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October 28, 2011 4:44 PM   Subscribe

So has Andrea Rossi achieved cold fusion?
posted by jayCampbell to Technology (34 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you have another source? The site you link to seems dubious and full of claims of free energy/perpetual motion. The front page also links to a story that Janet Napolitano is actually a man.
posted by justkevin at 5:03 PM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Better article.
posted by yoink at 5:07 PM on October 28, 2011


The Oil Drum on Rossi.

Short answer: Very probably not, this whole business smells very cranky.
posted by Urtylug at 5:09 PM on October 28, 2011


He sure has achieved media attention. I bet he even has investors. But fusion? Highly unlikely.
posted by chairface at 5:13 PM on October 28, 2011


Original article is after today's large scale fire-up, claiming 470kw sustained surplus to the satisfaction of the unnamed customer. AP was present but apparently no one has been able to vouch the engineers or learn much about the actual process.
posted by jayCampbell at 5:13 PM on October 28, 2011


Nope, absolute fake. This comment summarizes some of his flakey history in addition to the technical problems noted in the oil drum article.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:51 PM on October 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'll bet you $200 that he hasn't. Memail me if you'd like to take this up.
posted by flabdablet at 6:18 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now being discussed on the blue.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:56 PM on October 28, 2011


This post was deleted.
posted by jayCampbell at 7:45 PM on October 28, 2011


I'm prepared to believe that cold fusion is possible. There is a large amount of stuff we don't know about physics. I also think it's possible he's a scammer. I think it's more likely that he's a scammer than that he has cold fusion.

OTOH, I think that the Polywell folks (google it, I can't be bothered to provide a link) are not scammers. I don't think they'll have anything, but I think they'll not have stuff for the ordinary, boring, technical reasons.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:40 PM on October 28, 2011


Check this out, from the wikipedia page:

As Ny Teknik reports, Peter Ekström, lecturer at the Department of Nuclear Physics at Lund University in Sweden, concluded, "I am convinced that the whole story is one big scam, and that it will be revealed in less than one year."[33][24] He cites the unlikelihood of a chemical reaction being strong enough to overcome the Coulomb barrier, the lack of gamma rays, the lack of explanation for the origin of the extra energy, the lack of the expected radioactivity after fusing a proton with 58Ni, the unexplained occurrence of 11% iron in the spent fuel, the 10% copper in the spent fuel strangely having the same isotopic ratios as natural copper, and the lack of any unstable copper isotope in the spent fuel as if the reactor only produced stable isotopes.

The last one on about the isotopic ratio of copper is what kills it for me - it's the kind of thing that would be practically impossible to mess with, and no reasonable explanation of how this works could account for it producing isotope ratios exactly similar to what you would see if they were faking it.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:13 AM on October 29, 2011


"no one has been able to vouch the engineers or learn much about the actual process."

Yep. You just answered your own question.
posted by ErikaB at 8:24 AM on October 29, 2011


Pics Replication by independents or it didn't happen.
posted by tommasz at 8:38 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can get an overview here, and the comments will bring anyone up to speed on the main disagreements and nastiness. Note the physicists attending, defending Rossi, in contrast to what critics assume. Most negative quotes on metafilter were made before the public tests, and time matters here, because the story is unfolding. I won't comment further on the validity of e-cat.
posted by Brian B. at 1:43 PM on October 30, 2011


Brian, I have $200 that says e-cat won't be generating commercial power anywhere on any scale by 2015. If you have even $100 that says different I'd love to hear from you.
posted by flabdablet at 7:15 PM on November 1, 2011


In fact, I'll go further. Anybody who wants to buy e-cat insurance from me can do so. Pay me $50 for every year that goes by without a commercial e-cat-based power station in operation anywhere in the world, and I'll pay you $1000 as soon as the first one appears.
posted by flabdablet at 4:55 PM on November 2, 2011


In fact, I'll go further. Anybody who wants to buy e-cat insurance from me can do so. Pay me $50 for every year that goes by without a commercial e-cat-based power station in operation anywhere in the world, and I'll pay you $1000 as soon as the first one appears.

They're heating units, the power units aren't developed yet, because power takes more heat and the safety issues magnify. So I would avoid this bet for now. But if they were power units, NASA would use it to fly missions, perhaps, which I suppose is an ion propulsion system.
posted by Brian B. at 5:16 PM on November 2, 2011


power takes more heat and the safety issues magnify

This is nonsense. Converting heat to electricity is a solved engineering problem, regardless of scale.

My proposition stands.
posted by flabdablet at 6:56 PM on November 2, 2011


This is nonsense. Converting heat to electricity is a solved engineering problem, regardless of scale.

My proposition stands.


I'm glad they solved it for you. Apparently, the main Rossi critics are all complaining about not having enough steam for electricity, as the articles suggest he is doing, but then it is explained in the forums that he's only currently selling heat units, measured in kw. I was repeating the information from their mistake. But you know better.
posted by Brian B. at 7:29 PM on November 2, 2011


If powered by nuclear fusion, even the world's most massively inefficient low-temperature-difference Stirling engine would comfortably outperform any conventionally-fuelled steam turbine on a kilowatts-output per dollar-of-fuel-input basis. If Rossi's device is not capable of doing that, it doesn't work by nuclear fusion.
posted by flabdablet at 9:57 PM on November 2, 2011


If powered by nuclear fusion, even the world's most massively inefficient low-temperature-difference Stirling engine would comfortably outperform any conventionally-fuelled steam turbine on a kilowatts-output per dollar-of-fuel-input basis. If Rossi's device is not capable of doing that, it doesn't work by nuclear fusion.

He's said it can't run a Stirling engine in parallel mode, only in series I presume. As for nuclear fusion, they don't know what it is, and nobody really knows. Keep reading the comments as people chime in on their theories. They call it LENR. Fusion is evident by the copper production. Fox news claims the buyer was a secretive branch of the US Navy, which has research going into LENR. The AP story will be coming out soon according to the author. I think it deserves mention that Rossi last company has spent years building generator contraptions for profit, and sold them one by one on an order basis.
posted by Brian B. at 6:13 AM on November 3, 2011


Fusion is evident by the copper production.

What are the isotopic ratios of the copper produced? Wikipedia says only natural, stable isotopes in the natural abundances can be seen in the products, which would be clear evidence of tampering, to say the least.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:21 AM on November 3, 2011


What are the isotopic ratios of the copper produced? Wikipedia says only natural, stable isotopes in the natural abundances can be seen in the products, which would be clear evidence of tampering, to say the least.

I believe relevant and accurate quoting is found here.
posted by Brian B. at 6:28 AM on November 3, 2011


Interesting comment here, echoing what many already knew going into this thing.
posted by Brian B. at 6:33 AM on November 3, 2011


Until I see the colour of your money, I shall continue to treat your comments and those you link to as expressions of hope rather than of fact.
posted by flabdablet at 8:00 AM on November 3, 2011


I believe relevant and accurate quoting is found here.

A little googling can come up with something better than this. Here is an interview with Sven Kullander, the Swedish physicist that performed the investigation quoted in your link. I'll just copy the relevant parts for easier reference:
Ny Teknik: What results have you obtained from the analyses?

Kullander: Both measurements show that the pure nickel powder contains mainly nickel, and the used powder is different in that several elements are present, mainly 10 percent copper and 11 percent iron. The isotopic analysis through ICP-MS doesn’t show any deviation from the natural isotopic composition of nickel and copper.

Ny Teknik: How do you interpret the results?

Kullander: Provided that copper is not one of the additives used as catalyst, the copper isotopes 63 and 65 can only have been formed during the process. Their presence is therefore a proof that nuclear reactions took place in the process. However, it’s remarkable that nickel-58 and hydrogen can form copper-63 (70%) and copper-65 (30%). This means that in the process, the original nickel-58 should have grown by five and seven atomic mass-units, respectively, during the nuclear transmutation. However, there are two stable isotopes of nickel with low concentration, nickel-62 and nickel-64, which could conceivably contribute to copper production. According to Rossi copper is not among the additives. 100 grams of nickel had been used during 2.5 months of continuous heating with 10 kW output power. A straightforward calculation shows that a large proportion of the nickel must have been consumed if it was ‘burned’ in a nuclear process. It’s then somewhat strange that the isotopic composition doesn’t differ from the natural.
Emphasis mine, since these statements - straight from the horse's mouth - exactly correspond my objection.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:43 PM on November 3, 2011


Until I see the colour of your money, I shall continue to treat your comments and those you link to as expressions of hope rather than of fact.

I consider excess heat from other LENR experiments to be factual. As that may be, it would be crazy to bet such a simple proposition because there are so many naysayers to the physics, who don't believe a new physics of low energy should exist. Also, betting for Rossi now would be allowing one side of the bet to escape the proof that already exists, and to further deny it forever. I don't expect you to understand that part, but I'm saying I would never get paid regardless. Besides, I have no comment to the validity of this research, because the mods hate it worse than you do and I don't offer an opinion one way or the other at this point.
posted by Brian B. at 4:08 PM on November 3, 2011


it would be crazy to bet such a simple proposition

I'm offering a $1000 reward for a $50/year stake. If you see that as a crazy bet, I conclude that you and I agree that e-cat is overwhelmingly unlikely to generate commercial power within the next 20 years.
posted by flabdablet at 7:25 PM on November 3, 2011


I'm offering a $1000 reward for a $50/year stake. If you see that as a crazy bet, I conclude that you and I agree that e-cat is overwhelmingly unlikely to generate commercial power within the next 20 years.

Why 20 years? Because 1000/50 = 20? That's some genius odds-making there.
posted by Brian B. at 6:44 AM on November 4, 2011


I don't expect you to understand that part, but I'm saying I would never get paid regardless.

There are plenty of identifiable conditions you could set which don't require either of you to understand the physics claims (which you don't). You could bet on commercial non-secret power generation, or publication of the mechanism in , say, phys rev let or science. You could do a kind of cds for Rossi, if he doesn't flee the eu or go bankrupt you win.

there are so many naysayers to the physics, who don't believe a new physics of low energy should exist.

There's a Nobel outthere for making it work; physics has accepted lots of theory turnovers in the 20thC that worked. There is no cabal, which is why so much effort went into trying to reproduce the first CF claims. Note that physics didn't call the accoustic fusion claim crazy, they just tried to understand it.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:51 AM on November 4, 2011


Less of an update, and more of a musing that Rossi could apparently care less about acting like a fraud.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-11/06/cold-fusion-heating-up?page=all
posted by Brian B. at 11:51 AM on November 6, 2011


It looks like Massachusetts is lobbying for the action. Rossi seems to favor the US, contracting the controls to National Instruments and angering a few Italians. Defkalion is going ahead in making their own units, claiming they are different than Rossi's. Meanwhile, Brian Ahern will soon announce a new theory involving nanomagnetism, including Rossi's method. So much money involved would drive the secrecy and industrial urgency.
posted by Brian B. at 8:55 AM on November 24, 2011


P.S. If anyone is interested in speculating on Ahern's forthcoming theory (because Ahern has found excess energy using Rossi's method), I would begin with the radio frequency generator found to be included in Rossi's tests, and occasionally denied by Rossi. This thread contains some deleted explanations about them, and this one details what the physics might be with them.
posted by Brian B. at 10:47 AM on November 24, 2011


Brian Ahern's international patent application containing a range of methods of amplifying energy from a charged metal lattice in hydrogen under pressure, including Rossi's public method. I would assume that Rossi's secret catalyst is listed in the claims, although Rossi has briefly commented that he does not believe that this "competitor" method will work, and has stated that if it did, Ahern would be producing reactors.
posted by Brian B. at 7:13 AM on December 1, 2011


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