Is Cold Fusion For Real?!
    By Tommaso Dorigo | May 20th 2013 11:04 AM | 94 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

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    The results of a third-party investigation of Rossi's E-CAT reactor have appeared on the Cornell arxiv, and the conclusions of the tests are at the very least startling:

    An experimental investigation of possible anomalous heat production in a special type of reactor tube named E-Cat HT is carried out. The reactor tube is charged with a small amount of hydrogen loaded nickel powder plus some additives. The reaction is primarily initiated by heat from resistor coils inside the reactor tube. Measurement of the produced heat was performed with high-resolution thermal imaging cameras, recording data every second from the hot reactor tube. The measurements of electrical power input were performed with a large bandwidth three-phase power analyzer. Data were collected in two experimental runs lasting 96 and 116 hours, respectively. An anomalous heat production was indicated in both experiments. The 116-hour experiment also included a calibration of the experimental set-up without the active charge present in the E-Cat HT. In this case, no extra heat was generated beyond the expected heat from the electric input. Computed volumetric and gravimetric energy densities were found to be far above those of any known chemical source. Even by the most conservative assumptions as to the errors in the measurements, the result is still one order of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources.

    Now, if the study is correct, one needs to first of all figure out what those additives are, and then understand whether the energy output comes from nuclear sources or chemical ones. A model is direly needed, I would say; the secrecy behind the project does not help figuring out whether this is a very elaborate scam or a Nobel prize worthy discovery.

    I continue to believe in the scam hypothesis, but I must admit that this study impressed me for its reported result. Here is an important passage in the longish report:

    For a further confirmation of the fact that the E-Cat HT2’s performance lies outside the known region of chemical energy densities, one can also calculate the volumetric energy density of the reactor, by referring to the whole volume occupied by the internal cylinder, namely 1.52π33 = 233 cm3= 0.233 l. This is the most conservative and “blind” approach possible.
    Taking the figures from the worst case, we get a net power of 800-354=446 W; by multiplying this by (3600 · 116), we find that 185 Mj where produced. Thus, we have a volumetric energy density of 185/0.233 =(7.93 ± 0.8)10 2 Mj/Liter, meaning that even by resorting to the most conservative and “worst case scenarios”, where the total volume of the reactor is comprehensive of the 5- mm thick steel cylinder, we see that we are still at least one order of magnitude above the volumetric energy density of any known chemical source.

    I don't think I am going to read the paper with more attention than I already used with it; this is not my field of research so I would not learn much more anyway. But I must say I will from now on follow more closely the developing story of Rossi's E-CAT...

    In the meantime one can give a look at the story as reported in Wikipedia: Already in the introductory notes we find statements that appear to settle the issue:

    An international patent application[1] has received an unfavorable international preliminary report on patentability because it seemed to "offend against the generally accepted laws of physics and established theories" and to overcome this problem the application should have contained either experimental evidence or a firm theoretical basis in current scientific theories.[11]

    The device was demonstrated to an invited audience several times, and commented on by various academics and others, but was not independently tested. Mark Gibbs of Forbes commented: "until a verifiably objective analysis is conducted by an independent third party that confirms the results match the claims there's no real news".[12]

    Well, I would say that at least that step is cleared now, if the study reported in the arxiv preprint is believable...


    Tommaso, do you know this paper in "The Skeptic" dated in March 2012:

    No, but I'll read it now. Thanks!
    The patent was rejected because Rossi wouldn't release the details. Which is understandable, he doesn't want his decades of work stolen. It's a Catch-22. Very easy-to-understand concept.

    Gerhard Adam
    How is that understandable?  How does one expect to apply for a patent and not provide any information as to what is being patented?  It's not a Catch-22. 

    He wants patent protection for something that can't be confirmed or evaluated, but nevertheless he feels that he should be able to collect money from a nebulous idea with no details.  Sounds like a scam.
    Mundus vult decipi
    There are plenty of patents for "nebulous" ideas that wouldn't/don't work. a patent is not a guarantee of success of a project nor anything to "bank" on. fact i if you say LENR or "cold fusion" the patent is/was usually rejected without even a consideration of "worth".
    "This article presents the first empirical analysis of patent value by examining renewal rate data for nearly 100,000 patents. Finding that 53.7% of all patentees allow their patents to expire for failure to pay maintenance fees confirm common perceptions of patent issuance being a poor measure of innovation value"..............
    And yes it is a "Catch 22" when you have to prove "theory" even before acceptance..He could have put every engineering note, every spec, every results.. and the patent would have been rejected...
    I guess the easiest example would be like placing a proof of evolution in front of the papal counsel.. Won't get you anywhere, facts or not.. ;)
    Rock meet hard place:
    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now rejects patents claiming cold fusion.[121] Esther Kepplinger, the deputy commissioner of patents in 2004, said that this was done using the same argument as with perpetual motion machines: that they do not work.[121] Patent applications are required to show that the invention is "useful", and this utility is dependent on the invention's ability to function.[178]

    In general USPTO rejections on the sole grounds of the invention's being "inoperative" are rare,

    since such rejections need to demonstrate "proof of total incapacity",[178] and cases where those rejections are upheld in a Federal Court are even rarer: nevertheless, in 2000, a rejection of a cold fusion patent was appealed in a Federal Court and it was upheld, in part on the grounds that the inventor was unable to establish the utility of the invention........................

    Gerhard Adam
    ... in part on the grounds that the inventor was unable to establish the utility of the invention
    Rightfully so.  One doesn't simply get to patent ideas with the intent that others are beholden to pay them for their use if there is no fundamental utility.  Can you imagine if someone could patent the theory of evolution?

    However, the original point was that he didn't wish to provide details for fear that someone would steal his ideas. 

    In part, this turns the entire premise of science and peer-review on its head. 
    And yes it is a "Catch 22" when you have to prove "theory" even before acceptance..He could have put every engineering note, every spec, every results.. and the patent would have been rejected...
    It's not a Catch-22.  If you can't prove that your concept is viable, then you aren't entitled to protection of the idea.  I can't get a patent for a time machine in the hopes that someone will figure out the details and then have to pay me because I hold the patent.

    If this weren't done, then every crackpot idea could gain patent protection even without a theoretical explanation and potentially create a legal liability for those that actually do figure it out later.  It's absurd.

    If there is no workable theory, then there is no basis for the patent, and the applicant should have no basis for establishing legal status for something that doesn't exist.
    Mundus vult decipi
    It isn't that there are no workable theories for LENR--there are actually too many. And maybe LENR represents a family of reactions so several seemingly-contradictory theories are still valid.

    Man was using fire long before someone came up with a theory explaining how it worked, and it will probably be the same with Rossi. He can make a big, positive impact without getting a patent, but he'll have to put up with a lot of derision in the meantime.

    I'm betting the money he makes will ease the annoyance.

    If there is no workable theory, then there is no basis for the patent, and the applicant should have no basis for establishing legal status for something that doesn't exist.

    I agree with everything except this, as long as someone can show how to recreate the art, it should be patentable.

    As has already been noted Patents, just give you the right to sue someone who infringes, and to get that legal standing, you have to disclose the art so it can be reproduced.
    If you don't want to disclose your art, you keep it as a trade secret. But this doesn't work if it can be reverse engineered.

    Rossi's work seems kind of sketchy to me, but there have been a lot of successful LENR experiments, something is going on that could be very useful.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    I think this may be a bit more of a gray area.  My point is that one first has to establish that such an "art" actually exists.  This is the argument about perpetual motion machines.

    This is why my point was that without a workable theory, there is no basis for even claiming that there is an "art" to be produced.  Now, I understand that one can have a technology without necessarily having a well-established or even proven theory, but for that to be patentable, then one has to have a technology that is capable of representing that "art" [or at least some basis for assuming that it is possible].
    Mundus vult decipi
    Yes, while a theory is desirable, it shouldn't be necessary as long as the art can be presented.
    And I'm somewhat disappointed the Patent Office dismisses applications on theoretical grounds alone. Though I can understand the kinds of Patent applications they would get.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Why be disappointed?  If there is no scientific support for the "art", then clearly there is nothing to be protected at that time.

    Mundus vult decipi
    As long as the art has a patentable application, and is reproducible, it should be patentable without a theory.
    Never is a long time.
    I want a patent for a process by which energy is produced inexpensively without significant byproducts.

    NO I won't tell you my process; but when someone else figures out a way to do the above; I'll tell you if they've "stolen" my design.

    Can I have my patent now? Why not? You're trying to steal my work aren't you?

    I somewhat agree with your statement: "Now, if the study is correct, one needs to first of all figure out what those additives are, and then understand whether the energy output comes from nuclear sources or chemical ones."

    I disagree to the extent that this is extrodinary news even if the underlying reaction is chemical. The non-nuclear reaction would be at least an order of magnitude greater than any known one. It seems to me that the odds are greater for a nuclear reation than chemical due to the scale of the difference.

    What is even funnier is those that insist it is a "chemical reaction" without a lick of explaining WHAT chemical reaction it could be... Then there is the fact, if it is a unknown chemical reaction,.. nobody wants to "study" it...In a sense showing the absurdity of "modern" scientists and current dogma... ;)
    A "chemical reaction" producing such, at times, large energy returns is WORTH investigating.. No, the whole derision is based on nothing is there, contrary to many facts and tests, going back to "exploding wires" and including "cavitation fusion"..

    Yup, if it's "merely" a chemical process that's 10x greater than any known one, I certain want to know what it is and use it.

    Can't be chemical, no chemical reaction of any kind can release this amount of sustained energy (shown by many in the field, elsewhere). My guess is release of nuclear binding energy as lattice vibrations. Could be isotopes of nickel just south of the binding energy peak are sharing cold neutrons in an oscillating way, Ne_x -> Ne_y -> Ne_x.. under external stimulation. But certainly not chemical.


    For a theory first approach you may first read NASA's research, they are trying theory first, calling "Edisonian" the Rossi's work.

    NASA focus is that you should look at waek interactions for an explanation, they adopt Widom-LArsen theory as basis but they think is incomplete.
    (and there are more)

    NASA is also into hyperdrive jumps and reactionless drives based on microwaves in closed tubes.

    If NASA is in it, that doesn't confer instant credibility.

    How believe is Cold Fusion?

    People have been dabbling in it since 1986. 'nuff said. Next people will come out of the woodwork and say it was all "suppressed" by Exxon.

    NASA is also on Mars and on Saturn this is not about credibility.

    My point was to add to the phrase: "understand whether the energy output comes from nuclear sources or chemical ones", im adding to knowledge that NASA is since a while looking at a theory involving weak force interactions to explain the energy excess.

    Your comment is just no because no it can and doesnt seem from a scientific valid point of view.


    Actually, research into cold fusion or whatever we should call it predates the 1980's by several decades.

    I haven't finished reading all the critiques and comments about this experiment but what is very clear is that the materials and methods are not described in sufficient detail to rule out massive error, both in measuring input power and also in measuring the output. For example, they used a power meter to measure the input power. What brand and type? What is it's range of capabilities? How did they rule out surreptitious input of additional power?

    According to the report, the ecat was already running when they started an experiment. Why? Who started it? Maybe Rossi did not supervise the tests but were any of his associates involved with it?

    Why did they go to this complicated and error prone methodology and high temperatures when Rossi claimed an easy to measure, 10 kilowatt reactor two years ago? Why not simply repeat Kullander, Essen and Lewan's earlier experiments only with the proper controls and blanks and calibrations that they carelessly omitted?

    This test raises more questions than it answers. But I am sure it will let Rossi bleed more money from his investors. Really-- these esteemed professors should do better work.

    If they now do a six month test using the same methods, whatever errors they might have made will simply be perpetuated for six months. That won't tell us a thing.

    I feel like this is beside the point. Where are the gammas?

    You're in the realm of weak forces here; gammas are typical in the realm of strong forces.

    You should do some reading on LENR to understand what the correct expectations are in this field of energy.

    "weak forces" does not mean magic. The reading I've done makes it look like a complete dodge. The weak interaction has been the subject of extensive study in nuclear and elementary particle physics: if you want to claim it's responsible, you're going to have to propose what actual reaction you think is happening. Otherwise you're just sweeping things under the rug.

    To be clear, I mean specifically the gammas from the relaxations of the Cu-63 and Cu-65 excited states to the (3/2)- ground state. The (1/2)- states are 670 and 710 keV above the ground state, and should be easy to spot. I've seen no explanation of how you get from Ni-62 or Ni-64 (both 0+) to either of the copper states without producing *any* of these first exited states.

    Correction: should be ~670 and 770, not 710

    "I continue to believe in the scam hypothesis" Why? Wouldn't it be more rational to simply say you now are not sure what to believe - since you find this report impressive?

    Impressive does not mean correct, nor credible, nor definitive, nor accurate, Tiger Light.
    In fact I believe it is none of the above.

    Wikipedia is shit.

    In our report at

    We state:

    Not Necessarily a Vindication of "Cold Fusion"

    Note that scientists do not yet understand the mode of action of how Andrea Rossi's Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat) works.

    "Fusion" is the combining of two elements. Near the end of his life, Martin Fleishmann bemoaned that he ever called his process "cold fusion", because he doesn't believe that "fusion" is what is actually taking place, though the reaction is most likely a nuclear process. The general phenomenon has been replicated more than 17,000 time according to Jed Rothwell, author of the industry bedrock website:

    Andrea Rossi's technology has been called "cold fusion" by some, but from what I understand from one of the top scientists working with Andrea Rossi, Bill Donavan, fusion is not involved at all. It is all transmutation. The Hydrogen goes to Deuterium (non-radioactive) through a series of steps, liberating a huge amount of energy in the process, as the primary transmutation reaction. And the Nickel goes to Copper (non-radioactive) through a series of steps, as a low and infrequent secondary transmutation reaction.

    That is why LENR, for Low Energy Nuclear Reaction, is a more suitable name for the class of technology this comes under. "Low Energy", meaning that in contrast to the sun, where nuclear fusion reactions require tens of millions of degrees Celsius to take place, these reactions take place near room temperature.

    "Low Energy" does not refer to the output being wimpy. These reactions could power the energy needs of humans across our planet, cheaply, safely, and cleanly.

    You wrote: "The general phenomenon has been replicated more than 17,000 time according to Jed Rothwell . . ."

    That is not according to me. That estimate is in a paper by Jing-tang He of the Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The paper is Front. Phys. China (2007) 1: 96 102

    I cannot vouch for their data. I have not tried to count the number of individual experiments. I did not count individual papers either, but Dieter Britz did. I reported his totals here:

    This event is only the latest important event in a long list
    I've made early 2013 that quick summary
    meanwhile Defkalion have said that they are funding research, and will make a demo at NIWeek2013, and a paper at ICCF18.
    LENR-Cities and LENR-Invest, with Kressenn and LENR-Cars prepare for the battle...

    That e-cat report is only the third, yet the most formal, after SRI report on the experimental wet Brillouin reactor, and the report about Defkalion by Nelson which is less formal but credible once you add the confirmation by Gibbs of nelson opinion.

    Beside those evidence of some near hope of industrial application, there is no doubt about the reality of the phenomenon, and the total absences of a working theory....
    normally as Thomas Kuhn says, if there is no theory, the facts whatever they are undeniable, are denied.
    that is a rule of science.
    there are even people that can clearly accept fact and say that they are valueless because not explained by a theory... they don't even need to argument about details and claim international conspiracies or magic tweezers, or bent the graph to match the theory.

    maybe there will be an exception if they get funding...
    This is why I home much from LENR-invest and Defkalion effort about research....

    AlainCo -- the tech-watcher of

    Dear Alain,

    these people do not let us know what is in their device. How are we supposed to understand how it works (if it works) ?

    Also note that in the tests reported in the paper discussed here, the reactor was taken from authors to remove the reactant and given back to them - so they could infer the weight of the reactant (0.3 grams, allegedly) as a difference of two measurements before and after (1.5 kg).
    Is this acceptable in your opinion ? The owners of the reactor could have removed 100 grams of plutonium and inserted back 99.7 grams of poo before giving it back to the analysts.

    Why should anyone doing something real even think of curing other's plutonium fixations?

    In reading the arXiv 1305.3913 paper I did NOT see
    any quantitative description of the "nickel powder".

    The size of "nickle powder" atomic clusters could be
    VERY important with respect to fusion / no fusion.

    For example, Nickle (and Palladium with similar structure)
    clusters smaller than about 147 atoms are energetically icosahedral
    clusters larger than about 147 atoms are energetically cuboctahedral
    so that
    the is a phase transition (like a Fuller Jitterbug) at about 147 atoms
    which is a cluster size of about 1.56 nanometers in diameter.

    Such Palladium clusters have recently been synthesized at Albuquerque
    (Sandia and U. New Mexico).

    As to a proposal for an experiment to study the possible usefulness of that phase transition, see my (non-secret open public) paper at

    To the extent that the authors of arXiv 1305.3913
    observed "anomalous heat energy",
    my guess is that it is due to the phase transition phenomena about which I wrote in the vixra paper.


    PS - My paper appeared in vixra because I have been blacklisted by
    the Cornell arXiv. Maybe this situation might provide an example of how vixra can be better at advancing science than Cornell's arXiv.

    Where are those neutrons generated from fusion?

    quote of the day (from Physics Buzz), commenting on the radiation that should accompany any nuclear transmutation:

    The fact that cold fusion researchers are alive is fairly good evidence that their experiments aren't doing what they think they're doing.

    Sad to see so many seemingly highly-educated physicists stuck in the realm of the strong force. They conveniently forget there's such things as weak forces, which is where LENR seems to be most applicable. Different reaction processes and apparently no deadly radiation. Sounds crazy, but there are other effects, such as elemental transmutations, that provide evidence it's a nuclear reaction of some kind.

    Of course, neutrons, gammas ... they could have tried many ways to get convinced about the nature of the reaction. But there will always be an "explanation" for the null neutron or gamma output, if you want to be a believer.

    The name of the authors and some googling, cast some shadow, IMHO, on the impartiality of this investigation. Your definition of "third-party investigation" sounds a bit too generous to me. Anyway, time will tell us, but at the very least I will wait for this preprint to be submitted to and peer-reviewed by a real scientific journal.

    A patent is a legal document having the force in law of protecting the rights of an inventor in return for publishing the details of the thing invented.  It is a form of contract in which on the one side the new idea is revealed sufficiently that others may replicate it and on the other side protection is given so that commercial replication is under the control of the inventor.

    If a person is unwilling to reveal the details of their invention to patents referees then they have no legal grounds on which to apply for a patent.

    An invention shall be taken to involve an inventive step if it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art, ...
    Patents Act 1977, part 1 para 3.  (UK law)
    By implication, an invention must be shown in sufficient detail to a person "skilled in the art" so that they may be able to determine if it is in fact novel.

    But hey! I am not a lawyer.  Caveat lector.

    Gerhard Adam
    By implication, an invention must be shown in sufficient detail to a person "skilled in the art" so that they may be able to determine if it is in fact novel.
    It must also be presented in sufficient detail in order to recognize when a patent infringement may have occurred, should it be awarded.  That's the point I was trying to make earlier, in that you can't simply file a patent for some vague idea in the hopes of capitalizing on the work of those that actually achieve results.
    Mundus vult decipi
    you can't simply file a patent for some vague idea in the hopes of capitalizing on the work of those that actually achieve results.
    I agree.  That is a primary effect of patents law and a first hurdle in a patent application: you cannot patent an idea, so the question of whether it would work or not is moot.
    My money is on surreptitious introduction of power or on tampering with the power meter (it's not stated whether it was provided by Rossi or brought by authors of the paper.) There are no other apparent deficiencies in the analysis.

    First cited author, Giuseppe Levi, is from Focardi's alma mater and he has been on board with Rossi at least since 2011 if not longer. If this is a scam, there's a good chance that Levi's in on it. He could have provided the tampered power meter.

    Interesting, Nameless. Well, there are dozens of ways to fool a honest researcher with the used methodology (e.g. the weight measurement is ridicule - they gave the device to the owners and got it back after they removed the reactant, obtaining the weight as a difference before-after!), so we do not need to speculate on the honesty of the researchers.

    I didn't like weight measurement either, but I don't see what good tampering with weight would do. Even if their estimate of weight of the reactant is off by 10x, there's still huge apparent excess of energy that is not explainable by conventional processes.

    And what if it's off by x100 ? Authors admit they had no control of the sample between the two measurements... They claim the reactant was 0.3 grams! It could have been 100 grams of plutonium as far as I know.
    No, they claim that the reactant was 236 grams (first experiment). Total volume of the unit is 2600 cm3, so, if it's some kind of chemical process (e.g. hydrocarbon or hydrogen based), reactant couldn't weigh much more than 5 kg or so, even if the interior of the device is packed with it.

    They are reporting energy production of 160 kWh = 578 MJ in the first test and 62 kWh = 223 MJ in the second test. Again assuming that the interior of the device is fully packed with reactant, 578 MJ / 2.6 liters = 222 MJ/liter. Gasoline is ~40 MJ/liter, even the best batteries are under 10 MJ/liter.

    Plutonium-238 could work, except they'd need about 4 kilos of it (at 500 W/kg output) and that is comparable with total worldwide production of Pu-238 in a year, and, even if they could source that much of it, it would cost them millions of dollars. And it's not clear how to make the plutonium generator to stop and restart heating, without any apparent cooling mechanisms (as in the second experiment).

    According to the authors, the power metering equipment was supplied by the swedish part of the team.
    Quote from the report:
    "Electrical measurements were performed by a PCE-830 Power and Harmonics Analyzer by PCE Instruments with a nominal accuracy of 1%."

    Although I'm still a bit sceptical about this ECat device, I've actually read the report - which most of the loud-mouthed pathosceptics obviously have not. At least not sufficiently to talk about it.

    I don't see where the report says who supplied the power meter.

    No, this was not stated in the report itself, but by one of the authors in one of the discussions about the report. Sorry, but I can't remember where this was - too much data at the moment.

    In case you are really, open-minded style interested in LENR truth and LENR+ vaue
    you are welcome to visit my blog; the mots recent writing is here:

    The things are quite complex and dynamic, but more nd more cognoscible and
    having ahuge applicative potential.
    See you at Ego Out!

    I don't get the credulous acceptance of this study. It seems entirely possible to me to spoof these results. I doubt there has been active collaboration by most (and probably all) of this team of researchers.

    Regardless, I can think of several ways I'd go about attempting to spoof this study even without an inside man. And the fact remains that Andrea Rossi just stinks to high heaven and has zero credibility.

    For my part, I'd put my money on an indirect source of power induction in this test. Wireless energy transmission is a well understood phenomenon, and its not clear to me that a properly tuned system could be detected by this setup. Previously Rossi could have been surreptitiously providing the power through the ground circuit, but the experimental setup here appears to have guarded against that. The "delays" were thus a need by Rossi to develop a new spoofing method.

    Several astute commenters have pointed out that using an IR camera to perform thermal measurements is an odd choice. Why not measure temperature directly? Perhaps a remote induction system might interfere with delicate electronics which are placed directly on the target.

    The so called "meltdown" has all of the hallmarks of stagecraft. Taken as a whole, it seems incredibly premature to declare the E-Cat a success at this point.

    Hi TFisher,

    I agree that the whole thing is highly suspicious. On the other hand, it is also harmless - the authors have cornered themselves into oblivion by refusing to disclose the ingredients of their magic powder for the patent. I actually don't dislike this situation much - of course I'd prefer full scientific disclosure and understanding of what is behind the whole story, but at least this is not causing much damage, or at least it is not apparent to me.

    The cold fusion research is ignored with mainstream physics for the whole century. The first successful results were announced in 1926, but they never were replicated in peer reviewed press - after all, in the same way, like other later findings. The mainstream physicists have apparently better jobs, than to help the actual progress of human civilization. Yet they're asking another and another money for it.

    So cold fusion was discovered 3 years before it was worked out that fusion produces energy? And 6 years before the neutron? And 13 years before Bethe's nobel prize work for proposing the first step of the 4 proton cycle p + p->d + (e+) + nu_e

    Of course, the research of cold fusion is solely independent on the research of neutrons (which don't escape during cold fusion anyway). In the late 1920s, two Austrian born scientists, Friedrich Paneth and Kurt Peters, reported the transformation of hydrogen into helium by spontaneous nuclear catalysis when hydrogen was absorbed by finely divided palladium at room temperature. In 1927, Swedish scientist J. Tandberg stated that he had fused hydrogen into helium in an electrolytic cell with palladium electrodes. On the basis of his work, he applied for a Swedish patent for "a method to produce helium and useful reaction energy". After deuterium was discovered in 1932, Tandberg continued his experiments with heavy water. His application for a patent in 1927 was denied again, as he could not explain the physical process. The final experiments made by Tandberg with heavy water were similar to the original experiment by Fleischmann and Pons. Fleischmann and Pons were allegedly not aware of Tandberg's work. In 1959 R.J.Kokes and P.H. Anderson were studying adsorption of hydrogen on Raney nickel and observed “strange feature of exothermic reaction”. What they observed predated the Piantelli work by 30 years, and the
    Rossi catalyst by over 50 years...

    So, if the physicists wouldn't behave like an imbeciles living in their ivory towers, we could have cold fusion developed seventy years already. The contemporary energetic and subsequent financial crisis is just their job.

    So Cold Fusion has been going on since 1926? And to think that some people complain that Hot Fusion has been going on for too long without showing results...

    I can't believe this scam has gone on so long .... never send a physicist to do an electricians job ... the scam is basic stop thinking complex ... think real basic.

    The material the chemicals they are all misdirections like any good scam artist or magician.

    Go back and read the PDF report again note the power analyzer meter they are using and the claimed accuracy

    "PCE-830 Power and Harmonics Analyzer by PCE Instruments with a nominal accuracy of 1%."

    Now that's not quite true

    PCE-830 + PCE-6802
    Watts AC (50 or 60Hz, PF 0.5 up to 1) 5.0 to 999.9W / 0.1W / ±1% ±0.8W
    1,000 to 9.999kW / 0.001kW / ±1% ±8W
    10.00 to 99.99kW / 0.01kW / ±1% ±80W
    100.0 to 999.9kW / 0.1kW / ±1% ±0.8kW
    1,000 to 9,999kW / 1kW / ±1% ±8kW
    0.000 to 9.999MW / 0.001MW / ±1% ±80kW

    That's true so long as the power factor is between the range of 1.0 and 0.5 .. why because it's an averaging power meter it's current and power are true RMS BUT NOT POWER READINGS.

    Now they note that the unit chops on and off each phase 35% on and 65% off and they even note the voltage waveforms coming back are vastly different to that of a standard resistive load and detail it all in plots 4, 5 and 6.

    You have a chopped waveform that is not resistive ... any electrical engineer at that point would ask what is the power factor please .... now go read the article an see if you can find any mention of power factor of the device :-)

    In there defense they are physicists not electricians and before they got the gig the electrical engineers should have confirmed all the data.

    Fluke instruments notes that even a single diode rectifier will give an error reading low by 5-30% on a 3 phase supply with averaging meter

    With such horrid waveforms on the supply its hardly surprising the meter is reading an excess of power and the unit doesn't even have to do anything :-)

    It's a really basic scam the power factor is outside the power analyzer range and its reading wrong and you seem to be getting power from nowhere ... it's really coming off the grid.

    There is an extension of this scam into domestic electricity supply where they deliberately send the power factor to weird values to foul the meter readings the devices usually made in china.

    So no new physics to understand just a very basic scam playing to an audience not familiar with electrical engineering scams.

    I agree in general with what you say.

    So no new physics to understand just a very basic scam playing to an audience not familiar with electrical engineering scams.
    Which is also true of the Scientologists and their e-meters, which make deliberate use of unscreened and undamped meter movements and amplifier circuits to produce their woo wow look-at-that wild swings.
    Very interesting LdB, and it confirms my attitude that I would not have learnt much more by reading the paper more accurately than I did - I am no electrician! And I learn much more by reading comments in the thread, as usual...

    Thanks for the insightful comment.

    As an electrical engineer and designer the first and obvious question to me was if this thing really did create energy and apparently a lot of it why is it still connected to the grid?

    I mean if it was a few percent in the positive energy production I could cut some slack and say okay the process to convert the excess back to go self sustaining may cost more than that but supposedly the device produces 30-60% extra energy so why have they not made to go self sustaining? At that level of overproduction I could buy off the shelf parts and connect it up to go self sustaining so why haven't they done it?

    The answer to that tells you that being connected to the grid is somehow important to the device and it's miracle operation and that leads you directly to how the scam is working.

    Even from a practical sense for people stupid enough to believe the low energy fusion thing it is pretty well useless in terms of solving the worlds energy problems until it can be made self sustaining. Until you can do that you don't even have a viable generator you have nothing more than a science fair display for places that already have mains power.

    So for all you believers get Rossi to make it self sustaining and engineers might take you seriously, that is the unit can have a startup phase and then it must go self sustaining and be able to output excess power to an external load which is what by definition an electrical engineer calls a generator.

    LdB, I am not sure whether the scam is really here. As far as I can see, the PCE-830 measures also PF and harmonic distortions, so the manipulation of the Power Factor would be debunked. As for the waveforms - they actually measured the supply of the TRIAC before the modulation. Well it does not mean the supplied power was not modulated too, but the PCE-830 should be able to detect them. Or am I wrong?

    I guess they recorded all the data of the PCE-830, and although they are not in the PDF, I guess they could be requested. You can see a screenshot from the PCE-830 on this photo here:

    Just to remember everyone here that Rossi claimed in the eighties to be able to turn garbage into oil and tried to patent the process. The story ended quite badly: (only in italian, sorry)

    Google translation of the link you gave.

    ( Tarot-technology - I like the phrase.)
    That invention works, the story ended bad because the italian mafia made moves to shut them down. Don't take wikipedia as a primary source of information because all academic studies done on it reveal how corrupt the system is.

    Cold fusion is definitely real. It has been replicated in over 200 major laboratories, and over a thousand peer-reviewed journal papers have been published describing these replications. Rossi's claims are not as well established, but several other researchers such as Arata have published similar results, so it would not be surprising if Rossi is correct.

    For more information on cold fusion, please see:

    John Duffield
    Aw, I'm sceptical of Rossi, but not so sceptical of LENR because I've spoken at length with a guy in the field about sashaying under the Coulomb barrier in a BEC kind of way. Yes I think of induction heating and thermite and all the other ways to make that cylinder red red hot. But I have to say this: regardless of whether this is just some scam, why isn't CERN all-in on LENR and thorium and melting hadrons in a QGP and the things that might count? Instead of things that as far as the public and politicians are concerned, don't? And what if it isn't just some scam? What then? Where does that leave CMS and all the rest? I do wish CERN would come out with things like we are researching the secrets of matter and energy so that one day you won't have to put petrol in your car. Compared to that, things like "the mystery of mass" just doesn't cut it. Not when the Higgs mechanism is responsible for only 1% of the mass of matter. They're backing the wrong horse, and physics in the USA and Canada and the UK is paying for it.  
    Dear John, the answer to your question is simple. CERN deals with science, not pseudoscience. Cold fusion has no theoretical basis regardless of guys in the field and chat with them. Until this changes, few labs afford to invest in the idea.
    As for the rest, your argument seems a bit too wishful thinking to me.
    I personally disagree. As Werner Braun once said , "the basic research is when I am doing what I don't know what I am doing". Once you know it, then it's not a research anymore, but a stamp collection. Or do you believe, that the research of superconductivity or dark matter is impossible, just because we still have no reliable theory for these phenomena developed yet? In addition, it's not a true, that the cold fusion has not theoretical support - the problem actually is the quite opposite: we have too many theories for it in this moment.

    John Duffield
    Well said Zephir.

    Tommaso, with respect, you're wrong. CERN hosted an LENR colloquium last year, see, and inverse beta decay isn't some impossibility. 

    That's not to say Rossi is the real deal though.   
    Hi John,

    hosting a colloquium isn't exactly the same thing as investing a significant part of one's budget on a research topic...

    BTW. While heating/cooling curves of a "generic resistor" are in fact exponential, time dependence of the surface temperature of a cylinder with nontrivial thickness, heat conductivity and heat capacity and with the power source far from the walls is not. I'm not sure if this is solvable analytically, but, qualitatively, something like their Plot 3 may be expected, even if there's no power generation when the power source is off.

    Funny. I thought Lubos was dead or something - he hasn't commented here in a while.
    Quentin Rowe

    Wow - rational dialogue (mostly) about a controversial subject! I feel minds creaking open. Once again, I'm enjoying your brief adventures to the other side of the road, Tommaso.

    I too get frustrated, considering the importance of the field, that the commercial non-disclosure route has been taken. This only fuels distrust and speculation. Please, let the science in.

    Hi Quentin,
    I always leave the door open for out-of-the-box thinking. Of course that does not mean I am supporting scam and other pseudo-science activities; rather, that I wish others had the same kind of attitude, truely and in a non-compromising way. Science should be open, without the fear to be hijacked.
    Update from new report on Cold Fusion Tech:

    A independent international science team have studied the e-cat technology of Mr Andrea Rossi and the results are positive. The two tests ran for about 100 hours each.

    What "secret waveform" can one make using a triac-PSU and 230V/50Hz? Not that much. The power factor is a serious question mark, I agree.
    But there are two other issues I like to mention.
    The shadow of the resistors on the thermal images. They never show any proof the hot areas are not the resistors and the cooler ones the cylinder in between.
    The power generated is constant over the whole duration of the experiment. There is no falling power output because of fuel being used up. Either a perpetuum mobile or a huge overdose of fuel. I'd like to see this experiment repeated with a tenth and and about one percent of the fuel.

    "I don't think I am going to read the paper with more attention than I already used with it; this is not my field of research so I would not learn much more anyway." so "I continue to believe in the scam hypothesis... "
    All this says is "I have no idea what is going on, so I'll take the lazy, safe, way out by not decreasing my ignorance to the point where I can make a valid contribution/assessment, and call it a scam."
    As my friend Bugs would say; "Ehhhhh, what a maroon!!"

    And the response to that is easy this thing is a generator apparently and it is still connected to the mains ... why?

    We haven't even got to discussing some physics that supposedly is happening inside the black box without risking any disclosure Rossi could allow external parties to at least take control of the mains supply because his claim relies on a test that more power is coming back then going in so we need to take tight control over that.

    I don't care about the thermal images and anything else until I fist establish that the thing is creating excess power and that requires electrical engineers not physicists because as what happened in this test the physicist may miss so obvious electrical problems.

    Unknown probably to many physicists if you distort the supply waveform too much there actually is no way to calculate the power in or out easily and all meters will disagree with each other.

    Top of the range power analysers like yokogawa discuss the problem and will give you the formulas they use

    [quote]These defining equations are only valid for sinewaves. In recent years, there has been an increase in measurements of distorted waveforms, and users are measuring sinewave signals less frequently. Distorted waveform measurements provide different measurement values for apparent power and reactive power depending on
    which of the above defining equations is selected. In addition, because there is no defining equation for power in a distorted wave, it is not necessarily clear which equation is correct. Therefore, three different formulas for calculating apparent power and reactive power for three-phase four-wire connection are provided with the WT1800.[/quote]

    So before we get physicists probably wasting time and without Mr Rossi risking his invention how about we get electrical engineers to confirm it does produce extra power because for some reason Mr Rossi is unable to disconnect a power generator from the mains and that alone worries me.

    Hi Dennis,

    my assessment is clear: it is a scam.
    Whether it is a hidden power cable that gives power to the resistences bypassing the power meter, or a incorrect reading of instruments, I am not too interested to determine. Others have done it for me, and are more competent than I am. It's just a matter of deciding on one's time investment and returns.
    I just wanted to add my 2bits because I had looked at this back in Dec of 2011. How far had this project been pushed? Lubo shut down his comment section so I can't leave this comment there as well.

    SEE: Andrea Rossi's 'E-cat' nuclear reactor -

    People are getting all bent out of shape over nothing.  Talking about a paper is not 'I endorse it', it is instead 'I have a whole bunch of smart readers and this will be interesting to discuss with them'.  Fusion has been studied for 50 years and made little progress but if it gets studied for another 50 years and something comes of it, it will be worthwhile. It shouldn't get LHC-type funding obviously, but it gets something and that is fine.
    Thanks Hank, in fact my attitude is exactly the one you described.
    With all the switching power supplies being made, somebody can't figure out how to measure input and output power? As a minimum a low resistance non-reactive resistor in series could be calibrated by temperature and used to measure the power.

    I'm inclined to think there's something to LENR (but not necessarily what Rossi's selling). Platinum group metals have unusual electro-chemical properties, so I wonder if they can "pull" off the electrons, leaving nuclei constrained by the metal lattice, from here I can only imagine some sort of overlapping of wavefunctions, leading to a low energy reaction, but only low compared to what, multi-million degree nuclei colliding?

    Maybe the only fusion we know about gives us an incomplete view of what's possible. Remember if there's some probability for such a reaction, it will happen, and if we can recreate those conditions, well maybe we have something to work with.
    Never is a long time.
    In the case of this being a scam (or simply faulty setup) there is little to discuss, but I will proceed on the assumption that the device does in fact generate a surplus of energy (as heat).  

    That is a long way from actually generating electricity and even farther from generating electricity at an industrial scale.  The temperatures being produced are impressive, but significantly less than the temperatures generally used to produce steam for electrical generation.  If a large device could be operated in water to produce steam, then an industrial scale production could be feasible, but this is a long way from that.
    Low grade energy (like heat) is always problematic to convert to high grade energy (like electricity) and there are losses at each step of the way.  The higher the temperature produced, the easier it is to extract the work from the heat.  Hydrocarbon combustion reaches ~2,000K which is one reason why it is so useful.
    Any system that consumes electricity must produce significantly more energy than consumed before break-even is truly achieved.  The best coal plants are ~55% efficient at converting heat to electricity.  Even assuming the same efficiency (unlikely if higher temperature destroy the device) then the break even is > 180% of the energy consumed.  The data on page 24 indicates that this device is above that, but it would still require an efficiency of greater than 44% before true electricity surplus was generated.
    If this is legit, it is intriguing, but still a long way from being useful.  The simple fact is that electricity on an industrial scale is difficult and expensive to generate.  Low grade heat is not a good way to generate electricity.
    Hm, 500W in 0.2l is not that impressive. light bulbs have this kind of power density.

    It was suppose to be .3g of fuel.
    Never is a long time.
    yeah, supposed.

    and supposedly the unaccounted for wire running in does not carry any current.

    this guy is a crook, i'd bet my left arm on it. instead of staring at the machine the observers should rather have taken a look at the electricity meter, then they'd have known the answer.the simple fact that they didn't suffer severe radiation poisoning should also settle the matter - just compute the supposed gamma flux of .3g of nuclear fuel.

    As I said in other posts, I'm skeptical of Rossi, but less so of some kind of cold fusion effect. When it was first announced, I came up with a couple different possible designs, but didn't want to irradiate the kitchen of the townhouse I lived in, or my neighbors townhouses, thought that unneighborly.
    Never is a long time.
    Cold fusion continues to represent an area of complete failure in science.

    Multiple labs run the same experiments with similar or same equipment and get frustratingly different results.

    This is new science!

    We should be studying this as a priority but instead it get lost in talk of El Dorado.

    And by the way researchers have died running cold fusion experiments.

    If Rossi has a finished product (the three 1MW Cold-cats, aka “Blue Containers”) that he has already delivered to US customers (as per Rossi), why did he choose to run the test on something (the Hot-cat) that is in an very early stage of development?

    Could it be that he’s kicking the ball forward, hoping that we forget about the Cold-cat, and accept another couple of years of excuses about not bringing the Hot-cat to market?

    Any hypothesis is legitimate Jordi  - if it is a scam, then you may imagine ways by which one can continue to milk money from gullible investors.