Except for Andrea Rossi's E-Cat technology, LENR technology has few advantages over conventional "hot fusion" research except a much lower budget. Hot fusion research programs spend billions of dollars to employ dozens or hundreds of workers to build planetarium sized reactors to produce trivial amounts of excess energy -- without any hope of near term commercialization. For the most part, all LENR technologies other than the Energy Catalyzer and it's close cousins (Focardi's work, Me356's work, replications both published and unpublished) produce similarly trivial results -- albeit with the advantages of a much lower budget. The fact that LENR research can be performed on a shoe string budget in a small laboratory -- literally in a CLOSET in some cases -- makes the research much more affordable. But without results that can lead to a near term commercial application far more advantageous than traditional energy technologies, I suggest that LENR research is almost as problematic as hot fusion.
A couple outliners do exist. Black Light Power has likely produced perpetual "runaway" conditions with their Suncell technology, at the cost of designing a "Rube Goldberg" like device with countless subsystems. Additionally, the work of Unified Gravity Corporation has provided seemingly hard evidence of a narrow window (around 200eV) at which fusion between protons and lithium can happen, yielding a massive production of alpha particles. On the surface, this seems like a huge breakthrough that could be engineered into a practical product quickly. At least time, however, they do not seem to have anything close to even a prototype of a product. And, of course, there could be undisclosed systems that could be producing robust results at high power densities.
The E-Cat, on the other hand, shows extremely high power densities through the use of nickel powder, hydrogen gas, and an number of potential additional substances to enhance the effect. Palladium and copper were used in the earliest systems to enhance hydrogenation, and later lithium was added to serve as a catalytic "promotor" and an additional fuel. Although the technology has changed over time -- both in the use of additional "catalysts/fuels" and form factor -- it represents a fairly straightforward, simple, and practical method of producing excess heat. With power densities up to and beyond a thousand watts per gram in high temperature variations, it supercedes all other publicly disclosed LENR technologies.
Until another company or individual emerges with a technology that compares in simplicity and power density, the Energy Catalyzer IS the current embodiment of LENR. As far as I'm concerned, shoving the E-Cat into a sub-forum would be like Edison shoving a modern LED bulb into the bottom drawer of a file cabinet while continuing to push his employees to test more carbon filaments. Despite Andrea Rossi's personality, bad habits, occasional paranoia (which sometimes has served him well), and less than full cooperation with Industrial Heat during the Doral test, his technology is a magnitude or more advanced than any competitor. In fact, he's the only individual who seems to be making an effort to immediately push his technology into the market place in the near term. With the latest version of his technology, the Quark, he has a device that could be mass produced by the billions and used in an incalculable number of applications.
Of course there could very well be barriers that get in his way. If he pulled too many shinannigans in his dealings with IH -- even if he proves that their most damning accusations were not entirely true -- the consequences of his possible deceptive activities could result in his work on the E-Cat being halted while he spends time in prison, possibly along with several other individuals. I do not think this is a likely scenerio, because I think he will probably pull some "wabbits" out of his hat at the last moment, proving a real customer, a real manufacturing process, and at least some excess heat. But if the worst did happen and Leonardo Corporation was shut down forever, the E-Cat would still be the number one most relevant topic for discussion on this forum.
I'm appalled that a sub-forum would be created to try and shove the discussion of this technology away into a corner. While all LENR research is appropriate for discussion on LENR-Forums, I would suggest the opposite action should be performed -- keeping E-Cat discussion at the top and center of LENR Forums, at least until another technology with equivalent potential emerges. Not a Rube Goldberg device, not a theory or lab experiment, but a reactor with comparable performance.