UPDATE: Many thanks to the Martin Fleischmann Memorial project for releasing this new video recording of Tom Darden’s talk yesterday. It has been very helpful in cleaning up the transcript I made yesterday. Plus there was a whole section that I missed from the videos I was using — see the second to the last paragraph below which adds some siginificant new information. I would encourage people to re-read this, to get a more precise understanding of what Tom Darden’s message. One important clarification, I think, is when he talks about large companies. This was not so clear to me yesterday.
What he said was: “We engage with the large companies and we all need them to achieve ubiquity for your ideas. We want to work in a collaborative way with many more large companies, and we want to help others do that.” To me that indicates that there are deals and agreements being made between IH and large companies.
Very many thanks to Cold Fusion Dog Bob, for so quickly uploading videos of Tom Darden’s speech today at ICCF19 in Padua Italy. (See the videos on the ICCF live thread).This is the first time that we have seen and heard the founder of Industrial Heat, who acquired rights to Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat technology. In this talk he spoke about his motivation, history and his hopes and goals for LENR technology in general. I have done a quick transcription of the videos and decided to put the transcript in a separate post here. The room he was speaking in had a lot of echo, so some things were somewhat indistinct, but I think I got most of what he said.
What an honor it is to be here today to address those of you who have done so much to change the way we address our energy needs and our environmental needs, and to change science. I’m the founder of Cherokee, and I’ve been asked to tell you who we are and why we created Industrial Heat as a funding source for LENR inventors. Unike many of you, I’m not a scientist, I’m an entrepreneur, but we share the common bond of innovation. As Peter Drucker wrote,. Entrepreneurship sees the major task in society as doing something different, rather than doing something better than what is already being done. Doing better than what is already being done is like making a coal power plant a little bit more efficient — you are working to make them unneccessary. Thank God there are some, like many of you, who have the courage to disrupt. In 1921, experts determined that the limits of flight had been reached already. In 1932 it was determined that nuclear fission was unlikely ever to be feasible. And in the 1950’s, when I was born, it was widely believed that pollution was a necessary part of economic development. Paradigm shifts do not come easily, especially in science. As Thomas Kuhn wrote in The Nature of Scientific Revolutions, usually they are born out of the crises of our time. If you are on the leading edge of a paradigm shift, you will be attacked by your peers, and you will be attacked by the institutions of the status quo. We feel called to upset two core business paradigms. First, the traditional ethos of environmentalism is that we should strive to be ‘less bad.’ But as America’s leading environmental philosopher William McDonough points out in his book Cradle to Cradle, being ‘less bad’ is not being good, it’s still being bad, just a little bit less so. If you are driving a car towards a cliff, it doesn’t help you to slow down — you need to turn around and go in a different direction.
We need solutions that don’t create pollution in the first place, not marginal solutions that only reduce pollution. Second, let’s challenge the assumption of scarcity. We actually live in a world of abundance, at least with respect to energy. Sadly, due to society’s ineffectiveness to date, the world struggles with energy scarcity, at least in some regions. Why do we burn from petroleum or coal, which unlocks only a tiny fraction of the true energy inside? when we do this we release almost all the mass of coal into the air as stack emissions. We scatter this mass around the planet. Carbon and heavy metals can be highly beneficial — they’re not necessarily pollutants — but they are if they’re in the wrong place. C02 in the air is a pollutant; carbon in a tree is not. Heavy metals can be highly beneficial unless they’re in the wrong place like farmlands in China, or in our oceans.
We need an entirely new paradigm. This hopeful vision was the genesis of our work at Industrial Heat. When I entered school, the United States was in the midst of an environmental crisis. Most people have forgotten about this, or perhaps never even new of it, but when I was young, periodically industrial rivers in our cities would burst into flame due to the pollution in them, and sometimes in our worst polluted cities, people drove with their headlights on during the day. Our air pollution was as bad as air pollution in China in some cities. This was America when I began to think of my place in the world. I was worried when I saw that photo, the first photo of our living planet from space. Many of you will remember that — we had never seen the earth, which is ironic because we live on it. We could see that it was a living planet. I felt compelled to do something about it. Later at university I wrote my master’s thesis on acid rain, air pollution from coal plants. My first job was at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology in Seoul, where I worked on pollution, converting coal which was used for home heating and for cooking. I saw pollution throughout East Asia. I returned, and went to Yale, to become an environmental lawyer, but in the US, practicing law, some people think it’s somewhat worrying, and I fell in that category, and thankfully I got a job at Bain and Co. working in steel plants, on energy efficiency. In 1984 I converted brick plants from burning fossil fuels into burning biogas which was being dumped into landfills where it turned into methane gas . . .
We became mostly carbon neutral, except for our electricity use, and I obsessed on finding ways that we could make carbon free electricity. I was never successful. In 1985, I discovered soil pollution at on of our brick plant sites, from decades of petroleum use. I found some professors at Virginia Tech University, which is not far away, professors who dealt with soil bacteria, so we began to grow bacteria which would consume pollution in the ground. I funded their business via systems technology and we created Cherokee Environmental to clean up contaminated soil all over the east coast and over the years we’ve cleaned up 15 million tons of dirt. That would be enough, that if you stacked it all up under a golf course, it would raise the level of that golf course about 400 feet or 130 meters. We bagan to buy contaminated property to clean up. We raised over $2 billion for this, buying and remediating land. We’ve owned 550 properties in the US, Canada and Europe, including a refinery site not too far from here (Trieste).
Some people think Cherokee is a real estate company because it owns a lot of property, it does own a lot of property, but our property work is driven by our pollution focus. I saw that we could affect pollution by working with smart scientists at Virginia Tech. We don’t internally have the capacity for scientific innovation — we’re business people, not scientists — but we realized we could find scientists who had ideas. So we branched out. We kept doing this with other professors at other universities. Between 1985 and the present we’ve started or invested in over 100 venture or startup companies. These addressed water or air pollution, or energy grid management; almost none of these were our own ideas, these were others’ ideas. My primary goal is to reduce pollution so for years we’ve been going abroad to transfer technology because that’s where most of the pollution is. I go to China regularly to advise officials and business leaders on methods and processes for addressing pollution. They’ve declared 19 percent of their land too contaminated for agricultural use. This is mostly due to air pollution — air pollution dropping contaminants on the land. Obviously this is a huge social issue. I began to do this in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, and we’ve also explored similar paths in the Middle East, India, and Indonesia, focusing on areas of most population. In order to address the worlds’s environmental problems, the solutions must be ubiquitious — they cannot exist only in Europe or the United States.
In the early part of this decade Cherokee had entered a relatively stable part of its history. The next generation of leaders was being prepared to carry our values and processes forward, and existing projects were operating smoothly. My children were in their 20s and 30s and I was spending time with them and with my wife for the first time in nearly 35 years. I had rebuilt my experimental airplane, and I was installing a parachute in it, looking forward to using it more (the airplane).
One day I received a random call about cold fusion. I didn’t give it much credence because I remembered in detail the disclosure about Fleischmann and Pons years before, and I believed the subject was dead. Then thirty days later I received another unrelated inquiry from a different group, so we began to do some research, and then thirty days later, I received a call from another group. We had invested in 100 startup companies and I had never gotten an inquiry about fusion or about LENR: three within 30 day intervals. We funded two of these groups, and then later, as many of you know, we licensed Andrea Rossi’s technology. Since then we’ve made grants to university groups exploring research in this space, and we continue to fund additional teams. We envision an ecosystem of collaboration with great scientists who work together to develop the many systems and technologies society will need to shift away from polluting fossil fuels. Our goal is to bring non-polluting energy to those who need it most, especially in the developing world. We also don’t believe that there is one solution, we believe there are many solutions to these problems. To implement this vision, we determined that a business-based approach would be the most effective strategy; we looked at many others.
I know that some of you have felt that business are, and have been adversarial to your work. I understand that. But recall that commerce has long proven to be primary agent of change in every technical endeavor. We engage with the large companies and we all need them to achieve ubiquity for your ideas. We want to work in a collaborative way with many more large companies, and we want to help others do that. We started Industrial Heat because we believed that LENR technology was worth pursuing, even if we were unsuccessful. We were willing to be wrong, we were willing to invest time and resources to see if this might be an area of useful research in our quest to eliminate pollution. At the time we were not especially optimistic, but the global benefits were compelling.
We’ve had some success, and we’re expanding our work. We’re collaborating with and investing alongside fellow researchers and developers. Scientists compete to be the first, and they count on open sharing of what has been discovered to advance the process. They want to be able to be able to safely share their work in an environment where why they do what they do, truly matters, and where it aligns with what they value. They want to know that their work will be funded and their ideas will be merit tested, and advanced as merited, and they will be rewarded fairly. We’re privileged to be creating that kind of environment at Industrial Heat. We believe we may be at last on the verge of a new paradigm shift — one that will create new opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship to advance the cause of abundance in the face of scarcity, and the continuing calls to simply be less bad.
When I look around this room, I’m filled with two strong sentiments: one of them warm and positive, the other is cold and sad. You’ve given your lives to your research; notwithstanding great challenges you’ve made a great difference to the world. Thank you for your years of hard work and progress. Every day I think of you and I am inspired. At the same time, I would like to say how truly sorry I am that society has attacked you for the last three decades. The treatment of Fleischmann and Pons, and the treatment of any of you by mainstream institutions and the media will go down in history as one more example of scientific infanticide, where entrenched interests kill off their divergent progeny. . . . this seems to be a dark component of human nature, and I note the irony of it — we are in Padova, Galileo’s city. But notwithstanding this longsuffering, you remain faithful to your work. Thank you for your intense focus and contributions in the face of challenges. In the face of challenges we must carry on with good faith, good will, good intentions and honesty, driven by the better angels of our nature, not impaired or constrained by the behavior of others. We also need not be constrained by our own minds; ironically the expert who proclaimed that flight had achieved its limits in 1921 was Orville Wright, the inventor of the airpline and the expert who declared that fission was not likely, that of course was Einstein. We must be ever vigilant to keep our own minds open always. Your time is come: the frenzy of fear gripping China and India reporting air pollution and water pollution creating an enormous demand for new ideas, less constrained by the past. Second, the increasing reports of success by many of you continue to offset the presumptions of skeptics. But it does not benefit any of us nor does it benefit society, if we achieve success but lose our battles. Let’s encourage one another to put the needs of society and the needs of other first as we contemplate how to achieve victory.
You have the ability to give the world a healing gift. Many also will have the opportunity to benefit from that. I’m a businessman and I believe business is usually the most effective means of achieving social or environment reform. As well as for implementing technologies — business is usually the most effective means of achieving social or environmental reform — I believe that. But we must always think first about the needs of others, about the needs of society, the needs of our planet. I do not want success if it comes at someone else’s detriment. My goal is to give your science away, to get out broadly and equitably to the world, to see you receive honor and rewards for your efforts.
Indeed provocative as it may sound, we’ve reached a tipping point. The potential of your work is so great. The signs of progress are now so significant. This is our simple manifesto: to pass on a world that is better than the one we received. Abundant non-polluting energy, widely available can make the greatest contribution to this goal. That’s a manifesto pledge for us to keep. It’s a promise to you, to those who went before you, to our children, and their children’s children. Thank you.