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Personally Speaking: Are we on the cusp of unlimited energy?

Mark Saker, 32, works as a business analyst and lives in Priory Road, Stamford, with his wife Rebecca. He is an avid technology and science reader and enjoys playing the piano.

Dr Martin Fleischmann the British scientist, died in his home on August 3 in Tisbury, England this year. He was 85 years old.

Fleishman and his co-researcher Stanley Pons received global attention when they reportedly created nuclear fusion in a glass jar at room temperature.

Fusion is the process where two or more lighter atoms are joined together releasing vast amounts of energy.

Unlike fission (the splitting of atoms) there is no radioactive waste left over giving a clean, pollutant free energy source if it can be controlled. Cold Fusion as it became known, unfortunately proved extremely difficult to be replicated by other scientists, and eventually the two men were ridiculed and labelled as frauds. The mere mention of cold fusion became career suicide for scientists.

The amount of energy required to fuse together atoms is enormous. In order to break through the coulomb barrier you need to supply a huge amount of pressure. In fact the only other working fusion reactor is the sun.

The mass is so large and with gravity pulling that mass inwards, temperatures can reach greater than 15 million degrees.

This is enough pressure to overcome the coulomb barrier and fuse Hydrogen atoms into Helium. The energy released in the process is what powers the Earth.

So for Pons and Fleischman to say they had created the same event in a jar at room temperature was an unbelievable statement.

For cold fusion to be possible they must have found a way to sidestep this massive energy requirement. A new and unknown physics, rewriting the science books.  

Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) is the new phrase coined by scientists to explain the anomalous heat effect they are finding using small amounts of nickel and hydrogen. The amount of heat produced is so great that it rules out a chemical process, leaving only a nuclear reaction to explain the effect.

New theories are now being created, the best known of which is the Widom-Larsen theory.

There are hundreds of scientists and institutions currently having success with cold fusion, including big names such as NASA and MIT.

Only a single digit number are reporting enough energy gains to provide useful power (that we know of) and at the moment only one has a working product ready to sell.

That would be Andrea Rossi of Leonardo Corporation with his Energy Catalyser (E-Cat).

Andrea Rossi has been producing reactors from 10kW scaled up to 1MW (the same energy requirement as about 500 homes). Currently this energy is only thermal, but with recent reactor temperatures stable at over 1050 degrees, that’s more than enough heat to use existing steam power plant turbines to generate electricity.

Over a dozen reactors have already been sold to the US military, and more are currently being built for private companies.

It’s hoped that one of these private companies will shortly go public and allow visits of the reactors once they are in operation.

Just as Henry Ford started the automotive industry with the Model T, Andrea Rossi will hopefully start the fusion industry with his E-Cat.

The greatest paradigm shift will be when the ‘Home E-cat’ is certified and available to buy. This 10kW cereal box sized device will cost around £500 and work uninterrupted for six months.

Heating only a few grams of nickel and hydrogen along with a secret catalyst will create a reaction that gives off at least six times more power output than it takes in.

Hooked directly into your central heating system it will heat your water taking over from your boiler.

A simple and cheap swop out of the reactor charge after six months will be the only cost.

Once the conversion of heat to electricity is perfected, we can look forward to no more gas or electricity bills.

Power cuts will be a thing of the past as reliance on the pylons and pipes which feed fuel and energy into our homes diminishes.

If you hold any stocks or shares in coal or gas companies, it might be prudent to keep a close eye on the news.

 

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