How Essential is Public Funding of LENR Research?

As we contemplate the possibilities that the emerging field of LENR presents, one question that is often raised is, why isn’t the government doing something about this — why can’t governments direct funds into LENR research and get things moving in this area, so we can hasten the emergence of this technology into real-world applications?

We see government R&D budgets and grant funding supporting all kinds of alternative energy research, and interesting and promising reports do come out of government funded labs. Yet we are still struggling to find a really breakthrough energy techonlogy coming out of government departments, or government funded universities into the marketplace.

Andrea Rossi commented on this situation yesterday and was rather contemptuous in his assessment of what government funding can do to research and development:

I am exclusively interested to apparatuses able to work. In our field we are too much filled up with theorists who write stupidities of which they are not liable because they have not to produce something that actually works. Take for example the ridiculous theories coming from the “papers” of Widom, Larsen and accolites: they suppose groundless behaviours of virtual particles just if they could behave like Fermions, and they simply ignore the leptons’ conservation law: this is ridicolous, but the “theoretical gurus” are all around this pure loss- of- time- theory, just because none of them has the anxiety deriving from the necessity to make the money necessary to refund the expenses of the research : they just ask for money of the taxpayer, like the other (Italian) guru who is using since 20 years the taxpayer’s money to make ridiculous research on the cold fusion electrilytic processes. This is also why we count on our Customers to repay ourselves, while they ask for Taxpayer’s contribution. While they make mental masturbations with ridiculous theories totally groundless, we are working 16 hours per day to make real working products. With our money, not with money of the Taxpayers . . . to “think” without to be able to make anything useful is a loss of time, if made without money, and is a fraud if made with the money of the Taxpayer.

While I am sure that Rossi’s comments here will find many critics, I think he does make an important point. When all is said and done, science that produces nothing useful to the public is of little real value. We would enjoy none of today’s technological benefits (e.g. electricity, transportation, communications, medicine) if these discoveries had stayed in laboratories and research journals — someone had to find ways to commercialize these products, and often this is a more difficult undertaking than the research phase of the process.

Rossi seems determined to carry on his work without any contribution from governmental bodies. He has said that the only thing he wants from government is the ability to carry on his work without interference. I am sure that there are other people working in LENR research who take a different position, and would like to have public funds to help them carry on their research. But if we do see working E-Cats appearing in the marketplace it will be a clear indication that public funds are not an essential ingredient for developing new energy sources.