Can we dare hope again for cold fusion?

Nobody is holding their breath, but…

An Italian inventor named Andrea Rossi and the scientific consultant physicist Sergio Forcardi, have demonstrated a device called the E-Cat or Energy Catalyser, which they can claim to be “a method of apparatus carrying out nickel hydrogen exothermic reactions” with the production of copper(!) as a result.

The device feeds water interaction chamber that comes out of steam with which you can drive a turbine or uses a heat source. The device is said to work by heating hydrogen to an ignition temperature using an external electric heat source. After this a catalyst, which has been kept secret, causes the hydrogen atoms to penetrate the nickel-and transform it into copper producing energy in the process. This is essentially a nuclear fusion reaction, and unlike the big budget versions, it is self-sustaining. Self-sustaining means that an external heat source can be removed and the device will continue to function. The device is obviously very simple and low-budget, and able to be built on a university lab bench. At first glance it appears to be using few elements that could not be easily mass produced.

Many attempts to build fusion power generators have been hugely expensive experiments costing millions of dollars such as the National Spherical Torus experiment, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, and the Tokomak Fusion Test reactor. The environmental benefits of using fusion power, with plentiful fuel supplies, and little radiation side-effects, have been obvious to the world many years, so far practical versions of fusion power have eluded us.

Skeptics will say that this is a hoax, or that it if it works the patent will be bought and thrown into a US DOD dungeon forever. I am cautiously optimistic that a technology like this will bring some good news to the prospect of reducing carbon emissions. A solution out of left field, that improves people’s comfort, while providing a quantum technology shift that is both economic and environmentally sustainable.