Article on Cold Fusion on Chapel Hill, NC Local News Site [Update: Part 2 — Cold Fusion History]

Thanks to Leo Kaas for sending the following link to an article on cold fusion.

It’s an article written by Jeff Danner on the website, which covers news in the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina (where the University of North Carolina is located). Danner writes on a blog called Common Science, and this is the first in a three part series on cold fusion. The first part published at the link above is on the science aspect of the topic. Next week he will cover the history of CF/LENR and the last part will be on the “potentially world-changing implications” of the technology.

Last month Italian inventor Andrea Rossi was granted a U.S. patent for a fluid heater. At first glance, that’s not a particularly gripping opening sentence for a lively or interesting science column. But there is more to the story, a lot more. First off, the heat source in Rossi’s invention is purported to cold fusion. If Rossi really has mastered cold fusion, the world is about to become a very different place. There is also a local angle. Rossi is a partner in the Raleigh-based Industrial Heat, LLC who have been operating one of the patented fluid heaters at an undisclosed location for the last six months.

As far as the science aspect goes, Danner focuses on the classical nuclear fusion process in which huge amounts of energy are required to get nuclei in close enough proximity to fuse (hot fusion approach), and he doesn’t really cover some of the more recently proposed theories discussed in LENR circles. He does not seem dismissive of cold fusion as field, but does end the article by saying next week he will explain why he thinks “Rossi’s invention may have an important flaw.”

I’m not quite sure why he says that, so it will be interesting to find out next week what he means.

UPDATE: (Sept. 20, 2015)

Thanks to Veblin for sharing that Jeff Danner has published part 2 of his article on cold fusion — this one covers the history of cold fusion here:

Regarding the “important flaw”, mentioned in part 1, Danner states the following.

Rossi states that he nickel in the device must be replaced periodically. The fact that the activity of the nickel is used up over time is consistent with neutron capture and/or hydrogen-nickel fusion being sources of heat generation in the device.

In Part I of this series, I told you I would come back this week and comment on what I considered to be a “flaw” in Rossi’s device. In retrospect, “shortcoming” would have been a better word choice. Based on the correspondence I received from the LENR community, I believe that I created an expectation that I would be delving into the physics of the device and attempting to refute some quantum physics related aspect of the process. In fact, what I was attempting to foreshadow was, that whatever the merits or flaws of Rossi’s device, it is not performing cold fusion in the commonly conceived manner of hydrogen being used to create helium. Therefore, rather than being a clean and nearly infinite source of energy based on water, Rossi’s device seems to be dependent on one-time use of nickel. While this would not detract from any potential scientific achievements, this approach brings along some extra baggage such as the need to mine nickel as fuel.

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