More on LENR at NASA: Bushnell and Zawodny Speak

Two interesting publications have just come out from NASA, one an article, and the other a video showing that NASA recognizes the promise of LENR and is getting involved in understanding what is going on in this field, and how to develop LENR technologies for real world applications.

Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist and NASA’s Langney Research Center has written an article entitled “Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, the Realism and the Outlook” in which he discusses the current state of research in the field of LENR. First, he contends that there is indeed something real going on in the multitudes of experiments that show excess energy being produced.

By any rational measure, this evidence indicates something real is occurring. So, is LENR “Real?” Evidently, from the now long standing and diverse experimental evidence. And, yes – with effects occurring from using diverse materials, methods of energy addition etc. This is far from a “Narrow Band” set of physical phenomena.

He then goes on to ask what is happening in these reactions, and indicates that NASA is attracted to the Widom-Larsen theory as an explanation of what is going on. He summarizes the theory as follows:

The theory states that once some energy is added to load surfaces with hydrogen/protons, if the surface morphology enables high localized voltage gradients, then heavy electrons leading to ultra low energy neutrons will form– neutrons that never leave the surface. The neutrons set up isotope cascades which result in beta decay, heat and transmutations with the heavy electrons converting the beta decay gamma into heat.

Bushnell is careful to say that there is still much research to be done in order to understand LENR phenomena, but says that NASA has begun studies to test the validity of the Widom Larsen theory.

Simultaneous to the release of Bushnell’s article is a video featuring NASA’s Dr. Joseph Zawodny, Senior Research Scientist at Langney Research Center entitled Abundant Clean/Green Energy. Zawodny’s focus in the video is also on the Widom-Larsen theory, and explains how they are trying to test its correctness.

The ultimate goal, according to Zawodny is to find a way to create an inexpensive, clean form of energy which could be used not only by NASA in its space operations, but also something that could provide cheap, abundant energy for the whole world.

With NASA once again coming out with an endorsement of LENR as a potential solution to energy needs, we see that there is some kind of momentum building in the field — perhaps before too long a critical mass will be reached, and there will be a much more widespread acceptance of LENR as an important technological innovation.

  • There is no way WLT could be correct. There are many reasons, but among the clearest is that if an ultra low momentum neutron is put into matter, it is not always absorbed by a nucleus, but more often it collides elastically with some nucleus, gain kinetic energy, is no longer ultracold and behaves subsequently as any other neutron i.e. it often escapes from the matter. This is so because the elastic neutron-nucleus cross sections are typically much larger than the inelastic ones, and in any case cannot be smaller let alone negligible. Thus, if ultra cold neutrons would get produced in any energetically significant number, a deadly neutron flux would be observed coming out of the substance. Since this does not happen although heat is produced, the theory must be wrong.

    Surface plasma waves or surface electric fields (also part of WLT) might play a role, that cannot be ruled out yet, I think.

    • Stephen Taylor

      It seems highly likely much will be learned and possibly important advances in our understanding of a theory will come out of this work. I too hope they do not concentrate their efforts narrowly and remain open to whatever the research presents.

      • edog


        “There are some six or so groups claiming device outputs in the 100 watt range and three others claiming kilowatts. Efforts are ongoing within NASA and other organizations to validate (or not) these claims.”

        So? who are they?


        • DaveS

          I wonder if Bushnell is making an oblique reference to the 1 MW ECAT plant that Rossi claims to have delivered to a “military concern” recently. Maybe he is aware of this delivery and knows if its working to specification.

        • dsm


          & the others

    • GreenWin

      Pekka, you are likely correct. Some very good scientists (one at Brookhaven National Lab) have found glaring problems with the heavy electron/cold neutron theory. I imagine NASA is playing this in hopes of breaking the US Patent Office ban on LENR inventions.

      But it does create a small window of acceptance within official scientific confines. However, especially in the immediate time of internet, private and academic research will lead the way.

      And proprietary LENR researchers have the Athanor Group in Rome to contend with. Professor Abundo has recently arranged new demonstrations of their OpenSource electrochemical cell capable of COP 4. So, the onion is peeling very fast, internationally. NASA may focus on theory, others will introduce commercial products. The end result is there will be a LOT of questions as to why this and other technologies – have not seen the light of day sooner.

      As that question borders on issues of millions of preventable deaths – this is also a time for deep moral and ethical introspection. Good people who know the truth and have guilty conscience will come forward. Others will not.

      • edog

        what is the go with the US patent office banning CF/LENR devices?
        Does that mean you cant patent such a thing.. at all.. but any company could start pumping them out and be risk free?.. say if someone stole Roosi’s ecat for example and started selling them??

        • artefact

          hi edog,

          have a look here:

          Though some patents slip through. Specialy if they do not contain the word “cold fusion”.

        • TommyT

          Controllers had thought out a lot about it… about 20 years ago I was studying patent laws around the world and they are so freakingly British/USA-like all over the world, even in the third world.

          They all exclude patentability of nuclear, LENR or any other infinite/cheap energy paradigm that may shatter the oligarchy.

          Time to re-write the patent and fractional-banking laws.

      • Stephen Taylor

        There is a lot to be said for having a “politically correct” theory. Even if it is wrong. Please, no miracles required. Conventional physics be spared. Get on with engineering.

        • dsm

          You got it 😉


        • Phil Lyle

          Amen, Let’s explore the unexplored.

        • That’s absolutely right. It’s a pity that Rossi started theorising about ‘nuclear’ reactions from the outset, on the basis of very little evidence. If he’d talked about a ‘not fully elucidated’ electrochemical process or similar, there may have been less establishment opposition.

          It looks like several parties are now trying to stuff that particular genie back in the bottle, and Rossi’s credibilty is likely to suffer as his theory is trashed.

          A new ‘acceptable’ theory is not likely to make much difference to the reactions of governments or the energy corporates though.

          • GreenWin

            Understood Peter. Have a lovely weekend.

        • GreenWin

          Let’s keep in mind that different divisions of NASA see the science in different ways. For example the folks at NASA Glenn RC, seem open to consider a multitude of theories:

          Check slides 11-14. Also the appearance of tritium in many experiments demonstrates indisputable nuclear reactions. To date no one has shown a way to produce this substance (beyond background) without a nuclear effect. It is far too ambitious to say anyone will be trashed by voicing their LENR theory – unless it involves pixie dust and candy canes.

          • Yes, clearly this *is* in fact a nuclear process. I was agreeing with Steven Taylor’s point that for practical purposes, an incorrect non-nuclear theory might have been better from the outset than a correct (or partially correct) nuclear one!

  • Methusela

    Article link is dead?

  • edog

    Ok so NASA are seriously looking into LENR.. how long till mainstream media.. at least the scientific news sites pick up on it?

    These are interesting times.

    • dsm

      I’d speculate it won’t get widespread press recognition until someone gest recognised validation of a LENR reactor.
      That seems a long way off still.

  • CIHT fan

    Blacklight has scientifically proven technology. Instead of producing heat, they are producing electricity, and this is key differentiator. If they can get a 1.5KW to the market next year, the world will be a different place.

    • edog

      18 months for the 1.5kw demo reactor….
      to market.. add another 2years plus on that… I reckon.

      • edog

        probably still beat Roosi and Defekalion to market

  • It’s interesting how the entire time Zawodny speaks he manages to step deftly around the trouble he might generate by applying a name to the phenomena they are investigating. I think the best he did was to call it a “a form of nuclear power that is very clean.”

    It appears that Bushnell has touched the third rail of scientific research by calling it LENR but has stepped away from the toxic term “cold fusion”. It will be interesting to see how long he survives.

    I wish them both luck and hope this starts a more open discussion of the subject without the pushing and shoving from the conventional priests of physics.

    • georgehants

      That would be about the best the establishment could manage, to academically and so arrogantly argue for years over what it should be called.
      As they have had nothing to do with it they should not have any say.
      Cold Fusion is the name people will like.

      • Ged

        Ultimately that’ll be the common name once the theories are properly laid and the phenomenon documented by the mainstream. Now that NASA has done this, more groups around the world will be gearing up to investigate. I’d give it a year before “cold fusion” no longer is such an anathema to academics.

        • John

          How long before it’s just “fusion”?

      • Personally, I prefer cold fusion as it bears homage to Fleischmann and Pons and because it sticks in the craw of those who have so long opposed this alternate path to energy for so long. Think of how it would vex them every time they heard the phrase.

        • I ditto that – let em eat crow for the rest of their lives!

        • Barry

          You’re right Zedshort “Cold Fusion” carries a lot of history. I hope “Cold Fusion” is here to stay.

    • dsm

      Even Widom made a scathing attack on those calling it Cold Fusion. But, in light of the odium that came to be attached to that name, smart money says avoid it no matter what one thinks personally of the process or that label.

      It just isn’t worth the distraction & lost energy fighting for it.


      December 13, 2011

      Dear Readers:

      In different ways, many people are mistakenly conflating the Internet brouhaha and charges of quackery swirling around Rossi et al. (whatever he and his so-called “E-Cats” may or may not be) and “cold fusion” with the relatively new, growing field of low energy nuclear reactions (LENRs).

      “Cold fusion” and LENRs are not necessarily synonymous and isomorphous, as I will now explain.

      First, LENRs are legitimate science. “Cold fusion” (i.e., D + D  He-4 + heat; more generally, nuclear fusion of charged particles in the presence of high Coulomb barriers at high reaction rates at low temperatures) is not, and never was legitimate science; on that particular point, I agree with the critics.

      Importantly, the distinction between the two concepts (LENRs versus “cold fusion”) is fundamental, not mere semantics as the cold fusioneers might have readers believe (in the CFers last ditch attempt to obscure the intellectual bankruptcy of their longstanding, erroneous ideas about physics).

      • dsm

        Oopps – that was Lewis Larsen writing – not Allan Widom.

  • Jambo

    It doesn’t particularly matter if WL is correct or not at this early juncture. What WL provides is a vehicle for LENR to enter the mainstream scientific discussion.

    If NASA’s efforts prove WL valid – we have a theory which cannot be denied although, perhaps, improved upon. If their validation attempts disprove WL then another explanation must be sought.

    Either way, WL theory offers a much needed track to discussion in key circles.

    • Ged

      This is true. It does seem likely that some aspects of WL are correct, but not necessarily all of their theory is. That’s pretty normal for science, especially when on the cutting edge. For instance, I’m not so sure about their neutron cascade and beta decay. However, NASA’s tests will find that out when they look at what elements are created through transmutation, as that’ll tell you directly the mechanism that occurred (neutron addition, or proton addition; beta decay, or gamma decay, etc).

    • dsm

      Good summary of the situation.

      NASA have a very strong motive to see LENR progress.
      Using LENR power is space missions will cut their
      costs dramatically & allow them to expand their
      programs greatly.

      They are providing a level of stability in the LENR debate. Good on them for it.


  • TommyT

    The controllers had thought out a lot about it… about 20 years ago I was studying patent laws around the world and they are so freakingly British/USA-like all over the world, even in the third world.

    They all exclude patentability of nuclear, LENR or any other infinite/cheap energy paradigm that may shatter the oligarchy.

    Time to re-write the patent and fractional-banking laws.

    • GreenWin

      Curious eh?? There will be an accounting. For an unfortunate few.

    • Jimr

      I read on several blogs downing the patent office for not accepting LNER patents. I do not know a lot about patents but.
      You can’t patent some pipes in a t formation
      You can’t patent hydrogen
      You can’t patent Nickel
      You most likely can’t patent the catalyst
      What you could patent is the controlling device that control all these devices when assembled and operating and that is the one thing that no one ( to the best of my knowledge) has been able to accomplish.

      • Brad Arnold

        To be fair Jimr, you can’t rationalize the US Patient Office unofficial policy against granting a patient for any “free energy device.”

        It is a paradigm issue, not a technical nor a bureocratic one. It is sad, and almost unbeliveable, but it is as real as LENR – the US Patient Office is in firm opposition of change, and will go kicking and screaming into history justifying their policy.

        If any LENR company plans, as part of it’s business plan, that it will get a patient from the US Patient Office, then that is ultimately a flawed business plan. That is just the way things are, too bad, so sad.

        • Brad Arnold

          On the other hand, the lack of patients in the “cold fusion” area is a blessing in the sense that it allows any LENR company to compete. It is like the wild, wild west.

        • jacob

          patents for devices that make oil obsolete as fuel ,are not granted because of national security ,and national security is also to protect the economy and revenues and tax income for the government

      • Dr. Mike

        The patent office does accept patents on LENR, you just have to call the device “electrolysis apparatus”. Check out U.S. patent #6,248,221 and its clains and structure. I think there is a possibility that Rossi’s devices may infringe on one or more of the claims in this patent, but he surely has improvements that could also be patented as long as he called his device “an improved electrolysis apparatus”. Also, a special method of fabricating the nickel and a catalyst that improves operation (stability) of the device should be patentable.

  • Where are the haters now?

    Kinda quiet in here without their foam-flecked barking, and their constant baying for Rossi’s blood.

    • GreenWin

      Haters and Skeptopaths remain on FUD payroll over at ecatnews.

    • Wizer13

      The haters will be first in line to buy a brand new LENR home heater when it will come out and oil will be to much expensive to buy anymore, braggin’: Always told ya It would work !

      Oh, humanity…

  • Just when we thought they had deep-sixed their LENR research, this news comes out! What a relief! I am so glad that NASA is taking LENR with the same seriousness it customarily undertakes its projects. I just wonder how long it will be before the Patent Office acts on Zawodney’s patent application of last October, and how long before we see a license to some manufacturer for mass production of technology based upon it. I also find it interesting that this news come when BlackLight Power seems to have conclusively proved its theories and had them multiply validated (see, top story). Are they competing technologies? I am delighted to know this research has not been abandoned!

    • Brad Arnold

      BlackLight Power has not conclusivley proven its theories. Instead, it has multiply verified it’s technology (i.e. electricity directly from the LENR Ni-H exothermic reaction, and not from the heat it creates using the Carnot process).

      I have yet to see conclusively proven a hydrino (i.e. a hydrogen atom with it’s electron path lowered, so the atom is shrunk). I would love to see this, and don’t wish BLP ill. God bless Dr Mills if he is really getting 100 COP with the energy from the reaction being recovered directly as electricity.

      • Johannes Hagel

        Do we know anything about hydrino as a substance? Ist it still a gas? Can it still be burned to hydrino water as an exothermic reaction? Would be just interesting to know!

  • DaveS

    Bushnell makes an odd statement at the futureinnovation website: “…several labs have blown up studying LENR and windows have melted…”.

    Does anyone know what he is talking about?

    • Brad Arnold

      The hydrogen under pressure is dangerous. Without the pressure (like Rossi who is using a metal containing hydrogen), the LENR reactor won’t be blowing up nor melting windows.

      • atanguy

        “windows have melted”
        A chemical hydrogen deflagration doesn’t melt glass. A nuclear detonation could…

  • Brad Arnold

    So, “the theory states that once some energy is added to load surfaces with hydrogen/protons, if the surface morphology enables high localized voltage gradients, then heavy electrons leading to ultra low energy neutrons will form– neutrons that never leave the surface.”

    That is the critical question as far as I am concerned: is the hydrogen turning into a neutron (i.e. a hydrogen is made up of a proton and an electron – the same as a neutron)?

    If that is taking place, then obviously the atoms closely surrounding the transformed hydrogen atom are getting bombarded by the neutron.

    The reason this is important is that bombardment by neutrons is how you nuclear transmutate, and that is a game-changer too.

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  • chris robinson

    I note that Bushnell starts with a vicious unwarranted attack on Pons and Fleishman.
    Then goes on with a pathetic attempt to curry some favour with the establishment by stating that they were correct all along D+D fusion never occurred
    Fleishman has on many occasions reiterated the fact that he never termed the phenomenon Cold Fusion , that was a term coined solely by the media

    • Barry

      Its funny how people can interpret things differently. Chris, I don’t feel Dr. Bushnell attacked anyone.
      Cold Fusion is a coined name. Some physisit take it way to literal. I like the term. It connects our familiarity. I find when I asked people about “LENR” nine out of ten times I have to explain and peoples eyes start to glaze over. I hope CF becomes the excepted name. LENR sounds way to left brain. And right now CF has an image problem. It is yet to connect to the right brain crowd in a big way. Peace, Barry

      • Robert Mockan

        The right brain left brain dichotomy comment is germane not just to cold fusion but most science, especially when evoking math.I receive the glazed look all the time. And hardly anyone outside the choir seems to have even heard the LENR acronym, and sometimes do not even remember ever hearing about cold fusion. The dependency on the media is frightening, more so when it is so controlled.

        • Antonella
        • Zero

          What this proves is what I’ve been saying all along in my media classes, that traditional the media has failed us. The only place where you can actually stand a chance of getting real news is the internet. The problem is no one is going to believe that the traditional media has failed unless they hear it on the traditional media. If governments start to regulate the internet as well, then even that will fade to grey.

      • chris robinson

        Hi Barry
        I enjoyed your video and commentary .It was unbelievable to find out that a fellow scientist at MIT was prepared to step in and block an independent research grant to a colleague simply because it was not what he was taught .
        I just thought Bushnell could have been a little more gracious towards Fleishman & Pons contribution .
        They were prepared to put their reputations on the line and say look we now something is taking place here that can only have a nuclear origin.
        Of course they did not have a credible theory for the phenomenon at that time , but then nobody else had a clue about what was going on until Arata came along with nano particles research
        They have surely suffered enough with the ridicule and virtual demolition of their professional careers from the securely entrenched scientific clique , who even now have not had their day of reckoning for a decade lost on serious Cold Fusion research .
        BTW this breakthrough in cold IN LENR also took my mind of what I considered to be a very unjust oil based war waged against a certain Country recently.

        Peace and MAY the Force be with you

    • There is fusion in that sub atomic reactions result in the transformation of elements.

      It is cold in the sense that the reaction is initiated at in room temperature setting.

      Therefore cold fusion is not inaccurate as
      a discription per se.

      • Barry

        Yeah Allan, for a while there a lot of physicist seemed up in arms over the “fusion” part, but it seems the tide is turning. I hope so. Cold Fusion looks better on a bumper sticker.

  • GreenWin

    While NASA appears to be hanging their progress on the WL theory they should be looking over their shoulders. It was only two months ago CERN hosted a ground breaking colloquium on LENR. There we learned that both Mitsubishi and Toyota has confirmed LENR transmutation. And this headline was published in of all places Refinery News:

    CERN Could be About to Start Researching LENR Following Recent Colloquium

    The worldwide market for mitigating nuclear waste is worth hundreds of billions $$$. While NASA tinkers with its cold neutron theory – big players are developing real technology. Let’s hope NASA isn’t arriving at the party far too late.

  • Sanjeev

    This explanation sounds so much like the one given by Rossi for his Ecat working principle. Except he never mentioned slow/cold neutrons or heavy electrons.

    “The theory states that once some energy is added to load surfaces with hydrogen/protons, if the surface morphology enables high localized voltage gradients, then heavy electrons leading to ultra low energy neutrons will form– neutrons that never leave the surface. The neutrons set up isotope cascades which result in beta decay, heat and transmutations with the heavy electrons converting the beta decay gamma into heat.”

  • Sanjeev

    I like their LENR space plane concept. Although it looks a bit unrealistic, such publicity is useful for wide acceptance of this new tech.

    Probably these people will find this concept interesting too:

  • Barry

    I feel like the people following the unfolding of Cold Fusion are the lucky ones. For myself it is quite healing to have a positive vision after coming out from under the dark shadow of war, where the powers that be, made decisions I could do nothing about.
    It was a big rush to watch the recent video of Dr. Joseph Zawodny from NASA. The last one that was put out got dissected and muddied by a lot of people.
    We are the lucky ones because we are on an exhilarating wave that more and more of us believe will soon hit the shore. This week has been so surreal. Is it me or is land really in site.

    • dragon

      Looks like there is NO STOPPING for LENR.
      It goes faster and faster towards practical applications. Rossi looks way beter now than in 2011.

    • Filip

      Yes, we are lucky but it’s a choice. I tell many people but I never get more than an ‘ah’ or an ‘oh’ and then they go on with their everyday lives.
      But I learned from you that you can still mean something as an individual, if you don’t take initiative nothing will happen.
      So now I even try more.

  • dsm


    You may be interested in this link – Cheers DSM

    Ruby Carat – May 24th 2012 – A Crack in the Code.

    • Barry

      For those of you non-techies like me, Ruby Carat wrote a great article. It makes the complex so clear and understandable.

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  • georgehants

    Nanoparticles Seen as Artificial Atoms
    ScienceDaily (May 24, 2012) — In the growth of crystals, do nanoparticles act as “artificial atoms” forming molecular-type building blocks that can assemble into complex structures? This is the contention of a major but controversial theory to explain nanocrystal growth. A study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) may resolve the controversy and point the way to energy devices of the future.

  • Realist

    Why isn’t there a link to the NASA article. Also why can you not find this in a search on the NASA site?

    • GreenWin

      Sir, you have named yourself Realist. Your observations are evidence the video is narrowcast and of only fabricated relation to NASA at all. As are all discussion of LENR since a Navy Rear Admiral Brady ordered the blackout.

      You live and operate in a fabricated space with little or no relationship to the “real civilian world.” In short you are captive to system of unconstitutional obfuscation. A space where legal, moral, and ethical behavior is dead.

  • Realist

    Why does this article not show up on a NASA site search?

  • Realist

    After an advanced search the several month old link showed up (and is also in the posts). Not exactly recent new but good news none the less. From the reference in the video it appears to be three years old (a 2006 reference referred to as three years old).

  • Lu

    Interesting article from New Energy Times about NASA and the Widom Larsen Theory:

    • Stephen

      Thank you Lu… very interesting.
      This is a very misterious business…

  • GreenWin

    Although Zawodny and Bushnell side (for the moment) with the Widom Larsen theory – they have some hard questions to answer. Not the least of which is where 782keV comes from to make the idea work:

    Dr. Peter Thieberger Senior Physicist at Brookhaven NL says this problem and explanations for extraordinary gamma shielding make WL theory hard to swallow. But if they have answers and win a Nobel – he, Peter will eat his hat in Stockholm.

    • GreenWin

      On the other hand, Thieberger is a LENR skeptic whose livelihood rests on traditional physics remaining untrammeled.

      • Stephen

        Ok but beyond having maybe some personal interests he is making an argument. A logic argument is a logic argument, it is irrelevant who is the source of the argument!

        Anyway, he is proposing to test the shielding of the gammas… and he’s ready to admit he’s wrong in front of a positive evidence. I think this is the correct approach. He can be critical about the theory if he thinks so… this is normal and adds something good to the discussion, not something bad.


        I just wonder what was the outcome of the tests by NASA… how can it be that nobody knows if this theory gives correct predictions or not?!

        • Stephen

          The important thing in science is that things (theories, critics, etc) can be *verified*… and one can reach an answer about them…

          That’s something “other people” seem to try to avoid as much as possible. I don’t ahve probelms with critics of any kind… I have problems with statements that cannot be verified.

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