Why is cold fusion rejected?

by Edmund Storms

An ordinary person might wonder why cold fusion is not being explored more vigorously as the ideal energy source it promises to be. Why do public figures avoid discussing the idea and why do uninformed writers occasionally use cold fusion as an example of bad science?

Twenty-one years ago when Profs. Fleischmann and Pons (Univ. of Utah) announced the discovery, skeptical attitudes were justified and widespread. The claims were and still are completely at odds with what is known about nuclear reactions. The idea that energy could be produced by fusing two deuterons in what looked like a Mason jar was crazy at the time and still is hard to understand.

The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions But now the situation has greatly changed. Hundreds of people in over 12 countries have been investigating the process with growing success. Thousands of papers have been published and are easily available for study at www.LENR.org and evaluated in the book “The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction” available from Amazon.com.

Clearly, a new phenomenon has been discovered even though it has not been fully explained nor is easy to produce.

Yet, the attitude toward the subject in the popular press and conventional science has hardly changed. Why has a change not occurred especially in view of the growing need for a non-carbon and a non-uranium based energy source? Indeed, the long running reluctance to accept cold fusion in the face of mounting evidence is unique to modern science, which has delayed accepting many new ideas, but never with as much determination.

The claim started with several strikes against it. First and most important, the claim was not easy to replicate. Most efforts, but not all, failed mainly because many people had a very poor understanding of what was required. They also expected the effect would be large and easy to detect once it was produced. Instead, the effect is difficult to produce even today and the results can be ignored as being caused by imagined prosaic processes.

Frequently, these imagined processes require as much suspension of rational understanding as skeptics claim is being used to support cold fusion its self. In other words, each side in the debate has to make equally improbable claims, but with the claims made for the effect being supported by a growing collection of experimental evidence.

Second, the claim was and is in conflict with what is known about nuclear interaction, causing many high profile scientists to conclude the effect is impossible.

Third, if the effect turned out to be real, it would put the hot fusion program out of business. Billions of dollars have been spent on this effort over 60 years in an attempt to cause a similar kind of reaction to that produced by cold fusion, but with disappointing results. The physics professors at major universities funded by this program did not appreciate the possibility their careers might end because of an idea suggested by a couple of chemists.

Gradually, a myth was formed around cold fusion by the skeptics until it became the popular metaphor for bad science done by deluded scientists. Whenever a writer wanted to show how scientists can be deceived, cold fusion was combined with poly-water and n-rays as an example of how someone can be mislead if they are not careful and not skeptical enough, or not as skeptical as the writer. Once such a myth forms in popular journalism, it is very difficult to change, especially when the myth has a benefit to influential groups.

Modern society is filled with such myths, some of which are harmless but some will have devastating consequences if they are not changed. One such myth is that the earth is not getting warmer and that sea level will not rise as ice continues to melt. Efforts to cut back on the generation of CO2, the main cause of warming, are met with the same emotional rejection as is applied to cold fusion. In this respect, the myth of cold fusion and the myth of non-global warming have a lot in common. Rejection of global warming leads to the destruction of civilization while rejection of cold fusion eliminates a possible solution to this disaster.

Sooner or later scientists in some country will discover how to make cold fusion work on a commercial scale. When this happens, the countries that develop this technology will rapidly become richer and more powerful. The cost of energy for manufacturing will go down and processes that are not yet practical under most conditions, such as obtaining fresh water from the sea, will become widely used.

These benefits will cause a rapid expansion in the power and influence of the countries using this inexpensive energy source. What about the countries that do not know how to make the effect work?

Their scientists will attempt to reverse engineer the power generator, but in this field, such efforts will be difficult without an understanding of how the process works, an understanding that will not be shared by the discovers.

Also, highly developed countries will have difficulty removing their present energy infrastructure and substituting this much simpler source. So, the race is on and the potential winners are not obvious.

Nevertheless, it is obvious the winner will not be a country that ignores and rejects the reality of cold fusion.

Oprah interviews cold fusion scientist!

That could be the headline, if you can describe, in 2000 characters or less, why Oprah should interview a cold fusion scientist!

For a limited time, we can fill a form from Oprah.com at
https://www.oprah.com/ownshow/plug_form.html?plug_id=3337311 and request Oprah interview a cold fusion scientist!

From Oprah’s site:

The Oprah Winfrey Show will come to an end in 2011, but before ‘it’s a wrap’, who do you want to see sitting next to Oprah?

We always love hearing from our viewers so now it?s your turn to tell us who YOU want Oprah to interview before the show ends. Maybe it’s someone she’s never talked to? Or maybe it’s your favorite guest you want us to invite back? A famous actor? A musician or a politician? An athlete? International icon? The cast from your favorite movie or TV show? You tell us ? they can be unexpected, notorious, head-turning, tear-jerking, headline-making…we want to know who you’ve always wanted on Oprah. Email us your ideas now!

Oprah is the real President of the planet and the power of the TV landscape is great. Let’s send her the message of cold fusion to propogate. She is Wise, and will not fail to recognize this powerful solution to the energy problems the world faces.

There is huge public support for green energy, but cold fusion has been left out of the discussion. Cold fusion is real, and the public-at-large should recognize this. Getting the words spoken and written by a critical mass will enable public support to accelerate the process of development. We need to get fusion power back into th discussion and Oprah can do it.

Here’s what I sent; character count with spaces 1679. Copy, paste this into Oprah’s box, and edit to your liking:

BEGIN*********************
Hey Oprah!
“Cold fusion” refers to a safe, green energy source with no harmful byproducts and could supply 100% of our energy needs, replacing dirty sources such as oil, gas, and coal forever.
Cold fusion was the name given to the energy effect announced in 1989 by Professors’ Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. Energies produced were unable to be explained by the conventional electro-chemical processes, but by fusion reactions.
Conventional theories have fusion reactions occur under conditions of extreme heat and pressure, like inside stars. The Pons/Fleischmann effect was produced inside a glass, on a table top, at room temperature.
Controversy erupted when not all scientists could immediately reproduce the power-generating effect, and it was shunned. But some scientists did reproduce it, and have been working on this ever since.
These scientists include, Dr. Edmund Storms, a long-time researcher in nuclear physics and author of The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions; Dr. Michael McKubre of SRI International, and Dr. Robert Duncan, Vice-Chancellor of Research University of Missouri.
Despite their technical background, they’re very communicative and absolutely eloquent when speaking to the public.
There are others who write and publish in the New Energy Times and Infinite Energy. Librarian and translator Jed Rothwell could also survey this promising energy source.
“We’ve reached the end of the beginning”, says Michael McKubre. Now, greater funding is needed to develop technologies useful to people.
This kind of energy could liberate humanity from the need for dirty oil and coal and usher in new world where we don’t have to fight over scarce resources.

END*****************************

This form is easy to fill out.
Activiate all your bodies for a clean energy future.

And to give Oprah the interview of her life, go to https://www.oprah.com/ownshow/plug_form.html?plug_id=3337311

Hot fusion scientist describing characteristics of laser fusion actually describes future of cold fusion

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a talk by Ed Moses from the National Ignition Facility (NIF https://lasers.llnl.gov/) about laser fusion technology entitled “Clean Fusion Power This Decade”. You can download and listen to an mp3 posted on the Long Now site here:
http://www.longnow.org/seminars/02010/jun/16/clean-fusion-power-decade/

In the talk, he describes ignition occurring in the 02010-02012 range, with a prototype reactor ready by the 02020 range and I want to thank Dr. Moses for his work and effort to communicate that research.

I had been a fan of hot fusion technology for years before I knew that cold fusion was real. In 02002 I went to the San Diego fusion facility (https://fusion.gat.com/global/Home) for a teacher training and professional development workshop. I toured the tokamak and met lots of smart and extremely generous people, enthusiastic about a fusion energy future. I wish them, and the NIF, the best of luck in reproducing star-power. It would be a major achievement.

But listening to Ed Moses, and now knowing (since 2003) that cold fusion has the promise to bring a decentralized carbon-free energy source with a simpler technology than large hot fusion reactors, I had to respond more critically. He envisions 9+ billion people populating this planet, concentrated in mega-cities, those cities above a population of 10 million, “because that’s where the jobs are, that’s where culture is, that’s where centers of power are, and by the way, they are more energy efficient.” There are many points to make in response to that scenario, let me make just a few.

Feeding and finding the resources for an additional 4 billion people, the majority of which are concentrated in cities, is quite a challenge even in a future with fusion technology. The carrying capacity of this planet is debatable. But where are we now with planetary resources for six and one-half billion people?

The oceans have been over fished with many species on the brink of collapse. Water resources have been privatized planet-wide and are being rationed. In the last several decades, food production has expanded only because of fossil fuels and the cheap oil available to produce and transport these foods worldwide. The heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers derived from petroleum has reduced topsoil around the globe to “merely a sponge”, a dead layer that has the capacity only to soak up more chemicals.

When Dr. Moses claims that cities are “more efficient”, what does he mean? More efficient than what? It’s not clear how he measures this efficiency. As I understand it, large centralized populations need huge influxes of food shipped in from very long distances. The majority of these shipments come on trucks using petroleum diesel as most mega-cities, that I know of, have no local food production. Many who live in mega-cities have a poor standard of living, with little access to nature.

Many of these large mega-cities of the world have their water transported hundreds of miles, from places that are becoming resentful about sending their water out of their local area. Some mega-cities situated in desert climates have expanded their population by mining water, i.e. tapping into underground water pools left by the recent ice age. These communities will experience a drastic and sudden need for more water when these one-time resources disappear.

I also wonder what kind of jobs are available in the mega-cities of the future? Will there be a second renaissance in advertising and marketing? Are the centers of technological revolution going to be located in these mega-cities? Is that a trend we can identify now? Are technology companies with huge job openings choosing to locate in cities now?

To say “we are in a non-local society” is to miss the dynamic changes occurring right now. We are fast flipping to a local society, where food, water, and energy resources are all farmed, pumped, and created locally. Geo-political forces are emerging that challenge the hegemony of superpowers’ reach abroad.

I just don’t see large cities as apart of our positive future, mostly because of a world population argument. The population explosion is directly related to the oil age. Controlling populations who need food, water, and jobs seems like it would require a police state, a total loss of personal freedom, and plenty of chemical inundation.

Dr. Moses contends that “2030-2050 is where things start happening”. I submit that things are starting to happen now. Perhaps the NIF would be willing to consider the plethora of displaced auto workers, the newly released mid-level office managers from marketing departments, or the shrimpers and fishermen, as new hires for their multi-billion dollar facility. If not, then Houston, we have a problem. The lights are going out all around the world right now as electrical grids are beyond capacity, and we need food, water, and jobs, for an increasing number of people.

Fusion technology will create its own environment, a vastly different one, not merely extend this present system. The Long Now seeks to find paradigms that last on the order of thousands of years, and perhaps large metropolis’ will emerge in that time frame, but the next hundred years are going to be a major transition, and I can only see a positive future if Earth’s population is reduced, not increased.

Every new technology creates an environment of services and disservices. Cold fusion technology, with its simple structure, small, compact and portable would surely allow the freedom to live in a decentralized world, closer to nature, if one so chooses.

Hot fusion technology is great. I hope that the NIF finds the answer to ignition soon. I am excited about basic research in science and have always been particularly interested in the science of stars, energy, rocket propulsion and space exploration. But hot fusion has had its share of the funding pie, with good results. Isn’t it time to take a look at cold fusion, low-energy nuclear reactions, which has had just as astounding results without the “infusion” of funding? One could argue the results that low-energy nuclear reaction scientists have obtained is even more remarkable given the paltry funding on the order of millions of dollars, as opposed to the tens of billions that hot fusion has received.

When Dr. Moses describes a “sustainable, carbon-free, not geo-political, safe, modular, compact, relatively rapid development path”, that “uses our existing infrastructure” and “accepts evolutionary improvements”, he is describing the technology of cold fusion. Yes, “it is too good to be true”.

ACTION Let’s contact the Long Now and ask them to present a cold fusion scientist to discuss the future of energy in a de-centralized and local world. You can find their contact information here: http://www.longnow.org/contact/

Q&A with Dr. Edmund Storms

Edmund Storms is a long-time researcher in nuclear physics and cold fusion science, formerly of Los Alamos National Laboratory.  His most recent book is The Science of Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions: A Comprehensive Compilation of Evidence and Explanations about Cold Fusion published by World Scientific Publishing Company 2007.

This is a Q&A Dr. Storms.

Q: How much money has gone into cold fusion research in the US? worldwide?

A:  Hard to tell because the money comes from different sources that don’t publish their accounting. l guess the total might be near five million dollars in the US. World wide expenditure is harder to guess but might be well over 10 times the US investment.

How do research labs in other countries go about getting their funding?

This depends on where the research is done. Universities generally have funds that can be spent on whatever the professor wants to study within reason. Government laboratories generally need to budget for the work. Private investors give money based on their personal interests.  Cold fusion is funded just like all other research efforts. However, in this case, the money available for research is very small compared to most other efforts of similar importance.

How is the majority of funding procured in the US?

Most work in the US is either funded by private individuals or is part of larger programs funded by the government. Because of the negative history, direct funding of cold fusion by the US government was not possible until very recently.

What kind of cost to set up a cold fusion lab?
This depends on how serious the effort is intended to be. A person can study cold fusion as a hobby for maybe $10,000.  However, serious work requires access to very expensive equipment.
How much palladium is used annually in this research?

A study requires very little palladium.  I have probably used no more than a few ounces in 21 years of work.

How much platinum is used annually in this research?

The platinum is not lost and is continuously reused.

Why is the Dept. of Energy not on board with this while the Naval Research facility actually gets results?  Why doesn’t the science agencies of the federal gov have a coherent policy on this important issue?

The different agencies of the government are run by people having different skills and attitudes.  The Navy has always been more creative than the DOE. The attitude of the DOE is gradually changing thanks to creative people being put in charge by the present administration.

How much money has gone into hot fusion research?

In the US, this investment has now exceeded 20 billion dollars and counting.

How long has hot fusion research gone on?

Serious work was started about 60 years ago.

What are some of the advancements made from hot fusion?

The method has achieved production of megawatts of power for brief times.  Containment of the plasma has been mastered. However, many problems remain, not the least of which is whether the huge machine will be sufficient reliable and can actually pay for itself in the market place.

What is the probability of achieving energy production from hot fusion?

Energy can be made but the whether it will be practical, i.e. cost less than energy from other sources, is very unlikely.

Are there any results from hot fusion research that could in any way help the cold fusion research?

Money spent to achieve a goal such as hot fusion always generates basic understanding that can be put to other uses.

Is there a growing number of scientists doing research in cold fusion?

Yes, but growth is slow.

What is the number of scientists researching this technology?

This is hard to tell.  The annual conferences attract about 175 people from all over the world.  Perhaps the actual number working on the subject is twice this number.

Who is the furthest along in their research?

Japan followed by Italy, Russia, and China.

List the different avenues of research going on right now.
To understand this answer, you need to do some reading.  However, the brief answer is that the work is focusing mainly on electrolysis, gas discharge, and gas loading.
Which among them seems most promising?  least promising?

Gas loading and gas discharge are most promising with electrolysis being the least promising.

How many years are we away from actual implementation of cold fusion as a source of energy for the public?

More than 10 years are required unless more money is applied and someone gets lucky in finding the necessary conditions.

How many dollars of research are we away from actual implementation of cold fusion as a source of energy for the public?

This is impossible to guess. Even hot fusion is not able to guess how much money would be required to make it work even though the process is basically understood.  The cold fusion process is not yet understood.

Have petroleum or traditional fossil energy corporations been involved in cold fusion research in any way?

Occasionally these companies have looked at the process but lost interest when they could not make the process work at practical levels.

In what way do you think cold fusion will  change the world?

Cold fusion would produce profound and basic changes  in the world that are hard to even imagine.  People had better change their ways before this source of energy is available because the effects will be huge.  The discoveries being made over time have each had an increasingly large effect on how mankind lives and fights. First, there was fire, then creation of explosives, cheap steel, heavier than air flight, atomic fission, computers , mastery of the genome (life), and now the potential availability of cheap and unlimited energy.   Each of these discoveries led to applications and uses that changed everyone’s lives. Cold fusion will be the most important in this series of discoveries and will have the greatest effect, both good and bad.

List some services of cold fusion.
Cheap goods would be produced.
Large amounts of pure water from the oceans would be available.
Generation of CO2 would be reduced resulting in a reduction in global warming.
The world would no longer be dependent on oil.

Space travel within the solar system would be much easier.

List some disservices of cold fusion.

Initial destabilization of the world’s economies would occur.

War would become more deadly even without the use of atom bombs.
Increased food would result in a growing world population.

Fight for resources could lead to another world war.

McLuhan’s Tetrad questions:
What’s cold fusion enhance?

It makes energy.

What does cold fusion make obsolete?

All other sources of energy.

What does cold fusion retrieve that was previously obsolesced?

Impossible to answer.

What does cold fusion flip into when pressed to an extreme?

The process that makes cold fusion work would also make possible the conversion of common elements into other more valuable elements.   In other words, the claim of the Alchemists would be realized.