LENR/Cold Fusion Year in Review 2012
Although it didn’t produce the breakthroughs that some people were hoping for 2012 was an interesting and exciting year in the terms of cold fusion or low energy nuclear reaction (LENR). There were a lot of fascinating developments even if the big breakthrough didn’t occur (or if it did nobody noticed).
So what were the big stories in LENR in 2012 and will we remember them even a few years from now? Here’s my breakdown:
- Francesco Celani’s public demonstration of an LENR device that meets most of the criteria posted by LENR skeptics. Particularly his demonstration of that device at National Instruments’ NIWeek conference in Austin Texas in August.
The successful and very rapid duplication of Celani’s LENR device by the Hunt Utilities Group and STMicroelectronics. The ability of back room inventors in a small Minnesota town to duplicate the Celani reactor proves how easy it is to do LENR work.
- The Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project’s open-sourced LENR effort to spread the Celani technology. As I’ve pointed out earlier this could have revolutionary effects similar to Microsoft’s popularization of an open sourced operating system (Windows) which made widespread use of computers possible. Or Google’s Android system which is transforming wireless technology.
- The US Patent Office’s willingness to grant George Miley a patent for an LENR device. This indicates a sea change in the office and the growing acceptance of LENR.
- Brillouin’s ability to get a Chinese patent for its LENR boiler technology and more importantly to get $20 million in venture capital to fund its LENR research and development. This doesn’t prove that LENR is a viable technology yet but it proves it’s potential.
- The successful long-term demonstration of the Jet Energy NANOR device at Peter Hagelstien’s laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- The beginning of LENR research at the University of Missouri at Columbia where billionaire Sidney Kimmel has founded the Sidney Kimmel Institute for a Nuclear Renaissance and given Robert Duncan and Mark Prelas the funds they need for LENR research.
- Andrea Rossi’s various claims about his ecat technology. If they are true he and his team have achieved a breakthrough. Unfortunately Rossi has been able to provide no verification. Although he has promised it for 2013.
- The lack of media attention to LENR at least in the English speaking world. The mainstream press and TV networks in the United States in particular seem to be scared to death to mention the words Cold Fusion. If it weren’t for the internet the story wouldn’t be getting out or reaching anybody. It should be noted that regional newspapers in the US such as The Kansas City Star in Missouri have done a good job reporting on LENR. Unfortunately their efforts have been ignored by the major New York papers and the news services.
- The revelation that NASA is conducting LENR research and the willingness of NASA scientists Dennis Bushnell and Joseph Zawodny to talk openly about it. NASA has even proposed an LENR space plane and applied for an LENR patent. The willingness of a major government agency to publicly embrace cold fusion and put money into it demonstrates that there is something there. It also opens up new possibilities that even enthusiasts such as Andrea Rossi have ignored.
- The death of Martin Fleischmann who with Stanley Pons popularized “cold fusion” back in 1989. Fleischmann’s death attracted some good media attention in Britain and on the regional level in the US. Honest news reports noted that Fleischmann was an established scientist with real credential. Unfortunately there were still a number of hit pieces from “scientific journalists” trying to portray him as a “cold fusion crank.”
- The unwillingness of the scientific establishment especially physicists to take a look at LENR work no matter how compelling and give it an honest evaluation. My guess is that scientific historians of the future will record this is a failure of science. One long term result of this might be the complete discrediting of contemporary physics and the institutions that dominate it.
- The silence from the scientific establishment on LENR. Even though they haven’t embraced it there hasn’t been a rush of established scientists to condemn it either as there was back in 1989. My guess is that many physicists and others have adopted a wait and see attitude in order to avoid ridicule. They don’t want be seen as cold fusion cranks but they don’t want to be seen as fools who dismissed a new technology either.
- The willingness of a few honest and open-minded physicists such as Dr. Robert Duncan, Dr. Peter Hagelstein, Sergio Focardi, Francesco Celani and Nobel Prize Laureate Brian Josephson to ignore the establishment and stand up for LENR. Their courage proves that there are still people dedicated to science and truth. Unfortunately they seem to be the minority today and it seems easier than ever for the establishment to ignore them.
- The growing (and sometimes rumored) interest of large companies such as STMicroelectronics, Toyota, Mitsubishi, National Instruments, Boeing and Siemens in LENR. Such corporations wouldn’t be interested in cold fusion if they didn’t think that there was something there.
- The large number of LENR research and development efforts going on out there. These efforts include Andrea Rossi, Defkalion, Brillouin, JetEnergy, George Miley, Piantelli, HUG, STMicroelectronics, Kressan,Toyota/Mitsubishi and those are just the ones we know about. My guess is that there are dozens of other scientists and inventors working on LENR including many backyard tinkerers.
It’s been an exciting year in LENR even if the big breakthrough or magic bullet hasn’t arrived yet. My guess by the way is that there won’t be a big breakthrough instead there will be a lot of small steps that will provide interesting results. It’ll probably take years, a vast amount of hard work, a lot of courage and imagination and a lot money before cold fusion becomes a practical energy source.
Here’s one final though to keep in mind as we close out 2012:
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
Happy New Year!!