At first a musician and performance artist, one day she waltzed into Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and got a physics degree. Thinking that math might be easier, she then earned a Masters degree in Math at University of Miami in Miami, Florida. Math turned out to be not much easier, so now, she advocates for cold fusion, the easiest thing in the world. She has made several short documentary films and speaks on the topic. She currently teaches math at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California and conducts outreach events for the public to support clean energy from cold fusion.
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.”