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Cold Fusion Experiment: Major Success or Complex Hoax?

A physicist in Italy claims to have demonstrated a new type of power plant that provides safe, cheap and virtually unlimited nuclear power to the world, without fossil fuels or radiation concerns.

The only hitch: Scientists say the method — cold fusion — is patently impossible. They say it defies the laws of physics.

Andrea Rossi doesn’t seem to care. He told FoxNews.com that his new device takes in nickel and hydrogen and fuses them in a low-grade nuclear reaction that essentially spits out sheer power, validating the strange science.

“With low energy, it’s possible to give a heater a certain amount of energy and to get from the same heater a superior amount of energy,” Rossi explained. He claims he demonstrated the device, called an E-Cat, at the University of Bologna in Italy on Oct. 28.

Rossi’s claims have confounded the scientific community, many of whom have either dismissed the demonstration outright or have questioned whether the E-Cat really works. Several experts who spoke to FoxNews.com declined to comment or go on the record.

Jonathan Koomey, an energy consultant who has advised the EPA, said any extraordinary discovery requires extraordinary proof. He said the E-Cat must be verified by an independent study conducted by scientists who are allowed access to the machine’s inner-workings.

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  • Ranchman

    Several experts who spoke to FoxNews.com declined to comment or go on the record. Yeah, they’re being real careful here, aren’t they? They don’t want to put the guy down because he just might have something here and they don’t want to say it might possibly work because it might be a hoax. Sounds like this whole thing is worth watching, who knows.

    • Vicroc4

      Those experts that won’t give their names probably remember the days when people could still get grants for “cold fusion” research – and then squander the money on something that has been repeatedly proven impossible. They are not going to jump on a bandwagon that too many have already jumped on, especially when that bandwagon has already run into the brick wall of reality. The burden of proof falls on Dr. Rossi to execute rigorous and thorough testing of his apparatus, and provide exact details on said apparatus for other scientists to duplicate.

      I must also point out that there is currently a known method of reliably producing low-temperature, or “cold”, fusion: Muon catalysis. It replaces the electrons of normal atoms with muons, which orbit closer to the nucleus and thus allow the nuclei to get closer before experiencing the effects of two negative charges repelling one another – something that normally makes it very difficult to fuse atoms. The problem is that muons can thus far only be produced in particle accelerators, and thus energy extracted from the fusion is balanced by energy used by the accelerator. If Dr. Rossi has a new take on this, then by all means he should be publicizing it. Otherwise, he looks like a sham.

    • exbuckeye

      Has EVERYBODY forgotten that a couple decades another guy -ALSO- ‘invented’
      a cold fusion device???? It went no where because big money made it go away!

      RE the fabulous carburetor comment. Lest anyone think that is hoooey, back in
      1957 I worked for the B&O railroad. One of the machinists – Leo Hupp – bought
      a 1957 Ford that got 40+mpg. The Ford people wanted that car back because one
      of those experimental carbs had mistakenly ‘gotten away from them’.
      Now Leo could tell us any sort of story he wanted to about how good his gas mileage
      was and what happened at home with Ford reps; but WE SAW the FORD people all
      over that car in the parking lot at work and all over him in the machine shop!
      FORD WANTED that car back and there could only be one reason why!!

      PS has anyone noticed that over theyears that gas mileage has s l o w l y risen?
      Little by little as fuel prices hacve gone up, so the balance of cost vs consumption
      convienently stays about the same. BIG MONEY as the man said!!!

      • exbuckeye

        Pardon the typos, my old eyes (and fingers) arent that good in the AM
        actually bad later in the day too. LOL My apologies.

  • Lee

    One real big problem is the decision to progress with current technology nuclear reactors, one it creates wast which CAN be used in weapons, depleted uranium rounds are superior penetrators, cause serious damage to armor and equipment, two the ability to tun most reactors into breeder reactors to up the weapons grade plutonium stores led to this adoption.
    There are designs for functional Liquid Fluid(metal) fuel reactors that are nearly 100% efficient in using up reactor fuel and having much less half life and are nearly fool proof as to not being able to melt down catastrophically, when they melt down due to malfunction they simply melt away a drain plug, the fuel goes into a containment vessel, and when issues is fixed the heaters turn back on and fuel goes back in. also the waste only has low half life as in the Thorium fueld ones the waste is half life at 300 yrs vs 10k yrs for current technology reactors AND the current units only use about 5% to 6% then the fuel must be removed see one of the remainders after nuclear material is “dead” is lead, so when current duel rods are “expended they have simply used up the outer surface material, BUT a lot of people dont know that one of the nuclear labs in the US perfected a process to reclaim unused nuclear material but opponents dislike that idea (it makes any reactor more useful and less burdensome and could produce more jobs(gasp).
    BUT big issue is the liquid metal reactors, if fed nuclear waste, will consume and “burn up” said waste, more completely than any other version of disposal ,,well except for launching it into the sun,,,. OOPPSS no more NASA flights.
    Its all governed by money and the control of lethal weapons.

  • Dingbat36

    There a better alternative developed some years ago by an internationally recognized nuclear engineer formerly with Oregon State University, Jose Reyes. http://www.theenergydaily.com/events/reyes_bio/

    The company is called NuScale and has a design for a small nuclear reactor which needs NO cooling tower, can be transported on a flatbed trailer and would each serve 2,500 homes.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111012-714682.html

  • Rex L Fey

    Impossible only true when faced by limits on time, space and resources. During 65 years as graduate engineer, begining at Los Alamos, and subsequently around the world, learned to listen carefully. Just in that short period many “IMPOSSIPLE” serve us in our daily lives !!!!!

  • J D

    If it’s too good to be true, it probably is…..but I sincerely hope this is the breakthrough we have all been praying for.

  • Country Boy

    If Rossi did invent a new energy device we probably won’t hear much more about it. Those of us who have been around for many years remember the carburetor that was invented that would give vehicles MANY miles to the gallon of gas. Shortly after the man invented it EVERYTHING disappeared. I’m sure the same thing is happen for drugs that treat cancer and other terminal diseases. BIG MONEY and BIG Corporations don’t want things like this to miss up their income and our government is right in with them. Why do you think the great FDA hasn’t put a stop to the shots that are being given to young girls that Perry and other Governors are forcing them to take, which has killed many and cripplled many others. IT IS CALLED MONEY and obviously people in and out of our government are getting their share.

    • http://ibaconi.wordpress.com Bacon

      Actually C.B. what big money and big corporations would do, is see the absolutely stunning marketing potential here and come up with creative ways to make money with an amazing new concept. The real battle would be between the successful big corps. to be first in line with making this happen. This is the key to technological advancement and the ultimate proof that things like the carburetor fantasy, are indeed fiction. If it worked, some big corporation would be making millions on it. You can’t possibly imagine that cancer cures are being withheld by corporations who are already making too much on the treatments that don’t work? Can you imagine the money you would make if you came up with a cure? Your only obstacle would be our magnificent government. It would take a decade just to get your cure “approved”. And trust me, big corporations are losing bundles for this very reason.

      • Leslie

        If you really believe these things are “fantasy” then you need to look up Dr. Burznski of Texas, he’s the Doctor that discovered a CURE FOR CANCER in the 70’s, and the government has tried to indite him at least 5 times since 1976, this isn’t just a rumor, he has cured scores of people that were at deaths door, yes, CURED, now if I have this right, there’s a dirty deal that was made between big pharma and the FDA, and all though they have finally agreed to run trials, they won’t do any good because even though Dr. Burznski had made a complete list of how to administer and amounts to administer, the FDA is not giving the 8 participants in this trial the recommended dosage, instead they’re giving them a much lower dose (knowing that the “guinea pigs” will die) but this will prove that Dr. Burznski’s cure doesn’t work. Also important is that Dr. Burzynski’s cure is nontoxic, when the people he was treating would go in for a treatment, they could go about their business immediately afterwards as opposed to the toxic poisons that other patients get put into their bodies and are sick for days at a time and lose brain function over. If you don’t believe this please by all means look into it yourself, and then just think, since the 1970’s our government has been responsible for millions of deaths all over the world due to their greed and red tape.

      • Leslie

        I would also like to add that the reason “big pharma” hasn’t gotten involved and ran with this is because Dr. Burznski had the forethought to get a patent on this, so big pharma has absolutely no way to make any money off of this and would much rather use harmful, toxic treatments that don’t work than to lose money.

    • ChuckL

      Hey, country Boy,

      I was around for those things. Supposedly they would provide some fantastic mileage. The problem was that independent tests, reported by buyers did not back up the claims. The buyers claimed that they were scammed, or hoaxed, or just plain robbed.

      With the average car at the time getting about 14 to 17 mpg, and the efficiency claimed to be, by scientists, about 20-23%, this would have required an increase in efficiency to well over 100%. If you took physics in high school, you should have learned that no heat engine can provide efficiencies of over 100%.

      Those things disappeared because they didn’t work. The ones that did give a slight increase in mileage greatly reduced performance. Most of them just made the seller richer with no change in the car’s performance.

  • Nikki

    One hundred years of the laws of physics were overturned at Cern a few months ago. Nuetrinos can arrive before they left. Many new discoveries are on the horizon, will many be suppress for a time, yes. But ultimately new energy will be discovered. Any new energy paradigm to overthrow the current model will have to be cheap, portable and universal. It is coming. Will discoverers be persecuted, yes. But ultimately the future will not be held back.

  • Country Boy

    Bacon, no offence but you seem to be a little naive about our government and Big business. I spent 26 years in the military and went on for another 20 years as a civilian working for the Federal government. During my career I saw many things that didn’t smell right. After I retired I started reading and sometimes I got so mad I would throw the book across the room. If you want to find out what our government and large corporation have been doing in the past read these true books; The Bilderberg Group by Daniel Estulin, The Brotherhood of Darkness, Muslim Mafia and watch the DVD titled AGENDA. There are also many other books but for me these were the best. Leslie, thanks for jumping in about the FDA and Big medicine. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to believe our government would do this.

  • LoneStar

    The Rich and Famous just like the poor die from cancer all the time. If Big Pharma was hiding a cure, I would hate to be in their shoes if they are. You have to Remember that Big Pharma People have familys to, that get cancer, I would hope that they would do everything possible to save them as we would want them to save our own loved ones. It it is said that cold fusion is not possible, all we can do is hope that it is possible.

  • Wayne

    Hey – I saw the movie, “The Saint” so I know it’s true. It’s just taken awhile for the trueth to come out. – – – – – Laughing Out Here in the Heart of America.

    Yet, wouldn’t it be GREAT if it worke our that it is. WOW, what a magnificent advancement in science!

    • Wayne

      oops – ‘worked’ and ‘out’ – dislexic fingers.

  • Chuch

    Here is some info I came across about a year ago which lends credance to the article.
    Also believe that govt and big business can control the outcome to the consumer. There are about 100 patents that enable gasoline to be converted to fumes which are injected into the engine cylinders none of which have been confirmed to work. But one did work and the inventor proved it and was about to manufacture the equipment when he died suddenly from an overdose of drugs and alcohol. Funny thing though the guy was an auto mecanic from a small town and never took drugs or drank alcohol. He just did not want to sell his design.

    Fusion is the power source of the future, goes the old saw. And for fifty years, it has always been “fifty years in the future.” That may be changing with a number of new small fusion projects in the works or doing actual experiments.
    Let me mention first the ITER experiment (a tokamak design) which is the fusion project every one knows about. Currently it is delayed. Plus it is cosing about $1 billion a year to get it going with an estimated date of first operation of around 2018. Not only that, it has a number of known problems for power plant use. One is that it generates a LOT of neutrons and those neutrons have to be captured in a Lithium blanket in order to breed Tritium. The design margin for the Tritium breeding is only 10% and even that number has not been proved. In addition there are a number of plasma instabilities (one type is called ELMs – edge localized modes) which could ruin the reactor in relatively short order. And then there is the problem that a full scale power reactor would cost a lot making the electricity produced very high cost. Plus the power output would be on the order of 20 GW. Utilities have no use for that much power in one spot.
    As Plasma Physicist Dr. Nicholas Krall said, “We spent $15 billion dollars studying tokamaks and what we learned about them is that they are no damn good.”
    So what would a viable power plant look like? Vincent Page of GE has some things to say about that.
    http://iecfusiontech.blogspot.com/2007/07/fusion-symposia.html
    All is not lost (or forever fifty years in the future) however. There are a number of low cost experiments going on that could get us to viable fusion in two to ten years. My favorite is Polywell Fusion which is funded by the US Navy. Experimenter Rick Nebel says that we will know in two years (at a cost of less than $20 million) if this approach is viable. It may be possible to use Boron 11 fuel in the Polywell which is a low neutron producing fuel. At least thousandth as many neutrons for a given power output as ITER and possibly as little as a millionth as many neutrons.
    http://iecfusiontech.blogspot.com/2009/05/we-will-know-in-two-years.html
    You can go to the link below to see Dr. Bussard give his famous (among fusion aficionados) Google Talk. It is about an hour and a half and it is a delight.
    http://iecfusiontech.blogspot.com/2009/01/easy-low-cost-no-radiation-fusion.html
    Another approach is the z-pinch machine being done by Focus Fusion. They claim that they could make electricity for less than 1/2 cent a KWh. The design is another one that uses Boron 11 as fuel. The advantage of Boron 11 is that the output of the reaction is high energy alpha particles that could be fed into a direct conversion electrical generator eliminating the steam plant and giving about 80% conversion efficiency from fusion output to electricity.
    http://focusfusion.org/
    The General Fusion reactor is a rather strange device. It is a steam driven fusion reactor. Don’t laugh. My back of the envelope calculations show that it just might work. The Canadians designing it have taken what they learned from designing ink jet printers and applied it to designing a fusion reactor.
    http://www.generalfusion.com/
    Tri-Alpha energy is another Boron 11 burner being funded by Paul Allen of Microsoft.
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2007/06/tri-alpha-energy-raises-40-million-in.html
    Helion Energy uses what is called a Field Reversed Configuration (Tri Alpha is working with that design as well) that burns Deuterium and Tritium.
    http://www.helionenergy.com/
    Now I admit I have been light on details and have used shortcuts in the above descriptions (i.e. burn instead of fusion) but there are enough details and links so that you can do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
    ***

  • David Gray

    If a cancer cure were possible, Steve Jobs would still be alive.

  • http://RealityCheck Reality Check

    …The University of BALONEY! Go Figure!!

  • Mutantone

    I personally witnessed a cold fusion experiment done a Vernon regional Jr collage by a Doctor Dennis Cravens, who has since moved on to the labs in New Mexico that the government runs. the key he found after working several years on the project was to use used materials for the chemical reaction to function the new materials just did not work but when he went on the cheap and bough used the project worked very well, Jut wish I had known to take notes back then so I could report it more accurately.