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?
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.
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.
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.
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.