Reflections on the Tohoku University LENR Experiments

I have been re-reading the report about the Tohoku University LENR experiment and have found it includes information that might provide clues about why LENR may or may not occur in some experiments.

Just to recap:

1. The Tohoku experiment uses a system with two palladium electrodes inside a cylindrical chamber. A nickel mesh is on the inside of the chamber walls surrounding the electrodes.

2. The experimenters prepare or “activate” the electrodes by first applying high voltage to them, which causes a glow discharge. Following this the the electrodes are baked up to 200C.

3. The effect of this preparation or activation is that a film of nanoscale nickel and palladium particles covers the electrodes.

4. The chamber is then evacuated and heated with resistors, and then deuterium gas is added at high pressure — and then excess heat is produced.

To me, the interesting thing is that when the preparation or activation process did not occur (i.e. no high voltage, and no baking of the electrodes), there was no excess heat observed after the introduction of the deuterium gas and resistor heating. So the key to the LENR process in this experiment seems to be the requirement for the film of nanoscale nickel and palladium particles on the electrodes.

The question that naturally arises then, is: what is it about this film that makes the LENR occur? Many have suggested that it is the geometry of the surface of the metals that is critical to achieve success. In this case, the experimenters seem to have figured out a method for nanoscale surface preparation that works.

Another thing that I find interesting in this report is what the experimenters plan on doing next. Hideki Yoshino, president of Clean Planet, the company financing the CMNS Department at Tohoku University, states in the report that they want to: “increase heat generation, and how to use inexpensive materials such as nickel with light hydrogen, instead of palladium and deuterium.” The report states that Clean Planet is now focusing on energy generation, since it is more lucrative than radiation remediation.

Much of the interest in LENR in recent years, particularly since the introduction of Rossi’s E-Cat, has been in the nickel-hydrogen reaction because the elements are so abundant and inexpensive compared to palladium and deuterium. It looks like this is the direction that Clean Planet will be moving towards. This could lead to greater developments in understanding and advancing the Ni-H field.

The upcoming ICCF20 conference will be held at the CMNS Department at Tohoku University which will raise the department’s profile even more. To have a dedicated LENR research facility reporting successful experimental results, and hosting an international LENR conference could really put them on the map, and provide more credibility and interest in LENR as a whole.