Is LENR really Transmutation?
One of the foremost low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) theorists is speculating that LENR is really transmutation of elements and that it could one be used to turn tungsten into gold. The transmutation creates large amounts of heat which could be converted into energy. These assertions are being made by Lewis Larsen one of the authors of the Widom-Larsen theory upon which many LENR experiments are based.
A Power Point Presentation placed on line by Larsen himself outlines the theory. One slide indicates that LENR could provide transmutation of stable elements including almost any very valuable element on the periodic table of elements. The cost would be competitive with present day mining costs. It costs large companies such as Freeport McMoRan (FCX) and Rio Tinto (RIO) around $350 to mine an ounce of gold so this process may not be that cheap.
The slides indicate that LENR transmutation could have many uses including.
- Extraction of bitumen
- Heavy Oil Recovery (this could mean the use of steam to force oil out of the ground)
- Making oil from shale or possibly coal
- The development of cleaner nuclear fission (I imagine this means nuclear fission without radiation)
- Transmutation of nuclear waste into less dangerous substances.
- Generate more power for the burning of waste
- Production of precious and rare metals such as gold, silver, platinum, rhodium and rare earths.
Interestingly enough Larsen contends that such transmutation may have been discovered as early as 1901 by Ernest Rutherford and Frederic Soddy. He also states that many other researchers including Professor Hantaro Nagoaka in Japan conducted transmutation experiments in the first half of the 20th Century. He also states that Pons & Flieschmann rediscovered LENR in 1989 not discovered it.
Larsen goes onto contend that LENR achieves transmutation by traversing the rows of the periodic table. He also puts out a theoretical description of a “nucleosynthetic network for gold.” This would be a network of LENR devices that would theoretically produce gold by applying his theory. He also claims this network would employ a process that could already be occurring in nature.
Larsen also contends that bacteria in hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean could be transmuting tungsten into gold or mercury. He also observes that this process could be duplicated in laboratories. Possibly leading to biological LENR?
Larsen is CEO of a company he calls Lattice Energy LLC. His Power Point presentation seems to be an invitation designed to get investors to put money into this process. I don’t know whether he plans to do this or not but sure sounds like it. It should be noted that there is no evidence that Larsen has performed any sort of research work that would verify his theories.
Still these theories are fascinating and fun if they do sound a bit far-fetched. If they work they could have some profound impacts including the end of mining and a future with unlimited amounts of metals available if industrial transmutation could be developed. We could supply our mineral needs without the need to despoil the earth or pay large percentages of our gross national product to third world politicians. It looks like the possibilities of LENR could be limitless but I for one would like to have some proof of these claims rather than a power point presentation. Particularly since this sounds a lot like alchemy.
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