At the beginning of the 90’s, cold fusion was one of the world’s favorite topics. At the time, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons had seemingly obtained excess heat in an electrolysis experiment made with heavy water on the surface of a palladium electrode. They were attributing this to a fusion reaction.
During the ensuing years, the “cold fusion” process couldn’t be confirmed by other research groups and got a shady aura, and the people engaged with the experiments have been charged of scams and pseudo-science.
For some of them this didn’t constitute an impediment. Such is the case of Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi, who have been secretly developing, for several years, a device called “E-cat” (Energy Catalyzer). The E-cat generates energy through the insertion of heated hydrogen in a lattice of nickel atoms which get transformed into copper, in the presence of proprietary (secret) additives.
The Italians claim their cold fusion device outputs more energy than it is fed with by heating the hydrogen. Until recently, these claims have not been accepted by the scientific community, and Rossi has been denied the right to an international patent. He was instead asked to allow the evaluation of the reactor by an independent group of scientists.
Recently, the evaluation of Rossi’s cold fusion reactor has been indeed verified by an independent group of scientists formed by Giuseppe Levi and Evelyn Foschi from the University of Bologna, Torbjörn Hartman, Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson and Lars Tegnér from the University of Uppsala, Sweden and Hanno Essén from the Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm. The group published an independent study whose results can be checked here.
Their conclusions show that even in the worst case scenarios, Rossi’s cold fusion reactor generates 10 times more energy than any other source currently exploited by the human kind. NASA is also studying the same approach with its Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR).
The numbers show the E-cat has a power density of 4.4 x 105 W/kg and an energy density of 5.1 x 107 Wh/kg. This means that it generates 10,000 more energy than gasoline and has 1,000 times its power density. Nevertheless, Rossi’s critics are still continuing to ask for a new investigation, this time performed in an independent laboratory, as they say the tests performed could have been intentionally flawed by the inventor in his own location.
If the experiment will prove itself true, humanity has discovered something better than a gold mine. NASA says we only need 1 percent of the nicked extracted worldwide each year to power our entire planet with energy at a quarter of the price of coal (now the cheapest).
So, in the wake of electric car domination (hopefully), we can hope there’s a new source of energy that can power them besides batteries and fuel cells, and that is the long-awaited cold fusion.