“If oil drops below $30 a barrel (now it’s around $44), a global recession is inevitable”, according to a recent survey of investment professionals, performed by ConvergEx Group. More than half those surveyed represented buy-side firms such as asset managers and hedge funds, and about a quarter of them were from sell-side firms such as banks or broker dealers.

Recession_2The oil price fall in the last US recession, when the first was a consequence, not a trigger.

ConvergeEx polled 306 investment professionals, asking what oil price would show that a global recession was inevitable. The most common answer was $30 a barrel, from 26% of respondents, with $35 a barrel being the second most common answer (16% of respondents). All told, 62% of respondents said $30 or lower crude was a global recession’s canary in a coal mine.

This is the bad news. The good news is that, according to a report of the World Bank release in mid-January, all of the major commodities may fall in price this year: “the steep decline in oil and related energy products is driving down the cost to extract other commodities”.

The risk that the scenario of a global recession may occur is real, according to the more careful analysts. Indeed, the current fall of oil price was surely triggered by the Lugano report on the E-Cat, as it has been well illustrated on this blog by a former oil trader in the post: “Why the E-Cat is responsible for the fall of oil price”.

NewYork_2As confirmed by some independent analysts, a sharp decline in the price of Brent oil was observed in the immediate aftermath of the report’s release, coinciding with a download of the report by the hedge fund Blackrock. Thus many financial little firms looked at this “strange” choice for their later moves and strategies, enhancing the drop.

Indeed, better known as a multiasset-class titan, with more than $4.6 trillion under management worldwide, New York-based BlackRock has been in the hedge fund management business since 1996, and is now the world’s largest money manager. Although hedge funds account for a minuscule 0.7% of the firm’s overall assets, BlackRock ranked sixth worldwide on Pensions & Investments’ most recent listing of hedge fund managers.

But LENR are suspected to be still hitting the oil market: take a look at the oil price and you can notice its behavior near the Parkhomov’s announcement of his really independent replication of the Rossi Effect, made on December 25, 2014: this event broke the consolidation phase in place and kicked off the possibility for an immediate rebound of the oil price.

Parkoil_6

Oil price after the announcement of a Hot-Cat replication by the Russian physicist Parkhomov.

The independent trader “Sifferkoll” explains, on his homonymous blog, that “the ‘Big Oil’ companies put their money from selling their oil fields in the bank and enabled the merchant banks to short oil, i.e. to bet on an its further drop”. So, the Big Oil avoided bankruptcies and fire sales, whereas the big merchant baks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan among others have been extremely well positioned for this fall of the oil price since 2011.

Saudi Arabia wants to undercut oil production to allow the market to stabilize on its own, as already decided in December, even if non-OPEC nations did so or wanted to do so. In this way, Saudi Arabia can kill off as many of its competitors as it can now. So, when the oil drops to $30, the Saudis will be the sole suppliers and they will earn thanks to the large volumes.

Indeed, already an oil price below $50 means that U.S. shale oil and gas production, which has surged in recent years, causing a large build in global oil supplies, will be curtailed. Also investments in Brent crude oil – extracted through expensive offshore platforms in the North Sea – will be reduced, as profitability from these ageing fields has worsened. In both cases, the new projects of exploration and drilling will be cancelled or deferred.

ShaleThis is already happening. In December, the US-based oil giant ConocoPhillips said they were cutting 230 out of 1,650 jobs in the UK. It announced a 20% reduction in its worldwide capital expenditure budget, in response to falling oil prices. Other big oil firms are expected to make soon similar cuts to their drilling and exploration budgets.

But what could happen if in the next months there will be new major announcements regarding the LENR? It’s reasonable to expect that, when LENR will become widely known by the general public, the oil crash could worsen, and oil stocks – i.e. the stocks of oil companies quoted in the stock exchange – will plunge as well, since their stock price reflects many years of potential growth and huge profits, which will evaporate within 10 years or so.

Sifferkoll’s prediction for the oil price is “30 Dollar Oil within a year and 10 Dollar on the long term”. This could mean a global recession and, apparently, the end of the fossil fuel age. However, oil is used for producing fuels, lubricants and as a precursor chemical for the chemical industries such as plastics, therefore that market will probably still exist for a long time, until these material will be replaced in some way by others.

Therefore, oil prices can go lower for a relatively long time, and the new “normal” could be far lower than we thought. Perhaps, at the end of this year we will look at the relatively high prices of the oil reached in 2014 such as a bubble, that LENR has now popped.

Lenr_Oil_3

But also the opposite – a new surge in oil price in the next years – is possible, for a simple reason. There is a natural decline of 5% a year from existing fields around the world. That means by 2030 more than half of the existing global oil production will disappear. If now there are not investments in new oil fields, soon or later there will be a production shortage, and low availability of a commodity results in higher prices.

There is an enormous amount of money that needs to be invested now to get another 50 million barrels per day of new production. In absence of such investments, the cycle will come back and higher prices will come back. And by that time hardly the LENR may already have reduced the need for oil of our energy-consuming society.

Therefore, big up and down in the oil price are likely to happen in this decade, perhaps a new world recession could be triggered by these events, and one thing is sure: the E-Cat is not yet on the mass market, but its effect are for real and already quite heavy.

This article has been written in collaboration with Simone P., an Italian trader that I want to thank.


KullanderSvenOne year ago, on January 26, 2014, Prof. Sven Kullander – who many of you know because he became interested in the E-Cat since 2011 and he was convinced that the “Rossi Effect is a reality beyond any reasonable doubt” – passed away. His friend and colleague Prof. Bo Höistad has very kindly translated for us in English the obituary he wrote in his memory for a Swedish newspaper (I added a couple of interesting links):

“Our highly esteemed friend and colleague Sven Kullander, Professor Emeritus in High Energy Physics, has left us at the age of 77 years. The foremost mourners are his wife Eva, the children Anna, Fredrik, Klas, Lisa and their families.

Sven was born in Karlstad, Sweden, and studied as young student at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, where he received his Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering 1961. He received his doctorate in 1971 at Uppsala University on a dissertation on particle scattering on nuclei at high energy.

In the beginning of the sixties Sven begun his doctoral studies as a research assistant at “The Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies” at the University of Chicago, and later he continued at the Gustaf Werner Institute in Uppsala as well as at CERN, where he worked at the synchrotron in the Department of Experimental Physics.

Sven was appointed in 1979 as professor in High Energy Physics at Uppsala University. He served as a dynamic and highly appreciated Prefect for the Gustaf Werner Institute and later for the Department of Radiation Sciences, and he was also Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science. He was engaged in the Swedish Natural Science Research Council, as member of the Council and as Chairman of the Program Committee for Physics.

Sven was a very active and energetic researcher in elementary particle physics for many years both at CERN and later at the The Svedberg Laboratory (TSL) in Uppsala.

CyclotronThe “Gustaf Werner” Cyclotron, at today’s The Svedberg Laboratory: 1: Magnet yoke, 2: Internal Ion source feedthrough, 3: RF system, 4: Vacuum system, 5: Beam transport.

At CERN, Sven carried out experimental measurements of pion and proton scattering from nuclei and of deep inelastic myon scattering, which became groundbreaking studies of the inner structure of nucleons bound in nuclei.

Sven was an exceptionally creative scientist who took remarkable initiatives in several areas, which benefitted numerous researchers in the scientific community. On his initiative the TSL-laboratory was created 1986, and by the transfer of the storage ring ICE from CERN to TSL, this ring could be converted into the CELSIUS ring for high-energy protons. The aim was to make precision experiments on rare decays of certain mesons in order to get information on basic symmetry properties in particle physics.

In connection with this project, Sven developed many of the advanced experimental techniques required to carry out these experiments, particularly the development of the advanced multi-particle detector WASA. Sven initiated the development of a particular target pellet for use with the WASA detector in the circulating particle beams in the CELSIUS ring. Sven was, furthermore, a great authority in accelerator technology (I recommend this beatiful article he wrote for the Nobel Prize official website:Accelerators and Nobel Laureates).

Sven has published about 200 scientific articles in areas including nuclear and elementary particle physics, in recent years also in the energy field, and he has authored a number of popular science books. Sven also contributed to the development of physics at Uppsala University through several notable initiatives in undergraduate, graduate and senior education.

In recent years Sven has been involved in energy issues. As President of the Royal Academy of Sciences Energy Committee, he has illuminated every conceivable aspect of the energy sector in Sweden. A unique compilation and analysis Rossi-and-Kullander_2of the Swedish and the global energy situation has been made by the committee under his leadership. A large number of debate articles related to this work have been published in different media.

Very recently, he paid a lot of attention to the possibility to perhaps obtain energy releasing fusion reactions at low energies, as indicated by a new remarkable invention by the Italian researcher Andrea Rossi.

(You can read the post “Sven Kullander on the E-Cat“, E-Cat World, November 7, 2012).

Sven was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Vice President of The European Academies Science Advisory Council, member of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala and he has held several honorary positions both nationally and internationally. Sven received the 2001 Björkén prize at Uppsala University and received the 2010 Gustav Adolf gold medal and the Seraphim bands of the 8th size in 2013.

As late as a week before his death Sven gave a highly appreciated lecture on “Sweden’s energy resources in a European and global perspective” for Uppsala’s senior university.

Sven was exceptionally engaged in everything he was involved in. With his never ending energy, enthusiasm and most friendly manners, he easily attracted his colleagues’ interest in all the excellent projects he initiated. All scientists who had the privilege to work in his presence have a lot to thank him for. His decease is a great loss for us and we remember him with great gratitude”.

Bo Höistad and colleagues
The Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University


Cook_coverI decided to publish a review of the book “Models of the Atomic Nucleus” by Norman D. Cook, whose reading has been repeatedly suggested by Rossi, who considers it his favorite book of nuclear physics. In a presentation made at ICCF-18, Cook claimed on his slides that Rossi told him that his book helped him a lot to understand what’s going on in the E-Cat.

“Models of the Atomic Nucleus” is a largely non-technical, comprehensive and introductory book on nuclear models, which addresses head on the inconsistencies of traditional nuclear theory and proposes a solid state model for the nucleus: a lattice model.

The bottom-line is that one specific lattice structure reproduces all of the known energy shells and subshells of the quantum mechanics of the atomic nucleus. Normally thought of as a tiny “gas” of nucleons, or a liquid-drop, a solid-phase lattice achieves the same results.

After a review of the basics, the book explores and compares the competing models, and addresses how the lattice model best resolves remaining controversies.

The compelling argument is that the diverse “models” of nuclear theory are unified in the lattice: a “frozen” liquid-drop with all of the shells of the gas model, and even the alpha structures of the cluster model. But, as the Author explains, “it is specifically the ‘coincidence’ of the lattice model symmetries and the experimental data that is the model’s strength”.

It is the first nuclear physics text to address in a rational way some of the results of the Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) experiments that have been reported in the literature. So, it’s highly recommended for nuclear physicists and nuclear engineers that are not convinced that Low Energy Nuclear Physics is not a dead science.

The book contains far more words than equations. So, it’s an excellent essay suitable for general readers, a not easy task when the topic is highly specialized physics. The argument is clearly stated, colorfully illustrated and comes with easy-to-use, but sophisticated software on CD for Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

Cook_fcc_2The Calcium-40 nucleus in the Face-Centered-Cubic (FCC) model (from the book).

The very intuitive and physically precise visualization CD-software package for nuclear models, including a database of all nuclei and isotopes, supplies users with an interactive experience for nuclear visualization via a computer-graphical interface, similar to the molecular visualizations already available in chemistry. All nuclear parameters are adjustable in a wide range.

For the first time, an easy-to-master software for scientific visualization of the nucleus makes this notoriously ‘non-visual’ field become immediately ‘visible’. The appendix explains how to obtain the most from the software provided on the accompanying CD. So, the book/software supplements virtually any of the current textbooks in nuclear physics.

Paperback, 2nd ed. 2010 – Publisher: Springer – Pages: 324 – Price: 43$On Amazon.

About the Author

NORMAN D. COOK is full professor at Department of Informatics, Kansai University (Osaka, Japan). Undergraduate at Princeton University (Princeton, USA), he has been graduate student at Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan) and Oxford University (Oxford, UK), post-doctoral researcher at Zurich University (Zurich, Switzerland), invited researcher at ATR (Kyoto, Japan). He is author of 70-plus articles published in refereed science journals and of 4 monographs.


PLinus_2Linus Pauling (1901-1994) was a brilliant chemist who received a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954 for his research into the nature of the chemical bond and another for Peace in 1962 for his work against warfare resulted in the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which banned all the nuclear tests not underground. He also contributed to the medical discovery of his century, the determination of DNA’s structure, and it’s not so surprising that his formidable mind was captured, in the last years of his life, by the Cold Fusion.

I asked to Mr. Russ George, a 65 years old US consulting scientist for industry and government who knew Linus Pauling and started talking with him around 1990 (and continued until a year before his death, though much less as he neared the end) to answer some questions to remember the man, the scientist and this late passion:

Russ, how did you meet an already so famous person like Linus Pauling?

“I came to know Linus Pauling in Palo Alto, where I lived with my wife, working in the biotech industry. Linus had a large private institute and facility three blocks from my house. It was offices and labs where his substantial team studied many topics he loved, amongst them vitamin C. Pauling had long given up academia. Being so near, I walked into his office one day without any real hope of meeting him and to my surprise did. What a gentle man Linus was! Over the course of a few years while I worked on cold fusion in my Palo Alto garage lab – I was an autodidact in this field – I was lucky enough to be able to walk to his office many times to share my observations and chat with him. Brainstorming with Linus was science to the max, an extreme sport!”.

What Pauling, that at the time was in his nineties, has been for you, an eclectic and autodidact cold fusion researcher with no institutional overhead?

“He became a mentor beyond my wildest dreams not only willing but eager to encourage me, a Palo Alto garage experimentalist, to talk through my experimental observations and ideas. Linus was fascinated that I could produce in my Palo Alto cold fusion work results that confirmed that cold fusion is allowed in physics and encouraged me to forget about trying to satisfy the hordes of cynics and skeptics and just do the explorative experiments. He was a man of such brilliance that even as his body was so frail with age his still nimble mind was an incredible ecosystem of experience and wisdom. It was tough keeping up with him. It was also a privilege to be invited to do so. I remember that in one meeting he gave me some words of wisdom, reminding me that ‘in his experience frequently the most remarkable discoveries almost always came unexpectedly’”.

Pauling_1954h2.1-900w

The gold medal of Nobel Prize for Chemistry, December 10, 1954, the first of two won by Pauling.

What was the attitude of Pauling towards cold fusion? This field flourished in 1989 was quickly abandoned by the mainstream scientific community…

“Linus had spoken favourably about cold fusion since its first announcement. He was a true judge of science and not afraid of controversy. He was on record proposing some ideas on how cold fusion was allowed in physics. Pauling tinkered around this topic with methods of prompting fusion with the idea to someday patenting them in the early nineties. His ideas lay fallow and a little over two years later, Linus passed away. He was 93. His notes, however, remain useful insofar as they contribute to the on-going conversation as to the possibility of cold fusion and of ways of facilitating hot fusion. Pauling’s thoughts on modern subjects such as nuclear fusion and cold fusion were also further evidence of an active and inquisitive mind even as he neared the end of his life”.

As suggested to me by Russ George, we can find some interesting notes and documents about Pauling’s thinking on cold fusion in the “Pauling Blog”:

“In 1989, after Fleischmann and Pons’ announcement, Pauling sent a letter to Nature magazine in which he suggested that the decomposition of small amounts of PdHx were responsible for thermal anomalies. During the following years, his interest on the topic of nuclear fusion, and particularly cold fusion, continued. In May 1992, while at home on his ranch in Big Sur, California, Pauling had a conversation with his grandson Barclay J. ‘Barky’ Kamb, during which he revealed his idea for a nuclear fusion invention. Pauling had taken note of the fact that many experiments reported a ‘liberation of neutrons or helions or other indication of nuclear reaction greater than the background count’, but that not all interested researchers had observed the phenomenon”.

Letter_Nature_2

The Pauling’s letter to “Nature”, April 24, 1989 (from the Pauling Blog, click image to enlarge).

In the same blog, we find also some a little more technical information on his ideas about cold fusion that I resume here for their historical interest:

“As revealed also with letters to his loved grandson Barky, Pauling had an idea for increasing the amount of energy within certain compounds, and came up with a few theories on how to maximize the amount of energy held by particles in order to achieve cold fusion. He hypothesized that ‘the stored energy in PdDx, x > 0.6, might be produced either by high pressure of H2 (D2 or T2) – heavier hydrogen isotopes – with Pd, Ti, or other metals’. Pauling speculated that an augmented detonation could produce shock waves that would accelerate particles, perhaps along channels in the metals, to prompt fusion by reaction. His proposed methods of increasing stored energy included shooting pellets of the compound into a heated chamber, utilizing plasma in a tokamak or focusing a detonation wave within conical metal or something similar”.

Finally, you can find a very long and beautiful interview with the late Pauling here. The following is an extract in which he gives advice to young students:

Pauling_catalogue“Even 50 years ago I was recommending to students in the California Institute of Technology – where I taught for many years –  who came to me for advice to do graduate work in chemistry rather than in biology, even if they were interested in biology. They could take some courses in biology, but they could do reading by themselves to learn most of biology. Genetics was already a good science in biology. I recommended taking a course in genetics. So ever since then, I have said to students: if you are interested in science, I think a good thing for you to get is as much training as possible in the basic sciences – mathematics, physics, chemistry, including physical chemistry. And then you can move on into these more applied fields”.

“I have always liked working in some scientific direction that nobody else is working in”.

Linus Pauling, Nobel Laureate


I received from Eng. Ventola this original contribute, inspired by a Swedish document online that seems to contain some interesting info about the “Rossi Effect”:

In 2011, the Swedish Defense Material Agency (FMW) has financed some very rudimentary experiments with nickel and hydrogen, trying to experimentally reproduce the excess heating power claimed by Andrea Rossi and prof. Sergio Focardi (Physics Department, Bologna University) in their paper “A new Energy Source from Nuclear Fusion” (2010).

This information is contained in an original document 25-pages long, titled “Experiments with Nickel and Hydrogen”, by Curt Edström and Jan Erik Nowacki. You can find it here. FMW, a government agency connected with the Swedish military, is the Sweden’s equivalent of DARPA (Defense Advanced Projects Agency) in the US.

Vessels

Some vessels used by the Swedish scientists in their experiments on Ni-H systems.

The report is a short description of some experiments on the nickel-hydrogen line of research, in which 4 different forms of nickel (see the table below) were tested in contact with hydrogen at different pressures and temperatures. Some of the nickel samples also contained other metals as “catalysts” like lithium, potassium and iron.

In some of the samples the nickel was in micrometer large crystal grains, in other samples – for example, some powders provided by Brian Ahern upon request, because he had said to have powders that had resulted in some form of reaction – the nickel was in the form was in the form of nanometer grains embedded in zirconium oxide.

Powders_used_2

Examples of powders used in the experiments of the Swedish Defense Material Agency.

However this document is interesting not for the description of their experiments – as neither significant excess heat, nor any radiation indicating nuclear reactions has been detected by these Swedish researchers, likely due to a not extended experimental effort – but because the group received precious advice directly from Rossi.

Indeed, we read already in the first page of the report: “Contact were taken with many active researchers in the field, including Andrea Rossi, for guidance to find a functioning solution. Andrea Rossi could not reveal his catalyst for us but thought that we would get a small indicative response using just pure nickel and hydrogen”.

The other precious information contained in the Swedish paper is the following: “Rossi also mentioned that a hydrogen pressure of at least 200 bar and a temperature of 500 °C was necessary in order to see any effect without the catalyst”.

This is a news, because Rossi has never publicly stated that to reproduce his “Rossi Effect” the catalyst is NOT necessary. We have had a clue of this only from the recent Alexander Parkhomov’s successful replication of a Hot-Cat, but the powders used by the Russian physicist include also Lithium and Aluminum under the form of lithium aluminum hydride (LiAlH4), so in theory one of these two elements (or both) could be a catalyst.

H2_3

A. Parkhomov has used a LiAlH4 powder as Hydrogen source, instead of a gas cylinder.

As, according to the prof. Sergio Focardi (that collaborated with Rossi since around 2008), the function of the catalyst probably was to transform the hydrogen from normal, or diatomic, into monatomic – so that it could penetrate into the metal lattice of nickel – it is reasonable that, at high pressures and temperatures, the catalyst is not necessary to make the hydrogen penetrate the nickel lattice, then showing a hint of “Rossi Effect”.

However, the words of Rossi should be taken with caution, since it is well known that at high temperatures nickel powders sinter together, probably making impossible the occurrence of Rossi Effect. It seems that also the Swedish researchers, in some of their experiments – probably for a deliberate choice – did not address this problem.

Therefore, presumably, the situation can be summarized as follows: at high temperatures a catalyst is not necessary, but rather an element or a substrate which avoids the sintering; whereas, at low temperatures, a catalyst – in the strictest sense of the term – is required to make the hydrogen monatomic. I prefer not to say more.

Regarding the values of pressure and temperature suggested by Rossi to the Swedish researchers, it is interesting to notice that the first Rossi’s international patent application for the E-Cat, filed in 2008 (WO2009125444A1), mentioned in the Abstract “a reaction between nickel and hydrogen atoms in a tube” having a pressure “preferably from 2 to 20 bars” and heated to “a high temperature, preferably from 150 to 500 °C”.

Rossi_Effect_10

The two “allowed zones” for Rossi Effect on the Temperature-Pressure diagram.

The picture above shows the “allowed zones” for the Rossi Effect, according to the old patent application and the advice given by Rossi himself, 3-4 years later, to the Swedish scientists. I added in red the likely or reasonable position, on this Temperature-Pressure diagram, of the recent Parkhomov’s experiment, which would explain its success.

Moreover, it’s quite remarkable that 200-220 bar is also the typical pressure of gas in Hydrogen cylinders, used by Rossi in his early experiments. So, it would seem that, in the MFMP’s experiment trying to replicate Rossi’s “Dog Bone” reactor, the importance of the (right) pression inside the ceramic vessel has been largely underestimated.

The Swedish document also mentions, even if with not so many details, an interesting experimental result: “According to an e-mail conversation with Hanno Essén and Rossi, Rossi has received measured spectra of electron-positron annihilation at 511 keV”.

This is another “news”, because such annihilation, predicted in the Focardi and Rossi’s paper as a consequence of a possible reaction transforming a nickel atom plus a proton into a copper atom – later decaying back into nickel again with the release of a positron and a neutrino – was not detected in the public test performed on January 14, 2011.

Experiment_Jan_14_4The detector for gamma rays at 511 keV used on the E-Cat tested on January 14, 2011 (original photo taken by Daniele Passerini, slightly modified).

The failure to detect the phenomenon is in accordance with the recent Rossi’s answer given in an interview: “After these years of experimentation, testing, measuring and analysis, we noticed that the main source of energy in our reactor is not so much a fusion, but a shift of the isotopic composition of the atoms contained in the fuel charge”.

Finally, another important information given by Andrea Rossi is cited in the Swedish document at page 15: “As we have been told by Rossi, the powder had to be cycled several times to get “active” and as the power from a possible reaction would also come in ‘bursts’ (the length of these ‘bursts’ were however largely unknown to us)”.

For a description of what “to be cycled” means in practice, you can read the Sergio Focardi’s papers on his early experiments performed (on nickel rods and at pressures of the order of 1 bar) with Francesco Piantelli in Siena. One important difference: using high pressures, you do not need to use a vacuum pump, instead at 1 bar it was a “must”.

R. Ventola – Electrical engineer


I found very interesting, as possible research on LENR, the following article appeared some time ago on the Oil & Gas Journal – magazine published by the Pennwell Corporation – whose title is Rust Catalyzed Ethylene Hydrogenation causes Temperature Runaway. It was mentioned by a reader of E-Cat World in a comment to this post and I was intrigued.

Oil_Gas_Magazine

I quote from the Abstract: “During early operation of one of Exxon Chemical Co.‘s ethane cracking plants, a temperature runaway in a small shell-and-tube heat exchanger upstream of the hydrogen methanator reactor resulted in rupture of the exchanger shell. Exxon has concluded that the overtemperature resulted from the exothermic heat of reaction of ethylene and hydrogen. This hydrogenation reaction unexpectedly initiated at a temperature well under 300 °C”.Hot_Spot

Then, I did some research on the web about this event and, as explained in a document linked here, I found that it caused “hot spots” with high localized temperatures (see photo).

Such hot spots, together with the runaway exothermic reaction, could be interpreted as a possible “signature” of LENR at work, stimulated by a highly active catalyst.

Indeed, it is known that LENRs occurr in microscopic spots on certain surfaces: these are localized micron-scale LENR-active sites on planar surfaces or curved surfaces of nanoparticles. In general, the hot spots are destroyed in a short time by intense heat: local peak temperatures can reach 4,000-6,000 °C.

So, a good candidate for the catalyst is rust (Fe3O4 or Fe2O3). For this reason, as Bob Greenyer revealed in a recent interview given to this blog, the Martin Fleishmann Memorial Project (MFMP) – the world’s first Live Open Science project focused on LENR – will check in future experiments also the effect of Iron Oxide based catalysts.

In this regard, I find interesting the paper, highlighted to me by Russ George and linked here, “A new look at the finer details of rust shows an assumed atomic structure has been wrong all along“, published on December 4, 2014 on ScienceDaily.

From the summary: “Scientists have been studying the behavior of iron oxide surfaces. The atomic structure of iron oxide, which had been assumed to be well-established, turned out to be wrong. The behavior of iron oxide is governed by missing iron atoms in the atomic layer directly below the surface. This is a big surprise with potential applications in chemical catalysis”.

According to such paper, “it is precisely above such places of missing iron atoms that other metal atoms attach. These iron-vacancy-sites are regularly spaced, and so there is always some well-defined distance between gold or palladium atoms attaching to the surface. This explains why Fe3O4 surfaces prevent these atoms from forming clusters“.

EtileneEthylene is a widely used hydrocarbon which has the formula C2H4 or H₂C=CH₂. It is a colorless flammable gas with a faint “sweet and musky” odor when pure. It is the simplest alkene, and the second simplest unsaturated hydrocarbon after acetylene. This hydrocarbon has four hydrogen atoms bound to a pair of carbon atoms that are connected by a double bond.

Perhaps, the experts can find useful information about some of the many processes involved in the following paper, Hydrogenation of Ethylene on Metallic Catalysts, by Juro Horiuti and Koshiro Miyahara (Hokkaido University, Japan), downloadable from here. It discusses in detail the investigations carried out, especially for the nickel catalyst, but not only.

Finally, on Vortex a reader wrote: “Ed Storms tells a story of how Rossi first got interested in LENR when he saw a thermal runaway in an oil waste process”. In my book, being his biography, you can read the real story about what can be considered a revolutionary discovery.


Emilio Del Giudice_2I decided to translate into English the story of Fleischmann and Pons experiment as told by the Italian theoretical physicist Emilio Del Giudice in his popular conferences, not only because I have had the pleasure to appreciate him in one of them, held in Florence a few years ago, but also because the topic is treated in an enlightening way for a general audience:

“In 1989, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, two eminent electrochemists – especially Fleischmann, who was so far considered one of the greatest electrochemists in the world and, for a his particular contribution, was also nominated for the Nobel Prize – in a press conference announces to the world that, with appropriate electrochemical methods, you can create the famous nuclear fusion that had been so vainly sought by physicists.

The fusion was obtained by Fleischmann and Pons through a chemical approach, within matter. And it was a search very cheap: a million times less expensive than hot fusion research. But what the two electrochemists did in their experiment?

Fleischmann and Pons took a metal, which in their case was palladium, because among the metals palladium seemed to absorb more deuterium inside its lattice. Indeed, at room temperature deuterium easily enters the palladium, but loading stops at an equilibrium value which is 2/3: that is, two deuterium nuclei for every three nuclei of palladium.

Then, when the concentration of deuterium loaded into the palladium exceeded a certain critical threshold quite high and difficult to reach – discovered by Fleischmann and Pons be equal to 1, that is, a deuterium nucleus for each nucleus of palladium – a process of so-called ‘cold fusion’ spontaneously starts, i.e. helium nuclei originate from deuterium.

The difficult part of the experiment was to reach this threshold of ‘1’, because it meant going far beyond chemical equilibrium. Fleischmann was a good electrochemist, so he could find an electrochemical method by which, within four weeks of continuous loading, he could bring his palladium cathodes to reach the critical threshold.

When such threshold was reached, into the cell of Fleischmann and Pons there was a production of excess energy, in amounts disproportionate to that producible by any known chemical process. Just to give an idea, the amount of energy released was of the order of 500 eV per atom, that no chemical phenomenon – binding energies are a few eV – can justify.

Moreover, the effect just described manifests only if was used deuterium – i.e. the isotope of hydrogen whose nucleus is composed of a neutron and a proton – while using normal hydrogen, whose nucleus consists of only one proton, nothing happened. Already these two factors alone – the great excess heat and dependence by isotope of the effect – made us suspect the presence of a nuclear process behind the results of the experiment.

On the other hand, Fleischmann and Pons were accurate enough to verify the process also emits protons, neutrons, etc., and found that the amount of protons and neutrons emitted was ridiculously low: about one-millionth of what could be expected based on the traditional nuclear fusion.

Lab_FP_2Dr. Stanley Pons and Dr. Martin Fleischmann in their laboratory at the University of Utah.

In their article published in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, the two electrochemists had clearly written that this was a new kind of fusion, not something attributable to the classical hot fusion. Paradoxically, for years some critics observed that these results were not consistent with expectations for a fusion of the traditional type. But Fleischmann and Pons had not used the results of such measurements to say that this was an old-style fusion: it was the contrary!

The second main criticism was that the Fleischmann and Pons’ experiment was not reproducible because a number of laboratories announced that they failed to reproduce the phenomenon in their attempts. But the corresponding articles of denial did not report the level of loading of deuterium in palladium: they had not bothered to measure it!

It can be concluded that, in physics, ‘no experiment can ever be reproduced provided it is reproduced with enough incompetence’. In this case, it was not incompetence but a deliberate misdirection, as we realized from many clues. But that’s another story, which is told in my book ‘The secret of the three bullets’, co-authored by Maurizio Torrealta”.

EMILIO DEL GIUDICE (1940-2014) was an Italian physicist who has worked in the field of condensed matter. Theoretical physicist and professor at the University of Naples and pioneer of string theory in the early Seventies, later became known for his work with Giuliano Preparata at the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). It is also known for its excellent qualities of popularizer, in particular on quantum mechanics.