Plasma engine reproduced; now optimizing for efficiency

This is a power source that mankind needs to have. We need to make a push and get this energy out in the hands of people.Dr. Michael McKubre TeslaTech 2012

A revolutionary new engine powered by the pulsing of plasma has been successfully reproduced from an earlier lost technology and now needs an increase in efficiency to make a usable generator, say engineers from RG Energy, developers of the device.

They’ve launched a fundraising campaign at Indiegogo to accomplish this.

Cross-section from Papp patent; watch historical video at
Cross-section from 1984 Papp patent; watch historical video at

The design is derived from Josef Papp‘s noble gas engine, its secret inert gas mixture lost when he died. Granted a patent in 1984 for his invention, Papp was not explicit about the precise mix required.

Bob Rohner of RG Energy built those engines for Mr. Papp along with his brother Tom and worked closely with Papp over several years beginning in 1979. Owning successful businesses in Iowa, they had experience with large machinery and controls. “I pursued it because it was such a remarkable invention.”

“We’re trying to clean up the environment, we’re trying to get away from carbon-based fuels to clean up our atmosphere. We need to maintain the energy so we can have our quality of life,” Rohner said in a recent interview. [.mp3]

“These engines are capable of operating for long periods of time on charges of inert gases. They’re totally sealed, easy to build, economical to operate, and they’re totally clean,” says Bob, the mechanical engineer of the team.

“They have no emissions whatsoever to the environment.”

“We have proven to ourselves, and to many savvy observers, that we are capable of firing the single-cylinder, the two-cylinder, and a rotary fixture with inert gas pulses for hours on end, lifting large amounts of weight with no heat build-up.”

An astonishing claim, as inert gases do not readily react with other elements, and though a plasma performs work in pushing a piston, there is no exhaust to vent, and no heat generated. The engine appears to defy the laws of thermodynamics and what is known about heat cycles.

“One of my physicists Frank Andres believes there is a kind of re-absorption going on. Myself, I don’t believe heat is ever created to begin with,” attests Bob.

“To drive that piston up against a 300-lb load like I’m doing would take something like 1200-1400 degrees flash heat, and the Teflon insulators have a highest temperature rating of maybe 600 degrees, so it doesn’t appear as if the high-temperature is ever there to begin with. It amazes me that universities aren’t jumping all over this.”

Energy-dense plasma power

Witnesses to demonstrations of Papp’s engines, including aerospace executives, engineers and Navy scientists, have publicly testified to its capability of producing great amounts of power, without knowing exactly how it works.

“When I first heard of the Papp Engine, I was intrigued because it’s clearly impossible,” said Dr. Michael McKubre, a senior scientist at the forefront of research in new energy from metal-hydrides who spoke at TeslaTech 2012 in support of the project.

But after himself interviewing witnesses from Papp’s engine demonstrations where “observations of tests running hours or days in a closed room, no exhaust, with negligible temperature rise,” McKubre got interested.

Bob watched Papp’s engine produce between 5-10 times over-unity on a few ccs of inert gases and an electrical input. He and Tom finally developed the Twin Cylinder Dual Piston Engine as an experimental set-up that has, they believe, reproduced Papp’s process using a mere 200 ccs of a gas mixture.

The power generated by the inert gas plasma is convertible, meaning power can be extracted as electricity or mechanical force, depending on how the inputs are adjusted, but now they must increase the efficiency of the engine.

“We’re quite confident we can complete the recovery of this technology,” says Rohner, “our progress is steady and much has been achieved, but we have essentially three major items to complete yet.”

1 Build Papp’s gas mixer

One time Bob started the motor and got a huge amount of power; the next time, not nearly as much. It’s been hypothesized that impurities in the gas mixture prevent a full reaction.

“I didn’t believe it at first, but small amounts of contamination will have a stark effect on power output,” says Rohner.

Pre-mixed gas fuel canisters have 5% inaccuracy
Pre-mixed gas canisters are accurate to about 5%

“It turns out that 1/10,000 contamination has a major effect on plasma formation. Now it’s time to make a fuel mixture more accurate and clean.”

Papp’s last patent was for an apparatus that apparently filtered the gases as well as made sure the mixture was exactly correct. When the Rohners first went to Florida, they saw Papp’s glass-tube mixer “all busted-up on the floor”, damaged from shipping. For years afterwards, Bob didn’t think much of it.

“About six months ago, I found a bunch of these old pictures and started going through them, and I realized Papp had not only replaced that mixer once, he actually built two new ones. Nobody has adequately researched or rebuilt this fuel mixing apparatus yet, and it’s looking like a worthwhile thing, probably the most important element to get completed as soon as possible.”

2 Big step with the crossover

“It was described in Papp’s patent that the engine could run as one-cylinder, but only in an inefficient manner, and the evidence is proving that statement correct. To run efficiently you always have to be in pairs,” says Bob. “You can’t be on a teeter-totter with one person, you got to have both.”

Twin Engine
The Twin Cylinder will have crossover

With electrical crossover, one cylinder powers the other, and vice-versa.

“As the plasma collapses in one cylinder, it generates a large amount of electricity, and as the piston travels through the coils, it creates a back EMF. The back EMF and this generated electricity needs to be transferred at the proper time to the opposite cylinder, to one, excite the gases, and two, trigger the plasma pulse in the opposite cylinder.”

3 Re-assemble the original Papp engine

Videos of Papp’s original engine running on the dynos are posted online, but the machine that Bob and Tom built years ago now sits in their workshop waiting resurrection. Results of electrical crossover on the Twin Cylinder will be applied to Papp’s original to complete a serial engine.

“It’s perfectly capable of handling several hundred HP, which is what we need to do. The structure is good, it needs the electrics re-built and some of the stainless sleeves re-honed. Everything on the engine is custom, so it’s very expensive to do.”

Help wanted

Classic photo of Tom Rohner and early plasma engine
Tom Rohner and early plasma engine.

Bob’s brother Tom Rohner had a career as a Chief Software Architect at both Compaq and HP Computers besides working on plasma engines. A year and a half ago, Tom succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Bob lost his best friend as well as Tom’s extensive skills as a computer and electrical engineer.

RG Energy is now looking for a talented full-time Electrical Engineer to complete the sophisticated Twin Cylinder crossover.

“Buckets have to switch from being both anodes to being an anode-cathode, at certain times you’re handing 1000 Volts and at other times you’re handling 40 Volts at high currents, and so this stuff is precise. We’re looking for somebody to fill Tom’s shoes.”

Experienced electrical engineer needed for crossover
Experienced electrical engineer needed for crossover
With a good electrical engineer, it should take 8-12 months to get the gas mixer, the cross over and the build of the serial model completed. These engines could then penetrate the market quickly, complementing cold fusion technology.

Bob adds, “This is a compact energy source that can be mobile, it can run in outer space or the bottom of the ocean. The difference between this engine and cold fusion is that cold fusion is heat-driven. To generate electricity you instantly drop to a 30- 40% loss in production. Then you have to take that electricity to some storage source, to batteries, and yet, here’s a generator that you can run for thousands of hours on one charge. The flexibility of this power source is more important than anything.”

“I hope cold fusion is developed, but to base our future on one solution isn’t that smart.”

“We have odd electricity and odd energy, both real and I believe, coupled,” says Michael McKubre. “To really do the job well, we need a well-equipped lab and able experts willing to suspend disbelief. I’ve been following Bob around ever since, waiting for him to produce his machine, and he’s getting close.”

Learn more about this project at the Gyrokinetic Plasma Engine on IndieGoGo


Bob Rhoner special guest on Wide Awake News Monday May 6 Hour 1 [download .mp3] on the Rense Network.

The Mystery and Legacy of Joseph Papp’s Noble Gas Engine by Eugene Mallove Infinite Energy Magazine


19 Replies to “Plasma engine reproduced; now optimizing for efficiency”

  1. Nano Plasmonics and EMF are very interesting so I felt I should post from this article…

    “Son of Cold Fusion: Returns Attention to Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions: Spirited interest from two NASA scientists leads to new information about an old controversy.”
    Published: March 19, 2013 – By Steven T. Corneliussen, Physics Today

    I found the following comment posted…

    Written by H. Veeder, 20 March 2013 15:11

    In a seminal Nanoplasmonics paper, the ability of hot spots to concentrate power is experimentally determined in its full scope for the first time.

    Structure Enhancement Factor Relationships in Single Gold Nanoantennas by Surface-Enhanced Raman Excitation Spectroscopy

    Some select nanoparticle configurations (called nanoantenna in the parlance of Nanoplasmonics) can concentrate and amplify incoming EMF from a laser by a factor of 500,000,000 in the near infrared range to a sub-nano-sized region that we have been calling a hot spot. Even though the enhancement factors obtained are mind blowing, they are far from the maximum’s that might eventually be reached. As stated in the study, the experimental techniques used there were at a disadvantage in maximizing the enhancement of EMF for a couple of reasons. First, laser excitation of the nanoparticles is poor at producing the resonance pattern that generates the most enhancements. From the document, it states. “A dipole within the near-field of the nanoparticles allows for excitation of plasmon resonances, which are difficult to excite with plane wave irradiation.”

    A laser produces plane wave irradiation only; on the other hand, dipole excitation will really get the enhancement rolling. The only way that the experimenters got the enhancement up to as high as it eventually got was to produce secondary excitement using the laser to pump up a dipole emitter close to the hot spot. Another problem for the experimenters was that the enhancement is most powerful at longer wavelengths into the deeper infrared than the experimenters could produce. The lasers used by the experimenter could not get that deep into the infrared. The most enhancements came from nanoparticles that were connected by a sub Nano scale solid connection between the nanoparticles. When there is some space between the particles, power is broadcast like a radio station to far places. This is called far field radiation. When the particles were connected by a thin channel of material, a resonance process forces all the EMF into the ultra-small region between the nanoparticles. This is called near field radiation. The most powerful nano-particles emitters look like a dumbbell with the thinnest possible thread of solid material to connect them.

    We can see that a highly entangled nanowire system of micro-particles in current Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) systems is an ideal engineering application of this research. In the case where the particles touch or connected, little radiation escaped to the far field. Most all of the radiation was directed into the near field region between the particles. I speculate that if the experiment was run using the optimum infrared radiation wavelength and the properly connected nanoparticles, the system could increase its enhancement levels by a few more orders of magnitude into the billions or trillions.

    The experimenter also confirmed that multi particle connectivity increased the enhancement by many more orders of magnitude. You can see that a well-built LENR system has all the prerequisites to produce a very powerful infrared and electron current enhancements because of its dipole radiation profile. To get such high enhancement factors, something special is happening inside the hot spot. It looks like there is a Bose-Einstein condensation process going on to pump up the EMF enhancements to these huge levels Another interesting paradox explained in the study is that the more laser energy that is pumped into the system, the less enhancement that results. The nanoparticles want to work smarter not harder.

    What is really important in determining the enhancement level of the system is the specific geometry of the system. The wavelength of the EMF and the associated resonance of the system are mainly determined by the details of its geometry. The study states as follows: “Differences can be explained based on previous work by McMahon et al., which showed that these structures commonly exhibit LSPR maxima at wavelengths above 900 nm and that the exact wavelength of each resonance is extremely sensitive to antenna geometry. In the simulation there are small gaps between the gold nanoparticles which are not evident in the TEM images, so the appearance of a resonance beyond 900 nm (Figure 3B) can be attributed to sub-nanometer variations between the simulated and the experimental structures.” Like any antenna system, tuning the antenna to the desired wavelength is critical in achieving powerful resonance.

    Nuclear transmutation and energy production on the atomic level occurs on and within the walls of these nanowires protruding from the micro-particles at their many points of contract. Since the magic that happens inside the hot spot is mainly caused by geometry, transmutation of elements can occur in the nanowires without effecting the reaction to any great extent. For example, copper will work just as well as nickel as a lattice material. To be clear, it is not the greatly enhanced super-radiance of the hot spots that produce LENR.

    This is just a sign that special quantum mechanical processes are at work inside the Nuclear Active Environment (NAE). The strength of this EMF is just an indicator of the resonating enhancement processes that are underway within the NAE.

    How high can this EMF enhancement factor eventually go in a well-engineered LENR system… we just don’t know yet?

  2. I just wanted to reply to “Notaphysicist” January 20, 2013 reply to me when we last talked about the Papp engine.

    The heat of the plasma would rapidly expand the gas in the piston and the expansion itself would cool the gas making it ready for the next cycle. In other words, adiabatic cooling occurs when the pressure of the gas is decreased as it does the work of moving the piston.

      1. The mystery is why is energy created, and work done, but no heat or exhaust formed? This reaction would generate energy, but how would it dissipate?


        1. I’m just thinking that when one of the two pistons (in the two cylinder engine) is closest to the spark plug (or the equivalent of a spark plug in the Papp engine) and the plasma explosion takes place in the fixed amount of gas (gasses) in the cylinder, the number of gas molecules will remain the same but they will have more energy due to the kinetic energy released by just a few molecules that would undergo a nuclear reaction (remember that a nuclear reaction is about 10,000,000 times more energetic than a chemical reaction, so you would need one ten millionth fewer molecules exploding than you would in a gasoline engine to get the equivalent explosion). The expanding gas from the explosion pushes the piston (it’s doing work). Adiabatic cooling occurs when the pressure of the gas is decreased as it does the work of moving the piston (therefore no radiator is needed. The heat is converted to work). The work was also used to push the other piston in the two piston engine into its starting position (closest to the spark plug) and the above process is repeated.
          There’s no need for a gas tank because hardly any of the molecules in the fixed amount of gas that is in the cylinder are consumed in the nuclear reaction. For example only one kilogram of uranium 235 when it undergoes a fission reaction in an atomic bomb has the energy equivalent of 1,500 metric tons of coal!
          There is no need for an exhaust system because unlike the chemical reaction in a gasoline engine (were water vapor and CO2 gas are created to push the piston) no gas is being created. It’s just the fixed amount of gas that was there initially that’s expanding when the plasma explosion takes place.

          1. If heat was created to move the piston up, it would presumably go outward in all directions impinging on the walls of the chamber too, and not just in the direction of the piston. But the chamber does not heat up much, even after running for hours. So that is still puzzling.

            It’s so very energetic, that the reaction would assume to be nuclear, but perhaps it’s something…..else?

            1. Well, I was just thinking that the initial small explosion doesn’t last long (it doesn’t go on continually as the piston moves up) and that most of the energy goes into expanding the gas (that would start to cool during its adiabatic expansion like in a refrigerator ) as it does mechanical work (like moving the crank shaft) and there wouldn’t be much energy left over as heat.

              1. Others say the reaction in nano-seconds cycles in nano-seconds. So it seems to happen pretty quick. Keep thinking! This is another empirical reaction that needs solving!

                1. P.S. I’m just thinking that the amount of gas in the system remains constant so it’s not like a internal combustion engine where a liquid is turning into lots of hot gas (it’s not really an explosion). The plasma that is created in the first nano-seconds of the cycle just makes the gas molecules that are already there move faster making the gas expand (and do work on the piston). Expanding gasses also cool. So the fixed volume of expanding gas will necessarily have to cool as it transfers the energy that was created in the first nano-seconds of the cycle into mechanical energy.
                  Yeah, I still have to do more thinking about this.

                  1. P.S.Pardon me, I should not have said the fixed volume of gas (its volume is increasing). I meant to said the fixed number of moles of expanding gas.

  3. I find this all completely believeable and baffling at the same time. If Rohner can drive around town in a car powered by this technology, that would be great. Of course, what would be best is to kidnap some skeptics and put them in a closed room with this engine running for a few hours.

    My son is currently studying in 8th grade that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but I have to remind him now and then that that is an unproveable assumption, that there may be exceptions.

    1. The Laws of Thermodynamics are well vetted, and it is likely that this does not violate them, but we are seeing a new type of reaction. Much like cold fusion zero point energy from the vacuum, and other new energy technologies, there is energy all around us, waiting to be tapped. We have to only look at a “larger” closed system.

      I believe Bob Rohner could actually drive around on his motor – at some point. But he needs funding to complete the crossover, a job his brother, now lost, could have done.

      I’m rooting for them.

      1. “vetted” does not mean proven. One can run into a wall a million times, but that does not mean that there is no passageway eventually to be found in the wall.

        But I confess that my mind cannot get around the idea of violating the conservation of matter/energy. To try is like a Zen koan.

        But if there is such a thing as dark matter and dark energy, then why are we, here on Earth, so magically not swimming in that dark matter and dark energy? If it exists, then we must be IN it. And if we are in it, and if it is not even, as has been proven, then perhaps as Earth moves through space the density of dark matter/energy changes for us, and perhaps the laws of physics change also. Or perhaps these apparently nearly free energy sources are harvesting dark energy/matter.

        1. So true, Roger. Laws of Thermodynamics could be proven wrong, but so far, nothing to hint at that. all these new energies are tapping sources that still are capable of analyzing in terms of these laws, if we just increase the “boundaries” of our system.

          Isn’t the dark energy supposedly permeating all of spacetime? So that it is all around us all the time?

          Even that model, of space as a container, that is filled with something, does not really match experience. It may be that dark energy *is* the space, and without it, there would be no space! Like gravity is not a “thing” filling space, but the shape of space itself is the gravity, according to general relativity.

          But I’m going way beyond my pay grade here!

  4. What is so sad is that any possible new Theory, Evidence or even Intuition should be embraced by Science with wide open arms.
    It may turn out to be a wrong direction but until the open-minded, unbiased, competent Research is undertaken, with enthusiasm, then no one will ever know, or at least not for a long time.
    Cold Fusion has clearly demonstrated the folly of denial and debunking by supposedly professional scientists.
    So much talk and not enough action.

  5. It’s interesting that Irving Langmuir (yes the same guy that coined the term “pathological science”) may have seen a LENR taking place in his tungsten hydrogen experiments done between 1909-1927 but was persuaded to disbelieve his own results by Neils Bohr.
    Fortunately, Andrea Rossi had Sergio Focardi as a consultant.
    P.S. See TPBurnett’s comment about using hydrogen.
    Yes, “pathological science” at its best, a Papp engine using hydrogen with Langmuir’s tungsten electrodes! And I never thought that God had a sense of humor.

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