The following post was submitted by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous
The requirement to carefully treat and process nickel to facilitate the adsorption and absorption of nickel into a metal lattice is by no means a new discovery. Sergio Focardi and Francesco Piantelli learned through trial and error testing during their testing of Ni-H systems in the 1990’s that contaminants, both on the interior and exterior of their fuel, could inhibit the production of excess heat. Moreover, their papers go into significant detail about their methods of washing, etching, annealing, thermal cycling, and degassing. If proper care was utilized in the treatment of their fuel, significant quantities (capable of being measured with ordinary instrumentation) of ordinary light hydrogen could be documented being taken up and emitted from their nickel.
They noted that a sudden change in temperature OR pressure could trigger the uptake or release of hydrogen, inducing an “excited state” in which excess heat was produced. During this period of research, they were capable of producing a COP of over two, utilizing only nickel rod, bar, wire, or plated materials.
Their work, long before Andrea Rossi came onto the scene, proved that a significant quantity of excess heat could be produced from a highly unoptimized setup. An increase in surface area, reverse spillover catalysts (palladium, platinum, copper, or even smaller nano-particles of nickel), methods of accelerating the splitting of molecular hydrogen into atomic hydrogen (high voltages, radio frequency generators, utilizing resonance, including metal hydrides that emit atomic hydrogen when heated such as LiAlH4 or lithium hydride), and other methods could be utilized to dramatically increase the excess heat. In reality, to produce very good results, there is no magic pixie dust or special element. Perhaps Rossi did start off using a spillover catalyst of some sort; however, the obvious conclusion is that he moved past such elements rapidly and utilized other methods of producing atomic hydrogen.
Beyond a doubt, however, the basis of any successful Ni-H system is properly treated, cleaned, and degassed fuel. To accomplish this requires tedious effort and extreme care. If someone is willing to perform the long, ongoing series of tests to gain the experience needed to remove surface coatings (oxides, grease, and other contaminants) and trapped gases (carbon monoxide, oxygen, and even water), positive results beyond any doubt can be obtained with only nickel and hydrogen. According to one replicator whose results have not been confirmed, once you learn how to treat your nickel so that it can “breathe” light hydrogen in and out, a COP of 2-3 is easily possible. Then if you can add a method of producing atomic hydrogen on demand, there is no limit to the COP you can achieve.
As asserted in the paper by Mizuno, the suggestion that excess heat cannot be produced with only nickel and some form of hydrogen without an additional element is blatantly incorrect: the feat has already been performed. The challenge that may add difficulty to achieving excess heat with nickel and hydrogen alone is related to the importance of proper treatment that allows splitting molecular hydrogen into atomic hydrogen. Nickel isn’t the most catalytic element around in terms of interacting with H2 or D2. Palladium, on the other hand, can split the molecule like a hot knife through butter. So if you’re not going to rely on another element, your cleaning may have to be spot on, you may have to produce smaller particles of the same element in your fuel processing, or you may have to intentionally create specific surface features that can improve the catalytic activity of nickel.
I have zero doubt whatsoever that with enough work Mizuno or any other research with adequate resources and focus can produce significant excess heat without utilizing palladium or other catalysts. The only barrier is their work ethic and determination to do so. Once this know how is accumulated, all additional improvements would happen more organically.
A final observation: the high voltage mentioned in Mizuno’s paper produces a plasma that engulfs the area in which the nickel mesh resides. The plasma is certainly creating some quantity (high or low) of atomic hydrogen directly. In a system in which nickel alone is treated adequately enough to produce excess heat, such a plasma could accelerate hydrogen adsorption and absorption.
The key to mastering the nickel-hydrogen reaction is going back to basics: the work of Focardi and Piantelli. From there, we can utilize the tidbits provided by Andrea Rossi and the suggestions of other researchers to improve our results. My hope is that researchers like Mizuno and others will narrow their focus on processing nickel alone in such a manner that it can absorb adequate quantities of hydrogen to produce copious excess heat. Such a foundation is needed by the LENR community: a simple set of instructions that allows two elements (Ni-H) to come together and produce a non-conventional safe nuclear reaction. From there a thousand improvements could be made. But using plausible shortcuts initially, such as introducing palladium or other additional elements before mastering the basic effect, is like building a house on sand for skeptics and cynics to wash away.