There has been discussion about a recent visit by Microsoft founder Bill Gates on November 12 to the laboratories of ENEA, the Italian National agency for new technologies, Energy and sustainable economic development in Frascati, Italywhere he was given a briefing about ENEA’s research activity, including in the field of low energy nuclear reactions (LENR or cold fusion)
A post on the ENEA Facebook page about the event states:
Gates, who was accompanied by Mr Federico Head of ENEA, is interested in the activities in the field of research “frontier”. The visit lasted for a few hours and gave researchers the opportunity to explain in detail the advanced research activities of the Agency.
A report about the meeting in the Italian Newspaper Il Messaggero did not provide details about the discussions that took place there, but did mention some of the agencies and organizations that ENEA has collaborated over the years who have been involved in research in the LENR field:
“In 2010 an international agreement was signed which provides for the involvement of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC (NRL), and the University of Texas has recently expressed a strong interest to cooperate further with ENEA. They also had collaborations with the Stanford Research Institute in California [SRI] and with the SKINR Institute at the University of Missouri.”
The picture below shows Gates being addressed by Vittorio Violante who is the LENR Research Coordinator at ENEA, and Professor at Tor Vergata University in Rome. (See here for more on Violante speaking at the European Parliament about LENR last year) . This biographical sketch for the ICCF-18 Conference states that Dr. Violante has been responsible for the ENEA Task Force for Energy from Metal Hydrogen Systems since 2011.
On the Cold Fusion, LENR and Andrea Rossi Facebook page, Giuliano Bettini astutely observes that in the corner is a poster for the 15th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (ICCR-15) which was held in Rome in 2009.
My guess it is highly likely that Professor Violante would have at least mentioned something about LENR in this meeting.
UPDATE: Thanks to Pietro F. for the following translation from this article Italian newspaper La Stampa:
“[Gates] Arrived yesterday afternoon at four-thirty, was released just three hours later. First heard a presentation of the activities of ENEA – National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development – and then focused on cold fusion, frontier research in the field of nuclear fusion”
More pictures of the Gates visit are here.
The question I wonder about then is how much does Bill Gates know about LENR, and what might that mean. Gates is deeply concerned about the effects of carbon emissions on the planet and has been a strong proponent of technological innovation in the energy field to reduce carbon drastically. In a TED talk titled “Innovating to Zero” given in February 2010 he made these comments:
Almost every way we make electricity today, except for the emerging renewables and nuclear, puts out CO2. And so, what we’re going to have to do at a global scale, is create a new system. And so, we need energy miracles.
Now, when I use the term “miracle,” I don’t mean something that’s impossible. The microprocessor is a miracle. The personal computer is a miracle. The Internet and its services are a miracle. So, the people here have participated in the creation of many miracles. Usually, we don’t have a deadline, where you have to get the miracle by a certain date. Usually, you just kind of stand by, and some come along, some don’t. This is a case where we actually have to drive at full speed and get a miracle in a pretty tight timeline.
To this point, Gates focus on achieving this “miracle” has been by using new nuclear fission technology. He is a major investor in Terrapower a company that is working on developing a “travelling wave reactor” which theoretically can use nuclear waste as a fuel and run for decades without refueling. So far, however, this reactor is only in the research and development stages. It is a difficult technological challenge and it could prove to be costly in comparison with normal nuclear fission.
What if Bill Gates became convinced of the viability of LENR? He seems to have the right mindset (curious, innovative, open to new ideas) to recognize the potential of this technology. One would hope that he would not oppose it because of his own financial interests (he can afford some bad investments, I would think). He has a philanthropic outlook, spending most of his time now involved in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which looks to promote health and prosperity around the world — and energy is seen as a vital factor in achieving the foundation’s goals. If Gates were to endorse LENR as a ‘miracle’ power source, it would provide a tremendous boost to the field.
What would it take for Bill Gates to get behind LENR?
UPDATE: Thanks to Andre Blum for finding this video, and noticing that the last two words said by the reporter are ‘fusione fredda’ (cold fusion). Maybe some Italian Speakers can help us with the translation?
Thanks to Guiliano for this translation of the last lines or the report: “Bill Gates was primarily interested in the frontier research, in particular to the so-called cold fusion.”