I like keeping an eye on developments at Blacklight Power. In their demo on July 21st Mills estimated 16-18 weeks for an engineering sample. The end of that period has now come without a big reveal but there was a promising statement from Mills in the Yahoo Group:
The yield of H2O to H2(1/4) + 1/2O2 was advanced from 0.2% to over 20%. The power density is consequently higher.
The greater reaction rate means that there will be less required flow, which may make the engineering easier (otherwise they wouldn’t have tried to find this improvement). I’m still a bit skeptical about some aspects of the engineering, in particular how they can achieve the rapid rate reloading without residual build-up that will compromise the reaction and energy yield. This discovery should make things easier and great engineers can often resolve even the trickiest problems.
Blacklight Power has quite a few things going for it:
- Three public demos this year with decision makers and other important people in the audience. Would they even turn up if it was an obvious scam?
- A public demo of a working device which plausibly does what they say it does (still well short of a proof)
- Fresh $16m raised this year in private financing, giving them plenty of runway to work through the engineering details. This is a major endorsement following what must have been extensive due diligence.
- Strong industrial partnership with a contract manufacturer (Sanmina?) to help with engineering and later scaling up
- Significant interest from the defense sector, e.g. Joe Renick of Applied Research Associates who spoke at the demo days and various mentions of visits from the DOD
- A theory, extremely controversial, quite possibly wrong but also intriguing in its ability to explain certain things that mainstream physics struggles with
- Academic support on the measurement side from North American universities
- 20 years of history – Mills could have been a successful doctor making quite possibly more money practicing medicine. He wouldn’t still be at it if it was all a mirage or worse a con. The same goes for the highly qualified engineers and scientists working there.
In new energy things always take longer than promised. Still there are many things to look forward to in the next 12 months:
- Rossi’s 1MW plant will have been in operation for the specified year
- MFMP should have results, hopefully positive
- Blacklight's improvements will hopefully result in a device with undeniable and independently verifiable net (electric!) energy out
- Brillouin has been on the road and busy in the lab, we may see something in the wild
- Bill Gates’ endorsement (if only via funding) may open doors to wider acceptance and research