Energy Production & Transmutation: Two Different LENR Tracks

The recent test results from the MFMP showing apparent transmutations after charcoal has treated for two minutes in the George Egely NOVA reactor are quite fascinating, although I think it is still premature to regard them as conclusive. My understanding is that the MFMP will be doing the test on a more pure carbon sample to see if similar results are produced.

I originally became interested in LENR because I though it could be an important source of inexpensive and low-coast energy, and so far, energy production seems to be the goal of many LENR researchers. However, it is possible that another equally important future LENR application will be either elemental, or isotopic transmutations (or may be both).

The goal of many of the old alchemists was to be able to make something extremely valuable (e.g. gold) from a common element (e.g. lead), but many centuries ago they did not have the understanding of chemistry, nor the necessary technological apparatus to make it happen. This changed in the 20th Century with nuclear engineering. Here’s an excerpt from a Scientific American article on the subject of transmutation.

With the dawn of the atomic age in the 20th century, however, the transmutation of elements finally became possible. Nowadays nuclear physicists routinely transform one element to another. In commercial nuclear reactors, uranium atoms break apart to yield smaller nuclei of elements such as xenon and strontium as well as heat that can be harnessed to generate electricity. In experimental fusion reactors heavy isotopes of hydrogen merge together to form helium. (An element is defined by the number of protons in its nucleus whereas an isotope of a given element is determined by the quantity of neutrons.)

But what of the fabled transmutation of lead to gold? It is indeed possible—all you need is a particle accelerator, a vast supply of energy and an extremely low expectation of how much gold you will end up with. More than 30 years ago nuclear scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in California succeeded in producing very small amounts of gold from bismuth, a metallic element adjacent to lead on the periodic table.

If LENR reactors are able to produce similar results at much lower cost, and safely, in reasonable quantities then we might find that transmutation is comparable in importance to energy production, especially if currently rare and valuable elements and/or isotopes can be created. It may be that we will see two very different tracks for LENR emerging.