I am an E-Cat Junky

Posted By on February 14, 2012

Andrea Rossi, with Swedish Physicists Hanno Essén and Sven Kullander, examining an experimental E-cat. Heat your home with “too cheap to meter” nickel and hydrogen?

Ok, I admit it. I have a new online hobby.

I like to follow websites featuring news about something called either CF (Cold Fusion), LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reaction), or LANR (Lattice Assisted Nuclear Reaction). At least those are the three most common names for this new and (to most of us anyway)  highly surprising development in modern science don’t seem to be too scarce.

Have I gone off the deep end?……Reader, you should know that I’ve been in the deep end for a few decades now, so its not really possible that I could have descended to any lower level of gullibility or whackability than I had yesterday.

And yet, something there is that doesn’t love a wall….

And when we get to the whacky world of what I’ll call for want of a clearly better term “Cold Fusion,” suddenly the walls are…..well, everywhere. There are walls inside of walls and across other walls and within ceilings and propping up floors that lead to nowhere.

O ya.  There are plenty of living scientists who don’t want the story of the Pons and Fleischman experiments of 1989 to ever be properly contextualized, historically speaking. That’s because given what we now know, based on a multitude of formal and informal studies by top electrochemists around the world, from NASA to SRI,  Pons and Fleishman were correct. Yes, it sure looks that way (again???!!!): The guys who presumed to be defending “science” were actually patho-skeptics addicted to a partial view of reality and a cushy government income.

It is true. Put the right combination of elements — usually Palladium and Hydrogen, or Nickel and Hydrogen — in solution, and run an electric current through it. You can release anomalous amounts of excess heat almost as if you’ve tapped into the fabled “zero energy” field where the 2nd law of thermodynamics is suddenly suspended and you seem to be generating energy from…..nothing.

You’ve achieved the impossible of creating an an over-unity device.

This is one reason so many otherwise intelligent people resisted the Pons and Fleischman discoveries. The empirical evidence was contradicting what they already knew was true: you can’t get something out of nothing.

Unless, of course, you happen to live beneath a waterfall, in which case, until you understand the dynamics of the hydrological system, you could easily be persuaded your source of power was magic and a form of “getting something out of nothing.” But in that case you would not have learned the second law of thermodynamics and would not know any better.

This is just an under-educated guess, but if my life depended on an answer as to why cold fusion remains such a knotty one in electrophysics — insofar as it is about science and not about politics — I would have to go back to the 19th century debates over the existence of the “ether” — something today’s top “outside the box” researchers are calling the “atomic wind.” That’s an idea that got pretty thoroughly demolished in the early 20th century. I don’t understand all the scientific arguments, but take my word for it, saying that you believe in “ether” or “atomic wind” is  not a good thing to put on your physics grad school application.

But there were plenty of other reasons why top physicists hated CF as well. Research funding being an  important one.

“Hot Fusion” research was, and still is, big business. You and I have spent billions on it, and seem destined to spend at least many hundreds of millions more, looking at the DOE 2012 funding request, which doesn’t request a penny for CF.  Huge checks are written, both for infrastructure and personnel to perfect Hot Fusion. If you like the idea of an energy future in which energy is still generated centrally and put out over the grid, with all of the huge problems, both environmental and social, which are the consequence of such an arrangement, then Hot Fusion is just your cup of tea.

It’s all about superheating huge jets of plasma contained primarily by a magnetic field – since you can’t let the plasma contact a physical barrier without triggering big problems. Very conducive to the propagation of the technocratic elite who will guard everyone else from dangerous filaments and ideas.

Hmmm…..somehow I think that Buckminster Fuller or E. F. Schumacher would go for “Plan B.” See if you can make cold fusion work. Ha! What a bunch of idealists.

Pons and Fleischman were driven out of academia and Fleischman went to work for Toyota in Spain. Both were highly respected scientists, and Fleischman was at the time one of the most highly respected chemists in the field, second to none in credibility. It made no difference. Overnight he became one of the worst of men to be around: an idealist who had been scorned by the powerful and mighty of the world.

So, what gives when we find out a mere thirty years later that the powerful and mighty were full of hot air? CF has been replicated in dozens of labs all over the world?

The proof is in.

Pons and Fleischman were not “miss-measuring the heat.” Whatever you call it, and whatever the electrochemistry and physics of the thing is — for it stands at the crossroads between those two formerly distinct fields of human inquiry — it’s real.

Which brings us — with great apology to all those who worked so tirelessly in the interim and on whose shoulders the energy specialists of tomorrow will surely stand — to February, 2011. Why Now?

Well, there seem to be a growing number of signs that CF technology is about to make a giant step for mankind — out of the lab and into the marketplace.

If you are one of those readers who thinks that this is all about a crazy man in Italy named Andrea Rossi who spent time in jail after earning his PhD from a possibly less-than-reputable institution of higher learning and sounds to some people like a megalomaniac, I’ve got news.

Listen to what Gerald Celente was saying in January, 2011 about an imminent paradigm shift in energy production technology. Right now the spotlight — and not without reason — is on Rossi, and his erstwhile competitors, the Greek Company Defkalion.

Rossi’s the guy who in October, 2011, staged a highly successful test of his CF “E-cat” reactor (at least according to most estimates), with a number of very high profile scientists in attendance, most of whom seemed to think that the E-cat passed with flying colors. Naturally doubts remained among some watchers-on that somehow Rossi was gaming the test, but to my knowledge none of those actually in attendance has made such arguments (with the possible exception of Stephen Krivit, editor of a blog called New Energy Times that has expressed numerous complaints about Rossi’s methodology and ethics, but in whom many watchers do not place too much credibility).

Rossi  now says he’s through testing and is going into production. The goal?  A Florida factory, highly robotized, able to produce a million E-cats a year for the domestic heating and cooling market, sold through…..Home Depot. Cost to consumer $600-800 for a unit that will heat and possibly cool your home (add on some more for plumbing to hook the device up to your existing heat distribution system).

Fuel cost?  The fuel is nickel and hydrogen. Perhaps $20/yr – in a cartridge replaced by a technician or a homeowner every six months.

Sound crazy?  You aren’t alone.

And it gets worse. As nice as it might be for you and I to heat our houses and apartments for 1/10 the cost we currently pay, we have to stop and consider the economic consequences of what some are already calling “Fire 2.0.”   This is not a pretty picture.  The economic dislocations that we are in for if CF is indeed on the edge of commercialization are not going to be easy.  In the long run, the world will be way better off. But getting there will not be a rose garden either.

Anyway, I’ve been holding off writing this blog to wait and see a little longer what would happen. But at this point, it’s “what they hey.” If you don’t already know about this, you should. The only reason you don’t is that the mass media of the United States and probably the rest of the world is so up to its ass in corporate malfeasance (witness the long overdue dismemberment of the corrupt Murdoch news empire taking place now in England) that they can’t be bothered to report anything like this until its so far gone it can’t be stopped anymore.  You can imagine what GE, which has many media holdings, including big chunks of NBC and therefore MSNC, thinks about the E-cat.

By-by nuclear power. By-by $4.00 a gallon gas. By-by war as an energy policy.

Of course, it may all be a mass hallucination. But you don’t have to wait long now to find out. Defkalion is reported to be starting a series of seven independent tests of its Hyperion technology…..next week. Notwithstanding the rumpus between Defkalion and Rossi (they were at one point going to partner, but never made it to the altar), if those tests are positive they will silence the majority of the “skeptics” not only on behalf of the Greek company, but Rossi as well.

Don’t hold your breath just yet, but this could be the best news story of the decade, if not the century….:)

About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


5 Responses to “I am an E-Cat Junky”

  1. Lurking Ox says:

    Roger, speaking as a person who has been involved in the energy markets (to varying degrees of gainfulness) for nearly as long as you have been in the deep end, I must say that the AQ is not nearly so perverse or serpentine as the pool you are dabbing your toe into currently (and my metaphors are mixed on purpose, as illustration). Rather than write 20pp, which is where it would end up if I started, I will be brief: If you want to see the future of cold fusion (and this is the most optimistic version), look at the history of natural gas as a motor fuel.


  2. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Have any good links?


    This is a pretty good general video not linked in the above blog entry.


    There are about six or seven new blogs, all sprung up over the last year or so, on the Rossi saga. Although the mainstream media (with the exception of Forbes and MSNBC – which has distinguished itself for publishing total crap in place of news) is ignoring the story, its all over the blogosphere – an interesting disconnect in itself.

  3. Lurking Ox says:

    There is not a single link I could give you that would explain it satisfactorily but I will give you the numbered paragraph version: 1) 1 bbl of crude contains ~6x the energy of 1Mcu ft of natural gas (=mmbtu). 2) Hvy sour(ish) brent crude trades at ~$119.4 per bbl (current on nymex) while ng trades at $2.40 mmbtu (current on nyex) 3) Converted to boe (barrel of oil equivalent) ng is trading at $14.40 per barrel 4) political comment removed 5) Crude is currently trading at 8.5x the ng boe 6) The US had NO energy policy 7) political comment removed 8) NG E&P is largely dominated domestically by independent small to midcap corps 9) Oil is dominated by large/mega cap integrated oil corps 10) Cornell & Duke have done “studies” that proved or implied that ng is “dirtier” and worse for the environment than coal 11) a documentary was released showing flammable kitchen tap water in its trailer 12) fraccing might cause earthquakes 13) propane conversion from gas burner was widely done for 30 yrs in this country without event, costing $3 break even pt (did I mention it trades at 2.40?) 24) ng firms cannot flare. 25) The New York Times did a story 26) #25 is a series by IU (I refuse to type his name). You should read it. I think he won an award. If you find you have some free time you might check his facts. 27) We pay $1BB per day to countries that hate us for their oil. 28) #27 is the tip of the iceberg for what it costs us to protect that asset. 29) Big Oil is a net buyer of natural gas leases in this country.30) The US govt is paying its citizens to light their corn on fire. 31) #30 caused rice prices to soar in Asia and isolated pockets of starvation (Asians died, Iowa farmers built $1MM lake houses and caught their corn on fire) 32) ng is the least expensive fuel/catalyst for electricity production, but look at the studies that are conducted, and what is released 33) Pennsylvania has been on fire since the 1950s, town deserted 34) Did I mention that the US has no energy policy? 35) about 150 more things but…. 36) methane hydrates B) if ng is priced below break even and sitting at decade lows and there is a glut (from shale oil, etc – which the “mainstream opinionators” say doesn;t even work), who is making the money? Are you seeing it in your utility bills?

    My point is that crude is probably the worst option, ng is far cheaper, perhaps far more abundant, less environmentally hazardous, easier to transport (look at the ng infrastructure already in place, to nearly every home already).It has known to be cleaner for 50 years and for longer than that we have known HOW to convert. It burns in the same kind of engine. But have we done anything? Ask yourself why not. Hint: And the answer is not because of Big Oil.

    And just as a little brain teaser: have you ever wondered if hydrocarbons, popularly known as “fossil fuels”, might really be abiotic? Well, either “fossil fuels” are not really “fossil fuels” or several major accepted geological theories are wrong. It’s really neither here nor there but…

    Imagine 150 more pts and 5-6 paragraphs on each one plus copious commentary….

  4. Roger Stritmatter says:

    Hi there Lurking Ox.

    Thanks for the illuminating and fact-filled post. Some of what you have said I think I already knew, but even on those points it is useful to have clarification from an expert in energy markets. I am undecided on the dangers of NG extraction, although I definitely support a cautious “go slow” approach as I am aware of the possibility of extreme hazards such as you mention. Agree completely on the lack of energy policy by US – a gigantic shame on the leadership of the nation, both parties included, for over thirty years and running now. I was saying in the 1990s, during the first gulf war, “War is Not an Energy Policy.” Damn me if I sound like a broken record in 2012.

    Regarding hydrocarbons not being “fossil fuel” — yes indeed, I have read up on both sides of that debate for a few years. Again I can’t decide which view I believe for sure, although I would agree that the heretics make some significant arguments that deserve more attention from the mainstream than the get. Bottom line, though, even if this is true I don’t see much available evidence for old wells refilling at a rate that would reduce the threat of impending economic collapse from peak oil. Its all fine and dandy to say that “technology will find a way,” but when we look at the present high costs of energy, and such environmental (and verging on the apocalyptic) debacles as the recent gulf oil spill, we have to realize that we are not on a good path at the moment.

    Which brings me to LENR. This stuff is real. Check it out:

    Among the high profile replicators of the phenomenon is….NASA. Listen to Joseph Zawodny, a top NASA researcher in the field:


    Note – as if on cue, a few days after the release of this remarkable video, Zawodny issued a sort of mea culpa stressing that he was not saying that Rossi’s device worked or that LENR was on the verge of commercialization. “Of course not. Nasa would not say something like that, Sir! We will retract immediately….” You get the point. This is political beyond imagination.

    Michael McKubre at SRI (yes, Stanford Research Institute) is one of the top experts in the field:


    At the LENR-CANR site you can find a library of experimental protocols and results from labs all over the world over the past more than two decades:


    Andrea Rossi’s *Journal of Nuclear Physics* site features state-of-the-art discussion by some of the top researchers in the field:


    Would you believe that CERN is sponsoring in March a LENR colloquium? Well, they are.


    And, although the 2012 DOE budget contains nary a word nor a penny for LENR research, private dollars are starting to flood into the sector. Not only are Rossi and Defkalion attracting large amounts of venture capital (with no public details known at this time), private philanthropist Sidney Kimmel has just given U Missouri 5.5 million to pursue LENR research:


    Bottom line? Within as little as a few months, the world *may* no longer be faced with the devil’s choice between NG and Oil. We may have a plentiful, reliable, clean, inexpensive, decentralized new source of energy. The same one Pons and Fleischman tried to show us in 1989, but we (or at least some of us) were too self-absorbed to pay attention to.

    On Feb. 24 representatives of the Greek government is scheduled begin testing Def. “Hyperion” units (http://www.defkalion-energy.com/news). Assuming that test goes forward, the results should be available shortly after that. If the results are positive, that may not remove the doubts of every last skeptic – but considering that these tests are the first of seven scheduled tests, each run by an independent entity, it seems unlikely that in the current economic crisis esp. the Greek government would condone anything but the most rigorous test. The implications are huge. If the units function as claimed, by-by along with the rest of the baddies noted in my post above, to the Greek fiscal crisis…..That’s how big this is, one way or another……



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