It’s been just 3 weeks since ICCF-19 concluded in Padua and one week since my return. I’ve been asked many times what I learned at this event and what was important.
Of course, that question is unfair: many important things occurred in the course of the week. I may not have actually appreciated the main significance of a good number of them. But for me, a highlight was seeing Dr. Alexander Parkhomov in person and watching his courageous response to the barrage of questions he received as he stood at his poster, his granddaughter by his side acting as interpreter.
Dr. Parkhomov delivered a Christmas gift to the world on December 25, 2014 when he published the video of his boiling-water demonstration of a Cold Fusion effect. Far too many words have been devoted on the Internet, such as on CMNS Google group chat site to the uncertain interpretation of the temperature measurements that he reported as being associated with this experiment. He reported, in fact, boiling water away to produce steam at a rate that maximized out at 2.74 to 1 over the amount of electrical energy that he was supplying to his unit. He did this with his ceramic stick version a ceramic “dog bone” reactor (using Rossi nomenclature) which glowed yellow hot at 1100° in his video (at 149:30 minutes into the first video). Notwithstanding the diversion on CMNS over his temperature measurements (the temperature profile that he reported over the time of his experiment), I’m still convinced that his 2+ to 1 measurement of energy as based on replacing boiling water, even if he did it with the kitchen measuring cup, is the most important event to have occurred in the past year.
Dr. Parkhomov was endeavoring to replicate the experiments done under the guidance of Andrea Rossi at Lugano, Switzerland in March, 2014, reported in October, 2014 by observers from Sweden. But Rossi never disclosed what his “magical ingredients” were. Dr. Parkhomov was quite open: powdered nickel and lithium aluminum hydride – LAlH4.
I largely accepted and believed the video that was posted on the Internet and the associated information provided by Dr. Parkhomov both at the time that it was released and subsequently. In contrast, others persisted in casting doubts on this entire demonstration because of the temperature data that had been provided. However, for me seeing this humble 70-year-old retired physicist from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia answering questions, answering the barrage of questions at ICCF-19 through the assistance of his very talented granddaughter validated in my mind that there was no fraud or mistake here. This was a genuine scientist who’d made a great step forward. For me this was the most important event that occurred at ICCF-19. I’m glad that Dr Parkhomov was honored by having, at his request, attendees assemble around his poster to pose questions to him.
Here’s my agenda: I think that the field needs to pursue new, focused and creative experiments that will lift the veil on this ColdFusion/LENR Mystery. Numerous experiments have been done in the past 26 years and there’s still no theory to explain the “magical” excess heat effect. Yes, there is a need for theoretical review, and the secret that everyone is seeking might be hidden in the 26 years of research reports that have issued. But, in my view, there needs to be a focus on new experiments that will lift the veil. The Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project is pursuing this objective.
Recently I tried to describe to a Cold Fusion enthusiast and friend how I would take the Parkhomov arrangement and introduce variants that would help elucidate what is going on. Here’s what I propose:
1) turn the apparatus so that it’s oriented vertically, particularly the pressure chamber containing the powdered nickel and the metal hydride
2) surround and contain the pressure vessel with a highly insulative environment. If necessary, employ a Dewar vacuum flask or other arrangement appropriately modified to tolerate containing an internal temperature of 1400°C.
3) Stack the materials in the pressure containment vessel so that they are vertically separated. For example, the powdered nickel could be on a higher platform and the lithium aluminum hydride could be on a lower platform.
4) This entire structure is going to be raised to a temperature of 1100° – 1300°C. This can be achieved, optionally as was done by Dr Parkhomov, by enclosing the pressure vessel in a ceramic cylinder and wrapping heater wire around the cylinder. Alternately, the heater wire could be wrapped on a cage of support material, e.g. glass rods, or even multiple narrow panels of Mica. Another heat loss control arrangement, along with a wide-mouthed Dewar flask, could include multiple sheet metal cylinders surrounding the red hot core. If the pressure vessel were in the form of a cylinder with a cylindrical pipe in the core, heat could be provided from this inner core. Howsoever done, external heating must be provided. But heat should be free to escape only at the top.
5) Measuring the heat emitted could be obtained by a variety of calorimetry methods, but I like the boiling water variant.
6) The 1st experiment would be to see whether separating the metal hydride from the nickel powder affects the excess heat that we expect to be generated.
7) As an alternative other solid-state sources of hydrogen could be placed on the lower shelf to serve as a source of hydrogen. If excess heat still arises we could conclude that lithium is not essential for this effect to occur. Other sources of hydrogen could include magnesium hydride – MgH2; calcium hydride – CaH2; sodium borohydride -NaBH4 as examples. This will establish whether the lithium or aluminum is an important part of the reaction.
8) Some of these metals, e.g. lithium may have a significant vapor pressure sufficient to expose lithium vapor to the powdered nickel. Placing a Palladium hydrogen filter disk between the higher and lower platforms would allow only hydrogen to access the nickel.
9) Once it’s established that an excess heat effect is occurring, many parameters could be varied to learn the response of the excess heat effect to:
a) the temperature of the pressure vessel, including the temperature of onset for the formation of excess heat and the effect of the rate of increase in temperature;
b) the amount/pressure of hydrogen gas in the pressure vessel, once released from the metal hydride;
c) the role, if any, of collateral metals , including not only metal components of the hydrogen emitting hydride, but also additional metals that can be mixed with the powdered nickel or be allowed to contact the nickel as a vapor;
d) the role, if any, of the use of an electrical heater that may emit magnetic fields and may be operated in either AC or DC mode; alternate heating, e.g. natural gas may be employed, fed through a central tube lined with a catalyst;
e) the substitution of other powdered or finely divided metals for the nickel powder (Palladium is an obvious 1st example, followed by titanium);
f) the substitution of deuterium gas for the initial hydrogen used to establish an excess heat effect; and
g) other variants as a fertile imagination may suggest.
Some people may be objecting: “Where’s the calorimetry?” Or more typically: “Where are the highly accurate measurements?” The point is that the boiling water method of heat measurement is totally satisfactory to validate whether an excess heat event is occurring. Once the coefficients of performance – COP – are well above 1:1 it is not necessarily to quibble about accuracy. Purists may wish to circulate water at a constant temperature in a chamber mounted above the heat source and weigh the amount of water associated with a stabilized temperature elevation. If the side walls and bottom of the reactor are extremely well insulated, this should provide the accuracy that so many insist must be achieved.
Some may say that the Parkhomov’s demonstration is just a reflection of the earlier work of Andrea Rossi. But that is not the best observation to make at this time. When such observations are made, even if true, they simply act as a diversion from discussing the key issue. The key issue is:
What experiments can be done that will lift the veil on the ColdFusion/LENR process?
Let’s stay focused on this central issue! Meanwhile ……
Dr Alexander G Parkhomov deserves credit for having openly and publicly shared his experiment and results with the World. Rossi, even if he may have been first to achieve similar effects, has always maintained a degree of secrecy around his process. If this results in Rossi getting a head start in the marketplace then his reward will be the profits that he will reap from that head start. Meanwhile, I give credit to a retired physics professor from Russia who showed both imagination and generosity in sharing a major advance in this field for the benefit of humanity.
David J French
David French is a retired patent attorney and the principal and CEO of Second Counsel Services. Second Counsel provides guidance for companies that wish to improve their management of Intellectual Property. For more information visit: www.SecondCounsel.com.
In mid-April the 19th International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF-19) took place in Padua, Italy and was attended by some 470 scientists, cold fusion bloggers, entrepreneurs, and the merely interested. The first of these conferences was held back in 1990 in the wake of the University of Utah announcement that two of its chemists had discovered a new way to release energy from the atom. The 1990 conference, however, was resoundingly ridiculed by the American Physical Association and was said to be nothing but a gathering for crackpots, pseudo-scientists, and fraudsters. However, over the decades, the conferees continued to gather in cities around the world, with some 100-300 usually in attendance. Many of those who came to the conferences were scientists who had been able to reproduce the “anomalous heat” that the University of Utah researchers had observed prior to their announcement in 1989. Most of the presentations were way down in the scientific weeds and were comprehensible only to those with considerable knowledge of particle physics, so the conferences drew little attention.
In the last couple of years, however, the tide has turned. Although Cold Fusion is still anathema to many in the U.S. and more importantly to the U.S. Department of Energy, scientists in several countries around the world are starting to see that the technology works, that it could be at least a partial solution to many of mankind’s problems, and are starting to talk about developments in the field to their local press. Most, however, continue to be unaware of recent progress in developing this new source of energy or are too wedded to their prejudices to even consider new evidence.
This year the most important development in cold fusion, unless overtaken by a competitive technology, is the acceptance test of the Rossi/Industrial heat, 1 megawatt, cold fusion reactor, which currently is underway at customer factory in the US. The engineer and entrepreneur, Andrea Rossi, who developed the first working commercial application of a cold fusion reactor, did not attend the ICCF-19 conference. However, his CEO Tom Darden of North Carolina based Cherokee Investment Partners and its subsidiary that is developing the cold fusion reactors, Industrial Heat, attended for the first time.
While many were hoping that Darden would give a progress report on Industrial Heat’s acceptance test of its first fusion reactor, they were disappointed. Darden talked only in generalities as to how he became involved with cold fusion, his dedication to the technology as a way of solving the carbon emissions problem, and his interest in financing similar projects. Two or three journalists who attended the conference however, reported being told by a “credible” source, possibly Darden, that the 400-day, 24/7, acceptance test of the one megawatt reactor is going well after several months. Rossi, who is spending full time monitoring the acceptance test, has been saying lately that the reactor has been running in the “self-sustained” mode a good piece of the time which means that it does not require any outside energy to stimulate the heat-producing reaction.
As has been the case for 25 years, mainstream media coverage of the conference was scarce to non-existent. In addition to his formal address to the conference, Darden who seems to be one of the more knowledgeable people around concerning what it going on in the field, gave a lengthy interview to a blogger. In the interview, Darden revealed that he was funding other cold fusion projects, but did not give any details.
During the interview Darden said primarily that he wants to use this technology to stop global warming and not just to make money from a new source of energy; that he invested millions of his own money in Rossi’s technology only after many tests and careful due diligence; and that he is convinced that Rossi’s or a similar technology will have major impact on the world. He notes that a cheap source of clean energy, which is exactly what cold fusion promises to be, is what mankind needs at this juncture.
Another star of the conference this year was the Russian physicist Parkhomov, who successfully reproduced Rossi’s cold fusion reaction earlier this year and has been sharing the details of his experiments with interested parties all over the world. This has made him a folk hero among those who are hard at work attempting to create still more replications of the reaction.
As could be expected many of the presentations were highly technical, and ranged from new ways of making the cold fusion reaction more reliable to aeronautical applications and even mutating radioactive waste into harmless substances. The Russians, with their ongoing Chernobyl problem, are particularly interest in this aspect of the science.
This conference was notable for it may be the last one to be ignored by the mainstream media. Should the Rossi/Industrial Heat year-long trial of a working commercial reactor be successfully completed by the time the next conference comes around, public and government perception of cold fusion could well have changed markedly. A working commercial scale reactor, which is open for public inspection, will be very difficult for skeptics to deny or ignore.
Next year’s conference will be held in Japan with a subsidiary conference in China. India was also a bidder for the honor. After 25 years, cold fusion looks like it is on a roll.
“There were many high points,” said Michael McKubre, who spoke at the conference on Cold Fusion for CMNS Present and Projected Future Status.
Steve Katinsky, one of the leaders in the formation of the new LENR Industry Association said, “I would describe an undercurrent of anticipation.”
“Though this is only my third ICCF conference, something intangible was different in Padua,” Katinsky said. “While it is hard to know for sure, perhaps it is the precursor to a tipping point, and a subsequent acceleration of resources and activities in the field.”
Michael McKubre wrote a history of the ICCF conferences for the event, now archived on ICCF19 website. “I wrote the conference histories in groups of three for practical reasons, but these blocks do cycle progressively in tone. ICCF19 was the start of a new cycle and definitely felt that way.”
“I keep fairly abreast of technical progress, so for me the positive results of all conferences, except the first few, have mostly been the aspects of interpersonal bonding and team building. For this conference, with many newcomers, a major benefit was the possibility to get to know members of the next generation,” he said.
Technical talks paired with policy-making
“Scientists are generally interested in the practical aspects of LENR, and entrepreneurs want to understand the science,” said David Nagel, formerly of the Naval Research Lab and currently a professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. who spoke on High Power Density Events in Lattice-Enabled LENR Experiments and Generators.
He found the talks on “materials from Coolescence, SKINR and ENEA to be very good. Much progress has been made on understanding experimental procedures to achieve high loading of deuterons into Pd,” he said.
Katinsky agreed, “The talks and posters overall were very good.”
“Mitchell Swartz’s work that Peter Hagelstein presented in Padua always captures my imagination. David Kidwell in his Q&A talked about having too much He4, and I would like to hear more about that, and I was intrigued by Mark Davidson’s presentation.”
“For me, in addition to a great range of scientific reports, were the talks of Tom Darden and Mike McKubre.”
Katinsky said, “There was both formal presentations and posters, and informal conversations and socializing; that together made for a very rewarding conference experience.”
LENR Industry Association is forming
Conversations with Steve Katinsky about the new LENR Industrial Association (LENRIA) were both very productive and pleasant,” Nagel said. “We get a lot done when we can talk.”
Katinsky added, “We had many requests for slides and information on membership, for when it opens. While commercial activity is nascent, this is the right time to get started.”
Asked how they will move forward from here, Katinsky replied, “We are close to having our initial web site up, where people and companies can register to be notified when membership opens. Also, many of the materials we have developed in support of forming the association shall be available there. Next, our efforts shall turn to seeking contributions to help with costs, and to developing our membership and some initial services.”
“Our formation of LENRIA might be somewhat early,” said Nagel, “but that, if so, is wrong in the right direction.”
Biggest crowd yet
A relatively large number of people attended, although the final count is now available yet.
Nagel said, “I also had a good conversation with Lowell Wood, an old friend from Livermore, who has followed this field for many years.”
Lowell Wood attended ENEA Labs with Bill Gates and entourage when they were educated on the latest science by Vittorio Violante.
Katinsky liked “having the opportunity to get to know better the journalist Mats Lewan, Mike Nelson from NASA, Robert Godes of Brillouin Energy Corporation, David Kidwell of NRL and Mel Miles.
“The Great Hall was exquisite and the Orchestral start was sublime,” said McKubre.
However, the large room lacked intimacy.
“There was large attendance in an even larger hall that diminished speaker – audience connection. Overall there was a conspicuous absence of in-depth discussion and the configuration and acoustics were not particular;y conducive.”
“A lot of original attendees were prevented from attending by age or worse, and a lot of new faces were present. Obviously the presence of many new faces is only good but it meant that many old questions needed to be asked and answered again.”
Open Power collaborated with MFMP in Parkhomov Padua
One group had wanted to present their work to the community, but were not able to be scheduled in the program.
Luciano Saporito of the Open Power Association said, “We are ready to talk about our work everywhere we will have invitation: but our patent speaks for itself…”
“We are engaged in experiments,” said Ugo Abundo, a lead researcher at Open Power.
“In perfect style of Open collaboration, we contributed along with MFMP during a Parkomov replication at Padua during the Conference.”
“As Bob Greenyer said: ‘We would very much like to work together with you again. I was VERY impressed with the willingness to help in Italy in general.'”
The results of the conference remain to be seen, but participants are going home with a big to-do list.
“From here it is a short step to victory,” says McKubre. “Resources are entering the field. If we can find some commonality of action to ensure that the sum is greater than the parts then we will all win. I am highly encouraged.”
“One of the highlights of ICCF19 definitely was ICCF20. With the next continental rotation returning to Asia (and Oceania) it was surprising and unprecedented that four countries were seriously interested in hosting the next conference: China, Japan, India, Russia.”
“The IAC was faced with the happy need to make the diplomatic decision to hold the primary conference at Tohoku University in Sendai, on the East Coast of Japan, with a satellite meeting follow on meeting at Xiamen University on the East Coast of China.”
The last day of the 19th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science officially closed today with Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project’s Open Live Science test of Alexander Parkhomov‘s fuel.
The Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project streamed live on location in Padua – *GlowStick* – Parkhomov Fuel on Apr 17, 2015.