I recently invited interested readers to submit guest posts for this site. This post is written by Brad Arnold.
Many people reading this may have come to the conclusion that LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reaction) is a valid way of producing heat well over unity.
Estimating that the Rossi E-Cat is burning nickel at 2000 kW per gram, a gram of nickel in an LENR exothermic reaction represents a potential 1.7 billion calories. That would mean that nickel is over ten thousand times as energy dense as oil or coal (but 100 times less energy dense as uranium 235).
Nickel is about 3% of the mass of the Earth, much much more than all of oil, coal, natural gas, and hydrate combined.
In other words, mankind woke up one day with a million times the energy at his disposal than the day before. Huh. I guess a key question is this will affect our economy.
Andrea Rossi has said that he will be selling his LENR produced energy at about one tenth of the cost of conventional forms of energy. With such cheap and clean energy (no carbon emisions or radioactive waste) free market forces should mean that everyone will switch rapidly to LENR. Corporations and individuals will be spending money to save money.
This will mean there will be more money in the economy, and cheaper energy. The cost of energy is everything to an economy. As LENR starts pre-heating water into steam turbines, less coal will be needed. As LENR starts heating homes, less natural gas will be needed. Prices will start coming down. Eventually, less money will be sent overseas for purchases of energy, and the price of energy from overseas will be less because there will be less demand.
With more money coming immediately into the economy from the extra jobs, and more investment capital spent exploiting LENR, budgets start looking better because future energy will be less expensive. People will start having a more optimistic view of the future. This sounds like a positive feedback loop, and the economy could heat up before long.
The best part of this LENR windfall is that it takes about 7 million calories to launch a pound of mass outside our gravity well and into space (remember, each gram of nickel yields about 1.7 billion). Now we’ve got plenty of clean, very cheap energy, so the next constraint on our economy will be raw materials.
With all that energy we now have, let’s run electrical currents through lots of water, harvest the hydrogen and the oxygen, condense it into liquids, and use the rocket fuel with proven technology to boost tremendous amounts of mass into space and develop the solar system.
Visualizing the full potential of turning nickel into copper .(with a little hydrogen, heat, and pressure) takes some getting used to.
When my wife and I visited Alaska, the tour guide described how the early explorers died from a vitamin deficiency, when they could have saved themselves by simply eating a local plant that proliferated in the area. If only the explorers had known!
Today, we have a similar situation. (Partial formula) Ni + H (heated under pressure) = Cu + lots of heat!! It’s unbelievable, but here we have been oxidizing carbon fuel for energy and polluting our air with carbon dioxide big time when all along nickel could have been used in a low energy nuclear reaction.
The future is so bright, we’ll have to wear shades.
Brad Arnold is a USCF National Master at chess, a Senior at the University of MN, and the proud owner of three dobermans.