James Martinez hosted LENR researcher David J. Nagel on his Ca$h Flow show Thursday, September 1. Go to the Achieve Radio Ca$h Flow archives to listen, or, download the .mp3 directly from Cold Fusion Radio page.
In the hour long conversation, Nagel talked about a new company, Nucat Energy, LLC, formed specifically to teach workshops and seminars on cold fusion for academics, industry, and researchers. They will be conducting their first short course on LENR entitled Perspectives on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions the weekend of October 3 and 4 in Crystal City, Virginia, near Washington DC.
[See Nucat Energy website]
If you want to participate in this new industry, there are other ways to learn about this science. According to Nagel, “you can read a few thousand [scientific] papers, you can find and talk to experts in the field, or you can hire consultants”, but this short, two-day course is designed “to be a cost effective way to get up-to-speed in the field”.
While they won’t have a working device there at the two-day seminar, “It’s soup to nuts, from fundamentals all the way up to current activities”, says Dr. Nagel.
Nucat, a “mash-up of the names nuclear and atom“, will provide lectures, talks, and access to the heavy-weights in LENR research. You’ll get to network with those in the field as well as the other attendees. At this time, current registrants for this first course include at least two investors.
Why now? “There’s just alot of interest”, says Nagel. “If this first go-around works out, the course will run about every six months in other locations. Twenty participants and they’ll break even, but “I’m not after the money, I’m after the educational part of this field”.
James remarked how “it is a different world today versus quite some time ago when I interviewed my first guest on this subject matter; now with Rossi on the map, the interest level has gone up 100% from what it used to be, because now it’s not an if, it’s a when situation. Are you open to people who want to show up who are investors, that want to get into this business?”
Nagel replied, “You know when you look at this field, the science is still wide-open, it is simply not understood what’s going on here. There are some people saying it’s entirely nuclear, some people saying it’s not at all nuclear, some people say it’s a mix of both. There are people saying it’s occurring on surfaces, people say it’s surfaces in bulk. I could go on, but the point is it’s wide-open science.”
“When you go from science knowledge to technology and capability, there are things separate from Rossi that are emerging, I think of Mitch Swartz‘ experiments from Jet Energy in Boston – you know he makes things move using energy from this. These technologies may or may not be important, and if they are, then they’re going to be developed. You said it well, when you said things are very different now. Rossi’s just put this whole thing on fast-forward.”
“The reality is, while there’s immensely more interest, it still hasn’t hit the major media, the New York Times, Time magazine, things like that. If Rossi does what he is planning to do, namely run a 1 Megawatt source for a couple of months, then, it is going to be big news.”
“You look back in history, 40 some days after the Fleischmann/Pons announcement 23rd of March in 1989, the covers of Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report I think it was, all had cold fusion on them. It could be a repeat of that if Rossi comes through.”
“Now meanwhile, as you undoubtedly know, I don’t know if your listeners do, there’s competition. You know the name Piantelli, he’s a professor of physics at University of Sienna in Italy and he started doing experiments on the nickel-hydrogen system which is what Rossi uses; that’s to be distinguished from the palladium-deuterium electro-chemical system that Fleischmann and Pons and many others use.”
“Piantelli started using the nickel-hydrogen gas-loading system in the early nineties, and he worked on it for a while. He was joined by Focardi. I remember one paper they produced that they got 40-50 Watts excess heat.”
“Then you move still further down the line, Focardi of course is allied now with Rossi, and if you listen to interviews with these guys on the web, I kid around by saying it’s like an Italian opera! Now, I don’t mean to denigrate them in saying that, but Piantelli says ‘I wish I hadn’t told Focardi so much’, Focardi says ‘I don’t know what Rossi has’ and Rossi say’s ‘I’m not telling anybody!’”
“Let me emphasize, I am not denigrating them, I have respect for all of them. They are very, very different, but nevertheless, when you look at things coldly, from the viewpoint of an investor, Rossi is the one whose getting the play. But meanwhile Piantelli is setting up a company to produce devices. I’ve heard various renditions of its name, I’m not going to say – I don’t know what’s right for the name of Piantelli’s company. But in any event, I basically like that because competition in a field like this is healthy.”
“Everybody wins. If they pace each other to do better jobs, that is, to produce equipment that is – you can fill in the blanks, more manufacturable, more reliable, more maintainable, etc, all the “-ilities” – manufacturability, liability, and so forth, that’s good.”
“But the neat thing is there’s plenty of action in this. There are so many applications of this technology that everybody can win.”
“I have a very deeply held and almost philosophical viewpoint. If you could use these sources to produce clean water, not only de-salination, but also the clean-up of dirty river water, think of the Ganges for instance, there are a billion+ people in this world who don’t have clean drinking water, and of course with it, have all kinds of health problems.”
“Imagine we’re twenty years down the road, and LENR sources, I use that instead of cold fusion as you know, and these low-energy nuclear reaction sources turn out to be reliable and small enough you can distribute them in a village and make clean water, the medical impact would be historic.”
“In fact when I get a little carried away and wonder if they couldn’t be in the same class as antibiotics and vaccines in terms of the impact on the world’s population.”
“I’m certainly interested in the possibility of heating homes, later producing electricity in a distributed fashion, not using a big central power plant, not burdening the grid. But the thing that most appeals to me in the larger sense is the possibility of making clean water.”
James then dropped the big one: did he know what Mr. Rossi’s formula was?
Nagel responded “I’ve seen his technology but I don’t know at all what his secret is. Now I’ve read the speculation, I have my own suspicions, but no, I am not on the inside of that loop and I don’t know anybody who is.”
“He undoubtedly, if he’s going to manufacture over 300 of these units to put them together to make the megawatt source next month, next month!, he must have engineers and technicians who actually understand what’s going into it, but I’m not in the know.”
“If I may, he calls them E-Cat, Energy Catalyzer, and the word ‘catalyzer’ is extraordinarily interesting. I mean you can’t catalyze nuclear reactions. The reason you can’t is because you can’t make the Coulomb barrier go away with some magic formula.”
“Well what can you catalyze? Why does he call it E-Cat? There are only two things that come to my mind is the splitting of H2 into its atomic atoms, H2 to two H’s. But that’s routine, that’s done in the petroleum and plastics industry all the time. Well what else?”
“Maybe he catalyzes the production of an environment that is necessary for LENR. But again, I have no idea. I hope to live long enough to learn it!”
Nagel is seeking permission to teach a graduate course next year at George Washington University, where he is a research professor, “set in the context of current perspectives in nuclear energy”, which would include LENR.
“It’s not a full course in LENR, it’s going to include fission energy and the prospects for fusion energy. Now, fusion energy is half-a-century off and yet it’s still getting, in round numbers, a quarter-of-a-billion dollars of funding in the US. There’s a 20 billion dollar experiment being built in the south of France for hot fusion, so those things need attention – to be fair to the students, frankly.”
“If I tried to offer a course entirely on LENR, which is not really in homes yet, not really an existing field of engineering and commerce, then I would probably get frowned on, but if I offer part of a course, then it works…”
“If it turns out that LENR goes the way many of us hope, that Rossi is successful, Piantelli is successful, one or the other, or both, and you start having [?] that you can buy, then it will be a no-brainer to offer a full course on it.”
Asked about the current attitude of scientists, and if it’s changed since Mr. Rossi’s discovery, inspiring them more, Dr. Nagel responded with
“I would say it’s not so much inspired scientists as investors. There’s a fellow whose involved with this, his name is PJ Keane, an Irishman, with a company called Re Research, and he said once you know something can be done, it’s a different situation, it’s a qualitatively different situation. That does attract different people to jump in. I’m aware of a few startups that haven’t announced yet that are essentially getting into position to join this march, if you will.”
The conversation turned to the serious business of the business of LENR.
James Martinez But here’s the thing, where the rubber meets the road, it’s that people with money, that have thrown money into R&D for all sorts of stuff, which in many cases goes nowhere, and people throwing money into cold fusion, the first question is, who owns it, is this patent pending? Why aren’t they patenting to make this attractive to investors? They bump full-stop regarding the ownership of this.
David Nagel You’ve got it exactly right. In the US, the Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office refuses to consider patents in this area.”
James Martinez If you don’t have the Patent Office agreeing to move this forwards, what’s the point?
David Nagel It’s an unsolved problem, and it’s a key problem. Now I have an attitude that some people don’t like and that is the Patent and Trademark Office issues a lot of worthless patents, and that’s not because they’re incompetent or anything, it’s just the nature of the business. People get a patent and it never goes anywhere. I’ve done it myself!
So, in a situation, where you inevitably have some patents that are not valuable, what do you lose by granting some patents in an area that has at least a chance of producing safe, clean, green, distributed nuclear power sources, and starting a new industry.
And just to take that a step further, there are several government agencies that have mission responsibility, the Department of Energy to make energy sources, the DoD which is a major user, the National Science Foundation in knowledge generation, The Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Commerce, specifically the Patent and Trademark Office, and there’s just a dribble of work in the DOD, but the DOE, the EPA, the NSF, and the Patent and Trademark Office are not discharging their responsibilities to the US taxpayer.
James Martinez This is the real issue to me. Who are these guys taking their orders from?
David Nagel I think I understand it along the following lines. I’ve talked to staffers in the office of the Vice-President, the Speaker of the House, several Congressman, several Senators, I’ve been in the Executive Department and all, universally, in one way of phrasing it or another, the people are saying ‘Dave, we’re not scientists. This is a scientific issue, have the science committee look at it.’
“I say, OK fine, where’s the national brain trust? You have the National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and the medical equivalent, the National Institute of Medicine,and they have the National Research Council, which does studies, and they’re very good studies, I’ve participated in some of them.”
“So somebody in the government wants a study done, they pay, I’m guessing, a couple million to the National Research Council and they organize a good group of people and conduct reviews and write a very well-organized and scrubbed report.”
“So I got in touch, I wrote a letter to the appropriate person in the National Research Council, and never got an answer back. I’ve got all these people distributed throughout the government, saying hey have the scientific community look at that. I go to a high enough level in the nation so that statements made by that level, the National Research Council, would be valued and actionable, and I can’t even get in the door to talk to them. I’m not selling them anything, I’m not asking for money. I’m just trying to inform them.”
James talked about a recently declassified document that claimed ‘the US wanted to lead the world’ in this area.
“The patent situation is a global situation. So what we have in the US is one thing, and I must interject, there are a few patents in this area that have been granted for odd reasons. But when you look at things globally, Piantelli has a patent, I think another patent application in Italy, Rossi has got applications I think in Europe as well, I’m not absolutely sure, it’s not the US, that I know of anyway.”
“We could get into a situation, we’re largely in it already, where this technology coming out as it did from the US, attracts defensible patents abroad that essentially mean we’re in a lose-lose situation. We don’t have the IP, the Intellectual Property, and therefore we don’t have the manufacturing base.”
“One of the nice things, you mentioned along the way about Rossi in Florida, and he is very much for the US. He is living in the US, he wants to stay in the US. I view that with an element of relief. So it could be, as a sort of an oddity, an accident, the intellectual property mess notwithstanding, that the US does not completely lose the ball here.”
James announced “Money is not the issue anymore. There’s loads of it ready to spend on this; now, today, ready to go. It’s the bureaucracy and a clogged up legal system that is stopping this. I know people that could do it, and are ready to do it, and they’re stopping cold. Investors are wondering, who’s going to own this?” James continued, “It’s a weird bizarre catch-22 situation. And everything stops in the tracks.”
“You mentioned something that is hopeful, and that is the possibility of a new nuclear industry. You know, if that happens, we’re going to have to educate a workforce to design, manufacture, install and maintain and, .. these managers, engineers, sales people and so forth. So it’s one of those things where the situation may just run over the Patent Office, for instance, where they get to a point where it is widely recognized, not only in the public but in Congress, that they are not doing their jobs in ignoring this area. Once that happens, then they’ll flip around and proceed reasonably, but that should’ve happened a long time ago.”
James then asked, “how long would it take in years to integrate this technology into our lives and businesses?”
“If you asked me that question a year ago, that is before Rossi burst on the scene, I would’ve said …eh… ten years, something like that, and now, I think I can say a few years, maybe a couple even. If Rossi demonstrates this megawatt source, makes a significant amount of money to essentially profit from what he’s done, then he, or the new American company Ampenergo, or the Greek company Defkalion, if they can start selling individual units, you know a few kilowatt units for use in homes or small factories and so forth, then it’s fast forward. It could happen.”
“Once it’s for sale, and if Rossi can make 330 of them, each with a sensor and a control element so that he can turn it up if one sags, and turn one down if it starts to get too hot, and put them in a box, and run them for an extended period of time, then he can make individual units and sell them. It’s a matter of will.”
“There’s a very vigorous argument about why isn’t he going at this from the low end and building up to the high end, the megawatt level, rather than jumping in at that [high power] level, and I don’t know, it’s undoubtedly a business decision. In any event, I say that if this integrated system works, I am quite confident myself that the small units, the individual units within it, will work as stand alone items.”
When asked if his primarily application interest is clean water, Dr. Nagel replied,
“Yes, and again I say it’s for almost a morality issue. Aids medicines are sold in Africa at reduced prices. What if we could sell into Africa and Bangladesh and bunch of other places, E-Cat or other LENR units at favorable prices, assuming that they are as they promise: safe, reliable, green, then it would be a dramatic thing. You know, you charge full price to the good folks in Orange County, but let’s give the folks in Botswana a break.”
“You still make money on it, don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about charity. I’m talking about a pricing structure that would help ensure that this technology is not just another technology, but it has an opportunity for beneficial impacts that go literally global.”
Nucat Energy LLC http://nucat-energy.com/
Mitchell Swartz JET Energy, Inc. Homepage
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