Saturday, December 03, 2011

Call for a US National Research Program to Study Cold Fusion / LENR

The Vice Chancellor for Research of the University of Missouri is calling for an intensive national effort to define the science behind "cold fusion," or the "low energy nuclear reaction" phenomenon. Chancellor Duncan's call joins that of NASA's Dennis Bushnell and other researchers, for science to look more closely at LENR / cold fusion.
LENR research has the potential to solve climate and energy problems, Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist of NASA’s Langley Research Center, said in a June interview with EV World, a sustainability publication.

Before it can be labeled, though, scientists need a better understanding of it, Duncan said.

“The biggest problem in this whole area is that everyone is trying to say what the origin of effect is,” he said. “What we’ve got are different camps convinced it’s either fusion or LENR or some type of new enhanced chemical effect. We just don’t have an understanding in the physics yet. … We need to slow down and do careful scientific inquiry.”

Duncan is proposing the federal government offer a competitive grant that would let university researchers more thoroughly study excess heat phenomena. MU likely would vie for such funding, but there are professors at several major research universities interested in the field.

“Without a nationally funded program, you’re going to be limited by the scope of what you can do,” he said.

...Energetics Technologies is an Israeli company that has been able to generate low-energy heat in some settings over the past seven years.

Company leaders in 2009 let Duncan review their work as an outside skeptic for a CBS “60 Minutes” episode on cold fusion. The company has since set up shop at MU’s Life Science Business Incubator.

Not all private businesses, however, are willing to share their discoveries. Italian inventor Andrea Rossi says he has devised a catalyzer that can produce large amounts of energy. He won’t let anyone investigate his research, and some have dismissed his so-called “E-Cat” technology as a scam.

Regardless of the legitimacy, Duncan said the claim should highlight the need for public research.

“There are going to be more and more people like Professor Rossi popping up with empirical results that no one really fundamentally understands,” he said. “Whether there’s something here or not, it makes a lot of sense to systematically be working on this.” _ColumbiaTribune

As time goes by, and the basic scientific questions about the underlying mechanisms of the cold fusion / LENR phenomenon remain unanswered, expect more institutionally based persons such as the vice chancellor to speak out to demand more definitive research.

Whether or not this phenomenon (or these phenomena, if multiple mechanisms are involved) offers the hope for an abundant and clean new source of energy at all acales, or whether it is merely an intriguing scientific phenomenon which may or may not lead to bigger things -- it deserves to have its day in the open court of honest science.



Blogger Jeff said...

The Wright Brothers flew in 1903, but it was years later until mainstream science accepted it. In the years immediately following the 1989 announcement of CF, plenty of evidence, even "proof" was accumulated that there was something rather than nothing to CF/LENR, and it would be nice if mainstream science would finally accept that much.

1:55 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

We need a lot more than evidence that there is something to LENR. We need to know just what is happening, and how that "something" can be tweaked to our best advantage.

For commercial development, it may be possible to produce a lot of heat in an economical way without knowing where it comes from.

But we shouldn't be satisfied with not knowing -- even if we are otherwise profiting from the phenomenon.

Why? Because when making basic discoveries, one thing leads to another. Before long, you may well be discovering things that made the original phenomenon look like child's play.

That is the hope and the goal, when one sets out to get at the bottom of a poorly understood phenomenon.

9:20 PM  

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