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.

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.


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.

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 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.

Related posts:

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

Viareggio Cold Fusion conference: science, politics, and an Italian competitor

A conference titled “Has cold fusion become a reality?” was held at 4:00 PM July 23 at Villa Borbone in Viareggio, Italy. The conference was hosted by Italian solar energy company Delta Energie. Among the participants were Andrea Rossi via Skype; his research partner, retired University of Bologna physicist Sergio Focardi, via a pre-recorded presentation; Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare physicist and cold fusion researcher Francesco Celani; astrophysicist and futurologist Mario Menichella; renewable energy researcher and author Roy Virgilio; and author and blogger Daniele Passerini, who is also a long-time friend of University of Bologna physicist Giuseppe Levi.

Fusione Fredda by Roy Virgillio Roy Virgilio is the author of a small Italian paperback book on cold fusion and an acquaintance of Francesco Piantelli, an early researcher in nickel-hydrogen reactions. Daniele Passerini has provided a summary of events on his blog and promises a video of the conference will appear online in a few days. Giorgio at Talk Polywell has provided an English translation of the more important news from the conference:

16.13 – Rossi is contacted on Skype, he confirms delivery of the 1MW plant according schedule. The first industrial plant will be delivered “patent pending”, hoping that this will push the European patent application.
Domestic reactors will have to wait a couple of years due to certifications.

16.57 – Focardi in his pre-recorded interview states again that he does not know the Nuclear process that brings an atom of nikel to capture a proton and transform it into Copper, but the chemical analysis prove that this is what happens.

17.03 – The temperature when the reaction starts is 60-70° C.

17.05 – Focardi states that many samples of reactors has been tested, including closed circuit reactors.

17.56 – Celani states that he is researching on nanoparticles deposited on thin and long strings of Pd, in Deuterium atmosphere.
He states he is getting 400/W/g at 500°C with good reproducibility.
He has worked also with Ni strings in Hydrogen atmosphere and he is getting an efficiency of 1800W/g at 900°C, but with difficulties in reproducibility.

18.26 – Roy Virgilio takes the word. He states that Piantelli research is going good. A new company (NickEnergia) has been formed 5 month ago and is already licensing his know how to other industries to produce reactors of different sizes. [The name of the company appears to be Nichenergy. —Ivy Matt]

18.35 – Piantelli is not willing to to make any type of publicity. He will arrive on the market with a commercial product and let the market decide if the technology is real or not.

18.37 – Piantelli is not using catalizers, just Nickel and Hydrogen.

18.39 – The first reactors that will be offered for sale will be on the range of the Kw. After they will scale up.

Another interesting tidbit from the conference.

19.10 – Among the public Milly Moratti takes the word and states that there are clearly now experimental evidences of Cold Fusion.

Now, for the one who do not know, Milli Moratti is the wife of Massimo Moratti, one of the richest man in Italy and owner of the Saras Petrol Refinery, The biggest in Italy and one of the biggest in Europe.
That’s a 5,3 Billion Euro Company.
She has money and the political knowledge.

Thanks, Giorgio!

That’s good news about the research and political interest, disappointing news about the timeline for the arrival of the domestic reactor.

Several other items of interest were brought up at the conference: Celani’s allegation that the public denigration of cold fusion research and the hiring of the best cold fusion researchers by US military and government labs likely stem from the same policy, the military interest in cold fusion research being the production of tritium for use in thermonuclear warheads; his naming of Japanese researcher Yoshiaki Arata as the “real father of cold fusion”, having studied deuterium in the gas phase (loaded into a metallic lattice or powder, presumably) since 1958; and Virgilio’s comment on Piantelli’s insistence that what occurs in the nickely-hydrogen reaction is not properly cold fusion, but rather some other type of low-energy nuclear reaction consisting of a complex sequence of events.

It seems clear now—if it wasn’t before—that the “Italian competitor” Andrea Rossi has mentioned several times on his website is Francesco Piantelli, with whom Sergio Focardi worked for many years. In his recent dust-up with physicist Julian Brown, Rossi said Brown had claimed that his competitor had a patent on the matter granted in 1995. Piantelli applied for a patent, “Energy Generation and Generator by Means of Anharmonic Stimulated Fusion”, in 1995, but the patent was never granted. However, whether the patent was granted or not, it could still be used as evidence for prior art in a claim against Rossi’s 2008 patent, which is probably the idea Brown was trying to convey to Rossi.

Earlier reports had claimed that Piantelli’s group had achieved 40 kW of thermal power and 7 kW of electrical power, but the recent report from Virgilio seems to point to a more modest claim. If the Piantelli device produces under 5 kW of thermal power, Nichenergy’s best option would seem to be to compete with Defkalion GT on price—and possibly time to market, if Nichenergy’s reactor is not also hampered by regulations on domestic use.

NOTE: this post has been updated to reflect what is apparently the actual name of Piantelli’s company, Nichenergy, based on updated information on Daniele Passerini’s blog.