The following is a letter to the editor of the Delco Times (Delaware County, Pennsylvania newspaper) written by Adrian Ashfield originally published here. It is republished on E-Cat World in full with the author’s permission.
Cold Fusion, now called Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR), took a large step forward on Black Friday Nov. 24, 2017, when Andrea Rossi demonstrated his third generation E-Cat QX (Energy Caratylizer) at the Royal Society of Engineering Science in Stockholm, before a crowd of 70 professors, scientists and business people.
This tiny reactor, about 1 cm long by 0.6 cm in diameter, was shown to produce 20 Watts of heat from a negligible input of power. The Coefficient of Performance (COP) was over 500. That is to say it produced more than 500 times the power required to run it. It can also be switched on and off instantaneously, something no other reactor has been capable of, and can operate at a temperature of 2300 C.
Cold fusion, as it was then called because it was thought incorrectly to be the same mechanism as hot fusion, first hit the headlines in 1989 when two respected electrochemists, Fleischmann & Pons, announced it, claiming excess heat from Palladium and Deuterium. The hot fusion scientists were very skeptical because it did not produce neutrons and dangerous radiation.
MIT and Cal Tech both tried to replicate it and failed. It is now known they failed to prepare and load the Palladium with enough Deuterium for the process to start. It was a pity they didn’t consult with the discoverers on how to do it or history might be different. Academia accepted the negative results and declared cold fusion bogus.
It has since been replicated successfully some 100 times, but the damage had been done and academia refuses to look at the new results.
Looking back over the century, researchers found a number of different reactions that had shown generation of excess heat but none of them were ever followed up to investigate why.
Following Fleischmann’s and Pons’ discovery a number of people started to investigate alternative materials, as the original system used expensive elements, was unreliable and could not be easily scaled up.
Andrea Rossi started to experiment with nickel powder ad hydrogen in the early 2000s. Finding some success he sought out a leading expert, Professor Forcardi of Bologna University, and asked him whether he should give up his day job and devote himself to cold fusion full time.
Later, Forcardi became ill and persuaded Dr. Rossi to give a public demonstration in 2011. His E-Cat produced as much as 35 kW/hr but proved to be difficult to control. He went through a number of developments to make the reactor controllable and operate at higher temperatures that would be more suitable for generating power. Two landmarks were his “hot cat” running at 1300C independently tested by a group of professors in Lugano, and his collaboration with Industrial Heat (IH) to build and run the second generation 1 MW plant for a year. The latter ended up in court as the independent referee said it passed the test but IH refused to pay the $90 million called for by the contract. It was settled out of court and they have now parted.
It is important to recognize the Nov. 24 demonstration was to provide people with the characteristics of the E-Cat QX and was not a scientific experiment whose results would allow others to replicate it.
Parts of the reactor are secret so it was difficult to display everything. The measurements made were adequate to show the properties of the E-Cat QX. To ensure there was no trickery some other proprietary measurements must be made. This would be simple for a potential investor to do, so there is no logical reason to doubt the results The QX still needs some engineering development to make it commercial and an automated factory to mass produce them will take another year.
It is hard to overestimate the effect LENR will have on our civilization. First use will be supplying industrial heat. Probably 10 years to start getting vehicles powered by LENR. That will be everything: cars, trucks, trains and ships. Imagine being able to drive a car continuously for a year without refueling or 2.4 hours a day for 10 years. Robots will be fully mobile. Airplanes will take longer but Dr. Rossi is already looking at the possibility of LENR turbines. Don’t throw away your household furnace and water heater yet: it will take years to get UL approval.
Cheap energy is the key to improving life. Electricity will probably cost 1c/ kW.hr. There are millions of people who now have no electricity at all. There will be problems for countries and industries that depend on oil but the transition will take many years. LENR promises cheap, safe, clean power and will end the debate on the need to reduce CO2.
Adrian Ashfield, Havertown