Nickel or Palladium? — The Future Direction of LENR Research

I’ve seen some discussion regarding the recent ICCF-19 conference about the direction and future of LENR research in terms of the types of systems that are being tested and reported on. Many of the talks at the Padua conference were given by long-time researchers who have focused on the palladium-deuterium reactions that that were the subject of Pons and Fleischmann’s research and many others following. And some people wished there had been more focus in Padua on the newer types of research going on.

The emergence of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat has really changed the focus of many people interested in LENR towards the nickel-hydrogen reaction that he works with. He is apparently able to generate kilowatts and even megawatts of power (as opposed to the milliwatts and watts that are more typical of the Pd-D systems) using these two cheap and plentiful elements, and the newer generations of replicators seem to be gravitating towards the E-Cat type reaction.

In an article on his website reflecting on the recent ICCF conference, Mats Lewan discusses this divergence of research focus in the LENR community. He writes:

Let us not forget this huge experience. I know that several LENR researchers have found themselves in difficult situations because of the focus on Rossi and the E-Cat. Popular views on the E-Cat have stolen the attention and been an indirect reason for closing down some research programs.

This is sad. Because when results from Rossi’s MW trial will be presented, if not before, we will have a breakthrough for the view on LENR as an existing phenomenon. But we will still lack a solid, accepted theory for explaining it, which is necessary to carry on efficient engineering, also for Industrial Heat, even though Rossi has come a long way through intuition and some possible theoretical concepts.

And to build that theory, all existing experience will be a gold mine. We will also need more experimental data from stable processes, hopefully from the E-Cat and from a series of new replications that are now going on.

Mats is arguing here that there is a place for both strains of LENR research which are needed to get a firm theoretical grasp for what is going on in LENR. His point is, that even if the old-style Pd-D LENR systems might not be suitable for commercial products, there is great value in the body of research that has been compiled over the last 25 years.

My expectation is that the younger generation, and those newer to the field will want to go to where the power is — where materials are much cheaper and easier to obtain, and where stable operations at high levels of output power seem to achievable, as shown by Rossi. The allure of producing lots of energy from super-cheap and super-abundant elements is hard to argue against, and we see there is a lot of enthusiasm behind this approach in the amount of attention the E-Cat and similar technologies are getting. There is a lot of excitement and energy being generated around the individuals and group trying to replicate the Rossi effect.

So where does that leave the state of palladium-deuterium research? I imagine that many of those working in this field will continue to do so, but I wonder how attractive this branch of LENR will be as we move into the future. Mats brings up an interesting point regarding the value of the body of all LENR research in terms of understanding the effect. Would we lose something important if activity waned in the original avenues of LENR research?

  • Ophelia Rump

    It is really very simple. Either Rossi’s success will help enlighten the Pd-D LENR theoretical crowd, or they are on their own. It seems a shame that Mats does not recognize Rossi’s theoretical orientation. I hope that will change when the theory of Rossi’s work is published. If that view is reflective of the Pd-D LENR folks, then they might ignore his work at the cost of justifying the existence of their own work. Since the Pd-D LENR is more expensive it would need a considerable advantage as justification to ever be more than interesting. Such casualties are forever the cost of doing science. One must adapt or perish.

    • Alan DeAngelis

      I was just thinking that in the far distant future (a few million years from now) when terrestrial lithium supplies become exhausted we will still have plenty of deuterium in the world’s oceans and if more abundant elements(see below) could be transmuted into palladium we would have billions instead of millions of years of fusion energy. In fact, I remember reading a book in the 1970s that said that we shouldn’t aim for deuterium-tritium fusion because it requires the less abundant element lithium. That’s why the original goal of hot fusion in the 1950s was deuterium-deuterium fusion (but they gave up on that and went for the easer deuterium-tritium route). OH NO, WE ONLY HAVE A FEW MILLION YEARS LEFT TO GO!!!!

      • Omega Z

        Don’t Worry. Just be happy.

        Possibly, we’ll have ascended to a higher life form by then. Just pure energy.
        That or we’ll have become extinct by our own stupidity.

        I’m not giving no odds.

        • Alan DeAngelis

          Yeah, there will probably be zero point energy sources in the future.

          And if the cosmic rays don’t kill us, we’ll probably turn outer space into one big shopping mall.

        • Alan DeAngelis

          From this old fart’s perspective, if we become just pure energy, most likely given enough time that will eventually become just pure energetic stupidity.

          • Omega Z

            Buy if you’ve “ascended” to pure energy, You’ve apparently learned to understand & control everything. You can take any shape you please & do anything you please.

            Geez, You could even become the Presidents Scientific Adviser & proclaim yourself the new God. 🙂

    • Warthog

      WHAT “Pd-D LENR theoretical crowd”??? There ARE no viable theories for either nickel OR palladium. Historically, there “has” been a Pd-D EXPERIMENTAL crowd…..because that was all there was at the time.

      It is WAY too early to make, or even suggest, a preferred direction. For all we know, the ultimate best substrate for the nuclear active environment (NAE) may be another material entirely, or a combination of several. Both Miley and Swartz have worked with both Pd and Ni, and various combinations of the two. I very seriously doubt that Ni and Pd are the only things that will form an NAE.

      • Pekka Janhunen

        Agreed, at the moment the only thing we know is that there is sometimes some excess heat and there are hints of some transmutations.

        It’s not easy to come to some theoretical explanation based on knowledge which is that scarce. It’s always possible that someone invents a compelling theory, but at the moment there is an obvious experimental way forward. The Lugano experiment was a good start. One just needs more reactors, runs interrupted at different times, helium and hydrogen isotopes also, and the entire cake analysed in all runs. After that kind of campaign we would know what are the net nuclear reactions that occur and we know whether or not the produced excess energy is equal to the change in nuclear binding energy; and also how these things depend on time. It needs two things: 1) availability of at least ten working reactors with full rights to measure also the fuel, 2) manpower and money, a few million. I hope that (2) follows if (1) is fulfilled.

        • Omega Z

          Your post reads as if you’re depending on others to provide reactors.
          I’m more inclined to think that by the time this technology is fully accepted, this will all be Government funded academic of Corporate research. Having full access wont be a problem.

          I would note that Corporate research is market/profit oriented & will move faster. Academic research tends to be slower, but it to will have to step it up due to the Corporate interest. In fact, the Corporate interests will likely contract or form joint research efforts providing Corporate funding considering there will be a shortage of expertize in this field.

    • I think we are too early to predict anything, beside the good remarks on a better knowledge on Pd/D.

      by feeling is that we have no idea about the future material because we don’t have any theory.

      My bet is that if nickel is not cheap enough, the solution well be …. carbon. either in graphene or in biological context.

      more and more I am convinced that there is nothing special in Nickel or Palladium nor tungsten, except some geometry and electronic nanostructure, that graphene or proteins can replicate.

      • Omega Z

        Two things to Consider.
        1. The Lugano report took the Nickel Isotopic shift into consideration for the energy output balance. That effects COP.
        2. As a Society, we need to consider the Mitsubishi nuclear remediation possibility.

        Tho the Carbon possibility would assure us of our energy needs for at least a 200 years if the other sources run out.
        Kidding. 🙂 At least 300, Right?

  • bachcole

    Dear Frank: I notice that when I am on a YouTube page listening to music, it tells me down on the tab what music I am listening to. This is very common. When I am on one of your pages, like this page, as I am typing, I see “iGoogle Portal – Mozilla FireFox”. You are missing an opportunity to promote your brand.

  • Omega Z

    Palladium is much more expensive. Also there was someone(In LENR Research) who said there is not enough Palladium to provide energy to everyone. Aside from leaving people out, The shortage of Palladium would lead to cost spiral of an already expensive resource.

    Tho you would gain 100`C in peak temps which isn’t necessary nor even useful for electricity generation. The hardware can’t handle it. So I believe the “Primary” focus should be on the Ni/H technology.

    That Said- PD/D should continue to be researched as well as other elements in the transition metal category. My reasoning for this is the same as when people take positions on different Ni/H systems such as Rossi verses Brillouin & others.

    Different uses have different needs. Different systems are better suited for some tasks. The 1555`C provided by Palladium or should Tungsten(3422`C) be applicable, they may be very useful in some settings if they can develop a containment vessel for them.

    Tho Ni/H may be fine for home heating & power generation, higher temp processes may be better suited for certain Industrial applications as well as aircraft/spacecraft propulsion. These are areas where gains could easily justify higher costs.

  • Dr. Mike

    Although the Ni-H process right now appears to have a commercial advantage over the Pd-D process, experimental work on both processes most likely is needed to establish a robust general theory of LENR (that will explain both processes). I believe that a good theory will be a key factor in advancing practical uses of LENR; therefore, I advocate continued work on both processes, even if the Pd-D never becomes commercially useful.
    Dr. Mike

  • Dr. Mike

    I believe that eventually there will be a theory that explains all reproducible results. Establishing a theory will take some careful experimentation and may not come in the near future. That is not to say that a final theory will be able to explain all of the results of a past experiment unless the parameters of that past experiment are known well enough to replicate that experiment.
    Dr. Mike

    • Omega Z

      It may all originate at the center, but with many paths & effects along the way. Neutrons, No Neutrons, mutations & not.

  • Gerard McEk

    When the LENR Theory arises it will explain all, I hope. The knowledge for Pd-D reactions will not be lost. Yes, it may be hard for those brave scientist who worked so long for understanding Cold Fusion and that Rossi has passed them with his relatively monstrous (in energy output) Ecat’s, but that’s a fact of life.
    I am sure that their work has not been for nothing, because the LENR Theory must explain all discovered LENR anomalies found, also their anomalies and maybe it is the start of a very useful LENR route for energy or transmutation.

  • peter gluck

    This question is of paramount importance and deserves a sincere answer. I gave it on the Blog Ego Out.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    I just got home. In retrospect, I see now that I should have written:


    Yeah Otto I agree. I used to think a lot about Gerard K. O’Neill’s proposal for colonization of space.
    I’ve heard though since I wrote that that there could be huge cosmic ray storms that originate from the center of the galaxy that could wipe out that type of habitat. Maybe we can find a way to deflect them.

  • Paul

    I think that the old generation of scientists who well known the Palladium based reactors have the unique opportunity of making a deep comparison with the Ni-H systems, so they are in the better position for finding similarities and theoretical explanations, but if they continue to study only Palladium reactors or the Palladium line they are only old dinosaurs, this is the reality told very sincerely… and should not be in mass in the main program of the next ICCF, as sadly were in this edition…

  • Alan DeAngelis

    The old guys had to be selective. They did what they could with out any funding while under attack from the thugs in academia.
    Once Rossi’s MW plant goes online, we’ll be in a whole new world; there will be a Niagara Falls
    of cash from venture capitalists who will be coming out of the woodwork. Every form of LENR that can be imagined will be funded.

  • lars

    Thoughs about why Parkamov and Rossi say they use a “dirty” chopped AC waveform and why it must take some time before it start giving high cop
    Electrostatic fields are E-fields which do not change with time, which happens when charges and currents are stationary. In that case, Coulomb’s law fully describes the field.
    Electrodynamic fields are E-fields which do change with time, for instance when charges are in motion.
    In electromagnetism, the electric susceptibility (latin: susceptibilis “receptive”) is a dimensionless proportionality constant that indicates the degree of polarization of a dielectric material in response to an applied electric field. The greater the electric susceptibility, the greater the ability of a material to polarize in response to the field, and thereby reduce the total electric field inside the material (and store energy). It is in this way that the electric susceptibility influences the electric permittivity of the material and thus influences many other phenomena in that medium.
    In many materials the polarizability starts to saturate at high values of electric field. This saturation can be modelled by a nonlinear susceptibility.
    In general, a material cannot polarize instantaneously in response to an applied field

  • GreenWin

    Evidence is beginning to confirm lattice material is less important than lattice geometry. The geometry of both Ni and Pd creates the precise dimensions needed to allow BECs of H and also, Casimir effect in the NAEs. Casimir adds (and subtracts) virtual energy from the zero-point field, making it an open system. While Ni is naturally occurring and plentiful, Pd is not.

    If lattice geometry is a major factor in LENR, we will begin to use precisely manufactured carbon nanotubes to build reactor vessels. In essence, this removes “fuel” from the LENR formula, since BECs, Casimir are dependent on geometry alone. Carbon nanotubes have the benefit of elasticity at high temp (e.g. able to “stretch” up to 4X @ 2000C.) Precisely manufactured nanotubes require neither Pd or Ni to create the NAE.; They will benefit from variously “doped” catalysts possibly Li or other catalyst added into the C crystalline structure. Selden Tech appears to be well down this road: