American Chemical Society Journal Article: LENR Seen as Possible Explanation for Anomalous Heat

I would like to thank Curbina for bringing attention to a paper that I had not yet studied that seems to have some important findings connected with LENR.

The title of the paper is “Oscillatory behavior and anomalous heat evolution in recombination of H2 and O2 on Pd-based catalysts” written by a Polish team lead by Erwin Lalik, and has just been accepted for publication in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research published by the American Chemical Society.

In this study, researchers look at passive autocatalytic recombination (PAR) processes used in the nuclear industry where hydrogen and oxygen are recombined using palladium as a catalyst as a safety measure to avoid hydrogen explosions. Full text of the article can be downloaded after free registration with the ACS.

From the introduction of the article:

But there are hints that the system may behave in a less than predictable manner. In fact, the reaction is known to have rather intricate kinetics. It is capable of attaining multiple steady states, a trait it shares with other Pd-catalyzed reactions. The notoriously evasive hysteretic phenomena, in other words multiple steady states in the metallic Pd catalysis, may not be featured often in literature, but are a frequent subject of conversations among scientists working in the field.

The metal-catalyzed reaction is also capable of reaching oscillatory regime(s). The oscillatory kinetics in the hydrogen oxidation have been reported on palladium platinum and nickel, i.e., on the metals that are also known for dissociative sorption of H2. Although oscillatory oxidation of H2 on Pd is not studied very often, metallic Pd is by no means a stranger in oscillatory catalysis. In fact, oscillatory oxidations of CO on metallic Pd or Pt are classic systems widely studied for their nonlinear dynamics, also leading to the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2007.

During this study, there was consistent measurement of anomalous heat. Here’s an excerpt from the abstract:

Mathematical chaos in the rate of heat evolution has been confirmed. In the outburst of quasiperiodic oscillations of large amplitude, the instances of differential heats as high as 700 kJ/mol H2 have been detected, exceeding the heat of water formation (242 kJ/mol H2) by a factor of nearly three. Another occurrence of anomalously high thermal effects has been measured in calorimetric oxygen titration using 0.09 μmol pulses of O2 injected onto hydrogen- or deuterium-saturated catalysts, including 2%Pd/Al2O3, 5%Pd/Al2O3 and 2%PdAu/Al2O3. Repeatedly, the saturation/oxidation cycles showed the heat evolutions in certain individual O2 pulses as high as 1100 kJ/mol O2, i.e., 550 kJ/mol H2, again twice as much as the heat of water formation.

The authors are not sure what is causing this anomalous heat, but they seriously consider that it might be an LENR phenomenon. Here’s some of what the authors write on that subject:

There is currently no satisfactory explanation for the abnormally high thermal effects in the H2 + O2 recombination reported here, but it may be suggested that the hydrogen-related anomalous heat evolutions may be falling into the same category with the low energy nuclear reaction phenomena (LENR). In view of the fact, that the PARs are intended to be used in nuclear reactors as crucial safety devises, a possibility of uncontrollable heat evolutions caused by these very devices themselves calls for a special consideration.

4.3. A danger of LENR occurrence. It is usual to view the low energy nuclear reactions (LENR) as a revolutionary new energy source, but they may also be viewed as posing a danger, threatening a sudden emission of large thermal energy, in case of their unexpected occurrence. Here by the LENR we understand the phenomena of extraordinary high thermal effects first reported by Fleischmann and Pons. It should be stressed that LENR seems to be related to the
formation of atomic hydrogen (or deuterium) species. The actual nuclear character of the phenomena has never been conclusively confirmed however. Nevertheless, it seems to be well established now, that abnormally high heat evolutions do occasionally accompany the interactions in which the atomic hydrogen is involved. In our discussion here, we also consider the concept of the hydrino formation, which technically is not considered a LENR phenomenon, but it seems to fall into the same category of processes producing enormously high thermal effects, too large to be of chemical origin, at the presence of atomic hydrogen.

[. . .]

The LENR may be a promising energy source for the future, only provided they are understood and controllable. Anticipating availability of the technology, recently a report has been published by NASA describing novel constructions of flying vehicles specifically designed to be powered by LENR based engines. This is in spite of still unknown nature of the LENR phenomena, which the report admits is largely ill understood. In view of this ignorance, it seems prudent to concede that there may also exist a hazard of unexpected LENR occurrence in the
industrial processes involving metals like Pd and the atomic hydrogen, potentially releasing uncontrollable amounts of energy. Here the PAR technology seems to be a case in point. In fact, the possibility for certain accidents, that actually had happened in a nuclear plant, to be put down to a LENR or hydrino related explosion has been pointed out hypothetically. In view of a recent development of the technology of modular nuclear reactors, the threat of using PARs may be even aggravated by the fact that the modular reactors lack the large confinement and
shielding of the traditional large constructions.

Here’s a nice summation by Curbina here at ECW of why this paper could be significant in terms of LENR:

This paper is certainly interesting because:

a) proves anomalous heat.
b) involves a system where Pd and H are present and interacting when the excess heat is measured.
c) it does not come from an author already involved in LENR, and
d) it mentions and quotes LENR as a possible explanation.

Other interesting facts about the paper are that it starts from an observation that is well established in the nuclear industry and that is also considered a hazard and possible source of danger.

This means that the importance of the fact grants further research. This, IMHO, opens a window for mainstream publication of LENR research under the PARs anomaly umbrella.

It’s certainly interesting to see serious consideration of the possibility of LENR as an explanation of the measured phenomenon — and a positive reference to Fleischmann and Pons even!

David Nygren at LENR-Forum has been in touch with Erwin Lakik who has said that he will respond to questions about the study posted on this thread.