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Published on Jan 27, 2011
Few areas of science are more controversial than cold fusion, the hypothetical near-room-temperature reaction in which two smaller nuclei join together to form a single larger nucleus while releasing large amounts of energy. In the 1980s, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleishmann claimed to have demonstrated cold fusion - which could potentially provide the world with a cheap, clean energy source - but their experiment could not be reproduced. Since then, all other claims of cold fusion have been illegitimate, and studies have shown that cold fusion is theoretically implausible, causing mainstream science to become highly speculative of the field in general. (PhysOrg.com)
Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi say that, when the atomic nuclei of nickel and hydrogen are fused in their reactor, the reaction produces copper and a large amount of energy. The reactor uses less than 1 gram of hydrogen and starts with about 1,000 W of electricity, which is reduced to 400 W after a few minutes. Every minute, the reaction can convert 292 grams of 20°C water into dry steam at about 101°C. Since raising the temperature of water by 80°C and converting it to steam requires about 12,400 W of power, the experiment provides a power gain of 12,400/400 = 31. As for costs, the scientists estimate that electricity can be generated at a cost of less than 1 cent/kWh, which is significantly less than coal or natural gas plants.
"The magnitude of this result suggests that there is a viable energy technology that uses commonly available materials, that does not produce carbon dioxide, and that does not produce radioactive waste and will be economical to build," according to this description of the demonstration.
Rossi and Focardi explain that the reaction produces radiation, providing evidence that the reaction is indeed a nuclear reaction and does not work by some other method. They note that no radiation escapes due to lead shielding, and no radioactivity is left in the cell after it is turned off, so there is no nuclear waste.
Giuseppe Levi, a nuclear physicist from INFN (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics), helped organize last Friday's demonstration in Bologna. Levi confirmed that the reactor produced about 12 kW and noted that the energy was not of chemical origin since there was no measurable hydrogen consumption. Levi and other scientists plan to produce a technical report on the design and execution of their evaluation of the reactor.
Also at the demonstration was a representative of Defkalion Energy, based in Athens, who said that the company was interested in a 20 kW unit and that within two months they would make a public announcement. For the Rossi and Focardi, this kind of interest is the most important.
"We have passed already the phase to convince somebody," Rossi wrote in his forum. "We are arrived to a product that is ready for the market. Our judge is the market. In this field the phase of the competition in the field of theories, hypothesis, conjectures etc etc is over. The competition is in the market. If somebody has a valid technology, he has not to convince people by chattering, he has to make a reactor that works and go to sell it, as we are doing."
Text from PhysOrg.com Video by Rossi and Focardi Music and titles by Gerard Cruz
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