New (?) Piantelli group patent

The title of a patent application recently filed by the Piantelli group has been revealed on the Italian Patent and Trademark Office website:

metodo e apparato per generare energia mediante reazioni nucleari di idrogeno adsorbito per cattura orbitale da una nanostruttura cristallina di un metallo

That is, “Method and Apparatus for Generating Energy through Nuclear Reactions of Hydrogen Adsorbed by Orbital Capture to a Metal Crystalline Nanostructure*”. If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, it’s because the Piantelli group filed a patent application on April 26 of this year with the exact same title. This newer patent application was filed on July 14. Presumably it covers a different aspect of the Piantelli group’s work than the April patent. Or perhaps it’s an amendment to the April patent. Because the contents of either patent are unknown, it’s difficult to say. The April patent will be published on October 27, 2012. The newer patent will be published on January 15, 2013. In most countries patent applications must be published 18 months after they are filed.

Also, as mentioned in an update to my last post, Peter Gluck is reporting that Francesco Piantelli and Roy Virgilio are collaborating on a book titled Galileo e il metodo scientifico attraverso i secoli, or Galileo and the scientific method during the ages.

*My translation, made for this post. After taking the time to read through the hypothesis proposed in Piantelli’s 2008 patent application, however, I feel that the phrase “hydrogen adsorbed by orbital capture” is incorrect, because the adsorption is a process that happens before the orbital capture. Any corrections by those who speak Italian are welcome.

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Related posts:

Viareggio Cold Fusion conference: science, politics, and an Italian competitor — Ivy Matt July 23, 2011

Roy Virgilio releases more details on Piantelli’s research — Ivy Matt July 25, 2011

Roy Virgilio on Piantelli, plus the 2008 Piantelli hypothesis — Ivy Matt August 16, 2011

Roy Virgilio on Piantelli, plus the 2008 Piantelli hypothesis

After a vacation of several weeks, Roy Virgilio has returned to the EnergeticAmbiente Forum to answer some more questions on the work of Francesco Piantelli’s group. The following is a summary of his answers, translated from Italian with much help from Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish:

  • The old cells were self-sustaining for some time, maybe a few days, and they were eventually made to stop, or the reaction would have gone on.
  • The new joint-stock company will be a subsidiary of Nichenergy.
  • The expected increase in the energy gain factor from 2 or 3 to 200 will be achieved primarily by the exploitation of theoretical insights Piantelli has had recently, leading to the most efficient preparation of the nickel, as well as different and more suitable materials and configurations used in the construction of the cell. The actual amount of excess energy produced by the new cells is not known, but will be determined soon with the new tests.
  • Nearly all the materials used in the older patents have changed. For example, the newer cells use high-tech ceramics.
  • The present stage of development involves prototypes in a variety of configurations undergoing various tests. Those configurations that give the best results will go on to the pre-industrialization stage.
  • Piantelli says the reaction that occurs in his cell is not nuclear fusion, but is exclusively a protonic reaction, so to speak, that involves nuclear transmutation and a series of primary and secondary decays, and which is exothermic.
  • There will be several other patents filed.
  • Piantelli and Focardi share the same basic knowledge of the hydrogen-nickel technology, but at the time Focardi left Piantelli to follow after Rossi, his knowledge was not as extensive or as up-to-date as Piantelli’s.

Unless Andrea Rossi is bluffing, it appears the Piantelli group is still playing catch-up with regard to the industrialization of their device. Whether their professed superior knowledge of the hydrogen-nickel reaction will allow them to surpass Rossi in the energy output and/or reliability of their reactors remains to be seen.

In their favor, however, the Piantelli group has proposed a rather elegant hypothesis in their 2008 patent application that might just explain what is going on in the hydrogen-nickel reaction. The details may not be quite the same as those of the paper that is due to be released by the University of Siena, but the essential idea has probably not changed, going by the title of the group’s patent application of April of this year: “Method and Apparatus for Generating Energy through Nuclear Reactions of Hydrogen Adsorbed by Orbital Capture to a Metal Crystalline Nanostructure”. The Piantelli hypothesis is highly reminiscent of the known nuclear processes of electron capture and muon-catalyzed fusion. Piantelli insists it is not nuclear fusion. If it is to be regarded as a completely new type of nuclear reaction, perhaps it might be called “anion capture”, although a cursory Internet search reveals that the phrase is already in use to refer to extra-nuclear processes.

The process involves molecular hydrogen (H2) being adsorbed onto the surface of a crystalline transition metal that has a partially-filled electron shell. Under the right conditions the H2 molecules dissociate and pick up valence electrons from the metal, becoming hydrogen anions (H), also known as hydrides. The H ion consists of a proton with two electrons. As protons and electrons have equal and opposite charges, the H ion has a net negative charge.

According to Piantelli’s hypothesis, under the right conditions a H ion can replace an electron of a transition metal atom, just as a muon replaces an electron in muon-catalyzed fusion. Due to its relatively large mass, the H ion continually falls to lower electron levels, causing the emission of X-rays and Auger electrons. As it has a net negative charge, there is no Coulomb repulsion to hinder its progress toward the transition metal nucleus. At the lowest level the H ion is close enough to be captured by the nucleus. After capturing the H ion, the unstable nucleus releases energy and eventually expels the anion in the form of a proton.

As expounded in the 2008 patent application, the hypothesis lacks a number of details, hard data, and experimental evidence, although the protons expelled from the nuclei are said to have been experimentally detected in a cloud chamber. It would also be interesting to see if the hypothesis could be extended to explain deuterium-palladium reactions. Still, it is a good overview, which is perhaps the most that can be expected from a patent application. Hopefully the paper to be released by the University of Siena will go into much more detail on this new kind of nuclear reaction.

UPDATES:

Just a note: in calling the above hypothesis the “2008 Piantelli hypothesis”, I only mean that it is the hypothesis included in the patent application filed in Italy in 2008. I am not certain exactly when the idea first came to Piantelli, or when he first mentioned it publicly.

On a related note, I would be remiss if I did not link to Peter Gluck’s recent post detailing Piantelli’s academic papers and patents over the years.

Peter Gluck also reports that Piantelli and Virgilio are collaborating on a book titled Galileo e il metodo scientifico attraverso i secoli, or Galileo and the scientific method during the ages.

As an addendum to my summary of Piantelli’s hypothesis above, perhaps I should also add that the expelled protons apparently have sufficient energy to engage in more conventional proton-metal reactions with nearby metal nuclei, resulting in nuclear transmutations.

Finally, just because it’s too cool not to include, I made a link to a YouTube video of a cloud chamber in my post above. Check it out.

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Related posts:

Viareggio Cold Fusion conference: science, politics, and an Italian competitor — Ivy Matt July 23, 2011

Roy Virgilio releases more details on Piantelli’s research — Ivy Matt July 25, 2011

Greek Media: Rossi and Defkalion back together

Greek television Channel 6 is reporting that Andrea Rossi and Defkalion Green Technologies have patched things up, and Defkalion is proceeding with its plans to establish a power plant in Xanthi, Greece:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjN-xl69V44]

The news clip contains an interview with Defkalion CEO Alexandros Xanthoulis. A full translation of the interview in English does not appear to be available yet, but commenter Peter Roe has provided the following translation (with the help of Google translate) of the news story text on the web page in a comment on the Pure Energy Systems Network:

The process of establishing a power plant in Xanthi that uses hydrogen-nickel fusion continues, as the problems that seemed to exist between the inventor and the company undertaking the building of this plant have been overcome, and everything will now continue as originally planned.

Clouds have been seen in recent days in relations between the inventor of the device producing energy from hydrogen-nickel fusion, Andrea Rossi, and Defkalion Green Technologies, the company which is planning to install the relevant equipment for the power plant in Xanthi. Andrea Rossi, in his recent statement, talked about suspending cooperation with the Greek company Defkalion, and of turning to a big company in the U.S. instead. But as in all dramas, the crisis in relations between the inventor and the company has been overcome, and arrangements are now progressing normally.

Channel 6 contacted the the CEO of Defkalion, Mr Ksanthoulis, who makes it clear that Mr. Rossi has every right to cooperate with the US company since their agreement does not prohibit it. However, what is important is that any problems are overcome and the investment proceeds as originally planned.

In closing Mr. Xanthoulis attributed all this disruption to the pressures on both Defkalion and on Mr Rossi, who according to Mr. Xanthoulis, was more vulnerable to such pressure.

Thanks, Peter! And thanks also to PESN commenter PGreen, who apparently found the news report.

If true, this is certainly good news for Defkalion. The phrase “everything will now continue as originally planned” would seem to indicate that the October demonstration will take place in Xanthi, but in a recent response to a question regarding the demonstration on his website, Rossi gave no indication of any change in his recent decision to hold the demonstration in the United States. The statement in the news story may mean nothing more than that Rossi will allow Defkalion to use his E-Cat technology in their Hyperion units, as originally planned. However, Rossi has not as yet confirmed the report.

UPDATE:

Andrea Rossi has made a statement on the matter which fortunately needs no translation:

Dear Sterling Allan:
It is totally false that EFA srl has cured the agreement with Defkalion. There is nothing at all to add to the press release already published the last week (August 6th 2011).
This answer is valid also for many other Readers who have asked us the same thing.
Andrea Rossi

Another mystery. A miscommunication, a mistranslation, or something more intentional? Whatever the case may be, I have a feeling Mr. Xanthoulis isn’t done speaking to the press, even if he wishes he were.

Krivit’s third report: E-Cat not demonstrated to work as claimed

Steven Krivit, editor of New Energy Times, has released his third report on Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat, and the report is every bit as long as he had claimed. The report is largely critical of the claims made for the energy catalyzer, and of the way Andrea Rossi, Sergio Focardi, and Giuseppe Levi have attempted to establish those claims. Although most of the criticisms have been made elsewhere, Krivit has helpfully (for those critical of Rossi’s claims, at least) provided a clearinghouse for them.

Krivit’s report includes 37 appendices, but the essence of his criticism is contained in his main report:

The first concern is a question of the quantity of the steam. That is, how much steam has been visually observed coming out of the experiments? How does this amount and rate compare with the predicted amount and rate of steam from a 5 kilowatt power source?

The second concern is the method the Rossi group used to measure (or fail to measure) the output of the experiment. How did the group perform the measurement of the heat outflow, or steam, in the experiments?

The third concern is the quality of the steam. A higher-quality (or drier) steam output contains far more heat than a lower-quality (or wetter) steam. How did the Rossi group measure (or fail to measure) the quality of the steam coming out of the experiments?

None of these concerns is likely to be resolved before the demonstration in the last week of October (according to Rossi’s current timeline), and it is questionable if Rossi’s demonstration will directly answer those concerns, or if it will leave them for buyers of E-Cat technology to answer to their satisfaction. In an answer to a question by Prof. Brian Josephson concerning that matter on his website, Rossi emphasized that many important scientists and journalists would attend the test, and insisted that the E-Cat is producing perfectly dry steam in recent tests, but did not answer Prof. Josephson’s point about measuring the water and/or steam output of the reactor.

There seems to be a general agreement among both optimists and skeptics of a technical bent that this is an important weakness of Rossi’s demonstrations so far. One section of Krivit’s report concerns a presentation Francesco Celani delivered at the 16th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (ICCF-16) in Chennai, India, in February of this year. A diagram in this presentation pointed out the importance, when testing a black box (i.e. a device the internals of which are unknown), of measuring all inputs and outputs. In Rossi’s demonstrations, on the other hand, he measured the inputs (water and electrical power) and presumed to measure the temperature inside the black box itself (unnecessary when one is attempting to demonstrate simply that the black box functions), but failed to measure the output (steam and/or water).

The arguments supporting Krivit’s claim that the E-Cat achieves an energy gain of only one or two times input power are contained in the appendices to the main report. Krivit does not deny the possibility of achieving excess heat from nickel-hydrogen reactions and emphasizes that he has covered the field on various occasions before. His criticism here is of Andrea Rossi and his collaborators. He does not directly accuse Rossi of devising a hoax or a scam, but he mentions several ways (private investment, purchase of franchises from Defkalion) in which money has presumably already changed hands, and therefore a scam is possible, whether or not it is probable.  Regarding the charge, made more or less openly by both Andrea Rossi and Daniele Passerini (link is in Italian), that Krivit is in cahoots with Francesco Piantelli, Krivit does not address it directly, but says in his report: “I have not seen Piantelli for a few years, but I have been in touch with him recently to confirm the history of his research.”

Perhaps most interesting, because it’s news, is the last section of Krivit’s report, which confirms Rossi’s meeting with members of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and identifies Michael A. Nelson as the man who arranged the meeting. According to Nelson, as reported by Krivit, Rossi made no demonstration and no agreement had yet been made between Rossi and NASA, but NASA is interested in testing Rossi’s device as long as the government doesn’t have to foot the bill. Nelson is eager to find out the truth about Rossi’s device, whatever it may be. These words from him are worth quoting here:

Rossi has brought a lot of attention to the field. Any researchers who have a legitimate claim are going to benefit from this.

Whatever else he may be, it appears Andrea Rossi is a catalyst of sorts.

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Related posts:

Mr. Rossi talks E-Cat. — Ruby Carat June 21, 2011

Mr. Rossi calculates the E-Cat’s energy — Ivy Matt June 24, 2011

Krivit’s second report: Rossi evades scientific debate — Ivy Matt June 28, 2011

Coming soon: Krivit’s third report — Ivy Matt July 29, 2011

Coming soon: Krivit’s third report

After a month of reticence, New Energy Times editor Steven Krivit has broken his silence to announce that his long-awaited third report on Rossi’s E-Cat is coming soon—”within the next few days”. This report is supposed to cover the technical details supporting his reasoning that the E-Cat—the one Rossi demonstrated for him, at any rate—does not produce as much energy as Rossi claims it does. Rossi calculated an energy gain factor of 6 for that particular demonstration. In a recent post on New Energy Times, Krivit estimated that the energy gain was at most one or two times, and that possibly there was no excess energy at all.

The primary reason Krivit gives for the delay is that he received numerous comments—more than 50—on his videos and reports, some from people of apparently great technical knowledge. Consequently, he decided to incorporate some of these comments in his report. After releasing his third report, Krivit will release the videos of his interviews with Andrea Rossi, Sergio Focardi, Giuseppe Levi, University of Bologna physicist David Bianchini (who has performed various measurements on the E-Cat), and blogger Daniele Passerini (who has covered the E-Cat story since the beginning). Lastly, Krivit will write a final report giving some of his reflections and observations on the story, and then he will move on to other things—”until and unless [Rossi] and/or his associates make an appropriate scientific communication or deliver a publicly available energy device for sale.”

So far Rossi and his E-Cat have been the big news in cold fusion this year; otherwise cold fusion enthusiasts would probably be spending their time discussing Brian Ahern’s replication of Arata (not so much of Rossi, as some have reported—Rossi’s device is not really replicable by independent researchers until more is revealed about the details of its functioning). It looks like Krivit’s third report will add new detail, but not much new information to the E-Cat debate, so whether Andrea Rossi ends up being seen as the savior of cold fusion or a pariah even among the small community of cold fusion researchers probably depends mostly on the outcome of his megawatt thermal reactor demonstration three (not four) months away, and the subsequent sales of the devices by Defkalion GT and AmpEnergo.

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Related posts:

Mr. Rossi talks E-Cat. — Ruby Carat June 21, 2011

Mr. Rossi calculates the E-Cat’s energy — Ivy Matt June 24, 2011

Krivit’s second report: Rossi evades scientific debate — Ivy Matt June 28, 2011

Roy Virgilio releases more details on Piantelli’s research

In the wake of Saturday’s cold fusion conference in Viareggio, Italy, Roy Virgilio has released more details on the Piantelli group’s research on the Italian renewable energy forum EnergeticAmbiente. Virgilio is an administrator on the forum with the username eroyka. Akira Shirakawa has provided an English translation on the Vortex mailing list here and here. To summarize:

  • Experiments are being performed in a lab near Siena, Italy.
  • Older units worked continuously for months and produced 2× to 4× energy gain, but the actual energy balance was higher, as the cells reached self-sustaining mode.
  • Several unnamed third parties have confirmed that the older units worked in self-sustaining mode for long periods of time.
  • Several of these older units were recently reactivated. After some maintenance they turned on easily and produced 2× to 3× energy gain, but they haven’t yet been pushed to high excess energy levels.
  • New units with new fuel should be completed in about two months, and are expected to produce 200× energy gain.
  • The new units will be tested gradually in several steps of increasing power, beginning from a few hundred watts up to high levels of power on the order of kilowatts.
  • The scale-up will take as long as is necessary. Smaller devices will be ready for sale first.
  • No catalyst is necessary. The trick is in the preparation of the nickel.
  • Piantelli has a theory that doesn’t require exotic reactions, but can be explained using known physics and mathematics. A semi-complete theory has been provided to the University of Siena and will be published shortly. The complete theory will probably be disclosed after the first commercial units have been sold.
  • No Italian public institutions are involved in the current research, but a US government agency that has had the opportunity to review the research will probably validate and certify the reactor, as well as contribute to its development.
  • Piantelli’s group is also in talks with several large industrial corporations to develop generators operating at certain power levels.
  • The research is protected by three pending patents, the latest of which was filed last week.
  • Piantelli’s group will create a supporters’ trust. In two to four months the public will be able to buy shares in the trust to support the research, to prevent the technology from suddenly disappearing, and to share in any future revenues. Piantelli’s group doesn’t need money: the aim is protect the technology by putting it under the control of a multitude of stakeholders and enthusiasts, but there is no guarantee the shares will make a profit. [Emphasis added. —Ivy Matt]

Thanks, Akira!

The three patents mentioned above probably do not include Piantelli’s 1995 patent application. The Piantelli group filed an Italian patent application, “Method for Producing Energy and Apparatus Therefor”, on November 24, 2008, which was published on May 25, 2010. More recently, on April 26, 2011 they filed an Italian patent application, “Method and Apparatus for Generating Energy through Nuclear Reactions of Hydrogen Adsorbed by Orbital Capture to a Metal Crystalline Nanostructure”, which is due to be published on October 27, 2012. And then last week they filed a third patent application, the title of which is not yet known, and which should be published in January of 2013.

It looks like 2011 will be the year cold fusion attempts to make it on the commercial stage, and with at least two competitors. Piantelli’s group appears to be starting off at a disadvantage to Rossi and Defkalion, as Defkalion claims to have already achieved a 6× to 30× energy gain. (See Section 3: “Product Status” in the white paper.)  However, Piantelli professes to have a comprehensive theory of the hydrogen-nickel reaction, which may speed up his group’s research. Cold fusion is not exactly suffering from a lack of explanatory hypotheses, but if Piantelli’s hypothesis fits well with the available evidence and, more importantly, if it makes predictions that can be tested experimentally, it will be worthy of the notice even of detractors of cold fusion research.

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Related posts:

Viareggio Cold Fusion conference: science, politics, and an Italian competitor — Ivy Matt July 23, 2011