The Peak Oil Crisis: The Mother of All Black Swans

Title graphic: M. King Hubbert’s graph of the fossil fuel age and it’s successor nuclear power in geologic time.

This is a re-post of an article written by Tom Whipple of the Falls Church News Press.
The original article is here.


Even Saudi Arabia’s oil minister is starting to talk about the advent of a “black swan.” These are defined as completely unexpected developments which cause lots of unexpected change. I believe we are going to be seeing a major black swan event in the not too distant future.

It should be clear to everyone that the earth’s climate is becoming so laden with carbon emissions that civilization as we know it on this planet is unlikely to make it through the next few centuries. Fortunately, however, the combustion of carbon-based fuels will be slowly on its way down as most of the oil that is left is becoming too costly to extract, and in the case of coal, is killing too many people from unhealthy air. Even the Chinese seem to have gotten the message and are cutting back on coal burning as fast as they can without collapsing their economy and getting the government overthrown. However, running out of cheap oil, killing ourselves off from dirty air, or devastating climate change induced weather events are not black swans as these developments are already well anticipated. What is desperately needed is a way for the world to stop burning carbon as quickly as possible without creating economic turmoil. There just may be an answer.

Coming down the road are a pair of technologies that will produce nearly unlimited amounts of cheap, pollution-free energy, and have the potential to change life-as-we-know-it.

I am talking about the twin technologies of cold fusion and hydrinos, each of which, when widely deployed, will constitute a revolution in the history of mankind fully equivalent to the discovery of fire, the wheel, the agricultural revolution, or the industrial revolution. Both of these technologies are based on turning the hydrogen found in water into virtually unlimited amounts of energy at very low cost and without any harmful pollution. Recent developments suggest that either or both of these technologies could become available for commercial applications in the next few years. In recent years, new technologies such as cell phones have spread across the globe in a few decades.

So where are these technologies and when can we expect to hear and read about them in the mainstream media, especially if they are getting close to becoming commercial products? The answer to this is simple. Both these technologies are based on science that is beyond that generally accepted by scientific community, especially those who have never looked into the results of the experiments. While those few scientists who have tested and are familiar with the details of these technologies tell us that they are for real, the bulk are waiting for irrefutable proof that they actually produce large amounts of cheap energy before they are willing to accept that our knowledge of nature may not be as complete as we like to think and that some scientific theories may be wrong.

The hydrino theory holds that there exists in nature a stable, compact form of hydrogen which does not absorb or emit light, making it very hard to detect. Under the proper conditions, normal hydrogen atoms such as those found in water can be transformed into hydrinos accompanied by a massive release of energy. This theory is the brainchild of one man, Randall Mills of BlackLight Power in New Jersey, who has been working on the development of the theory and a practical way to release energy for nearly 30 years. The reason the theory has received little attention is that it appears to violate fundamental principles of atomic science which would have to be rethought if it fact there is such a thing as a hydrino.

Last summer Mills reported in a fascinating video on his website, blacklightpower.com, that he has recently made significant breakthroughs in developing the technology. Last month he reported that all of the subsystems of his prototype “SunCell” now are working and that the first prototype of a commercial device is now being integrated. He also says that a business relationship for distribution of commercial products is being established. If the prototype devices work as advertised and can be tested by independent laboratories, the arguments over the existence of a hydrino should end fairly quickly unless some other explanation can be found. If the subsystems work as claimed, I would be surprised if we did not see the first prototype in operation before the end of the year.

The second of our black swan technologies is our old friend “cold fusion,” which now goes by several other names, largely to assuage the feelings of those scientists who claim there can be no such thing as cold fusion. There now is no question that the nuclear reactions are for real and that commercial quantities of heat can be produced under proper conditions by heating hydrogen in the presence of nickel and other elements. As far as we know, the Italian entrepreneur Andrea Rossi still seems to be the furthest ahead in the race to build and market commercial-scale devices although numerous people around the world are producing heat from laboratory scale devices.

Unlike Mill’s hydrino device, cold fusion is far more difficult to control and many experiments are producing so much heat that they melt down their test apparatuses. Only Rossi, who is now working from a US company, Industrial Heat, down in North Carolina, says he has developed the techniques to keep a commercially viable heat generating device under control. For several months now he has had a commercial sized 1-megawatt prototype device, which has been installed in a factory at an unrevealed location in the U.S., undergoing a year’s acceptance test. If this test is successful, and we won’t know until early next year, Industrial Heat will at some point likely begin publicizing and marketing commercial cold fusion devices.

If either of these endeavors meets their developers’ expectations, we should be seeing the biggest black swan in centuries land in our midst fairly soon.