Dennis Cravens on the Cold Fusion Now! podcast

Physicist Dr. Dennis Cravens joins Ruby on the Cold Fusion Now! podcast for a discussion about experimental results gathered over a career of LENR research.

Dr. Cravens received his PhD from Florida State University and has been working on cold fusion since 1989. He has demonstrated multiple live LENR systems throughout the years, including NIWeek 2013 and more recently at the ICCF-21 conference, where he showed a live video feed of an active cell in Austin, Texas built with his associate Dennis Letts.

Collaborations between Dennis Cravens and Dennis Letts’ team have produced a unique cell, with cathode materials made by the team, ensuring consistency. They’ve closed in on a recipe to generating excess heat of an average of 7 Watts thermal for durational periods.

Episode 15 of the Cold Fusion Now! podcast with Dennis Cravens is available at our website or subscribe in iTunes.

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Cravens demo a puzzle for onlookers

Photo: The Neo-Coulombic booth with Dr. Dennis Cravens at NIWeek 2013.

Last year’s NIWeek 2012 was a pageant of LENR with multiple events bringing condensed matter nuclear scientists from all over the world to the Austin, Texas showcase.

This year, National Instruments chose to focus on conventional energy technologies, with one exception: Dennis Cravens‘ demonstration of anomalous heat generated by … er, well, what could that have been?

The sample sphere (L) ran about 4 degrees C hotter than the control (R).
The sample sphere (L) ran about 4 degrees C hotter than the control (R).

The device consisted of “two simple spheres, a control with a little sand (a bead “bath”), and a sample.”

The unusual thing about this was that the sample (L) ran hotter than the surrounding material it was in, or the control (R), by about 4 degrees C.

“Most people that stopped to look at it were software or electrical engineer types, and they seemed to receive it well,” says Cravens. “I would say only 2 out of the hundred+ people had negative statements – at least at the booth. Some may have laughed later, but most were very much interested and had very intelligent questions.”

Oddly, most visitors to the booth did not speculate as to the operation, but focused on a more practical query.

“The most common questions centered on marketing – what would it cost, can you scale it up, and when will it be available?”

What could be making the heat? How can a small ball get hotter than the sand it’s in?

“It was clear that something inside was producing heat. Most people seemed to be satisfied with the D + D to Helium pathway. The most pleasing response was: can you make me a charger for my Tesla?”

Not everyone was satisfied with the display.

“A few software types suggested that a single line of LabVIEW code could have given “fake” heat levels. Thus, we omitted the software and graph the second day. Instead we just read the temperature directly of the Agilent so there could be no question of sneaky behavior.”

Cutting the sphere open to show nothing inside.
Cutting the sphere open shows nothing inside.
Cravens set-up the device on Sunday, and ran it through the week until Thursday, when he cut the spheres open, and surprised the crowd by showing there was nothing inside.

“I got some applause. Many took pictures. Many came over to exam the material. A few kids wanted some of the gold-looking brass dust from the cutting.”

Cravens describes the experiment by beginning with one of the basic laws of thermodynamics: heat will only flow from a hot object to a cold one.

The small sphere was hotter than its bead bath, so it must necessarily contain a heat-producing source.

At the show, he suggested a mechanism:

You look around the exhibit floor and see hundreds of people but none are touching each other. A physicist would say that deuterium atoms in equilibrium at low temperatures would never interact.

However if some one yells “fire, fire!”, there would be massive interactions at the doors. People would be trampled. Some would be injured. There can be a lot of unexpected interactions when you have a dynamic movement of deuterium.

Here we have deuterium trying to move through the vacancies of the metal lattice that are no bigger than an atom. It is not unrealistic to think some will get trampled. Not only that, the carbon that holds the metal lattice has a size just matched to the black body radiation wavelength at the operating temperatures.

In this analogy, it is like people are having to go through a door way that is vibrating.

Hmm, a lesson with a little mystery left to figure out.

“What NI does is take complex problems and reduce them to the size of the team.” says James Truchard, CEO of National Instruments, the company he founded.

Cravens, who’s been both a research scientist and a teacher, agrees.

“My philosophy is to support and recognize those that are doing good and those that are trying to learn more. Kids live for recognition and praise. I disagree with the current trend in education that tries to cookie-cut all the courses.”

“I feel the reason that America is known for innovation is because of the range of teaching and the creative spirit teachers have had.”

Demonstration experiments that engage minds through wonder, and explanations that use common experiences as analogy, can teach both young and old.

Education should go beyond the “marginal improvement of existing development” and Dennis Cravens is using cold fusion to do it.

Related Links

NIWeek 2013 features Dennis Cravens experiment

Cold fusion-powered car engineer has history of discovery

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NIWeek 2013 features Dennis Cravens experiment

NIThis year’s National Instruments weeklong event NIWeek 2013 begins today and runs Monday, August 5 through Thursday, August 8 in Austin, Texas, U.S.

Dennis Cravens, a long-time researcher who pioneered laser-induced reactions and has worked on energy cells as diverse as James Patterson‘s Patterson Power Cell, will be conducting a live demonstration experiment from booth #922 under the name Neo-Coulombic.

From the NIWeek 2013 Program [.pdf]:

Neo-Coulombic is a small private research group specializing in “long shot” technology involving methods of thermal energy generation using hydrogen and metals.

Cravens described his device to as:

spheres2… the simplest demo I could come up with at NIWeek. It is not intended to prove anything , just to something to make “Joe Six pack” take notice and give him something to about. There will be no input, no flows to measure, no HV to scramble the instruments, no calculations to explain . . . just one brass sphere warmer than the other, and the bath temperature.

I know full well I will get a lot of people that will want added bells and whistles but I hope the target audience (the average engineer type walking by with their family) can understand the system within in 30 seconds at the booth. One sphere is hotter than the other so it must have a power source of some kind inside- what is it? Come back on Thursday and see inside.

It is just two brass spheres in a constant temperature bath (80C Lab Armor aluminum bead bath). One is a sample and one is the control. The sample just stays warmer than the control (for the full 5 days of the expo). Temperatures will be monitored and displayed via a Lab View interface (after all, this is NI) during the expo.

I hope to cut open the sample on the last day to show there are no hidden items.

The theme for the 2013 summit is “Deploying the smart grid—effective deployment techniques for smart grid embedded control and monitoring systems.” and focuses on conventional alternative energies, a switch from last year’s strong focus on breakthrough energy.

NIWeek 2012 put LENR front and center, with opening remarks by National Instruments President and CEO James Truchard indicating his strong interest and support of the topic. Robert Duncan, Vice-Provost for Research at University of Missouri and organizer of the recently held 18th International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF-18) also spoke at the event and Francesco Celani, of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) performed a live demonstration of his cell. Defkalion Green Technologies, developers of the Hyperion reactor, gave a presentation, as did Akito Takahashi, of Technova, Inc. Numerous new energy researchers attended, and a panel discussion brought many to the stage for an open debate on the future of LENR.

Dennis Cravens is the sole representative from the new energy community scheduled to appear this year, but that doesn’t mean NI support has waned.

Truchard recently gave the Keynote Address at ICCF-18 and currently supports a number of new energy projects to varying degrees, with NI software, equipment, and more.

Cold fusion-powered car engineer has history of discovery

Dennis Cravens has a crowd-funding campaign to work on a cold fusion-powered car.

He doesn’t expect steam from cold fusion to be able to power the vehicle directly, but electricity generated from the steam would “trickle-charge” a battery to operate the vehicle.

Can he do it?

For twenty-four years, Dr. Cravens has been experimenting with the anomalous heat effect (AHE), and in that time, he has focused attention on gathering criteria and methods to initiate and trigger excess power.

Heat, pressure, current, radio-frequency, chemical, laser, acoustic, magnetic field – all were investigated by Cravens and longtime research partner Dennis Letts.

Cravens presented Factors Affecting The Success Rate of Heat Generation In CF Cells at ICCF-4 in Maui 1993, and together Cravens and Letts presented The Enabling Criteria of Electrochemical Heat: Beyond Reasonable Doubt at ICCF-10 in 2003, both works referring to palladium-deuterium Pd-D systems.

But it was investigating the various triggering methods that the collaborators made a surprising discovery.

Excess heat can be triggered by radio frequency.
Excess heat can be triggered by radio frequency.
RF-triggered excess heat experiments had been ongoing since 1992, and Letts’ collaborations with R. Sundaresan, Z. Minevski, and J.O’M. Bockris, the Texas A&M chemistry professor who nearly lost his job because of his research into cold fusion, were presented at ICCF-4.

Radio frequencies stimulated the reaction, but as usual with cold fusion, “it was difficult to reproduce”.

In Letts, D. and Cravens D. Laser Stimulation of Deuterated Palladium: Past And Present, PowerPoint slides presented at ICCF-10 2003, the authors describe one early experiment designed to test the effect of RF radio frequencies on excess power.

laser-cell-diagram-1A standard palladium-deuterium Pd-D electrolytic cell was modified to use the more-economical gold metal as an anode, instead of platinum.

During electrolysis, the gold dissolved into the solution, settling on the surface of the palladium cathode, and ruining the experiment.

A pocket laser pointer, emitting the familiar red-light at 670 nanometers, was directed at the cathode, just to see what would happen.

The cell temperature of the 75-gram electrolyte “rose several degrees, in a short time”.

In fact, a 3-degree increase in the electrolyte suggested that the 1 milliWatt laser pointer initiated heat in excess of 500 milliWatts.

An afterthought of directing laser-light saved an experiment.  Graph annotations by Ruby Carat
An afterthought of directing laser-light on the cathode saved an experiment.
Graph annotations by Ruby Carat.

In subsequent experiments, other frequencies were found to initiate a thermal effect, at 681 and 685 nm. “Most of the time this results in triggering a thermal response 10-30 times larger than the thermal output of the laser.” —Laser Stimulation of Deuterated Palladium Past and Present

The keywords there are not “10-30 times laser power”, but “most of the time”. Like RF, the laser triggering method did not guarantee 100% reproducibility.

However, one successful laser-triggered experiment ran live at ICCF-10.


After days of loading, a 681 nm laser irradiated a 1mm spot on the cathode of demo cell #602; excess power jumped immediately. The laser was turned off, and excess power decreased. Power to the cell was 500 mW, and with a 30 mW laser stimulation, 500 mW excess power was generated.

Demo cell 602 power graph
Demo cell 602 excess power graph

Laser stimulation to initiate anomalous heat reflects the criteria that many researchers find critical: dynamic conditions must exist in the chamber. Energetics’ Technologies used Superwaves, Brillouin Energy uses Q-pulses, and even nickel-hydrogen Ni-H systems produce higher thermal power output when the chamber is heated.

dual-laser-cell-diagramResonance by laser-light was further studied by Cravens and Letts with Peter Hagelstein, when two lasers were operated together to mix optical frequencies, creating beats to stimulate phonons in the Pd-D lattice that would initiate the reaction. Excess heat was associated with beat frequencies at 8.3 and 15.3 THz and 20.4 THz.

In addition, the size of the active regions was also compared to the laser’s region of impact. From their paper, it appears that the Nuclear Active Environment (NAE) is “larger than the laser spot in previous single laser experiments.”

While these undertakings describe basic science research, Cravens is no stranger to commercial efforts.

Patterson-Cell-diagram-CravensRepresenting ENECO, an early new-energy company initially formed to develop the Fleischmann-Pons work, Cravens was hired to provide an independent evaluation of the Patterson Power Cell, a proto-type commercial thermal generator designed by James Patterson of Clean Energy Technologies, Inc. (CETI) that utilized “plastic microspheres” layered with transition metals. Cravens reported on this investigation in Flowing Electrolyte Calorimetry at ICCF-5 in 1995.

Attendees at that conference were also treated to a live demonstration of the Patterson Power Cell. Here’s what Hal Fox of the New Energy Institute and publisher of Fusion Facts wrote in April of that year:


One of the most impressive presentations at the ICCF-5 was
given by Dr. Dennis Cravens and supported by a working
cold fusion cell set up in the foyer by Clean Energy
Technologies, Inc. (CETI) of Dallas Texas. Attendees at the
conference could take their own data, compute the results,
and show that a cold fusion cell was operating at 200 to 400
percent excess thermal power. This cold fusion system
utilized the patented inventions of James A. Patterson. This
invention consists of small plastic beads coated with copper,
nickel, and palladium. These beads provide a uniform large
surface area (of either palladium or nickel) to catalyze the
nuclear processes that are the heart of cold fusion
phenomena. The CETI patents cover both light and heavy
water electrolysis using the metal-coated microspheres.

Writing for the second issue of Infinite Energy magazine, Jed Rothwell provided further details of the demo.

Patterson’s company, Clean Energy Technologies, Inc. (CETI), got together with Dennis Cravens and brought to the conference a demonstration cell in a flow calorimeter. It worked spectacularly well. Cravens [2] discussed it on the first day. The device output 3 to 5 times input energy, ignoring energy lost to electrolysis gases, and as much as 10 times input if you include various factors such as electrolysis gases and the heat lost from the cell container.

As a demo, the Patterson cell output power was only a few Watts, but the durability was impressive. Rothwell continued:

The CETI demo system is fairly predictable, well controlled, and well-behaved, although it did get a bit quirky in the harsh conditions of the ICCF5 hallway. During breaks, the hotel coffee pots kept tripping the circuit breakers. This sent jolts of power through the transformer, which crashed the experiment. The CF reaction started up again every time, usually in about 10 minutes. The high precision flowmeter unfortunately did not survive the beating; the batteries and power supplies in it burned up. Fortunately, the low-precision flowmeter—a 10-ml laboratory supply graduated glass cylinder plus stopwatch—cannot be affected by power outages and excess voltage. The experiment was subjected to other abuses: the cart holding the experiment was wheeled up to a hotel room every night, carried on elevators, and pushed around. Cravens even lifted the cell from its container to show it to people while it was running! Yet in spite of this, the reaction started up in the morning after 10 or 20 minutes of electrolysis, although on the last day it took about a half hour, and the power was turned up higher than before. The fact that the cell survived this treatment at all demonstrates that this is one of the most robust and practical electrochemical CF systems yet developed.

Unfortunately, when Patterson’s beads ran out, the next batch didn’t work; the mystery of cold fusion had claimed another honest effort.

Yet the work of Dennis Cravens has persisted, and in his latest project, powering a 1928 Model-A with cold fusion, the aesthetic of a longtime researcher in anomalous effects marries the old with the new. Why?

“It is bold. It is daring. It is crazy but I have to try,” he writes.

Want to participate in something truly extraordinary? Go to Dennis Craven‘s Cold Fusion Powered Car Part 2 before April 20 to contribute.

The quote on his page says it best:

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Dr. Martin Luther King

Cold Fusion Now!