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.