hanno Essen of Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology and recently Chairman of the Swedish Skeptics Society, which ate scammers for lunch. Their measurements were thorough, their energy analysis was conservative, there was little opportunity to game the tests and they found massive excess heat. The latest report included detailed analysis on the "ash" found in the reactor after the test and found the clear evidence of nuclear reactions that scientists have been demanding. Skeptics have pointed out some potentially feasible ways of cheating and possible sources of significant measurement errors. In particular Rossi was involved in the extraction of the ash so this unambiguous indication of nuclear events is tainted by "chain of custody" doubts. Still, the reports are quite compelling.
Conversely, the possible alternative explanations for the positive test results are not compelling at all:
Point: Published results from multiple tests from about a dozen semi-independent reputable authors do not offer conclusive scientific proof of LENR+ but do provide compelling evidence for it.
Counterpoint: The “Free Energy” space has no shortage of scammers. Rossi is just better than most and has figured out some tricks that have so far escaped detection, but he will eventually be discredited. Until every possible trick and every possible measurement error has been accounted for by truly independent scientists worldwide, the fact that LENR+ contradicts well-established science suggests that fraud, hoax, scam, incompetence or simple measurement errors are a much more likely explanation than new physics.
Some LENR experimental observations include apparent transmutation of elements. This really annoys conventional nuclear physicists who are convinced that the rules for those nuclear reactions that could produce those transmutations are not even close to being satisfied in those experiments. But in October 2013 an 800 pound peer-reviewed gorilla walked into the room and sat down next to the skeptical nuclear physicists and dared them not to notice him. The gorilla is the publication of a Toyota Central Research and Development Lab paper in the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics that essentially confirms the observations of a 2002 paper published in the same journal by the Advanced Research Center of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The two papers claim that by forcing absorption of deuterium gas into a layered palladium/calcium oxide structure and then depositing cesium ions on top of it, a portion of the cesium atoms are converted to praseodymium. Stunning. Cesium has 55 protons and praseodymium has 59, an increase of 4 protons. Deuterium has 1 proton and 1 neutron (heavy hydrogen). So, on the face of it, some small fraction of the cesium atoms are snatching up a couple of deuterium atoms without much prompting at all. No high temperatures or electromagnetic inputs are used to drive the reactions. The 2002 paper certainly raised eyebrows but with the Toyota confirmation, using very sophisticated equipment, alarms should be going off that there seems to be a hole in our understanding of nuclear physics. Pumping in hydrogen instead of deuterium had no effect, so the availability and role of neutrons seems to be the key complicating factor. Diligent science requires widespread replication so there's still work to be done on this front. But Toyota and Mitsubishi cannot be dismissed as amateur lightweights.
Add to this the apparent confirmation of nuclear events found in the ash of the Lugano E-Cat test reactor.
Point: Peer reviewed papers detailing apparent nuclear reactions involving atoms on the surface of metals loaded with deuterium indirectly support the premise that LENR's heat generating nuclear processes in hydrogen loaded metal lattices are real.
Counterpoint: Two papers on complicated experiments, that by the way disagree on the overall magnitude of the effect, may call for more investigation but they don't allow for firm conclusions.
If real, how to explain this mysterious phenomenon? The answer likely lies in highly energetic local conditions at the nanoscale with specific geometrical constraints, plus the Weak Force, plus probably some quantum effects. We know that the Electromagnetic Force keeps protons well separated except under Sun-like temperatures and pressures. But we also know that nature is always seeking lower, more stable energy states and that neutrons have an easier go of getting into a nucleus because they lack charge. In these LENR systems we have a metal lattice, vibrating at higher frequencies as they are heated, lots of free roaming surface electrons, nano- or micro-scale nickel powders and hydrogen saturating any surface defects in the metal lattice, coupled with electromagnetic pulses. We know that transmutation and resulting energy release can be triggered by the introduction of sufficiently energetic neutrons. That’s established science. Perhaps LENR+ involves the spontaneous creation of a sufficiently energetic neutron, or “effective neutron” (an electron and hydrogen with quantum states that make them look like a neutron to nearly a nearby nucleus) for long enough to trigger its absorption. This new isotope of the absorbing element may be unstable and subsequently release an electron, causing both energy release and transmutation of the absorbing element to next one up on the periodic table (thus matching some observed results). With so many particles and their quantum states overlapping and rapidly changing in such a confined space, the LENR reaction may be exploiting a complex quantum pathway to a lower energy state.
Of course, nobody knows exactly what’s happening yet and the above are only educated guesses. Diligent scientific experiments will be needed to figure out what’s really happening with LENR, though the ingredients and environment to create extreme nanoscale conditions that make some particle interactions possible that usually aren’t seem to be present. So LENR may involve new physics, but it also may not. It may just be a set of conditions we haven’t thought of or didn't understand all the subtleties of.
There is a Wikiversity page that contains summaries of many of the theories that LENR scientists have proposed as possible explanations, the most widely cited of which is probably Widom-Larsen.
Point: While no commonly-accepted scientific theory exists to explain LENR phenomena there are some worth considering, and the nature of the ingredients feels right for generating localized energy hot spots that could conceivably trigger complex nuclear interactions.
Counterpoint: Nuclear physics and quantum physics have been thoroughly studied and are well understood, established science. LENR observations contradict this known body of nuclear and quantum physics and therefore must be false.
You may be interested to know then that that there is some ambiguity around gammas and neutrons:
Point: Detection of gammas radiation is a definite hint that something very energetic, maybe nuclear, might be taking place in the E-Cat reactor.
Counterpoint: Hearsay and more “Rossi says” don’t amount to science. Moreover, the energies of the alleged gammas still don’t match nuclear theory, so there can be nothing to this.
These communications have been enlightening, exciting, confusing, frustrating and sometimes maddening. Rossi is an Italian with a functional but far from perfect command of English. As a result virtually every comment he makes is subject to interpretation. People try to nail him down with specific questions and sometimes that works, but other times the imprecision or vagueness never gets settled completely. Sometimes his remarks seem intentionally misleading and promised timelines aren't realized. Sometimes he shuts a thread down with a terse “confidential.” He won’t talk about what’s happening inside the reactor and some avenues of inquiry run into claims of non-disclosure agreements with entities he can’t even name. You can go through and read all of his comments. They birthed a new Internet phenomenon termed “Rossi Says,” because following the E-Cat story meant most of the debate was about things Rossi had said in his journal that were not verifiable (at least not immediately).
But take a step back from the minutiae and you see a man who follows through on his word about the big things and is tremendously excited by his work. He promised a product acceptance test in October 2011. It happened. He promised independent validation in 2012. We got validation, but independent was an overstatement. He said more independent testing was happening in late 2012 and early 2013 by university professors. That report, which many skeptics felt would never see the light of day, was published in May 2013 and that report is clearly not a “Rossi Says.” He claimed in late 2012 that he had joined forces with a partner in the U.S.; after a frustrating 2013 without confirmation, Industrial Heat finally revealed itself in January 2014. He told us about the longer-duration follow up test and repeatedly told us he had no knowledge of the results before they were published in October 2014.
The reason Rossi’s journal communications are interesting is because they also offer a window into the continued engineering and evolution of these E-Cat prototypes. Whenever an exciting advance was made he shared it with his journal readers. Readers have been privy to details about Warm Cats, valve malfunctions, frustrations with demands for endless demonstrations that never convinced the skeptics anyway, heat transfer and energy conversion technologies, Hot Cats, Mouse activators, COP and myriad other details. We shared his nervousness during the latest independent testing. We heard his anger when somebody leaked unauthorized pictures of Hot Cats. We have heard a lot about control issues. He can be more reserved about these control issues and other problems, but it was clear he was confronted by a slew of them and happy as a clam whenever he overcame one of them.
Sure, it’s possible that for years and years Rossi has performed an improv to end all improvs and nailed the role of eccentric engineer with a major discovery. But more likely, he is what he seems to be: an engineer struggling with setbacks and complexity as he builds prototypes of a new kind of device.
Point: Rossi’s engineering activities over the years fit expectations of what real world prototype/product development looks like.
Counterpoint: Plausibility and realism are hallmarks of the long con. Just because he acts and communicates like a real engineer doesn't mean he is one.
This is different than claiming that he and he alone knows what the science is. He is more modestly claiming that he tried a bunch of stuff, hit on something that worked and has since been refining the device for better output, better control and better safety in a race to get it to market as fast as possible.
Rossi’s approach mirrors that of Thomas Edison who tried many different materials before he hit on a carbon filament for electric light bulbs that lasted long enough to be practical, and later a carbonated bamboo filament that lasted very long. Edison didn't invent the light bulb, he just invented the one that worked well enough to actually commercialize by trying a bunch of materials for the key light-producing component. Rossi didn't invent LENR devices but he may have discovered a way to make LENR commercially viable.
It’s quite a stretch to think Rossi spent such an amount of time and effort just to lay the foundation for a future scam.
Point: The discovery of LENR+ through brute force trial and error over a number of years on top of a foundation of existing LENR results, despite limited knowledge of the underlying scientific processes, is completely plausible.
Counterpoint: Rossi needed to make his long con look believable, so he started out by crafting a plausible creation story. This would be step 1 in generating a cadre of true believers that he could leverage into investments and eventually walk away rich and laughing.
Rossi has been open about this aspect of his business strategy. A scammer would likely not have pursued this strategy; if there are no actual products soon his credibility will be seriously diminished. Instead, a scammer could be expected to “stall” in the R&D phase, trying to perpetually raise money on the promise of making a viable product. Rossi claims to be on the verge of commercialization, now Chief Scientist of Industrial Heat, a company founded for that very purpose and funded at least in the tens of millions of dollars to date. Working devices verified by customers and independent third parties. Products for sale. A flagship plant being installed for a customer under a contract with strict performance criteria. Rossi is promising real verifiable stuff in the real world and soon.
Point: A focus on getting working products to market is a realistic strategy to disperse this technology given the prevailing anti-cold-fusion bias. It is also not a strategy a scammer would likely have pursued.
Counterpoint: One would expect a master scammer to make developments sound and even look real; the more exciting the better to draw in more victims. But the bottom line is that products delivered to mystery partners do not qualify as verifiable evidence of fledgling industrial commercialization.
NASA has shown steady interest in LENR in general and E-Cats in particular. More accurately, some NASA officials have expressed a keen interest in LENR+ as a way to make travel into space much less expensive, and oh yeah solving that global warming thing as expressed in this article on their web site. They sure act like it’s something real and we know they have sent representatives to some of Rossi’s tests.
The military and government of course have unique energy needs. A decided energy advantage could have national security implications. The Navy would love quiet, practically unlimited energy generators for their warships and submarines. NASA would love a safe new energy source with high specific energy and low cost. It makes sense that they would be all over this technology at an early stage and unfortunately it also makes sense that their involvement would be classified.
Point: Apparent military involvement both as an early customer and research partner as well as LENR evangelists sprinkled throughout government would be expected due to their unique requirements and access.
Counterpoint: Until the military customer can be identified or makes a statement about the technology all we know is that some military organization may have poked around a bit to see what was happening, if anything. NASA is interested in a lot of potential technologies and it’s easy to see why they would want LENR+ to be true. But they have offered up nothing besides a couple of articles and videos by “believers” in their organization, which gives their employees wide latitude.
Industrial Heat publicly confirmed the earlier purchase of Rossi's IP and licensing rights on 24 Jan 2014. The identities of many of the investors in Industrial Heat are not yet known and neither are the parameters of the initial deal with Leonardo Corp. Important details like whether Industrial Heat is backed by larger companies (like nearby Siemens?) or just angel investors are also unknown. It appears that Industrial Heat is now the primary vehicle for continued E-Cat R&D and is employing teams of scientific and engineering specialists. It's not immediately clear where these people came from, whether they were hired directly or are being provided by another entity. Here’s what we thought we knew about the partner based on Rossi’s communications before the creation of Industrial Heat came to light:
Plus, it’s a simple point, but one worth stating directly: the Cherokee Fund's major players and Industrial Heat have invested in Rossi’s company and technology, own the IP and licensing rights, and have created a new business to commercialize it for which they have raised millions of dollars. They did not undertake these activities without carefully verifying that the technology is real, stating in the press release that "performance validation tests were conducted in the presence of IH personnel and an independent expert." Quite simply, this is definitive confirmation that E-Cat and LENR+ technology are real (or at a minimum that Industrial Heat's founders believe it's real).
After the long-duration independent test report released in October 2014 confirmed yet again that the reactor works, Industrial Heat's focus turned to installing and troubleshooting a 1 MW plant for an unnamed customer. The company also pressed ahead with its patent strategy, with details emerging in late 2014.
Point: Seriously? Tens of millions of dollars are in play, Industrial Heat has revealed itself publicly, marketing efforts are underway and all of Rossi's communications about finding the ideal partner have been validated. This constitutes nearly incontrovertible evidence that the technology is real.
Counterpoint: Cherokee's people and the Industrial Heat company they created are now the proud owners of a non-existent technology and have been duped by Rossi. Why doesn't Industrial Heat publish any data about this supposed game-changing technology, enable widespread scientific replication or sell any products?
One reason to take Brillouin Energy very seriously is their relationship with SRI International, a nonprofit research and innovation center that essentially serves as a place where industry and government can validate their experimental results and help bridge the gap from R&D to commercialization. Specifically, SRI's Director of Energy Research, Dr. Michael McKubre, has personally validated Brillouin's experimental data and now helps direct the company. SRI takes its science seriously and McKubre has been active publishing peer-reviewed LENR-related results.
Unlike most other players in the fledgling LENR market, Brillouin has demonstrated a willingness to share its progress, its facilities and its finances. For example, PESN shared some videos of their visits to Brillouin and SRI in California in January 2014 in which Brillouin's financing is discussed in detail as is the state of their reactors and which includes live tests of the wet reactors. The videos leave little doubt that Brillouin is a real engineering company working to understand and optimize a new technology. They appear to be trailing the other companies that have been working with solid state/powder fuels for years. They are starting down that path as well but it may be difficult for them to catch up.
In early 2014 Brillouin announced a multi-million dollar licensing deal with a mid-cap South Korean company which they cannot name due to confidentiality agreements. The deal involves using Brillouin's reactors to retrofit a stranded-asset power plant and is part of a broader strategy to start licensing their reactor technology to companies in vertical markets around the end of 2014.
In early September 2014, Godes confirmed to PESN a rumor that their reactors had achieved a COP of 100.
Point: Another LENR company has verified their LENR reactors with a trusted scientific nonprofit research organization. They have shown beyond reasonable doubt that they are a legitimate engineering company with plans to license their reactor technology.
Counterpoint: Yeah, legitimately able to get $5M from people who believe in "reactors" with lots of wires and pipes that defy all known physics. McKubre is on their Board of Directors... conflict of interest anyone? And why doesn't SRI, an organization with more than $500M annual revenue and supposedly aware of this new groundbreaking energy technology, take care of the money problems?
The business strategy of LENUCO visible to the public so far is underwhelming. LENUCO attempted to win venture capital from the Ultra Light Startups program but failed twice to be voted into the top two (for automatic selection to pitch their idea). They seem to have a relationship with NASA and are working to replace radioactive power sources in future space probes with LENR devices. Beyond that they don't seem to be pursuing any industrial partnerships to speed commercialization. If they truly could build working prototype reactors they should be able to conclude that LENR+ is a reality and that Industrial Heat and perhaps Brillouin are way ahead of them in terms of engineering and commercialization. However, they appear content with filing patents and trying to get more money for continued research and development. Of course much more than that could be happening behind the scenes, but based on public information LENUCO looks like an also-ran or niche player even if its existence bolsters the overall case for LENR+ reactors.
Clarification of LENUCO's strategy emerged in an interview of Dr. Miley published in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Infinite Energy. Dr. Miley asserted that LENUCO is close to being able to create a prototype LENR reactor but is first trying to extend the run time of the gas loaded particles. He also provided interesting details on LENUCO's patent holdings and funding. He claimed that LENUCO holds two LENR-related patents and has two more in process. In light of the basic research regarding the gas loading that he felt must be conducted before moving on to the prototype reactor stage, he directed money that could have gone to LENUCO directly to the University of Illinois instead to help fund that basic research. The focus on patents and basic research seems to be Dr. Miley's comfort zone and is similar to his much older and more general commercial venture (NPL Associates) that has been happy to accumulate patents of potential value and provide a funding channel for research. It's possible that LENUCO has a key patent or has figured out something about the science behind LENR the others haven't, but they look like the Tortoise in this race and the Rabbits are not stopping for any naps.
In mid 2014 LENUCO was able to obtain a small investment from LENR-Invest, a group attempting to take create an ecosystem and early funding mechanism to help boostrap LENR's emergence.
Point: The emergence of another company spearheaded by a widely-published and respected scientist, apparently unconnected to any of the other LENR organizations, but making similar claims of both energy gains and techniques, is important corroborating evidence.
Counterpoint: If LENUCO had what they say they have they would have no trouble getting significant funding or partnering with big business. Clearly Dr. Miley is just trying to leverage interesting but unverified experimental results and the hype around LENR into a pot of money for his lab and himself.
Along with being in the lead on the public investment front, some of the Nichenergy's assertions are sure to raise a few eyebrows. They hint that while others may be louder they are the ones that deserve attention. They claim complete understanding of the LENR phenomenon and the ability to scale it at will after years of systematic scientific comparison of various materials, fuel composition and other factors. This can't be easily dismissed because Piantelli does in fact have decades of experience with Nickel-Hydrogen systems. The implication is that, while others have managed to engineer working devices, Nichenergy will soon be running circles around them because they have a better understanding of the underlying science. For example, there were rumors as early as Feb 2012 that Piantelli had a zero-input, self-sustaining reactor running at 200 W for months. That would indeed indicate a very advanced capability. Nichenergy also asserts that it has been working closely with an undisclosed corporation that is helping it develop the technology and will share equally in the revenue.
So, to the field of LENR business competitors add dark-horse Nichenergy/Protium. Its odds are long, its scam-meter is flashing due to its public solicitation for investment funds and it hasn't shown us much of anything yet, but it has a good pedigree, may be backed by deep pockets and the whispers of insiders suggest it's champing at the bit.
Point: When virtually all of the leading scientists and inventors working in a field independently move toward commercialization nearly simultaneously it stands to reason that the technology is both real and powerful and they are legitimately motivated by expectations of significant revenue.
Counterpoint: Just another scientist cashing in on the gold rush to advance his lab's R&D. If he really had a self-sustaining energy device in 2012 the world would be knocking down his doors by now. This is a classic scam calling for investments in an amazing product that will never be more than the vapor it is today. The simultaneous movement is explained by unethical collusion and opportunism.
Clean Planet provides something of a Japanese mirror to America's Industrial Heat. They both are recently formed companies started by environmentally-minded people that have stepped in to provide the necessary investment and organization to take promising research and prototypes through to commercialization. Like Industrial Heat leveraging the efforts of Andrea Rossi, Clean Planet has partnered with Dr. Tadahiko Mizuno, whose work is well known and respected in the LENR community.
They appear well funded, scientifically rigorous, highly motivated, relatively open and commercially aggressive. They are likely behind Industrial Heat by a year or more, but if Industrial Heat falters or stalls Clean Planet looks well positioned, at the very least, to gain market share in Japan once commercial products are realized.
Point: The Japanese are in and they're not fooling around.
Counterpoint: There's an idea for a Godzilla movie in here somewhere. The Fukushima tragedy has the Japanese grasping desperately for better energy solutions, even illusory ones.
In any case, Defkalion emerged as a serious competitor to Rossi, claiming independent validations, big business arrangements, tests of thousands of reactors and superior performance. They even published detailed specs of their prototype LENR+ device called Hyperion in which they claimed to be able to reach a COP of more than 25. It looked like DGT had raced past Rossi and was going to be first to market.
The more time that passed though the weaker DGTs standing became. No validations ever came to light (except for the Nelson report cited earlier). No business partnerships became public. They closed their public forum and reduced their web site to practically nothing. They also apparently struggled with the Greek financial meltdown and decided to move their headquarters to Vancouver late in 2012, a bump in the road that messed with their schedule.
The situation seemed to be moving in a positive direction when Defkalion presented a live demonstration of their "R5" reactor to the ICCF-18 conference in July 2013 and Dr. Yeong Kim of Purdue presented a supporting paper detailing his theory on how it works. The demonstration included live data readings and an independent observer (Mats Lewan) who was able to check power and energy measurements and found no evidence of energy smuggled into the device. The demo showed a conservatively calculated COP of over 2, a disappointing result for Defkalion which wanted it up around 4 or 5. Apparently the device wasn't degassed thoroughly enough between the control run and the reactive run, limiting the energy the device could generate. Still the COP calculations were quite conservative (their gift to the skeptics they said), assuming water instead of steam at the device's exit -- however, only ~150 degree Celsius steam was observed. Assuming dry steam in the calculations instead puts the COP closer to 20 than 2, which is well outside any possible measurement error. Defkalion personnel were in charge of the data display and measuring devices so this demonstration falls far short of proof, but it does rule out anything but bold fraud.
But there is now some evidence that is exactly what it was. While the reactor was in Europe for the demo, DGT's European partner, Defkalion Europe (DE), equally owned by DGT and Mose s.r.l, tested the device without DGT's authorization, to protect their investment. DGT had ignored previous requests by DE to test the reactors and DE was growing concerned. They were not happy about what they found.
On 12 May 2014 a paper by Luca Gamberale, former Chief Technology Officer of Defkalion Europe, was circulated that called into serious question the flow calorimetry used in the live demonstration. DE proved that the instruments could be made to show significant excess energy even with an inert gas (Argon) and no sparking. They did this by tweaking the water flow such that the boiling created back pressure that fooled the flow meter into registering a far greater volume of water than was actually flowing. The fact that they found a serious measurement problem and that DGT was unable to address the concerns to Defkalion Europe's satisfaction in the months following led to an end of their business arrangement. And a serious black eye for DGT.
On January 16, 2014, after the falling out with DE but before it had become public, Defkalion posted an announcement on their now defunct web site indicating that they were finishing up their sixth generation "R6" pre-industrial prototype and expected commercialization by September, preceded by multiple independent test reports by international organizations and universities. It hinted at the calorimetry difficulty experienced with Defkalion Europe by saying that they have learned lessons and were using other types of calorimetry to verify their reactors. A further posting in May declared they were pressing ahead despite Gamberale's charges. They missed their targets.
Defkalion is a real mystery. They make big claims and act unprofessionally. Their credibility is seriously damaged and they have yet to really show anything verifiable. But they keep plugging away. It's entirely possible that they have been using flow meter tricks to get funding while they patiently await the release of Rossi's E-Cats. It's also possible that they follow through on their latest claims of testing and validating their R6 reactor at some point and that the flow meter vulnerability was just an unfortunate diversion. We'll keep watching.
Point: DGT is a hot mess, but can still redeem itself if it follows through with the promised validations and commercialization. The flow meter scandal does not extend to the E-Cat, which was validated using IR cameras.
Counterpoint: Defkalion looks more and more like a scam every day. Gamberale's flow meter findings were devastating. Defkalion either saw enough to think Rossi might have something real so are preparing their own products that would run off his reactors once available, or they are perhaps co-conspirators in Rossi’s scam. We still, after years, await any truly independent testing and verification.
Dr. Swartz is the inventor of the NANOR, a disarmingly simple wire-like (allegedly over-unity) LENR device. Once per year, at a Cold Fusion conference at MIT that he organizes, Swartz's creation leaves the comfort of the shade to greet visitors at the fence. The visitors ooh and aah and convince each other that surely it's time for a national tour of such a beautiful animal, but then it just goes back under the shade and sits there for another year. So far.
There have been no published independent validations of NANORs. There have been no overt moves toward partnership with organizations that could leverage such a technology. There are rumors of both. Due to its simplicity, NANORs would be perfect to ship to labs across the world to scientifically prove the LENR phenomenon is not some mass delusion. With its high COP under some circumstances it also has serious commercial potential.
Due to MIT Professor Peter Hagelstein's careful measurements, followed by his public endorsement and demonstration of the NANORs, this has a good chance to be more than just one man's misadventure.
So where to from here for Nanortech and Dr. Swartz? Back in the shade for a nice rest or out in the limelight?
Point: A dedicated inventor and an MIT Professor have cooperated to develop and introduce the NANOR. Demonstrating high COP at low input for long periods of time with careful measurements NANORs appear to be a legitimate candidate for commercialization.
Counterpoint: Nothing important or verifiable has happened with Dr. Swartz or his NANORs. If he really had such easily verifiable devices that create multiples of heat energy he would have commercial partners by now.
In November 2013 ELFORSK published a 30+ page paper on LENR, subtitled an "Information Statement on a Controversial Phenomenon." ELFORSK, in a unique position as the only entity to date to publicly fund an independent test of a LENR+ reactor and -- dramatically -- receive apparent confirmation of the existence of a new energy source, takes a decidely non-commital approach to the technology their own researchers seemingly confirmed. The paper provides a good and useful overview of LENR research and activity and trumpets its potential to disrupt energy markets. However, while the paper recommends acceptance of the reality of LENR phenomena, it advises a position of constructive skepticism and fails to make any statements or conclusions with the volume or gravity that such acceptance warrants. Perhaps this weak position is understandable from the perspective of an organization that doesn't want to get too far ahead of its members and seeks to gently introduce a skeptical bunch to a new reality. That they would go to the effort to research and publish such a paper at all is an indication that they feel the need to educate their members and the broader public about LENR.
After the October 2014 Lugano report was released, ELFORSK published an article called "Isotope changes indicate cold nuclear reaction" in which they state (translated):
A month-long test run of an Energy Catalyzer shows again astounding results. In the publication of a new report, written by researchers associated with the University of Uppsala, the Royal Institute of Technology and the University of Bologna, clear isotopic changes indicate an energy surplus which may be due to hitherto unknown nuclear reactions or other unknown causes.They still avoided using definitive language, but you can detect their conviction growing. Indeed they have publicly committed to created a comprehensive research initiative in Sweden to fully understand LENR.
Point: A large European energy cooperative has spent significant money testing and scientifically investigating the E-Cat reactor. They were rewarded with confirmation, with near certainty -- the only significant remaining doubt being undetected fraud -- that the E-Cat produces copious excess heat resulting from nuclear reactions.
Counterpoint: This could simply be naive Swedish scientists fooled by Rossi’s scam or perhaps working in concert. ELFORSK is just another victim and lends no credibility due to its involvement.
This can only be considered a highly significant endorsement of both Rossi and the E-Cat LENR+ technology. A man of Dr. Focardi’s stature would not throw his hat in with a scammer, hoaxer or delusional crackpot. You can hear this endorsement in his own words (with English subtitles) in a video taken of a talk at a 2011 TedX event.
Point: Dr. Focardi’s endorsement of and collaboration with Rossi and LENR+ should be enough by itself to convince most people that E-Cat development is real.
Counterpoint: Though Dr. Focardi had a solid career and was an impressive individual, one must also consider that he was old, battling serious illness, perhaps not as sharp as he once was, and spent a significant part of his career studying nickel-hydrogen reactors. He could have been basking in a kind of false vindication without realizing he’d been tricked by Rossi.
Rossi also worked with National Instruments (NI) for a significant period of time, a largish company that has taken a particular interest in LENR. NI seems more involved now with Defkalion and Rossi and his partner have turned to other suppliers for measurement equipment.
It’s unlikely that both Siemens and NI could be fooled for long periods of time if LENR+ devices didn’t really produce excess heat. The fact that they became involved in the field is an indication that they believe they were not dealing with hucksters.
Point: The involvement of large companies Siemens and National Instruments in LENR+ lends credibility to the field and both Rossi and Defkalion.
Counterpoint: Like any company, Siemens and National Instruments are happy to sell their technology and services to anybody, even people who believe they have magical heaters. Their involvement as providers lends no credibility to the field and they have made no public endorsement of the technology or devices.
After Industrial Heat's formation apparently many of the licensees were bought out, though some still appear to remain. There is little information from the licensees, Rossi or Industrial heat to help us get a better understanding of these business relationships.
Point: A pool of international licensees reduces the likelihood of a scam or hoax because that many more people would have to be fooled. It also makes business sense to establish sales channels worldwide so this is consistent with a real business strategy.
Counterpoint: Perhaps this is the scam: get licensees excited about non-existent technology so they fork over serious money to grab their shovel for the gold rush.
Point: His actions are consistent with an alternative energy hero who bounced back from underhanded sabotage some 20 years ago and is devoting his every resource and waking moment to make his E-Cats a reality.
Counterpoint: He’s a criminal from the beginning, getting dirty money from oil while producing toxic waste and is now involved in some overly elaborate revenge scam on those that burned him so badly. He plays the part well, but it is just a part. He is the star of his own show, a megalomaniac.
Point: Taken as a whole all this paints a convincing picture of people and organizations with more knowledge than us behaving as if LENR+ and E-Cats are just as advertised; Occam’s Razor applies.
Counterpoint: The list overstates the case because some items are only “Rossi says” and others only mean that the scope of the scam is impressive. One cannot draw conclusions from the behavior of scammers and victims. Scammers know how to gain confidence and trust; victims would be expected to behave as if the technology were real.
There have also been pitched battles over the contents of the E-Cat and Rossi pages on Wikipedia, with those who control the pages putting forth a distinctly pessimistic view of the device’s validity on the one page and slandering Rossi with false information on the other. Everyone probably knows that Wikipedia is not a 100% reliable source of information but everybody uses it anyway, often as an introduction to a topic or a sanity check. Clearly some entities are abusing their power to impose their views and negatively influence those curious enough to research LENR.
Point: LENR+, a.k.a. “cold fusion,” is an easy target for disinformation because it was, rightly or wrongly, widely discredited in 1989. That it has won over so many “believers” given this hostile information landscape may be an indication that there is actually something there.
Counterpoint: while some skeptics cross the line from healthy to pathological, LENR “believers” are just as guilty of cherry picking information to back their arguments and too easily dismissing valid concerns. In any case, questions about scientific validity cannot be solved on Internet web sites and forums. Only solid scientific evidence matters in this debate and engineering, business and social observations are interesting but they are moot until the science is settled.
The LENR phenomenon is supported by many observations reported in peer-reviewed scientific papers. LENR+ is supported by some less conclusive science but also by compelling engineering, business and social evidence. The claims of innovators in the LENR+ field are extraordinary and would have dramatic impact on quality of life and the world’s economy and politics. The May 2013 and October 2014 publications of independent 3rd party tests of the E-Cat LENR+ technology and the January 2014 confirmation of Cherokee Fund executives relationship with Leonardo Corp and financing of Industrial Heat LLC are dramatic and nearly definitive blows in favor of the veracity of these remarkable claims about the E-Cat and LENR+; they simultaneously confirmed the extraordinary assertions about the technology and that Rossi was telling the truth all along about independent tests and partnerships.
The situation brings to mind the famous Sherlock Holmes quote: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” The crux of the matter here is that we have been left with two very improbable possibilities: that LENR+ is real and the E-Cat reactors work despite what we thought was settled physics, or Rossi et. al. are in the midst of performing a scam of a scope never before observed. Those who “believe” in LENR+ have concluded that the scam hypothesis has become a virtual impossibility, and therefore we are on the verge of a new energy era. Skeptics believe the opposite, rejecting any “unknown” physics and seeing enough indications of a scam to conclude that it is LENR+ that is impossible and the improbable scam is the real explanation.
You must, of course, weigh the points and counterpoints yourself. Decide which you think more likely, blend them together and form an opinion. Please treat with respect those who follow the same thoughtful approach even if they reach a different conclusion. Reserve your contempt for those who refuse to carefully weigh all the evidence -- especially that evidence which argues against their chosen position. It is better to have a strong mind than strong beliefs.