Recent Advances Show that LENR is not Free Energy

If the free energy enthusiasts take a look at the recent advances in the field of low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) research and development they are going to be very disappointed. Recent revelations from cold fusion researchers such as Francesco Celani, Andrea Rossi and the Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project demonstrate that LENR is far from free.

The LENR reactor that Francesco Celani has publicly demonstrated and that the Fleischmann project associated researchers at the Hunt Utilities Group are working with reportedly requires a large jolt of electricity to produce a reaction. That means a person relying on a device based on that technology would need a source of electricity independent of the LENR device in order to start the LENR device.

The most logical place to get that electricity would be from the electrical grid. So a person would still have to pay for at least some electricity to start the LENR device. If there was no grid connection you would need some other source of electricity probably a diesel or propane generator. You would have to pay for generator and for the diesel fuel or the propane.

It might be possible to use solar panels or a wind turbine to generate the power needed to start the LENR device. Contrary to popular belief solar or wind generated electricity isn’t free either because somebody has to pay for the solar panels or the wind turbine. The infrastructure needed to connect the turbine to the LENR device and batteries needed to store electricity are not free either.

Streaming video of Andrea Rossi’s Leonardo Corporation facility in Bologna shows that there is a large diesel generator sitting right outside his workshop. If don’t believe me take a look at the video above. So his ecat device apparently faces some of the same constraints as the Celani process.

More recently Rossi has stated that he is developing a gas fired hot ecat unit. Gas like electricity costs money. The most likely gas used would be natural gas or propane (LPG) both of which are cheap and readily available. The ecat user would obviously have to pay for this gas. Propane currently costs around $2.80 a gallon in the United States according to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA).

Some free energy promoters have claimed that you could use the electricity produced with an LENR generator to make hydrogen gas from water to power the device. Yes that it is possible but the equipment needed to make the hydrogen costs money. So I might add may the water. You may also need to pump the water to the device which requires energy probably electricity. Another problem comes up is how do you get the electricity to make the gas if the LENR generator hasn’t started yet? The most likely place would be from a generator or a battery?

Get the picture folks? To produce a low energy nuclear reaction you need a specific amount of energy in the first place. To create that energy you will have to spend some money. Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch there is no such as free LENR or free energy of any kind.

Instead there is cheap or cheaper energy. LENR has the potential to greatly reduce energy costs but it will never create any sort of free energy. Those who utilize it will have to spend some money to produce the LENR effect. Instead the most likely scenario is that LENR will reduce energy costs by 20-33%. That savings might increase as we get better at building LENR devices.

The Celani Reactor

No we will probably never get free energy from LENR or even nearly free energy. On the other hand I like the idea of a 33% drop in my electric or heating bill. I certainly won’t complain about it although I have a feeling that the free energy folks will.

One final thought here we should be thankful that LENR is not free energy. If LENR were truly free energy there would be no way for Andrea Rossi, Brillouin, Defkalion, Kressen, Celani, Pinatelli etc. to make any money from it. I doubt they would be working on it if they thought they would never make money from it. Nor would anybody be willing to invest in LENR if it were free.  Would you buy an investment that didn’t make money? Of course not.  Even if they wanted to be benefactors of humanity, LENR developers would still have to pay the bills. So there would no money to pay for “free energy” research. Perhaps it is good that some fantasies stay fantasies.


35 Responses to Recent Advances Show that LENR is not Free Energy

  • Greg Schofield says:

    I am a little perplexed at this article. There is a lot more than a 33% drop in energy costs, once the unit is set-up and running in self-sustaining mode, nickel (Rossis’s device) is consumed in very small amounts. There are unit costs, maintenance costs, recharging costs and unit start-up costs. If these amount to 33% of the present costs of electricity production, I would be very surprised.

    Part of the costs is reduced by progressive production improvements, scale of production and scale of units being deployed. So they will decline. Then of course there are the hidden environmental savings which society will benefit from when such technology is deployed.

    The potential is not a 33% saving but much more the reverse, all things considered a social saving that may make the costs relatively insignificant.

    Ads for free energy, the reference is not to commercialism, but to energy above and beyond that released by normal chemical means (such as burning). In terms of recognised chemical processes, the energy itself is free and above the amount of chemical energy added to the process to get it started.

    • jennifer says:

      We don’t know what the energy costs will be because the device doesn’t exist yet and isn’t operating. 33% seems like a reasonable number. One problem is the cost of the device. To recoup their investment developers and manufacturers may have to charge a high cost for it. Especially if operating costs are low and lots of people are selling cheap nickel and hydrogen for it.

    • jennifer says:

      Basically I’ve been getting frustrated by the idea that LENR is free. It obviously will not be and I think people need to be reminded. Those people waiting for free energy are going to be disappointed sooner or later because it will never come. I’m sure many of them will turn against LENR and start denouncing it as an evil capitalist conspiracy the minute they find they have to pay for it.

  • kwhilborn says:

    I know you don’t show comments,

    but batteries could take someone off the grid?

    Nobody said it was free first of all. It always required Nickel/Hydrogen/Carbon, etc.


    This technology is new. Francesco Celani throwig $500 worth of stuff together mat work, but imagine how well 1000 researchers with billions of dollars could improve upon that.

    Andrea Rossi CLAIMS to have a device 100X better than Celanis already. Imagine his device being improved upon by billions of dollars and 1000’s of researchers.

    I found your article a little pointless and not making much sense. I could not read the entire thing though as it lost me in the first few paragraphs.

    • kwhilborn says:

      also you can initiate a reaction and let it run for 3-6 months straight with zero energy input. Energy input. None. ZIP. ZERO.

      I agree it needs to be improved but we will be looking at clean energy that can replace gas in cars, at a far greater savings than just 30-50% we will be saving over 75% soon enough.

      Probably more. It will seem close to free

    • jennifer says:

      Thanks for intelligent articles and yes we show comments. Unfortunately I have to work for a living. Unlike Tim Bravo I actually need money. I have a feeling Celani’s device cost a lot more than $500. There’s no telling what thousands of researchers with billions of dollars will produce. Remember the Soviet Union had thousands of researchers and billions of dollars and other than a basic space capsule I can’t think of anything Soviet Science produced. Steve Jobs had $100,000 and a garage and he commercialized a revolutionary technology.

  • Gabriele Carminati says:

    Your conclusion are right if you have a ridiculous COP, like Celani. In the last tests, Rossi reached a COP 12, so he can use one HotCat to power other Hot Cats producing electric power. The system can be totally stand-alone and would not require grid electricity or diesel engine except that for the first start. So, the right conclusion is the opposite: Lenr can be a free lunch…

  • Pingback: Feed In Tariff Uk | Photovoltaic Panels UK

  • Susan Conlan says:

    Unlike oil and natural gas which obviously require no energy at all to mine, explore, transport, and clean up after.

    • jennifer says:

      That’s one of the biggest savings. One of the biggest costs to oil and gas and coal and nuclear is that the clean up costs almost always get passed on to the taxpayers.

  • nicola says:

    I think the biggest problem is the turbine to convert steam to electricity, because it is too big and noisy and expensive for domestic installation. The hydrogen and nickel fuel consumed in the process are needed in small quantities, no need to pump water because in future you will buy a recharge of hydrogen gas the size of a water bottle directly from a vendor that heats your home for ten years.

    What you’ll still need is electricity, but that will be very cheap because only the vendor’ll actually need a water pump to produce hydrogen gas in his hydrogen plants near a river or seashore, not different from modern nuclear centrals, and obviously he too will use a LENR device always on coupled with the most efficient turbines to generate the electricity needed to pump water, so after the usual starting investment to buy the costly materials he’ll earn good money from selling hydrogen gas AND the surplus electricy.

    Same reasonment can be applied to the process of nickel enrichment, even if electricity alone cannot directly extract nickel, probably human labor will still be need in nickel mines, but except that, the industrial conversion from coal and oil to nickel and hydrogen could be very profitable for all countries of the world, even those who produce coal and oil.

    • jennifer says:

      Thanks for an intelligent comment.

    • Jim says:

      Turbines don’t have to be large. There are small ones that come with gas powered generators. Most of the noise in a generator is the motor itself, not the turbine.

      Additionally, there are materials that convert heat to electricity directly with no moving parts but they get very low efficiencies right now.

      • jennifer says:

        Thanks great points but the turbines will cost money. The technology to vast potentially unlimited amounts of electricity on a small scale basis already exists. All we need is a good power source to hook it to. LENR might provide that.

  • AlainCo says:

    Free like speech, not free like beer.

    The natural evolution of LENR is to produce it’s own needed electricity, though turbines, stirling or thermoelectric device.
    However todays turbines are about 2000$/kWe if around 5kW, (500$/kW if around 100MWe), while reactors are 100$/MWth (defkalion estimated cost).

    LENR will first focus on easy gain of efficiency, by focusing on heating applications…
    Consuming some electricity is logical, and energy from the grid is much cheaper than from unsubsidized panel with required storage…
    At short term, with a COp of 20 like what plan Defkalion, best option is to buy electricity on the grid to heat what you want with a LENR reactor. Only if the grid is expensive will it be sensible to own a turbine.

    LENR is not free like a beer. Even if the fuel is nearly free (given the need of hydrogen, best to to buy bottles and not to worry about electrolysis yourself), the investment cost are noticable.
    However for heat production, you see that it is about 10 times less expensive.

    since energy is 10% of our costs, and more than half about heat, dividing it by 10, will make us increase productivity by >4-5%, more if you account for indirect savings…
    and with cheap reactors, maybe it will me more rational than today, to design cheap and rough turbines instead of the swiss clock designed to save the least drop of expensive oil.
    The engineering of het to electricity converters (turbines, stirling, TEG)will change, like the shape of boat have changed with steam.

    • jennifer says:

      Thanks for an intelligent comment you’re actually right. PS there is no such thing as a free beer. When you see a bar or restaurant advertising free beer read the advertising. You probably have to buy a meal to get the free beer. I agree it’ll be used as a heating device first. Except where connection to the grid is impossible or prohibitively expensive.

  • Tim Bravo says:

    The most logical place to get that electricity would be from the electrical grid.

    I call B.S.! It would be a simple matter to add a starter to the device which could then be recharged by the device. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to realize, either.

    As for the term “free energy”, you’re completely misconstruing the concept as if we “Free Energy nuts” actually believe the energy is completely free of cost – as if we’re seriously that naive. But I, and we, are not.

    In fact, I’m also not so naive as to think you actually believe we think the energy is free. The inclusion of this tired meme, coupled with your capitalist old-world, old-energy, developers-need-to-make-money reasoning leads me to believe you and your blog are not sincere in covering the subject of new energy technology. On the contrary, I’m inclined to believe you are intentionally muddying the cyber waters with this insincere obfuscation and dribble.

    I’d sooner believe you’re being paid by an energy corporation than believe you’re interested in anything that could (and eventually will) break the current paradigm. We have a name for folks like that. It’s TROLL. An ugly word, for an ugly activity.

    • jennifer says:

      I just have one question Tim how do you pay for things like food and housing? I’m guessing you use money just like the rest of us. Have you figured out how to live without it? My guess is no. How are the LENR pioneers supposed to finance their activities. Rub the magic lantern or wait around for government funding? I’m not being paid by any corporation. The current paradigm works and it won’t be broken. The last century of history proves that completely. What was truly ugly was non-capitalist systems like the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Communist China etc. If we rely on your thinking we’ll never have LENR or any technology. The device you describe sounds suspiciously like a perpetual motion machine which is fantasy.

      • Jim says:

        I have to intrude here. I’m very much a capitalist. But such a device isn’t necessarily fantasy. Any system that emits more energy than it takes could potentially do that.

        The fission reactors could be considered fantasy devices. Put rocks together and they start emitting energy. It’s magic! The only difference is that the efficiency of getting power out of these rocks is very low, and the rocks are very expensive.

        As for financing their activities, I doubt if that will be a problem. They will be selling their devices, not the electricity. Water heater mfrs don’t sell the hot water, they sell the water heaters. People only pay them for the devices and not the hot water and yet they aren’t starving.

        • jennifer says:

          Thanks for the comment. As I noted above the price of the devices might have to be far higher than we’ll like. That I imagine will turn off a lot of the free energy crowd. They seem to have bought into the fallacy (largely popularized by Star Trek) that technology can some how abrogate the laws of economics. I don’t think it can. A lot of people will be disappointed by the reality even as average folk are impressed by it.

  • Dr Bob says:

    Hi there,

    My name is Dr Bob
    I believe that information & technology can solve all our problems.

    You are making a lot of assumptions.
    On the other side, I can’t blame you, with the little data we have thats all we can do at this point.

    Personally I don’t think price is close to as important as the impact on the environment.
    Its crazy, global companies now is turning their back to renewables and governments is stoping the subsidizing. Every step in the right direct is important and as long as we have a working device companies would jump on it.

    Does it really surprise you that Andrea has a diesel generator outside his building?
    If we where to believe his claims about all reactors he is test running he would have to have a lot of electricity… right?

    If the technology works / will work, then we can always use that to power up the grid… right?

    Peach out

    • jennifer says:

      Price is important because people will not use it if it costs too much. The only way for LENR to have an impact on the environment is for it to be cheap enough to be widely used. Global companies turn their back on renewable because they are not cost effective. They only work if taxpayers subsidize them which hurts working people who pay taxes. If the global companies used the renewable sources they’d probably lose money and go out of business. The exciting thing about LENR is that it would be cost effective. Rossi has never claimed to have a lot of electricity or produced it. He admits freely he hasn’t produced electricity he’s only achieved a reaction.

  • Cristiano says:

    you’re raving.
    Nuclear energy without radiation and without waste.
    It is a new wheel, a new fire.

    • jennifer says:

      No it is a new energy source. It would be more comparable to the gasoline engine or the electrical generator.

  • Mannstein says:

    It really gets down to what the payback period is based on the cost of the peripheral equipment, that is, generator, batteries, wind turbine, etc. and the cost saving realized using e-cat energy instead of using fossil fuel.

  • I don’t know where you’re getting your understanding of how the field has been using the term “free energy” but it isn’t how I have been using that term for a decade. As the owner of “FreeEnergyNews,” I think I should get some say in this.

    I refer to ‘free energy’ as that energy that comes freely from nature. Solar is free energy. Wind is free energy.

    The devices that harness that energy certainly are not free, but the source is free for the taking, ubiquitous, inexhaustible.

    • jennifer says:

      If the devices that produce the energy are not free then the energy is not free. Sterling you just admitted that there is no free energy from nature. The free energy comes from technological processes created by human beings. I might also point out that LENR is not from nature it is produced through a technological process that is only created through human intervention. Therefore it doesn’t meet your criteria which is flawed to begin with. PS free energy would be nice but the only I know of to get it would be through magic.

      • Shane says:

        Sterling says you are using the term wrong and use the term wrong against him to prove your point? Your logic is flawed, to his point. HOWEVER, you are correct. The energy will never be “Free,” but I don’t know any logical person who has every claimed it would be. Just because you were mislead doesn’t mean the rest of us were.

        “Free” in free energy has nothing to do with final costs, which you assume. It has to do with effort to generate the energy, effectively getting more energy of the system than you put in. Free as in no effort, not no cost or input materials.

        • jennifer says:

          Interesting point. Since you will need effort, input and materials at some point if just to build the system in the first place. It is not free. If the system was as you said. Those who produced it would have to charge a high price for it to cover their costs. They after all will have to eat, pay bills, pay rent, pay taxes etc. It raises some intriguing questions. Thanks for the comment.

        • jennifer says:

          I mean free in an economic sense as you correctly note. Most economists believe that there is no such thing as free. Unfortunately a lot of the proponents are not thinking logically. Interestingly enough what you describe as free sounds more like “profit” getting more than you put in out. That sounds like the essence of capitalism which isn’t going to make a lot of the Star Trek fans happy. Although I enjoy the shows despite the wonky economics which are just as bad or worse than Star Trek’s physics.

  • Bernd Haas says:

    If you get out more energy from a system than you put into it, you have free energy!
    Avoiding extra cost for input energy is just a matter engineering because you can save/store some of the output energy which you can use when you need to startup the LENR device next time.

    • jennifer says:

      No you do not because you still have to pay for the energy that you put in first. Since you obviously have to pay more the materials you engineer you have to pay. It is not free. It is cheaper. The only way it could be free is if somebody gave you the LENR device for free which I seriously doubt will happen. Even then it would not be free because somebody else would have to pay for the free energy device.

  • Jordi Heguilor says:

    How about showing ONE damn LENR apparatus that works?