Cold Fusion Lights up the Washington Post

Neil Irwin of the WonkBlog at the Washington Post announces that cold fusion/LENR was the big winner of the recent Crowdsourced Wonkblog contest where readers voted for the most promising new energy technology in terms of economic and environmental benefits. Irwin quotes two comments from CF proponents (Peter Roe or ‘fortyniner’ is one of them) as examples of support for cold fusion. In his analysis of the results Irwin states correctly:

It is obvious why the possibility would be attractive: A successful LENR technology would allow practically unlimited energy production without carbon emissions or the nuclear waste that results from fission-based nuclear reactors.

I think he’s wrong in the next sentence, however:

It’s also the case that there is no such technology on the immediate horizon; researchers are far from turning cold fusion from a conceptual idea into a workable energy source.

It may well be that Irwin hasn’t heard of the E-Cat, or if he has, he may have dismissed it as quickly as many others who have come across it as an unproven technology — which would not be a terribly unusual reaction for someone in his position.

Rather predictably, in the comments below the article the debate that we have seen for the last few years continues with cold fusion skeptics doing their best to pour cold water on the topic, and LENR proponents (some who are regular commenters here) stepping up to defend the LENR case.

It’s hard to say how much influence the results of the contest might be. The Washington Post is of course a major establishment newspaper with a wide international readership, so the Wonkblog coverage could have the effect of generating some new interest in CF/LENR. My personal opinion is that the skeptics’ case will over time (hopefully soon) become increasingly less tenable once working E-Cat products start to become visible in commercial settings.

  • Fisher

    Any press is good press at this point. Everyone is waiting to see some real, substantial, undeniable proof besides a handful of websites and emails that show the reality of the E-Cat…like a LENR device powering something on the ground that people can see up close and personal. No offense to the true believers here. I hope it all comes to pass and the sooner the better.

    • Roger Bird

      “True believers” is an insult. I came as a skeptic and I remain a skeptic. But the evidence, after 19 months of following Rossi and LENR, has forced me to accept the reality of the E-Cat.

      “Any press is good press at this point.” This point I made with some skeptic on the WP Wonkblog site. Just spell LENR, Rossi, E-Cat, McKubre, Defkalion, etc. right. The more attention the better, even if it negative attention. And the louder the skeptopaths scream “LENR is bunk” the better the people in the back row can hear the word “LENR”.

      I have Google News set for “cold fusion” and that is how I heard about the Washington Post Wonkblog story. Perhaps other people, lots of other people, will also see it.

      • psi

        Right. It is ironic that defenders of the traditional science, whether by intent or from lack of knowledge, continue to refer to those who have actually examined the evidence, including the nature and character of the online debate regarding the technology, as “true believers.”

        No, as Roger Bird says, we are the true skeptics. We are skeptical that the proposed contradictions of physical law are as definitive as we are asked to regard them, on faith. We are skeptical that the history of obscurantism by “Hot Fusion” scientists and propagandists is entirely finished. We see abundant reasoning to conclude that Rossi is on to something real and way too much evidence that the traditionalists are wrong but don’t yet know it, to think otherwise.

      • Hal

        That is a good point!! I started to become skeptical about AGW because of the incessant propoganda about it, and started to do my own research rather than just read the headlines. talking of AGW and OT, this mwy interest some readers, but please don’t comment here.

        • fortyniner

          Not a direct comment, but – its about time someone kicked back.

      • Iggy Dalrymple

        Roger is a Goldilocks belieptic.

        • Hal


          I guess that’s someone who doesn’t believe justin bieber exists?
          I can only hope they’re right 🙂

        • Roger Bird

          belieptic, yeah, I looked that one up, and it said, “A believer in Iggy Dalrymple’s ultra-wittiness.”

          But I suppose that you meant something else. (:->)

        • captain

          I really don’t understand Roger…

          I’d suggest that Andrea could let him sit down for a few seconds on a chair warmed-up by a very hot e-cat… he he he

      • Jim

        Hi Roger,

        Now, don’t take this the wrong way 🙂

        How about…

        …’true believers’ is insulting to ME…

        I always wince a little when I read someone imputing absolute and/or universal truths. It so often has the problem that it’s hard to find anybody who has ever proven one.

        Although maybe it’s just me. After twenty-five plus years of being figuratively whapped about the head, I’m finally starting to suspect that my spouse is sensitive about my commenting about her style of communication. I don’t know, heck, maybe other people feel the same way.

        Your fan,

  • AlainCo

    What surprised me is that they did not cancel the result or moan fiercely…
    Maybe as a minor community section of their site, they have to tolerate anything that they receive… Or they are aware that tolerance without enthusiasm is the safest reaction.

    • psi

      “Maybe they are aware that tolerance without enthusiasm is the safest reaction.”

      I would count on that. WaPo remains one of the best papers in the US, and one cannot stay “best” without recognizing the value of not being too dogmatic about what is or is not already proven about such a contentious topic.

    • Jim

      Fights sell ads

  • zvibenyosef

    It would not be surprising if researchers in Japan, China or Europe are able to master LENR technology and take control of a huge market, before the US. We have wasted too much time listening to “skeptics” who have their own agendas.

    • Charles Stewart

      The European nations, not being the repository of vast amounts of petroleum, natural gas and coal, were it not for their fumbling ineptness at virtually everything, should totally bury the USofA with the ECat TH2. They may be dragged there, semi-conscious and unaware, by the Swedes.

      • fortyniner

        Great comment – well said!

      • AlainCo

        no, we have vested interest in subsidized physics, in photo-voltaic and wind energy (o the point we launched a war with Chinawhich endanger EU economy, and German mostly), in malthusian ideology, in fearmongers, preacher of apocalypse…

        we love theory and ideology, and fight business as evil…
        we will try to forbid then restrict and control LENR.

        • Jim


          But it’s so…scenic

          (3 year Wiesbaden High School alumni)

      • Chris I

        Soon after the Daimler-Chrysler merger, those Daimler engineers taught the Chrysler ones how to finally make a car that drives like a Mercedes. Serious, I once read so in The Economist.

    • Chris I

      What’s all this parochialism for?

    • Roger Bird

      Only us goof-balls in the LENR fan clubs are listening to skeptics. And we aren’t accomplishing much anyway except having a grand ol’ time chatting with people whose interests and IQs are similar.

  • AB
    • AB

      For what it’s worth and from what I can tell, they placed the heating elements in their COMSOL simulation in the exact same spot were the fuel is in the e-cat (in order to obtain the same curves as in the Levi paper, presumably other locations didn’t produce the same curves). According to them, this shows that the curves can be generated by regular heating elements. According to me, they are showing that the source of heat in the e-cat comes from within the fuel cylinder.

      Also they had to admit that the curves in their model are out of synch in comparison to what is seen in the Levi paper. They speculate that Levi et. al. have altered the curves for the purpose of illustration while omitting this fact in the paper. The alternative explanation, namely “that the phase and amplitude of the additional anomalous heat source is such as to precisely synch the two curves” is not investigated further by them. I think that this simply shows that the COMSOL simulation fails to correctly model the e-cat. So their claim that resistive heaters can fully explain the curves doesn’t seem correct.

      Last but not least, they also admit that “it does seem that more power than 810 W is required to obtain the observed surface temperature of about 300 degrees Celcius”.

      In other words, I think their COMSOL simulation actually improves the credibility of the e-cat.

      • freethinker

        But their MatLab simulation does not give anything on the fact that there is excess heat, only put some concern with regard to the waveform analysis as such (which is obviously important from the argument whether or not the reactor is in self-sustained mode or not).

        In the end, we are back to discussion about a second unknown source of current possibly a DC source through the idle third phase cable.

        Ericsson and Pomp are being hailed by some sceptics in the aforementioned publication as the final word.

        They crack me up 😀

      • freethinker

        “Last but not least, they also admit that “it does seem that more power than 810 W is required to obtain the observed surface temperature of about 300 degrees Celcius”.”

        Which is thus a sceptics report actually confirming excess heat via simulation at least 🙂

  • Roger Bird

    I am confused. Didn’t this Independent eCat News guy stop publishing for a while because he was sick and tired of “Rossi says”. I can understand that. I got tired of it too. But now he is back. Do I have the right guy? But if he comes back, why is he so skeptical of Rossi, and isn’t a little hard on his enterprise if his site is called the Independent eCat News. Perhaps he could change the name to The Independent LENR News.

  • Ramey

    First post from me…now that they have determined to shut down the San onofre nuclear power plant in southern California…AR should convert it to lenr and a desal …why not? It would be a good place to keep trade secrets and would gets the worlds attention..or is that a bad thing?

    • Roger Bird

      Dear Ramey, welcome.

      We are at the point like Bertha Benz (a babe I just discovered. I thought that anyone with the name ‘Bertha’ had to be big and ugly) on 5 August 1888 taking her two sons 106 kilometers to see relatives and getting back, the famous first motor trip. We have proof of concept. We are a long way from outfitting a decommissioned fission power plant.

      Anyway, a whole bunch of things at the nuclear power plant would not be of much use for LENR+. The cooling towers are the most obvious unnecessary items. I think that they could be converted into apartments. And if they are radioactive (which I doubt), we could house skeptopaths there. Just kidding. Most of the safety back-up thingies would be unnecessary.

      More attention is good. Government attention, no quite as good.

    • Omega Z

      Why not?

      Because it Radioactively contaminated.
      When or if it is ever cleaned up is anyone’s guess.
      A No Man Zone.

      • fortyniner

        Radioactive ‘cooling’ after removing all fuel typically takes 60 years plus, depending on reactor type. Some small units have been physically removed to other locations, but larger reactors are just sealed off, fenced and guarded literally for several generations, at enormous cost and ever-present danger of collapse.

        Here in the UK, reactors decommissioned over the last few years are not scheduled for demolition until the 2090s and must be contained and isolated for that time at least. The sites will probably never be usable again and will most likely remain fenced off indefinitely after demolition due to persisting contamination. The same applies to all processing and storage sites.

        • GreenWin

          In the US northwest the Hanford WA nuclear site where the uranium for the first Almagordo tests was processed, there is a 40 year clean up underway, NOT including the “cool down” period of generations. Estimated cost officially $100Billion. Actually cost acknowledged to be far greater.

  • psi
    • John Littlemist

      Great writing, thanks! But you misspelled Brillouin.

    • Barry

      Good story psi.

    • GreenWin

      psi, a delightful article, accurately representing the current state of affair de Rossi. AND a wonderful reference to his drama reflecting those of Moliere. The sceptos see AR as something of a Scapino, whereas many here see him more Fermi/Tesla/Edison with a touch of Orson Welles for flair. Looking forward to your Shakes bible.

  • Alexsandros

    As Cold Fusion can influence the adoption of electric cars?
    Someone knew the Tesla Model s?

    • Roger Bird

      The consensus of opinion here (as opposed to the “consensus of scientists”, which is not scientific) is that eventually ALL cars will run directly or perhaps indirectly on LENR energy. If directly, either as an electric or steam. Indirectly, you would drive your car into your garage and plug it in and go in to your family and relax for 10 hours.

    • artefact
  • artefact
  • Sergio

    I don’t know if it has been posted but it seems that the “attack” that Rossi has been anticipating has been published:

    • AB

      This ‘attack’ pretty much stands as its own rebuttal. Contrary to what they are saying, their COMSOL simulation shows that the e-cat is not primarily heated by its resistive heaters.

      1) In order to achieve similar temperature curves to what is seen in the Levi paper in their COMSOL simulation, they had to place the simulated resistive heaters exactly where the fuel rod of the e-cat is. So they are actually confirming that the heat comes in large part from deep within the e-cat and not from closer to the surface where the resistive heaters actually are.

      More specifically, they placed their simulated resistive heaters at R=15 mm from the center, whereas the fuel rod has a radius of 15mm and is also placed in the center.

      2) Their simulation shows unsynchronized curves, whereas the e-cat shows synchronized curves. They dismiss this discrepancy by speculating that Levi synchronized the curves for the purpose of illustration without mentioning it.

      3) They admit that more than 800 W is needed for the e-cat to reach a surface temperature of 300 °C, which is what was seen in the Levi paper.

      The rest of the paper is, with the exception of the request for more indipendence and more data, in my opinion mostly an exercise in FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) with little substance.

      I don’t think that this is the attack Rossi warned against.

    • Andrew Macleod

      What’s most interesting is the amazing similarity between this “paper” and the open letter KRIVIT wrote.

  • Barry

    Wow! The “ignore user” button in the comment section at The Washington Post works really well for eliminating trolls. Lots of good posts.

    • GreenWin

      It’s like a breath of FRESH AIR! +1

  • AB

    Prof. Levi has been interviewed (in Italian) and reveals some new details about the testing:

    1) In the December test, it was actually the e-cat’s steel core containing the fuel that melted.
    2) The instruments used were not Rossi’s but that of the testers, and the instruments were completely under control of the testers.
    3) The testers actively tried to find hidden wires. They disconnected all wires and redid the wiring themselves. The ground line was disconnected by the testers to eliminate a variable because it was not used.

    • winebuff

      Excellent post AB!

      • ecwrunner


    • Ecat

      Google translation:
      “And then he said that there will be other tests in July were much longer…

      • AB

        Yes, but that was already known.

        • Roger Bird

          No, there was one test to start in June (2 more days on that one), but now he is saying that there will be more than one test to start in July. I am not such a moron that I care if he lets the start of a test slide from June into July. But I am happy to see that there are going to be more than one test starting in July. And there is a lot of time just in July for a test to be much longer than the previous 3 tests without having to be 6 months long, so I have looking forward to great things with extremely keen anticipation. I hope that he is able to see his way to allowing someone else do at least one of the tests, not that I have a problem with the Magnificent Seven, but some people do.

    • AB

      Here is a translation of the part where Levi speaks of the wiring:

      I can also say that we checked for hidden wires. We disconnected everything and redid the wiring. For example, the ground wire was disconnected. [Levi and Melis speaking at once for a moment] … safety, it was not measured, thus it was disconnected. We did not leave any unmeasured wire connected. We checked that it wasn’t going into the floor as some suspected. The floor was of regular concrete. We have made every possible inspection.

    • daniel maris

      Excellent news. Confirmation that the testing was of a high order, that it would have been difficult for a scammer to be confident of evading.

    • AlainCo

      thanks for the translation ! +1

      That is enough for me. Either Essen is defrauding and ruining his career, or it is real…
      Fraud on heat is impossible, because thermocouple and IR cam let no room for 200%/500% error.

      Note that it is too bad they did not check DC, but they could. Rossi could not imagine they would forget DC. end of speculation.

      so now we know what the nay-believers will say : Essen is accomplice.

      no problem. this can hold for any testers, like Nelson, SRI… all accomplice…
      if Elforsk install a district heat plant, they will say Elforsk is accomplice, like the electric company…
      no way.

  • artefact

    On Peter Glucks blog:


    “.. Just to mention en passant, recently, after Prof Y. Kim, an other very prestigious Cold Fusion-LENR personality has visited their labs and his essential conclusion was: “it is obvious you have a robust device which generates heat on demand”. More at ICCF-18 ”

    “.. I believe that at ICCF-18 a paradigm change will take place and a new era of collaboration and progress will start.”

    • roseland67

      So does a toaster oven.

      A better response would have been:

      “it is obvious you have a robust LENR device which
      generates more heat than is input into the device”

      • daniel maris

        Yes, fair point!

    • Joe Shea

      I believe the Washington Post story is the very first mainstream media story on the E Cat. We must remember to be grateful to them in the future for having irrecovably “broken” the story of the promise and potential of LENR/CF. Much more will follow because of this story.