LENR is Cheap Energy Not Free Energy

Part of the reason why Low Energy Nuclear Reaction has such a bad reputation in some quarters is that it is being promoted as “free energy.” This is simply not true, LENR would be cheap or cheaper energy not free energy.

The reason why LENR or cold fusion is not free is obvious. You would have to pay for the LENR device itself and the materials needed to operate it. Andrea Rossi has stated his ecat LENR device costs $1.5 million for a 1 megawatt model. The 10 kilowatt home model would cost between $1,000-$1,500 apiece.

This figure doesn’t include operating costs for the units. They would require regular insertion of a nickel/hydrogen mixture and perhaps Rossi’s catalyst. They also require a specific amount of electricity to operate. Rossi has noted that you need to put 1 kilowatt of electricity into the ecat to generate 6 kilowatts of energy. Since most of us would have to buy that electricity from the local power company that would hardly be free. If you used a solar panel or a wind mill to generate the power that wouldn’t be free either because you’d have to pay for the solar panel or wind mill.

The truth of course is that there is no such thing as free energy. Thermodynamics states we must get energy from some where. It can not be created out of free air as if by wishing.  Economics dictates that people will not do anything unless they are going to receive a reward for it. It also states that everybody has to pay for everything sooner or later.

Andrea Rossi is hoping to make large amounts of money from his product. He also has to eat, put a roof over his head, pay for all the materials and equipment he is using, pay for his workspace and pay the people working for him. Obviously that takes money and he’s hoping to get it from somewhere. The somewhere is obvious from selling his technology or the rights to it.

If LENR were really “free energy” Rossi would not be working into it. Nor would other companies like Brillioun, Defakalion, Energetics, Cold Fusion Energy Inc., etc. They would make no profit on it and have no incentive to commercialize it. Nor would anybody be spending time, energy and resources to build it. This includes government agencies like NASA that want to profit from higher percentages of the federal budget.

In other words, economics like physics dictates that “free energy” is impossible. Nobel-Prize winning economist Milton Freidman once noted “That There is no Such Thing as a Free Lunch.” The great American novelist Robert A. Heinlein used the term TANSTFL (“there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”) what they meant was that somebody has to pay for everything. That’s certainly the case with any sort of energy. No energy source can be successful unless people are able to pay for it.

If they don’t pay for the energy itself the people will have to pay for the device that will create it. Even if somebody gives LENR units away they would not be free. Somebody would have to pay to build them and distribute them. That money would have to come from somewhere – probably from taxes or money taken from citizens by some sort of government. So it obviously would not be free.

Yes folks, LENR will probably be a far cheaper source of energy than anything we have today but it will be far from free. There will be financial and other costs associated with it. And if the history of technology is anything to judge by those costs will probably be far higher than anybody anticipates.

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8 Responses to LENR is Cheap Energy Not Free Energy

  • kwhilborn says:

    Really?
    1kg Nickel = 200 000+ barrels of oil is a LOT cheap.

    Don’t get me wrong the costs of the reactors as they are currently is also stupid. A reactor can be built by any nerd/plumber but has less moving parts than most items in any dollar store.

    It’s not like the police can arrest you for having a reactor. If a patent holder knew you had one then they could launch a civil suit against you. This will be widely replicated.

    We know from AR and the NASA video that part of the catalyst is CARBON.

    I can see e-cats and their replicas selling for under $75 each for home units. You might need a few pounds of lead for shielding, but what else is there? Heating coil?

    If the claimed excess heat is even 1/4 of what is claimed then we will soon have e-cat cars and homes.

    Instead of thinking of a small “leaf” type electric car imagine buying a 30 foot motor-home to traverse the 30 minutes to work. It may sound like an exaggeration; but why drive a mini when your car comes with a lifetime worth of fuel.
    You might be happy for the on board washrooms once the service stations start vanishing.

    Before imagining this energy will be expensive in any way you need to look at the simplicity of the reactor. The only moving part may be for loading/cleaning nickel.

    Nickel is the fifth most common element on the planet. There is also no shortage of carbon/hydrogen. This energy will be so cheap it may as well be free.

    LENR = “comparitivelly” free energy. That’s fact.

    • jennifer says:

      Interesting point. Anybody can build a computer but most people don’t because it is cheaper to go out and buy one. I imagine that will be the case with this. It still will not be free you have to buy the materials to build it from. Comparatively free is an oxymoron. The accurate phrase is comparatively cheap not comparatively free. As for the motor home well that wouldn’t be much fun to drive would it. I have no desire to be driving around in a 30 yacht sized vehicle. That would be no fun to drive. One of my pet peeves is all the motor homes that clog up the highways in Colorado where I live in the summer time. I can’t drive to the grocery store without getting stuck behind one. We need less not more motor homes.

  • Brad Arnold says:

    Yeah, it is so very very inexpensive (compared to other forms of energy generation) that it blows them out of the water.

    Furthermore, it is clean. That means the invisible hand of the market, not legislation, will force people to cut their GHG emissions dramatically.

    Finally, it is super abundant. Many of the conflicts lately (the Iraq war?) have been fought at least partially over access to oil. Many countries’ economies are being bled white by sending their currency abroad to import energy. No more fuel shortages either.

    Yes, LENR isn’t “free energy” (whatever that means, since it it obvious to anyone that free means realitively free as in very cheap, clean, and abundant), but it is a silver bullet energy technology.

    • jennifer says:

      You’re right the invisible hand of the market will let this triumph. Monopolists, bureaucrats and politicians cannot stop it if they try they will end up on the ash heap of history. You’re about conflicts over oil. Sending currency abroad for energy makes no sense. Free means simply you don’t have to pay anything for anything. It’s impossible and I might point out the word free is essentially meaningless. Cheap is the accurate description here. There is no such thing as free. Anybody who says something is free is probably trying to pull a fast one on you like all the buy one get one free offers in advertising. Note you have to pay to get the free item.

  • Malicious Revenger says:

    “The 10 kilowatt home model would cost between $1,000-$1,500 apiece.”

    Has anyone any idea, how much money people pay for an energy efficient heating system to keep the house warm in winter? The above mentioned cost to produce electricity at home is marginal and just in comparison. It is rather so, that monopolists in the energy market don’t like to see dwindeling theyr income.

    • jennifer says:

      I don’t know how many people would pay I imagine most of the populations of the United States, Canada, Northern Europe, Russia, Japan and China would (myself included). I cannot see how the monopolists can stop this. Any more than buggy makers could stop Henry Ford It’s coming. The profits from this will astronomical by the way. Many of the so called monopolists will simply jump on the LENR bandwagon because it is heading straight to the bank.

  • Dutch Student says:

    So 100 10kW units (or 1MW in total) will set me back 150,000 dollars, while a single 1MW units costs 10 times as much….I’m not a pro-businessman, but normally speaking, the price/watt should go down when the total wattage goes up. If you are trying to make people believe in LENR and focus on cost only, (what is riduculous since the technology isnt even here yet, discuss that first), make sure your numbers are right, because this way you’re just feeding the non-believers.

    Ow….and everybody screaming this is great ‘silver bullet’ technolgy and stuff doesnt work. Showing working technology which is great, is great technology.

    • jennifer says:

      Unfortunately it has not demonstrated yet. There’s no way to know if numbers are right until the technology is up and operating. Rossi keep changing the price and Defkalion hasn’t even said what they would charge. We need to see the technology working.