German Magazine Spektrum Features Cold Fusion

The German science magazine Spektrum has published a feature article on the topic of LENR written by Janosch Deeg titled “Cold fusion – wish or reality?” which looks at the possibilities of cold fusion mainly from a theoretical perspective.

Deeg explains in basic terms the concept of nuclear fusion and then examines some of the claims that have been made regarding the ‘cold’ variety. He states, “Researchers who deal with this phenomenon today, speak mostly of LENR [low energy nuclear reactions]. This concept solves firstly produced no negative connotations, but much more important is that the observed phenomena are very likely not nuclear fusion in the traditional sense. The term “cold fusion” would therefore be misleading.”

Deeg seems respectful of the work done by DARPA, Robert Duncan, and Michael McKubre, and takes seriously the theory proposed by Widom and Larsen regarding energy production by electron capture — but recognizes there are other models out there, none of which has been proven as yet.

When it comes to Andrea Rossi and the E-Cat, Deeg is more circumspect. He writes:

This so-called E-Cat has now been repeatedly subjected to tests by scientists. In fact, recently claimed a team led by theoretical physicists Hanno Essén and the nuclear physicist Bo Höistad , the device produces an unusually high excess energy . Critics, however, complain that attempts were never sufficiently independently or methodically thorough. In addition, Rossi is silent on the exact design of his E-Cats, which makes a serious scientific analysis almost impossible, and so Rossi loses credibility.

Deeg concludes by saying that the future of this field is uncertain, but concedes that further research into anomalous effects that have been observed, while not ‘cold fusion’ in the literal sense of the term, could lead to discoveries about previously unknown phenonomena.

Overall, the article takes a cautious stance, but is not entirely negative. And the fact that this is in a respectable science magazine is another sign to me of a gradual thaw in attitudes of people working in the mainstream of science regarding the LENR field.

  • bachcole

    Thank you, Frank. Good report.

  • This is maybe the best german material about this topic available in the internet yet. Balanced and good understandable for laypeople. Germany is very conservative. I hope this is at last the beginning of a opinion shift in germany…

    • Strange that Germans should be so resistant to new possibilities, when their need for alternative energy sources is relatively great following their rejection of nuclear power. It’s the same in the UK but here, politicans constantly issue pro-nuclear misinformation that is repeated by the UK govt. propaganda machine (the BBC and certain newspapers) in order to further their own agendas. Presumably there is no similar influence in Germany, unless pro-‘renewable’ interests have assumed the corrupting role adopted by the nuclear industry in Britain.

  • jousterusa

    I wonder if you haven’t given the writer more attention than he deserves, Frank, in that a careful reading of E-Catworld and the data it offers would have led him to a much less cautious conclusion, no?

    • For a famous german mainstream magazine article like this, this is the best available yet! I’m happy reading this!

    • ecatworld

      I think the author and magazine deserve credit for this, Joe. We who have been studying this for 3+ years have a lot of background that most journalists don’t have, but I am glad to see some efforts to paint a more objective picture than we are used to seeing.

  • jousterusa

    I wonder if you haven’t given the writer more attention than he deserves, Frank, in that a careful reading of E-Catworld and the data it offers would have led him to a much less cautious conclusion, no?

    • For a famous german mainstream magazine article like this, this is the best available yet! I’m happy reading this! I think this is better news than the maybe-interest of bill gates in lenr.

    • bachcole

      Perhaps. I got nothing but time. I can spend hours and hours reading this stuff. I doubt if other people, especially those who are not retired, have so much time.

    • Frank Acland

      I think the author and magazine deserve credit for this, Joe. We who have been studying this for 3+ years have a lot of background that most journalists don’t have, but I am glad to see some efforts to paint a more objective picture than we are used to seeing.

  • Gerrit

    human translation:

    Cold Fusion – Wish or Reality?

    It sounds tempting: clean energy without large effort. Cold fusion was once considered as a hot candidate for that. How does this former hopeful stand today?

    1.What is (cold) nuclear fusion?

    Normally Atom nuclei strongly repel each other due to their positive charge. Under certain conditions the distance between them can be reduced greatly so that they will fuse: a nuclear fusion occurs and a new element is created. The new element is either heavier or lighter as the two original nuclei together. In the latter energy is released and this is called an exothermal reaction. These reactions occur only for nuclei that are lighter than iron. Most energy is released with fusion of hydrogen nuclei. The “missing” mass is converted into kinetic energy of the reaction products and into radiation energy. Until now the know exothermal nuclear fusion reaction can occur only at extreme temperatures – for instance in the sun. At about ten million degrees Celsius temperature and 200 million bar pressure hydrogen nuclei get to close together that they fuse into helium atoms. Such conditions are not feasible on earth. Fusion reactors, that produce energy, can work nevertheless: heavy hydrogen isotopes (Deuterium/Tritium) fuse at lower pressures of a few bars – however only at 100 million degrees celsius. Such extreme temperatures can be reached in a hydrogen plasma; keeping this plasma going for longer periods hasn’t been achieved yet by the current research projects. When a hydrogen bomb explodes these high temperatures are achived by means of a nuclear fission which ignites the fusion process.

    In order to use nuclear fusion as viable source of energy, it would be beneficial, if it could also happen at lower temperatures. Theoretically it is not excluded that such exothermal nuclear fusion might be possible at room temperature – but it hasn’t been observed experimentally so
    far. Nowadays the english term “low energy nuclear reactions (LENR)” is increasingly being used, because possibly a cold fusion doesn’t exist in the classical sense. How cold fusion or at least low energy nuclear reaction work can be read below at point 3) and 4).

    2. How did the term cold fusion come about?

    In the year 1926 the chemists Fritz Paneth and Kurt Peters reported for the first time of a successful transmutation of hydrogen into helium at room temperatures. A year later they retracted their claim. 22 years later russian physicist Andrei Sacharow predicted that with myons, which are related to electrons, a cold fusion could be initiated. They were used a catalyzers, so that a high temperature would no longer be necessary. The term cold fusion was born. This assumption was supported in 1956 by physics nobel laureate Luis Alvarez. Based on his observations in a particle detector he assumed that myons induced nuclear fusion must have taken place.

    In 1989 chemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons reported at a University of Utah press conference of a fusion process that had occurred in a test tube at room temperature. The press was enthusiastic and helped to renew the term cold fusion. Both researchers claimed to have observed how heavy hydrogen isotopes fused into helium at the surface of a palladium cathode during electrolysis. Both scientists faced harsh criticism. Colleagues accused them of grave errors in the experimental setup and even intentional scientific fraud. Nowadays the majority of experts is very critical toward cold fusion and doubts the existence of it, there is nevertheless a growing groupd of researchers who find new approaches and reportedly functioning prototypes for cold fusion. More in section 3. and 4.

    — will follow up with the rest after a short break —

    • pelgrim108

      Here is a paragraph from wich you can maybe use some pieces. ( google + human tranlation)

      “This doesn’t prevent the Italian inventor and businessman Andrea Rossi to present a supposedly already functional device: nickel atoms are supposedly converted to copper by absorbing neutrons. This so-called E-Cat has now been repeatedly subjected to tests by scientists. In fact, a team led by theoretical physicists Hanno Essén and the nuclear physicist Bo Höistad claimed that the device produces an unusually high excess energy. Critics, however, complain that tests were never independent or had sufficient methodology. In addition, Rossi is silent on the exact design of his E-Cat, making a serious scientific analysis almost impossible, wich makes Rossi lose credibility.”

      • bachcole

        The harder they resist the harder they will fall. The LENR+ Juggernaut rolls on.

      • Gerrit

        thanks, I used that

        • pelgrim108

          Ik heb even proef gelezen, dit zijn de punten die ik kon vinden. Bedankt voor je goede werk.

          myons -> muons ( 3x)
          They were used a catalyzers, -> They were used as catalyzers,
          groupd of researchers who find -> group of researchers who find
          that produced no, or at least very little gammy radiation. -> that is producing no, or at least very little gamma radiation.
          A proof for successful exothermal nuclear fusion at low temperatures is not available until today. -> As of today a proof for successful exothermal nuclear fusion at low temperatures is not available.
          LENR was by physicist Allan Widom and Lewis Larsen. -> LENR was
          characterized by physicist Allan Widom and Lewis Larsen.

          • Gerrit

            jij ook bedankt

  • Gerrit

    human translation (updated):

    Cold Fusion – Wish or Reality?

    It sounds tempting: clean energy without large effort. Cold fusion was once considered as a hot candidate for that. How does this former hopeful stand today?

    1.What is (cold) nuclear fusion?

    Normally Atom nuclei strongly repel each other due to their positive charge. Under certain conditions the distance between them can be reduced greatly so that they will fuse: a nuclear fusion occurs and a new element is created. The new element is either heavier or lighter as the two original nuclei together. In the latter energy is released and this is called an exothermal reaction. These reactions occur only for nuclei that are lighter than iron. Most energy is released with fusion of hydrogen nuclei. The “missing” mass is converted into kinetic energy of the reaction products and into radiation energy. Until now the know exothermal nuclear fusion reaction can occur only at extreme temperatures – for instance in the sun. At about ten million degrees Celsius temperature and 200 million bar pressure hydrogen nuclei get to close together that they fuse into helium atoms. Such conditions are not feasible on earth. Fusion reactors, that produce energy, can work nevertheless: heavy hydrogen isotopes (Deuterium/Tritium) fuse at lower pressures of a few bars – however only at 100 million degrees celsius. Such extreme temperatures can be reached in a hydrogen plasma; keeping this plasma going for longer periods hasn’t been achieved yet by the current research projects. When a hydrogen bomb explodes these high temperatures are achived by means of a nuclear fission which ignites the fusion process.

    In order to use nuclear fusion as viable source of energy, it would be beneficial, if it could also happen at lower temperatures. Theoretically it is not excluded that such exothermal nuclear fusion might be possible at room temperature – but it hasn’t been observed experimentally so
    far. Nowadays the english term “low energy nuclear reactions (LENR)” is increasingly being used, because possibly a cold fusion doesn’t exist in the classical sense. How cold fusion or at least low energy nuclear reaction work can be read below at point 3) and 4).

    2. How did the term cold fusion come about?

    In the year 1926 the chemists Fritz Paneth and Kurt Peters reported for the first time of a successful transmutation of hydrogen into helium at room temperatures. A year later they retracted their claim. 22 years later russian physicist Andrei Sacharow predicted that with muons, which are related to electrons, a cold fusion could be initiated. They were used as catalyzers, so that a high temperature would no longer be necessary. The term cold fusion was born. This assumption was supported in 1956 by physics nobel laureate Luis Alvarez. Based on his observations in a particle detector he assumed that muons induced nuclear fusion must have taken place.

    In 1989 chemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons reported at a University of Utah press conference of a fusion process that had occurred in a test tube at room temperature. The press was enthusiastic and helped to renew the term cold fusion. Both researchers claimed to have observed how heavy hydrogen isotopes fused into helium at the surface of a palladium cathode during electrolysis. Both scientists faced harsh criticism. Colleagues accused them of grave errors in the experimental setup and even intentional scientific fraud. Nowadays the majority of experts is very critical toward cold fusion and doubts the existence of it, there is nevertheless a growing group of researchers who find new approaches and reportedly functioning prototypes for cold fusion. More in section 3. and 4.

    3. How could cold fusion work?
    In order for nuclei to fuse at low temperatures other mechanisms than temperature must bring the nuclei close together. The theory of muon induced nuclear fusion was the first that used the term cold fusion: A muon is capable of expelling an electron from its orbit aroung the nuclei and taking its place instead. If that happens in a deuterium or tritium atom those nuclei are then approximately 200 times closed together. The muon shields the positive charge of the nuclei significantly better than the original electron and decreased the repulsion. Now the fusion can happen relatively easy – according to theory. For viable energy production this method doesn’t work: the achieved energy gains are smaller as those that are needed to produce the muons.

    The most famous methode comes from Pons and Fleischmann. Both researchers claimed that heavy hydrogen nuclei (deuterium nuclei) can be pulled into the lattice of palladium atoms with such force that they overcome their repulsion and fuse. The observation by both chemists could not be confirmed by the majority of researchers who tried replication of the experiment. Nevertheless, even today renowned scientists amongst which are professor of physics Robert Duncan of Missouri University and Michael McKubre, director of Stanford research institute (SRI) claim that this methode does indeed generate excess heat. For this heat there is no conventional electrochemical explanation. The scientists assume that a kind of slow nuclear reaction occurs that produces no, or at least very little gamma radiation. There are large doubts of these claims, partly due to the fact that there isn’t a sufficiently tested theory how nuclei fuse without emitting energetic radiation. In 2005 researchers lead by Seth Putterman presented a methode named Pyrofusion. They reportedly ionized deuterium atoms and accelerated them by means of special crystals to such extend that they fused when they collided. Measurement of neutron emmision were regarded by them as a strong indication for the occurrence of nuclear fusion. As of today a proof for successful exothermal nuclear fusion at low temperatures is not available.

    4. What is today’s status of cold fusion?
    After numerous independent researchers failed to replicate the results of Pons and Fleischmann, cold fusion was shelved, denoted as unusable pathological science. For some time cold fusion is given more attention again, as can be seen in a report of the american defence intelligence agency DIA from 2009. Researchers who work on this phenomenon nowadays mostly speak of LENR. This term doesn’t trigger any negative associations, more importantly however is that the observed phenomena are most likely no nuclear fusion in traditional sense. The term cold fusion would therefore be misleading.

    LENR was characterized by physicist Allan Widom and Lewis Larsen. Their theory tries to explain the excess heat and also transmutations of metals, which had both been observed by Larsen himself together with several other researchers. These anomalies occur reportedly during cold fusion experiments – comparable to those of Pons and Fleischamnn. The basis for their theory is the inverse beta decay: a proton catches an electron and becomes a uncharged neutron. This can be absorbed without problems by a metal nucleus, because no repulsion occurs. Instable isotopes are created that subsequently decay. The radiation that is emitted because of the decay is transformed into heat within the material. They published their theory in 2006 in the journal “European Physics Journal C” It hasn’t been verified as of yet. Unclear is where the needed high amount of energy for this reaction can come from. Furthermore many other models exists that try to explain the anomalies – however none is sufficiently proven.

    This doesn’t prevent the Italian inventor and businessman Andrea Rossi to present a supposedly already functional device: nickel atoms are supposedly converted to copper by absorbing neutrons. This so-called E-Cat has now been repeatedly subjected to tests by scientists. In fact, a team led by theoretical physicists Hanno Essén and the nuclear physicist Bo Höistad claimed that the device produces an unusually high excess energy. Critics, however, complain that tests were never independent or had sufficient methodology. In addition, Rossi is silent on the exact design of his E-Cat, making a serious scientific analysis almost impossible, which makes Rossi lose credibility.

    5. How does the future look like?
    The future of cold fusion respectively the LENR phenomenon is uncertain: the experiments are often not reproducible and many experts still dispute that the observed effect exists at all. In case the anomalies do exist, they are most likely not fusion processes in the traditional sense, but unknown nuclear reactions. A physical process that releases enormous amounts of energy would be a sensation nevertheless. It could very well solve the energy problems, which even caused researchers from NASA to investigate the LENR phenomenon. Whether the indications will be able to withstand scientific scrutiny and will be useful to produce energy remains to be seen. If the research field of cold fusion will finally be degenerated to pathological science, it may still have paved the way for the exploration of previously unknown phenomena.

    • pelgrim108

      Edit: A paragraph. Gerrit has now used it.

      • bachcole

        The harder they resist the harder they will fall. The LENR+ Juggernaut rolls on.

      • Gerrit

        thanks, I used that

        • pelgrim108

          Edit: Some points that now have been incorporated. Thanks

          • Gerrit

            great team work 🙂

  • Ophelia Rump

    The article reads like a two year old reprint.
    I would say lazy journalism but too much has transpired. It takes too much effort to remain that ignorant for it to be lazy.

    These stock put downs read like political talking points. I wonder who issues them.

    • Ophelia Rump, you have to understand that in germany in my opinion the general impression and knowledge about LENR/CF is awfully bad.

      So an article like this in a serious and respected german science magazine is more than just fine!

      • Ophelia Rump

        In Germany what do they do if they dislike you?

        • bkrharold

          In the USA Scientific American has yet to write anything about LENR. They did have Michael Shermer write an article for their Skeptic column “debunking” Cold Fusion. The article was comprised of information over 25 years old, with no mention of any recent developments. When I wrote a respectful letter pointing out this oversight, they did not print my letter.

          • bachcole

            The bigger they are and the harder they resist, the harder they will fall. The LENR+ Juggernaut is relentless. Resistance serves the purpose of bring down ALL of the ivory towers.

            And your post will help us to remember those who are resisting.

          • Frechette

            I have zero respect for the opinions of Michael Shermer.

          • bkrharold

            The thing I find so annoying, is they are misusing the word skeptic. It is supposed to mean someone who is not yet convinced but earnestly trying to find the truth. Shermer uses it in a very negative way, approaching the subject with a closed mind, to reach his foregone conclusion. Scientific American is a leading scientific magazine because their articles are well researched and logically presented, for the most part. Their skeptic column is a startling departure from the rest of the magazine. It is an embarrassing ill researched blemish on the magazine. I think Shermer would make a fine used car salesman.

          • bachcole

            Within one to 3 years, many, many, many, many people will have zero respect for many, many science and academic elitists.

        • Frechette

          Call you a right wing extremist or worse.

      • builditnow

        How’s the Bartyphone going?

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      Good line Ophelia…”It takes too much effort to remain that ignorant for it to be lazy.” I agree, but where is the pressure to be so ignorant coming from? And why?

  • BroKeeper

    Actually, I find this as a breakthrough within a very conservative Germany.

  • Brokeeper

    Actually, I find this as a breakthrough within a very conservative Germany.

    • bachcole

      True. As far as I can remember, Germany has shown zero movement in the arena of cold fusion, so far, except for this article.

      • Andreas Moraitis

        There have been a few articles in mainstream magazines DER SPIEGEL (with a skeptical undertone) and FOCUS (by the very popular science journalist Michael Odenwald). The Telepolis website – an offspring of the influential Heise network – has published a series of well-founded articles. This one from March 23 (!) 2011 has been the starting point for me to follow the story: http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/34/34400/1.html

  • It’s quite obvious by events over the last few years, that Germany is not being held captive by corporate energy interests (and their allies in the international financial institutions who profit from the present energy paradigm based on monopoly and scarcity), to the extent we are in the US. Otherwise, they would not now generate very large percentages of their energy from renewable sources, and half of their solar PV would not be owned by monopoly- and trust-breaking independent means (homeowners and small business). Even their auto industry is not so controlled and kept to the old “maximum petroleum consumption” route (Volkswagen as the best example, with their highly efficient Diesels that totally blow away the old lying claims of just how efficient engines can be, but that are not sold in the US). Look at their excellent public transportation systems; verses the pathetic US’ metro-only versions that allow and encourage huge traffic jams nation-wide (…burning gigantic amounts of oil needlessly). Or, the EU’s IEC much better requirements for electrical energy efficiency (“CE Mark”). So this news is not so surprising, especially in light of their Nordic neighbors taking official interest in LENR .

    General Electric holds the monopoly on fission nuclear reactors; and is a major player in current large power generation and transmission equipment (not to mention the key remaining major appliance manufacturer, selling consumer appliances in the US that are significantly less efficient than ones they sell elsewhere, greatly benefiting their prime customers, the corporate electric utility monopolies and fission nuclear plant operators). We won’t be hearing about Jeffery Immelt (CEO), taking briefings on LENR anytime soon.

    • Omega Z

      GE unloads appliance division to Sweden’s Electrolux $3.3 Billion

      Diesel is an issue with retail availability & the fact we tax it at a higher rate. Retailers have extremely thin margins & are hesitant to install additional underground storage tanks. Thank Credit card companies for that. They nab at least 2/3rds of the profit margin of the retailer markup. Most survive on the inside convenience sales only. That’s why a bag of chips cost so much at those places.

  • Frechette

    I have zero respect for the opinions of Michael Shermer.

    • bachcole

      Within one to 3 years, many, many, many, many people will have zero respect for many, many science and academic elitists.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    There have been a few articles in mainstream magazines DER SPIEGEL (with a skeptical undertone) and FOCUS (by the very popular science journalist Michael Odenwald). The Telepolis website – an offspring of the influential Heise network – has published a series of well-founded articles. This one from March 23 (!) 2011 has been the starting point for me to follow the story: http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/34/34400/1.html

  • Omega Z

    GE unloads appliance division to Sweden’s Electrolux $3.3 Billion

    Diesel is an issue with retail availability & the fact we tax it at a higher rate. Retailers have extremely thin margins & are hesitant to install additional underground storage tanks. Thank Credit card companies for that. They nab at least 2/3rds of the profit margin of the retailer markup. Most survive on the inside convenience sales only. That’s why a bag of chips cost so much at those places.

  • fritz194

    Otherwise, the german scientific community is very conservative and close to pathological scepticism.
    Taken this into account, its a quite positive article ;-))
    A very good example is the “Kalte Fusion” page on German Wikipedia.
    The primary reliable source concerning E-Cat is Krivit stating its systematic fraud and manipulation – adding links to the third party reports was refused….

  • fritz194

    Otherwise, the german scientific community is very conservative and close to pathological scepticism.
    Taken this into account, its a quite positive article ;-))
    A very good example is the “Kalte Fusion” page on German Wikipedia.
    The primary reliable source concerning E-Cat is Krivit stating its systematic fraud and manipulation – adding links to the third party reports was refused….

  • bitplayer

    …which is why I cancelled my Sci Am subscription 20 years ago, after getting it for 20 years.