It will be hard for a lot of people to believe but energy prices around the globe are in freefall. Some types of crude oil are now so worthless that producers in the United States are paying to have them hauled away.
Oil prices are collapsing because the only way that countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Iran can pay their bills is to sell off oil at whatever price they can get. This has effectively broken the back of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC - the cartel of oil-pumping countries that once had a stranglehold on the world’s economy.
One reason why OPEC has lost its power is that countries outside such as Russia and the United States can now export as much or more oil than it can. Even if OPEC raises the price all America or Russia needs to do to pull the rug out from under it is to turn up the pump and flood the market with cheap oil.
Andrea Rossi’s Leonardo Corporation has received a United States Patent that could cover his Ecat low energy nuclear reaction (LENR). Interestingly enough the patent US 9,115,913 B1 dated August 25, 2015, does not mention LENR, cold fusion or the words Ecat or energy catalyzer.
Instead it is for a device called a Fluid Heater. Andrea Rossi is listed as the inventor and his company Leonardo Corporation is listed as the assignee or owner. The Fluid Heater is described as:
“An apparatus for heating fluid includes a tank for holding fluid to be heated, and a fuel wafer in fluid communication with the fluid. The fuel wafer includes a fuel mixture including reagents and a catalyst, and an electrical resistor or other heat source in thermal communication with the fuel mixture and the catalyst.”
The landscape in the world of energy is changing faster than we might expect. Low oil prices forced Saudi Arabia to borrow $4 billion over the last year, CNBC reported. The oil rich kingdom had to borrow the money to cover a budget deficit that was larger than expected.
It is not known how large Saudi Arabia’s deficit is but unknown analysts quoted by CBNC estimated the Saudi deficit at $130 billion. Saudi Arabia is still very rich though it still has cash reserves of around $737 billion. Some experts think Saudi Arabia will have to start cutting spending because it simply cannot finance its lavish economy with $58 a barrel oil. The Saudis would need $105 a barrel oil to cover all their costs.
A power source like low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) could be more vital to our future than previously thought. Recent stories indicate that some of our present sources of energy are not adequate to meet our needs and power future technologies.
One future technology that could be powered by LENR is the hyperloop, Elon Musk’s incredibly disruptive proposal for a super-fast ground transportation system. It could whisk people and freight across the countryside at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour and it would be electric powered. Most proposals for hyperloop show that it would be solar powered but Forbes reported that an engineer designing the product for a company called Hyperloop Technologies or Hyperloop Tech estimated that solar would not generate enough power to run it.
Cherokee Partners’ CEO Tom Darden’s funding of low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) research is more extensive than previously revealed. Darden is the man behind Industrial Heat which purchased Andrea Rossi’s ecat technology last year. Unfortunately Darden would not reveal what other researchers he is backing in an interview with Marianne Macy in April 16, 2015 issue of Infinite Energy Magazine.
Macy interviewed Darden after his provocative speech during the opening ceremoniesof the 19th Annual International Conference on Cold Fusion in Padua, Italy, on April 13, 2015. Darden surprised a lot of people with his public commitment to LENR and his willingness to put money into the field.
Darden also revealed some of his thinking on LENR in the interview which is well worth reading. Some of the high lights include what convinced him to back Rossi:
“We’ve seen a number of tests and we’ve had a lot of people looking at tests,” Darden said. “Of course outsiders have looked at tests. I think particularly the transmutation data is very compelling. I felt very good about that, better than any outlet of test data I’d seen.”
Recent news stories have exposed some serious limitations to a few of the next generation energy technologies our leaders are promoting as solutions to problems like global warming. These stories should serve as a wakeup call and strong evidence why we need to research options like low energy nuclear reaction or LENR.
The most interesting story is that solar power is not as reliable as we thought. Bloomberg reported that an eclipse on March 20 had German and other utilities scrambling to turn on backup systems for solar panels. On some sunny days up to 40% of Germany’s electricity is provided by solar panels.
The utilities had to figure how to quickly switch on backup systems such as natural gas fired turbines when the sun went dark and solar panels stopped feeding juice into the system. The amount of electricity needed could be massive Germany gets around 38 gigawatts of electricity from the sun.
California is in the midst of a catastrophic drought that could affect food prices all over world. What’s truly interesting is that something like low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) or cold fusion could be the solution to this crisis.
If the drought continues California only has about one year’s supply of fresh water left, NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti wrote in a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed. Familgletti a hydrologist looked at satellite data and made the alarming discovery that the Golden State has just enough fresh water left in reservoirs and underground aquifers for one year of use at current consumption levels.
What is truly disturbing is that California is not alone in an article for National Geographic last year, Famiglietti warned that aquifers all over the world and throughout the American West were being pumped dry. He predicted massive water shortages in the US, China, the Middle East and elsewhere if nothing is done.
There have been a few important developments in the world of energy that everybody needs to be aware of. The energy industry has become more unstable than ever even without the appearance of disruptive technologies like low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) and it looks like it is about to get worse.
The biggest story is that the collapse in oil prices is destabilizing many countries including Russia and Venezuela. News stories indicate that super market shelves in Venezuela are empty because the government cannot pay for food imports and that nation’s president is frantically traveling around the world begging for loans and foreign aid to keep his country’s economy functioning. Venezuela’s economy is totally dependent on oil exports, take away the oil exports and the result is depression.
It is a rather interesting and very exciting time for low energy nuclear reaction (LENR). Perhaps the most exciting developments are the attempts to replicate and perhaps improve upon Andrea Rossi’s Lugarno demonstration of his ecat technology.
Jack Cole who is described as a hobbyist reported that he has succeeded in achieving some sort of reaction with a mixture of nickel, hydrogen and a special lime based ceramic powder, the LENR-Coldfusion.com website reported. Cole reported that his experiment created 10.6 watts of excess heat. Cole was hoping to produce LENR without the use of lithium a volatile and potentially flammable substance.
The Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project is attempting to do much the same thing with their Project Dog Bone. Updates about that effort are regularly posted on the Project’s Facebook page.