Where is the LENR goal line, and how best do we get there?

  • My question would be is where is the "there" and how will be know we are there? Where are the goal posts?


    OG,


    Very good question. You are on the inside looking out, as you do the work, and attend the conferences. What do you think?


    I know the old guard has tried to define the goal posts, and what the means to getting there should be. It seems to me none has gained any traction though. Abd I think, was commissioned to create some guidelines. The field IMO, seems to be drifting around without any clear consensus as to how move forward in a coordinated way.


    This topic is important, so If there is some interest I will start a dedicated thread.

  • I would vote for a dedicated thread.


    In my opinion, to get the field moving forward, we need a completely open source, do-it-yourself experiment that combines the following:


    1) The production of undeniable excess heat which requires continual, self sustained operation (after initial start up) that continues long enough to eliminate any possible chemical energy source by at least an order of magnitude, or more. In simple terms, we need an object that gets very hot and stays very hot LONG AFTER it should have achieved near equilibrium with the temperature of the surrounding environment.


    2) Total reliability which means that if you setup the experiment to-the-letter within all the parameters provided, you are virtually guaranteed success. We can't have a system that a half dozen parties are struggling to get up and running. It must just work. Repeatedly. For everyone who builds it.


    3) Easy accessibility which means no obscure or difficult to acquire fuel components, parts, or equipment. This means no palladium or deuterium. Once we crack LENR (which I think we have with the spheromak paradigm) nickel-hydrogen should work as well as any other combination.


    Once the above is achieved and starts being replicated, I think in weeks to months LENR will be headline news. But we're not going to get anywhere by begging individuals with inventors syndrome for puzzle pieces. The folks in this for profit aren't gonna share diddly squat with us; we have to come up with such an open source configuration on our own. The good news is that I think if we had a small team willing to obsessively compulsively test a variety of configuration (especially hydrogenated fuel exposed to plasma or pure plasma based configurations) we could develop this system fairly rapidly. The bad news is that as usual there's virtually no labor to perform such testing.

  • In my opinion, to get the field moving forward, we need a completely open source, do-it-yourself experiment that combines the following:

    Given the difficulties, the skills needed, and the manual equipment that most people have access to, you could only "do it yourself" if you happen to be a world-class electrochemist with a year or two of free time to devote to the task. As I said, Richard Oriani said this was the most difficult experiment he ever did. It has not gotten any easier since he said that.


    It would be easier if you have several million dollars to devote to the project, and a laboratory of world-class experts in things like mass spectroscopy such as the people at the Aerospace Corporation.


    Expecting it get easier is like expecting that open-heart surgery will get easier, or that any amateur should be able to do open-heart surgery from a 10-page manual. Or, expecting that you should be able to assemble an integrated circuit in on your dining room table, as a hobby. Even a first-generation circuit with 8 device large enough to be seen with the naked eye would probably be beyond the skills of most people. Such as this one:


    http://www.computerhistory.org…tion/digital-logic/12/329


    Heck, let's see you make a core plane, like this one:


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic-core_memory


    Do you think you could make one of these with a simple recipe, starting with raw materials? You don't know the first thing about it, if that is what you imagine.


    If you don't like those examples, think about building a house from lumber, pipes, electrical parts and so on. Hundreds of thousands of people can do that, but you probably could not, because it is difficult and it takes considerable experience and skill. It is not something you can learn from textbooks or a single paper. Unlike a cold fusion experiment: you can buy everything you need at Lowe's; the materials and tools do not cost millions of dollars, and they do not take a PhD to operate; and the methods are all described in great detail in various books that most people can understand. Whereas I doubt many people can understand an electrochemistry textbook. The methods of building a house are completely understood and regulated in enormous detail. You have to stick to them or the building inspector will post a failed inspection, and the structure will have to be built again or torn down.


    This is not to say that cold fusion can never be mass produced. Specialized equipment could do a year's worth of manual labor in a few minutes. It could be designed and programmed to do very complex operations that only a skilled person can do manually. There are countless examples of this kind of equipment, such as semiconductor fabrication equipment.


    A realistic goal, that might actually work, is to fund the best people you can find with $10 million or better yet $200 million, and let them do it their way.



    1) The production of undeniable excess heat which requires continual, self sustained operation (after initial start up) that continues long enough to eliminate any possible chemical energy source by at least an order of magnitude, or more. In simple terms, we need an object that gets very hot and stays very hot LONG AFTER it should have achieved near equilibrium with the temperature of the surrounding environment.

    This is a "bell the cat" fallacy. If anyone knew how to do this, cold fusion would already be accepted by everyone in the world, and hundreds of billions of dollar a year would be spent on R&D. Only a few of these goals are realistic at this stage.


    In my opinion, some of these goals are impossible, and some are not desirable. Heat after death is not a good thing. For a practical product, it would be an engineering nightmare, so I hope it can be eliminated. I hope it only happens with fairly large particles of palladium that hold a lot of deuterium which gradually outgases. Heat after death resembles an old fashioned burning pile of coal chunks that cannot be extinguished. You have to wait for the whole pile to burn. Modern coal fired generator plants use coal that has been crushed to powder, that burns quickly and completely.

  • It would be easier if you have several million dollars to devote to the project, and a laboratory of world-class experts in things like mass spectroscopy such as the people at the Aerospace Corporation.

    Needless to say, I am assuming here that no small scale effort conducted by relatively unskilled people will work. I would be delighted if one of these efforts panned out, but so far in the last 30 years none of them has, with the possible exception of Patterson. And Patterson was far from being an amateur.


    This may be unfair to the small-scale researchers. Smith and George, for example, seem to be doing a good job. I cannot judge from the information they have released so far, but there is some hope they have something. Maybe not. Maybe they are making a mistake of some sort, or they will not be able to reproduce the effect. That has been the outcome of all simple experiments so far, but that doesn't mean there is no possibility that a comparatively simple method will be found.


    I expect Smith & George would say this is not simple! I mean simple compared to the original Fleischmann-Pons bulk-Pd liquid electrochemical method. My comments above refer mainly to that method. I know little about other methods. I do know that methods such as Arata's and Takahashi's with gas loaded powder are not easy.


    Smith and George might also object to being called "relatively unskilled." Let's say relative to Richard Oriani, Fritz Will, Robert Huggins, Melvin Miles or Earnest Yeager. No one should feel insulted being rated less skilled than those people. And those people said they had considerable difficulty replicating. I am sure they would find it equally difficult today. It has not gotten easier. On the contrary, more is known about how cold fusion works, making it harder, not easier.


    To understand why it is getting more difficult, consider how much more difficult it has become to fabricate or repair automobiles in the last 100 years. You could make an early hand-made automobile with an instruction book from the Sears catalog. The Wright brothers designed a crude lightweight engine which they sketched full scale on paper. The block and crankcase was fabricated by a local foundry. Their mechanic, Charles Taylor, made the rest on his workbench in about 6 weeks. It could never have been used in a practical car or airplane, but it ran for 10 minutes or so and produced 12 HP, which was good enough for their purposes.


    You could not have made the first production line 1908 Model T, but with some shade-tree mechanical skills, you could fix one. A Model A was harder to make, and 1960s Volkswagen Beetle was harder still, but it is still easy to tell what each part under the hood is, and what it does. There were manuals showing how to fix most problems. Jump forward to a Prius hybrid. Most parts cannot be fabricated or fixed by people. Only by robots. Many of the critical components are computerized integrated circuits invisible to naked eye, and program code. The most skilled person on earth could not begin to replicate a Prius in a lifetime, even with access to every tool, instrument and computer available to the original designers. It is far beyond the skills or knowledge that one person can master. The first successful cold fusion cell will probably resemble a Prius more than a Model T. There will never be a version that a person can make manually, following a recipe. Especially not an unskilled person. Expecting a recipe is, as I said, a losing proposition.

  • This may be unfair to the small-scale researchers. Smith and George, for example, seem to be doing a good job. I cannot judge from the information they have released so far, but there is some hope they have something. Maybe not


    Alan taught himself to do open-heart surgery, so I have high hopes for he and Russ.

  • To be a little more specific, much of the difficulty is in materials. If you are an expert at Johnson Matthey with access to their teams of experts in metallurgy, you might have a good idea how to make a working cathode. J-M made by far the best cathodes in the 1990s, as you see on p. 6 here:


    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJlessonsfro.pdf


    I hope they have not lost this knowledge.


    If you are at Ames Nat. Lab. today, you have the expertise needed to make effective Ni-Pd powder.


    If you could get a J-M cathode or some of the Ames powder, and you know a great deal about other things such as electrochemistry, you could put them in a cell and probably produce excess heat. "Purchase the starting material from the only organization in the world that has the necessary in-house skill" is not what we normally think of as a "recipe." It reminds me of what people called "home-brew" computers in the 1970s. They began with a commercially manufactured Motorola or Z80 processor, and memory chips, which of course are devices you could never, ever make yourself. Putting them together was far simpler than fabricating a processor. It is kind of like paint by the numbers compared to being Renoir.


    If someone fabricated a sealed cold fusion cell with J-M or Ames material, and sold it to you, you might then have a 10-page "recipe" for how to operate it. This would be like purchasing a computer in 1980 when you had to know a lot about computers, operating systems and primitive software to make it work. That was still orders of magnitude simpler than making your own Z80 CPU chip. The "recipe" that we need is at the level of making a CPU chip, and will probably require rather similar skills and equipment. A recipe to take that and make it into a working device is second stage and cannot be done now, unless you spend a year winnowing through cathodes to find one that works. Or you work for a year and you don't find one. See:


    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/StormsEhowtoprodu.pdf


    The recipe that J-M or Ames uses is not likely to boiled down to 10 pages, except for a Patent Office Person Having Ordinary Skill in the Art (PHOSITA) who can read between the lines and supply all the knowledge not included in those pages. Along similar lines, I suppose that when a skilled surgeon invents an improved method, she can publish a 10-page description in the NEJM that will help other surgeons learn how to do it, but it wouldn't tell me a thing. I would have no clue what to do.


    The other reason people at home will not be able to do this is that the ingredients of a cell are toxic, and very dangerous to work with. Especially the powder. To be sure, with a commercial device they will be sealed inside a cell, so they will be no more dangerous than battery acid or gasoline. An amateur monkeying around with a gasoline engine fuel line in the garage is likely to burn the house down, but most automobiles parked inside garages are safe.

  • Jed,


    As you point out, there are many obstacles in the way, but can you point us in the right direction to the goal line? That is what this thread is all about after all. Yes, we know the difficulties as you, and the skeptics remind us of, but if LENR is a given as you and I believe, then there must be a way forward that gets us there. Hopefully without needing the 100's of millions you mentioned.


    Would also love to hear the opinions of other insiders.

  • As you point out, there are many obstacles in the way, but can you point us in the right direction to the goal line?

    Sure! It is piece of cake. Get $200 million and give it the people who want to make a robotic testing machine, similar to one that already exists for a somewhat related problem in catalysis. This is a gigantic trial-and-error Edisonian testing machine, like having thousands of Edison's lab assistants working day and night.


    You have to know what material charactoristics you are looking for, but I think there is widespread agreement on what those charactoristics are. The finer details are not understood. They describe what Ed Storms calls the NAE. Ed suggests various clever techniques to find the NAE on an active cathode surface, such as binary search with a laser.


    I realize this is a "bell the cat" fantasy solution, similar to what the Director wrote above. I am saying: "Let's solve the problem before we start!" Obviously, we cannot get $200 million. No one can get $20 thousand, never mind millions. However, the world is awash in money, and there is no doubt that someone, somewhere could supply $200 million, whereas no one on earth can do what the Director suggests. A recipe that anyone can follow is out of the question, in my opinion. I would love to be proven wrong.


    In that sense, my suggestion is somewhat more realistic. It is within the realm of what is possible. It is a plausible first step. Whereas what the Director suggests is a complete fantasy that will not come to pass without the aforementioned $200 million bucks. Or, at least, $10 million or so, but I doubt that is enough. It probably would not bring about anything more than what we had in the 1990s, because that is approximately how much people spent back then, and there is no reason to think they would make any more progress (or, actually, recapitulate more progress) than they did back then. The kinds of instruments and techniques you get for that kind of money today would not be substantially better than they were in the 1990s, and you couldn't work much faster. If you hired the kinds of people you need, it would be like hiring world-class computer programmers who get paid 6-figures and then giving them IBM 360 computers and telling them to work in COBOL. It is absurd to do physics or material science R&D in the 21st century without a gigantic investment in robotic equipment. Especially for a problem as difficult as this, which seems only amenable to trial and error techniques.


    I have absolutely no suggestions for how to raise $200 million, $10 million, or $20 thousand. If I knew how to do it, I would do it.

  • Jed,


    So it is all about getting the money in your opinion. Huge amounts. I could be wrong, but unless Duncan comes through for us and changes the dynamics, I do not see that happening. You seem to think the same thing from your comments. So what do we do? Nothing, or hope like hell that Alan/Russ, MFMP, and all the other skilled, and non-skilled, garage tinkerers get lucky?

  • I don't think it's about getting millions upon millions of dollars. In my opinion, the key barrier is putting together a relatively small cohesive team of relatively like minded researchers together, in the same physical location, rapidly setting up and performing experiments -- on a daily basis. The truth is that the vast majority of even the most well funded LENR projects performed experiments at snail's pace. When it takes weeks or longer to setup a single experiment and then sometimes at least that long to analyze data before writing a report and then moving on to performing another test, progress is likely going to be limited. There's simply not the opportunity to change parameters one at a time, try various stimulation methods, adjust fuel treatment routines, and gain the knowledge of what works and what doesn't. If we are to believe Bob Greenyer on this, which I do, Me356 achieved his success by setting up (with a few helpers) and running a new experiment almost every single evening after getting off work. At the same time, he studied the existing literature to find possible ways to optimize his configurations: first studying the work of Piantelli and Focardi and then moving on to plasma based stimulation. If his claims are valid, which I personally think they are but don't have proof of any kind, then the truth is that the majority of researchers simply aren't going to get anywhere near the level of results he claimed. I think in the broader fields of science this is why we have so few true fundamental breakthroughs these days -- at least in the fields of breakthrough energy and propulsion. There aren't an over abundance of Nikola Tesla's these days with sharp minds who imagine configurations in their head, build them, watch them work, and then draw up the schematics: repeating the process again and again at a frenzied rate in their own personal laboratories. Maverick's with revolutionary out-of-the-box ideas, especially in certain areas, are a dying breed: at least in the non-classified world.


    What I'm trying to say is that if we want to see surprising breakthroughs that push LENR from obscurity to being universally recognized and accepted, we need HUMAN resources more than FINANCIAL resources -- although both are required. I'd rather have a team of ten full-time almost unstable but brilliantly eccentric fabricators, engineers, and scientists on a team working around the clock for six months and a few hundred thousand dollars in funding than three technically full time (but with busy lives that get in the way) researchers in an academic setting and ten million dollars in funding.

  • I guess I am "old guard". It seemed as though with Rossi, the goals moved away from science and understanding to commercialization and large outputs (at least 1kW). But to me, my goal posts are in the science. I would be happy just to see numerous journal papers and conditions changed so that young grad students were not told to avoid the field, and PhD dissertations where written without fear.


    ....Perhaps when Science, Nature, and Sci. American have a half dozen positive articles in a year.


    Of course the question then becomes, how to get there.

  • "... make a robotic testing machine, similar to one that already exists for a somewhat related problem in catalysis. This is a gigantic trial-and-error Edisonian testing machine, like having thousands of Edison's lab assistants working day and night. ..."


    This inspires me to ask: Could software simulate this testing. Could the reactions be predicted by software.


    https://www.princeton.edu/news…future-chemical-reactions


    https://phys.org/news/2018-04-…cal-reactions-lowers.html


    I fully realize the links above concern chemical reactions. Nevertheless, I believe software might one day guide LENR development through simulation.

  • I realize this is a "bell the cat" fantasy solution, similar to what the Director wrote above. I am saying: "Let's solve the problem before we start!" Obviously, we cannot get $200 million. No one can get $20 thousand, never mind millions. However, the world is awash in money, and there is no doubt that someone, somewhere could supply $200 million, whereas no one on earth can do what the Director suggests. A recipe that anyone can follow is out of the question, in my opinion. I would love to be proven wrong.


    about plenty of fearful money, not talking of LENr is is an observation made byFaÿcal Hafied in his recent book. "Supercroissance"

    Not even talking of LENR, there is huge potential of multiusage technology that if well funded and dared could make a new industrial revolution.

    problem is that today the wagon of free money is managed by salaried managers to please pension owners and not by self managed tycoons., and in France by civil servant and fearful or demagogic politicians and not by daring ambitous dreamers.

    (Not so true, somewhere in france, and zone is resisting - NB: not in Britany)

    village_asterix_1.jpg?itok=Wy8zkmtj

  • This inspires me to ask: Could software simulate this testing. Could the reactions be predicted by software.

    No. There is no theory to explain cold fusion, so there is no basis to simulate it. This would be a little like trying simulate cellular reproduction before 1952 when people did not know the structure or function of DNA.

  • I don't think it's about getting millions upon millions of dollars. In my opinion, the key barrier is putting together a relatively small cohesive team of relatively like minded researchers together, in the same physical location, rapidly setting up and performing experiments -- on a daily basis.

    That would cost millions of dollars. Researchers cannot move to a new place for free, or work for free. They cannot work without instruments and without lab space. Five people will cost you a million a year, or more.


    The truth is that the vast majority of even the most well funded LENR projects performed experiments at snail's pace. When it takes weeks or longer to setup a single experiment and then sometimes at least that long to analyze data before writing a report

    I do not think so. The researchers I have seen work rapidly. A single experiment cannot be done in less that weeks or months. Look at the procedures described by Storms in the paper I linked to above. He tested nearly 100 cathodes to find 3 or 4 good ones. I don't see how anyone could do that in less time than he did, which was about a year.


    As I said, researchers may need to test thousands of cathodes. That could be done with robotic techniques but if it is done manually it will take decades, working quickly. The project at the ENEA to characterize cathodes also seemed rapid to me. They characterized hundreds of samples, I think.


    As I have often said, if you knew how difficult this was, you would be amazed at how much progress they have made. You would also be impressed at how quickly they work.

  • So it is all about getting the money in your opinion. Huge amounts.

    Well, not huge amounts by the standards of industry or government. It took roughly $1 billion to develop the Prius, which is a minor incremental improvement in technology compared to cold fusion. Plasma fusion and ITER consume billions of dollars a year with nothing to show for it. One small project in the star wars missile defense project was to make Pb-207 to use with a space based rocket laser. It did not work. It cost $250 million. By 2013, star wars had cost more than $200 billion.


    In Silicon Valley, the Juicero fiasco alone cost $120 million. As I said, the world is awash in money these days. Big money looking for a home.


    https://www.theguardian.com/te…icon-valley-shutting-down



    I could be wrong, but unless Duncan comes through for us and changes the dynamics, I do not see that happening.

    I don't either.


    So what do we do? Nothing, or hope like hell that Alan/Russ, MFMP, and all the other skilled, and non-skilled, garage tinkerers get lucky?

    I doubt they will get lucky. Small projects done by non-experts without proper instruments such as high res SEM have contributed nothing to cold fusion in 30 years. As Ed Storms put it, what they do is like looking for a semiconductor by examining rocks in your driveway.


    I cannot judge whether Alan/Russ have anything. They have published one small graph that they say is heat after death (HAD). It does not look like HAD to me, but perhaps this is a brand new type that is stable and does not respond to temperature the way other HAD does. I cannot judge. The graph did not even have the x-axis units, supporting data or a description, so it more like a trade-show poster advertisement than a scientific report. No one can say what it means, except perhaps Alan or Russ.


    There is nothing wrong with trade-show posters, by the way. "Revolutionary new concept to enhance the customer experience, smooth and integrate data transitions. One-click access allows rapid prototyping to fit your needs." It could be anything!

  • Rothwell has all the ICCF Conference Proceedings in print, now on his LENR-CANR: :thumbup:


    http://lenr-canr.org/wordpress/?page_id=501


    Gives a good perspective on where the field is now, as compared to then. One thing I can say with a quick glance; there was some serious research going on back then. They did not miss anything. What is being talked about now, they were talking about, and running experiments on back then. Just like now, they were equally frustrated as they tried to narrow down why one experiment would be clearly successful, but not the next. That did not stop them though from trying, and trying again.


    While going through, I noticed the the 10 downloads Jed has from the 2000 "Accountability in Research". This one by Scaramuzzi, from the ENEA was most interesting. It is his observations/eyewitness account over a 10 year period, and best explains what I am talking about:


    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Scaramuzzitenyearsof.pdf