The Smith Cell – LENR

In a couple of other threads we’ve touched on “cold fusion” or LENR as it is now commonly called. (It would seem that the US patent office will not issue any patent related to “cold fusion” but if you claim “low energy nuclear reactions” that’s OK. The difference? Well…)

OK, the most interesting one I’ve seen so far is the Patterson Cell (h/t Gene Nemetz):

The CETI Patterson Power Cell is a power cell invented by James Patterson which some have claimed to be generating more energy than it uses. It is one of several cold fusion cells which have been the subject of some media interest but no independent, objective testing.

Yet it is asserted that they are selling “kits” and there are many reports of independent confirmation.

The cell is composed of a non-conductive housing filled with thousands of small plastic beads coated with thin film layers of nickel and palladium, as well as a solution of a conductive salt in water through which an electric current is run. Its proponents claim that the device uses about 1.4 watts and yet is capable of generating hundreds or thousands of times this amount of power which is released as heat after a brief “warm-up” period. This supposedly happens as hydrogen or deuterium nuclei fuse together to produce heat through some form of cold fusion, although Patterson himself avoids the term. However, the byproducts of nuclear fusion have not been detected from this device, e.g. a tritium nucleus and a proton or an 3He nucleus and a neutron, leading a vast majority of experts to conclude that no such fusion is taking place. Scott Little and Hal Puthoff made an independent test and they were unable to measure any excess heat from the cells, but they didn’t publish their results outside of their website.

It is further claimed that if radioactive isotopes such as uranium are present, the cell somehow enables the hydrogen nuclei to fuse with these isotopes, transforming them into stable elements and thus ‘neutralizing’ the radioactivity. This claim has not been verified and, to date, this effect has only been achieved through intense neutron bombardment in a nuclear reactor or large scale high energy particle accelerator. The public demonstrations didn’t check if the beads had become radioactive after the test, which would mean that they had simply absorbed the uranium ions.

On February 7, 1996, ABC News shows Good Morning America and Nightline featured stories about the Patterson Power Cell. Good Morning America followed up the story one year later, on June 11, 1997.

So, not a particularly “glowing” endorsement…

At any rate, in the video there is a claim of very significant excess heat from the ‘beads’ and I’ve found references that say that glass beads give less than plastic beads.

What could be causing this?

IMHO, it’s about the structure of the metal crystal lattice. For the particular metals used; the crystal structure is typically a cubic one. What happens when a cubic structure is bent over a spherical surface? It ought to have defects. Similarly, a plastic surface ought to be more prone to such irregularities than a glass one (as the plastic molecules are larger, so at the molecular level ought to have more sharp discontinuities from one to the next one over).

The Smith Cell

OK, I have no idea if there really IS cold fusion or not, or if the Patterson Cell really “works as advertized”… but that doesn’t stop the mind from thinking… and it thought..

Is there an easier way to make a slightly irregular metal crystal surface on a curved substrate? Do you really need tiny beads?

OK, my idea is this:

Plate the metal onto carbon fibre. There are already established ways to make nickel plate onto carbon fibre (as I found out when I went looking for how to plate nickel onto carbon); so it ought to be reasonably possible to simply buy a carbon fibre mat already plated.

At that point, one ought to be able to roll it up, stuff it into a plastic tube, attach electrodes and add solution, then run it.

As the Patterson patents are largely for the spherical balls, this ought to dodge the patent issues.

So, as my gift to the world as a “prior art”, The Smith Cell, using plated carbon fibre (or other fabric mats) with a variety of metals (including the indicated nickel, but also palladium, silver, copper, tungsten, titanium; and I’d even suggest trying aluminum. The method lends itself to testing all the various metals.)

This patent describes one of the ways to nickel plate carbon fibre (or other fibres):

If anyone ever makes it “go” and makes $Billions on it, I’d appreciate a “footnote” and an “emeritus” roll giving speeches ;-)

What I think will be found at the theoretical level is that it depends on the dislocations in the crystal lattice giving odd cases of just a little excess energy to a proton and thus getting “better” results than in pure crystal structures. As the crystal structure is rarely described in the existing work, I have to suspect it is the cause of the variation in what works and what does not.

Also note, this same ‘plated fabric’ approach ought to work with the “odd metals” where things have been seen (such as the difficult to machine tungsten) and with various forms of “loading” be it electrical, sonic, or other methods.

An Hour Of Good Video

Here are two videos that were posted in comments on the other thread. Both are well worth the time to watch:

One More Step

I’d even take this just one step further.

As Carbon Fibre is made by taking a plastic and in essence burning out the hydrogen and nitrogen (if any); it ought to be possible to make a carbon fibre where the surface is pre-loaded via a metal containing coating such that the ‘heating’ step that makes the carbon fibre, leaves a metal coated surface behind in one step.

If done with very fine fibres, this ought to give a very cheap, very efficient, method of production of a high surface area of ultrathin metal films with significant crystalline defects. To the extent that my speculation that “that matters” is correct, this ought to yield a very good reaction substrate.

Similarly, as some plastics are electrically conductive, I could see an easy path to metal coated fibres via a ‘spinnerette’ making conductive fibres directly into an electroplating bath. The fibre would begin to plate as quickly as “spun” and the yarn would then exit the bath with the desired coating thickness.

So there you have it. Several ways to “metal coated fibres”, and the whole works “copy left” and given to the world…

In Conclusion

Why, if I think this idea valid, “give it away”?

Simple, really. Someone is going to think of it sooner or later. The time it would take me to make a test bed, test it, several times, then get it confirmed, then published and accepted. THEN to try to make any money off of it… Well, that’s a very long time and a lot of work. Most likely more time, money, and effort than I have left to give.

However, if someone ELSE does that, I might just end up as an interesting footnote to history AND would get a lower electric bill… I’m “good with that”… (Free dinners and travel would be a ‘nice to have’ too ;-)

So, there you have it. Anyone want to start a LENR company and build a Smith Cell?

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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21 Responses to The Smith Cell – LENR

  1. George says:

    The thing is, this “cold fusion” stuff has been around for what … 20 years? What leads me to believe there really isn’t any “there” there is that if there was, it would be already running. If there was an opportunity to really make some serious energy with this, we would already be doing it now rather than having neat little lab table novelty experiments.

    Wake me up when someone manages to generate a sustained 1KW of power, day in, day out 24×7 for one month.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Watch the “Scotty” video. At the end is just such a claim using activated charcoal substrate to metal coating ( though he calls it a ‘catalyst’…)

    To the extent that is non-fraudulent, it’s an existence proof.


    Click to access WeiQexcessheat.pdf

    Click to access CaseLCcatalyticf.pdf

    And an interesting alternative theory of how some D driven reactions could work:

  3. George says:

    720000 kilowatt hours in a month it is all I want to see, then I am a believer. I would be wary of any carbon being introduced as a “catalyst” Carbon is pretty reactive and might just be “fuel”. If I remember, the thing uses palladium as a catalyst anyway (or I believe the initial experiments used a porous sintered palladium catalyst).

  4. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Add to the “Smith cell” copper as well as the nickle. Most of the cells that show effects have some copper added to the nickle, maybe as much as 10%.
    Also bias the fuel element as in a DeForest electron valve. Using AM spiking to start reaction as well as control to prevent runaway at high energy output.
    Heat and hydrogen pressure are needed to cause startup of the reaction, but once the reaction is started it can over react due to thermal and radiation from the reaction. pg

  5. gallopingcamel says:

    Fleishman & Pons behaved like scientists. They provided details of their experiment so that other workers could duplicate their work.

    Patterson seems to have done the same.

    Rossi et al. are veiling their activities using smoke and mirrors. Lots of sensational claims but little substance. It reminds me of that guy with the “Segway” who was going to revolutionise personal transportation.

    If Rossi has anything it is time for him to publish the details of his device to see if anyone can replicate his results.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    Copper is typically used as a plating underlayer for nickel so that it sticks better. Basically you apply a copper layer that sticks to a lot of stuff and is flexible, then plate nickel on top of that as nickel sticks to copper well. Sort of implied as soon as you say ‘nickel plated’ really…

    Who knows if it’s needed for the reaction or not, but you pretty much need it to get nickel to stick to anything other than some specific metals.

    But yes, it would be interesting to explore exactly which of the ‘bits’ was most sensitive. And it could well turn out that the discontinuities of the metal interface were important.

    Also on the “explore” list (once repeatable action is demonstraged) would be variations of:

    Initial Temperature
    Operating Temperature
    Initial Voltage and waveform ( from DC to Mhz)
    Operating Voltage and Waveform
    pH as well as other ions in the water
    H2 dissolved in water
    D2 dissolved in water
    Sporadic reverse bias (Help? Hurt? Neutral?)
    Surface treatments (roughening, smoothing, acid etch, alkali treatment, …)
    Trace element insertion into Nickel layer (metals and non)
    And a plethora of alternate metals, alloys, and other films…
    And a plethora of alternate subtrates (that can all have THEIR own surface treatments, etches, hollow tube vs star shaped vs ??? profiles, and including permiable (as in sponge like) physical structure like activated carbon.

    Oh, and it would be interesting to measure the degree to which “flexed” material differed from “fresh made” as there would be differences in defect levels in the lattice. Then anneal both and try again… (Oh, the number of heat treatment regimines that could be tried…)

    Yes, one could spend their whole life exploring that kind of stuff…

    But Step One has to be “repeatable excess heat production”. Then you get to try all the other stuff…

    BTW, one of the “first” I’d try is a tungsten plate in the KCO3 bath cell…

    Oh, for a small lab and a bit of funding….

    But we’ll have to settle for “Open Source LENR Smith Cell Development” … for now ;-)

    I wonder if putting in a DC bias with a music driven AM modulation would be interesting? One could have contests to find out if Hard Acid Rock or Bach gave the most power out ;-)

    BTW, I’d not bother with “runaway control”. I’d just run the tests remotely. If the sucker blows up a lab building, I think it would get lots of funding very quickly ;-)

  7. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @E.M.Smith; while I am familur with many of the cells construction,I have not heard of a “tungsten plate in the KCO3 bath cell…”
    What is the logic behind such a setup. pg

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    Your desired mindset is that of an Academic wanting a pretty paper saying “recognition for accomplishment”.

    Their behaviour is quite in line with “We want to make $Millions off the patent rights and don’t want anyone to run ahead of us in the research chain and find a better way that avoids our patent claims”. (Realize that a 10% or so “improvment” can result in a new patent…)

    So there is absolutely nothing wrong with their approach At All; if their desire is to make more money.

    You don’t see Microsoft publishing their source code nor Sony handing out the specs for DVD Encryption on the next gen of Blue Ray Disks…

    Nor do you find the recipe for Coke or Kentucky Fried Chicken published…

    OK, you like academics not businesses. Got that. Time to move on…

    Has an eye witness report of observing a “run” and includes some details. Like the metal and “catalyst’ is in nanopartical form (per the article).

    Rossi and Focardi LENR Device: Celani Report
    Posted on January 18, 2011 by Steven B. Krivit

    By Francesco Celani

    [New Energy Times received the following first-person report from Francesco Celani, a physicist with the Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, INFN (National Institute of Nuclear Physics). His report has been edited for clarity.]

    On Jan. 14, I attended the demonstration of Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi’s experiment.

    It took place in an industrial building, 10 kilometers from the city of Bologna.

    Only people who received a personal invitation were able to attend it. Several security people were stationed around the hall and outside the building. About 40-50 people attended.

    Several people were from the physics department of the University of Bologna, including the director. The director of the Bologna section of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics also attended, in a semi-official capacity.

    The experiment started at about 15:30 and ended at about 16:45.

    The measurement of energy emission was based on a modified flow calorimeter method (peristaltic pump, small size, about 10-20W of power). They warmed up the water to 102°C, pressurized vapor condition. I estimate that the experiment consumed 12-14 liters of water.
    The amount of the reactant wasn’t clear, but it could be a few grams. According to Rossi, it is a complex mixture of nickel and one or two secret additives, which are the key for the energy emission. All the material is in the state of nano-particles or colloid.
    In the pressurized (about 2 atm) chamber, the volume is 1-2 liters; also inside are the cooling pipe and the reactants. Hydrogen gas was added continuously, at a low flow rate.

    According to the authors, the trigger is only heat (at quite high temperatures: T>T_Curie of Nickel???). Other people speculated about ultrasound. The input power was 500-700W maximum.

    My approximate calculation, assuming no thermal dissipation from the reactor, gives:

    – Input Energy (3600s): (500–700 W)*3600=(1.8–2.52)MJ
    – Output Energy to increase the water temperature of 90°C: 4.2* (102°C-12°C)=378 J/g
    – Vaporization enthalpy, about 40.6kJ/mole water= 2633J/g
    – Total energy (with 13 liter of water vaporized)= 378+2633=3011J/g of water=>39.14MJ

    The energy gain is a factor of 15-20, which is really large!

    If I had something that could evaporate 12 – 14 L of water with a few grams of reactant I’d be sitting on the details too…

    FWIW, I’d thought of a colloidal Ni powder and sintering as an easy way to get a lot of surface area with a lot of crystal defect lines in it. Add a bit of “catalyst” and you could also get ( ala dopants) crystal lattice defects.

    My first trials would be with Boron and Phosphorus (but any of the usual P and N type dopants would be a good first bet and I’d try Phosphorus and Arsenic along with Gallium and Indium. Even a touch of Sulphur and even Tin or Germanium have potential. Basically, grab your “how to make an IC from exotics” book and try each of the dopants and substrate materials… but start with those that do not make face centered cubic crystals by default).

    At any rate, until I see one of these running myself, I’m gong to stay in the “Show me” column; however there is enough anecdotal evidence from folks who “ought to know” to cause me to suspect they’ve got something.

    The alternative requires all those folks from the physics departments to have really screwed the pooch on the observations of the “test”…

  9. Tony Hansen says:

    Running with the ’20 years’ comment from George for a bit.

    What would be comparable examples of big steps in science/engineering etc?
    How long was the gestation period for each idea?

  10. George says:

    What were the gestation periods for Edison and Westinghouse? Even the period from the first atomic bomb to the first atomic power reactor was short. If there was a way for someone to make some money, and right now energy that doesn’t use fossil fuel or nuclear fission should be making some money, someone would be bringing it to market.

    Seen any federal “green” subsidies for it?

    If it has the potential to amount to anything, it will very shortly. Otherwise, the “technology” will still be generating this sort of blog traffic on the Internet 20 years from now.

  11. H.R. says:

    There’s a downside, E.M. You’d have to give speeches at graduations. TNSTAAFL ;o)

  12. H.R. says:

    I’d be curious if the materials, labor, and maintenance costs outweigh the incremental gain in output.

  13. gallopingcamel says:


    My earlier comments were not about academia vs. business. They were about scientist vs. scam artist.

    While I spent my declining years in academia, I prefer the business environment having spent most of my life building and operating manufacturing plants.

    Was it G.B. Shaw who said:
    “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach,”?

    I am long past the ability to do very much so I teach:

  14. E.M.Smith says:


    I think it’s TANSTAAFL There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

    I like graduations… Especially the parties after…

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    From this link in prior comments:

    There is a picture of a reputed device using a tungsten rod stuck into KCO3 solution and with a Pt Anode making excess heat.

    From what I’ve been able to find, it isn’t just Pd and Ni that “work”, but also a variety of other metals, and in particular tungsten. (In other links – more shortly – there is reason for thinking that K is one of the “catalysts” folks are hiding).


    I was quite aware of what your comments were about. I was pointing out that the “mindsets” of two very clear sets of ordinary folks match your desired behaviours…

    While not being al all naive about the potential for scam artists, it is also quite clearly a completely normal and correct behaviour in business. Your request that they “show their work” or define them as scam artists does avoid recognition of the completely normal business behaviour…

    It is other things that sort the scam artist from a typical business (a vanishingly small set these days ;-)

    One is the request for money… I don’t see these guys asking the crowd to poney up some dough for a “sample”… Yeah, they are getting patents and someone is funding, but that sugar daddy has access the general public is not getting. That’s more like a typical business.

    Another is that folks are not allowed to touch the machinery or look behind the curtain. All demo’s done by the magician. Not so in these cases. Folks get to take pictures, and the test run was done by non-company guys (who where there to observe and offer advice on connection of stuff, but did not set up the test gear… The DID keep the “secret sauce” material secret. OK, so if they have a “scam” that can boil 14 L of water form a few grams of “goo” that’s not a “scam” any more that’s a way cool technology in its own right…)

    Having been “bought in” to the first announcements of P&F on Cold Fusion (as they WERE academics at name places and with name places making the announcements) I AM cautious and have not said “This IS it!” but only “This is INTERESTING”. That said, read the 3rd party descriptions of the observers. If it is a scam, it’s one hell of a one…

    So at that point, Occam has to step in…

    BTW, for me, one of the “key bits” is that gama rays are observed. Just sporadic levels. There is another detail on that (the burst at ‘turn off’) that I think is a key bit…

    @Tony Hansen & George:

    The lag time from “idea” to “product” is all over the board. For every Nuclear Bomb project (with the full backing of the government I might add) that does miracles in a couple of years or every simple mechanical idea like a phonograph that’s just rearranging known materials; you will have a “Make flying machine” where we start with that dream as cavemen and wait thousands of years to the first hot air balloons, then pushing 150 years to get to heavier than air flight (and a few dozen after that to get to “practical for Joe Public”) or a “nuclear power plant” where Einstein published in 1905

    Einstein’s “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper” (“On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”) was received on June 30, 1905 and published September 26 of that same year. It reconciles Maxwell’s equations for electricity and magnetism with the laws of mechanics, by introducing major changes to mechanics close to the speed of light. This later became known as Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

    And the first commercial power plant was in 1954, nearly 1/2 century later:

    On June 27, 1954, the USSR’s Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant became the world’s first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid, and produced around 5 megawatts of electric power.

    So the time from “Ah Hah!” to “here’s how to do it in a reliable practical way” has wide variablity (and some folks would assert we’re still not their yet on the safe and reliable nuclear…)

    That’s doubly true when you don’t know exactly what’s causing things to happen.

    For purposes of patent protection, you must have a decent clue what all to claim. If you “miss that”, the next guy can make an improvment claim and get a patent that basically makes your worthless. Say I claim “It’s the Ni crystal defects” and list all ways to induce them as part of the idea (in order to protect my “idea” from folks finding a new way to make them and thus a new patent). Then it turns out it is the presense of a material that changes the size of the H ion (more on that below). Suddenly I’ve got a worthless patent as the new guy patents “Add K goo to improve output” and cites my patent as the one he is improving….

    So there is a very important and very valid reason for “trade secrets” and NOT rushing into production with an early form of device. The optimum is to hold it close long enough to explore all the “reasonable improvements” and get a web of patents all over the place; then come public and have a “lock” on things for 15 years or so (with a decent head start on all of THOSE 15 years of likely patent improvements). Done well, you can keep the tech tied up for about 30 years and achieve market dominance that can never be displaced even when the patents run out.

    Look at Intel and the microprocessor. It’s no longer about the patents… but it was in the early days.

    “Delay” is not a dumb thing to do. Not at all.

    It is a hard game to play, though…

    BTW, being “first” or early is often to be the loser. Remember the Osborn computer? The Commodor 64? How about Univac? Stanley Steamer? It’s a very long list…

  15. George says:

    I meant from the time of the first atomic pile to the time of the first power station was about, what, 25 years?

    But what I believe the problem is with this is that you need to pump in, say, 1000 watts of energy and you seem to be able to measure 1001 watts so you are creating one watt but that one watt gets eaten up in transmission losses so it is basically not generating enough energy to make it viable.

    Sure, if you look at it just right and squint a little and turn your head just so, some people claim to see a smidgin more power generated than is consumed, but not enough more power generated to make it useful for anything.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    OK, some minor odds and ends I’ve run into as this topic finishes it’s “run through the questions engine”…

    One key bit was a link that talked about making H ions and “spillover” catalysts.

    That was a new term for me. Seems that in a lot of cases, the catalyst is used to make H ions out of H2 and then those ions “spill” out of the catalyst metal into a nearby metal where something interesting happens. (Often, just storage of H as Metal Hydride). It’s a nice bit of understanding to have:

    Click to access JPC_901598.pdf

    So Pd and Ni are common “spillover catalysts”… So H2 will tend to be more easily turned into H when they are around.

    Then what happens to the H?

    It can form a variety of interesting Hydrides. As I pointed out in a comment on one of the other threads, a Hydride may have the H bound inside the Van der Waals radius of a nearby metal ion. “This matters” IMHO.

    For hydrogen, the radius can change quite a bit depending on if it is ionized, or not, but the size is about .30 Angstroms or about 30 pico meters:

    gives the smallest observed at 25 pm.

    This is interesting because if you look at nickel, the Van der Waals radius is 163 pm while the covalent radius is 124 +/- 4 pm. At the low end, that makes the difference 163-120 = 43 pm….

    For hydrogen:

    The covalent radius is 31 pm.

    When covalently bonded, it ought to be inside the Van de Waals radius of Nickel …

    43 pm – 31 pm = 12 pm

    So here you have this proton that is 12 pm inside the Van der Waals radius of Nickel, and have a changing sea of electrons around it, so sometimes it’s covalent, and sometimes it’s not, and maybe, just maybe, sometimes it has an electron “very very close” and looks a bit more ‘neutral’ and that “close” electron is seeing a flood of electrons “out there” and gives the whole package a bit of a shove toward that nucleus where it’s “feeling the love” of that positive charge… Then finds itself all trapped inside those metalic electrons out there in that cloud and way too close to the nucleus and “something has to give” so we get that “heat event” as the nucleus rebalances with an added neutron, followed by beta decay as the electron gets spit out.

    OK, in yet another place I found that there was another, even more attractive, alternative.

    I had “blinders on” from just too much aquious chemistry and was thinking H or H+ (as the negative ion of OH- is a bit large)… but ….

    What about simple H- as an ion?

    Hydrogen has an open spot in the first orbital. Stuffing in an electron is quite doable.

    Now you have a very small “particle” that has a single negative charge. Crammed in close to a metal nucleus, it could act very much like an electron. But a heavy one that would drift down to the closest in electron orbital position. At that point, you have that Proton and associated electron(s) very close to the nucleus. IF the electrons leave the near space of that proton, the electrons from it (above it now) will tend to let it drift toward the nucleus. IF the electron, even for a fraction of time, has excess energy (and not THAT much) one of them can bind with the Proton and make a neutron (that would have an easy drift into the nucleus AND would leave behind an electron to nicely fill that orbital.

    Now, at this point, the “burst of gamma” at the point where the Rossi cell gets turned off starts to make a bit of sense. You have an H- being kept that way by a sea of excess electrons (cathode) that suddenly go away. It spits out it’s electron, finds itself inside the electron shell of it’s ‘host’ metal and even inside the Van der Waals radius and has a very bad set of energetics to deal with… While it would need some fancier analsys of the nuceonics than I can do, it looks to me like the “easy path” would be to swallow your electron, join with that big old metal nucleus, and let IT spit out the excess energy as a gamma… Thus the burst.

    (This also implies that running a cell in a “pulsed” mode with H- loading and then “decay” steps might increase output, but at the expense of more gamma and less non-gamma heat if the pathway to heat often does not involve this catastrophic H absorbtion).

    In this link:

    They talk about using KCO3 as an electrolite. They have no idea why it works (per the story). But what if we knew what makes H2 into H- ions?

    British researchers believe that they have made a groundbreaking scientific discovery after apparently managing to “create” energy from hydrogen atoms.

    In results independently verified at Bristol University, a team from Gardner Watts – an environmental technology company based in Dedham, Essex – show a “thermal energy cell” which appears to produce hundreds of times more energy than that put into it. If the findings are correct and can be reproduced on a commercial scale, the thermal energy cell could become a feature of every home, heating water for a fraction of the cost and cutting fuel bills by at least 90 per cent.

    The makers of the cell, which passes an electric current through a liquid between two electrodes, admit that they cannot explain precisely how the invention works. They insist, however, that their cell is not just a repeat of the notorious “cold fusion” debacle of the late 1980s. Then two scientists claimed to have found a way of generating nuclear energy from a similar-looking device at room temperature. The findings were widely challenged and the scientists, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, accused of incompetence, fled America to set up labs in France.

    “We are absolutely not saying this is cold fusion, or that we have found a way round the law of energy conservation,” said Christopher Davies, the managing director of Gardner Watts.

    “What we are saying is that the device seems to tap into another, previously unrecognised source of energy.”

    According to Mr Davies, the cell is the product of research into the fundamental properties of hydrogen, the most common element in the universe. He argues that calculations based on quantum theory, the laws of the sub-atomic world, suggest that hydrogen can exist in a so-called metastable state that harbours a potential source of extra energy.

    This theory suggests that if electricity were passed into a mixture of water and a chemical catalyst, the extra energy would be released in the form of heat.

    After some experimentation, the team found that a small amount of electricity passed through a mixture of water and potassium carbonate – potash – released an astonishing amount of energy.

    “It generates a lot of heat in a very small volume,” said Christopher Eccles, the chief scientist at Gardner Watts.

    The findings of the Gardner Watts team were tested by Dr Jason Riley of Bristol University, who found energy gains of between three and 26 times what had been put in.

    These folks call the “small hydrogen” a “hydrino”. Others talk about reverse beta decay and “electron absorption” to make a neutron or ‘near absorption’ or even that “heavy surface plasmon polariton” and “low momentum neutron”.

    It all seems to me to come down to the same thing. Hydrogen can “get small” and “get close” to the nucleus of metals where, for some of them, something strange can happen when under electric charge gradient.

    So these folks:

    Click to access Eng%20Power050410S.pdf

    spend a lot of time on “hydrino” and “catalyst” issues. They claim to find that:

    Each system comprised a thermally-reversible reaction mixture of a catalyst or a source of catalyst and a source of hydrogen ( KH or NaH ), a high surface area conductive support ( TiC, TiCN, Ti3SiC2, WC, YC2, PdC, Carbon Black (CB), and LiCl reduced to Li), and optionally a reductant ( Mg, Ca, Li )

    It then goes on at some length into what is increasingly dense jargon or bafflegab (it’s hard to tell some times ;-)

    At any rate, to the extent they are “onto something” it gives a laundry list of mechanism and materials (“catalysts”) for making H2 a bit happier to turn into “hydrinos” and then put an electron on them for H- and shove into a metal lattice (that I suspect is easier if the metal does not have a perfect crystal face but has more crystal defect sites where a lonely H- could find a corner to hide in and get away from that sea of e- being shoved at it by the power supply…

    So, at any rate, that’s how I see this whole thing working. If it works at all…

    Either that, or I’ve collected a really intesting bunch of bafflegab and managed to glue the bits together into an almost believable sequence…

    So take a C substrate. Put a “spillover catalyst” metal on it (such as Ni or Pd) in the presence of excess electrons and one of the “hydrino catalysts” like K and then maybe a tiny bit more heat and pressure…. add H2 or water and watch what happens.

    H2 ought to be turned into “small” H- that then gets shoved deep into the metal electron shell. For metals where the nucleonics are favorable, the H- can turn into a Neutron + e- and transmute to a stable isotope (with left over energy). The “reverse beta decay” soaks up some energy, and then the following transmutation beta decay liberates some, so the net of the two might not be enough to always give a lot of gamma or similar radiation (thus the low levels and mostly when ‘things are changing’)

    At any rate, that’s how I’d fit all the “pieces” together into something that has a hope of being testable.

    FWIW, I’m particularly fond of that Tungsten (Wolfram) compound with Carbon. “WC” has a nice ring to it ;-)

    So the way I’d approach this is to put a “hydrino catalyst” in the solution, put a “spillover catalyst” metal on the cathode, and have a substrate that has a “doubly magic” or simlarly energetically favorable nucleus “just nearby” one neutron heavier. H2 goes to H goes to H- spills over into the substrate and turns into something “Magically Stable” with the liberation of heat.

    As Oxygen 16 is doubly stable, it might be interesting to try a N-15 compound with C as the substrate… or perhaps using C-14 with Duterium could be ‘interesting’…

    At any rate, that’s the theoretical framework I’d explore in trying to find if “something happens” vs “nice set of dishes and stuff… can it at least make coffee?” ;-)

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    This link:

    has a lot of ‘names’ in it so makes good web search fodder. It also lists the “cavitation” players (something I’ve not looked at) so I’m leaving a marker here for whenever I do decide to go look at it…

    Oh, and just so it doesn’t “go away”… the interesting text from that link above:


    Re: [Vo]:Old, but MAJOR clue about the Rossi CATALYST?

    Axil Axil
    Sat, 30 Apr 2011 18:31:00 -0700
    *From the 2010 Piantelli patent an important section is excerpted for your
    convenience as follows:*

    * *

    *[quote] The H- ions can be obtained by treating, under particular operative
    conditions, hydrogen H2 molecules that have been previously adsorbed on said
    transition metal surface, where the semi-free valence electrons form a
    plasma. In particular, a heating is needed to cause lattice vibrations, i.e.
    phonons, whose energy is higher than a first activation energy threshold,
    through non-linear and an harmonic phenomena. In such conditions, the
    following events can occur: *

    *a dissociation of the hydrogen molecules that is adsorbed on the surface;
    an interaction with valence electrons of the metal, and formation of H-

    *- an adsorption of the H- ions into the clusters, in particular the
    clusters that form the two or three crystal layers that are most close to
    the surface. The H- ions can just physically interact with the metal, or can
    chemically bond with it, in which case hydrides can be formed.*

    * *

    *The H- ions can also be adsorbed into the lattice interstices, but
    adsorption at the grain edges, by trapping the ions into the lattice
    defects; replacement of an atom of the metal of clusters may also occur.*

    * *

    *After such adsorption step, the H- ions interact with the atoms of the
    clusters, provided that a second activation threshold is exceeded, which is
    higher than the first threshold. By exceeding this second threshold, in
    accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle and with the Heisenberg
    uncertainty principle, the conditions are created for replacing electrons of
    metal atoms with H- ions, and, accordingly, for forming metal-hydrogen
    complex atoms. This event can take place due to the fermion nature of H-
    ion; however, since H- ions have a mass 1838 times larger than an electron
    mass, they tend towards deeper layers, and cause an emission of Auger
    electrons and of X rays. Subsequently, since the H- ion Bohr radius is
    comparable with the metal core radius, the H- ions can be captured by the
    metal core, causing a structural reorganization and freeing energy by mass
    defect; the H- ions can now be expelled as protons, and can generate nuclear
    reactions with the neighbouring cores. More in detail, the complex atom that
    has formed by the metal atom capturing the H- ion, in the full respect of
    the energy conservation principle, of the Pauli exclusion principle, and of
    the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, is forced towards an excited status,
    therefore it reorganizes itself by the migration of the H- ion towards
    deeper orbitals or levels, i.e. towards a minimum energy state, thus
    emitting Auger electrons and X rays during the level changes. The H- ion
    falls into a potential hole and concentrates the energy which was previously
    distributed upon a volume whose radius is about 10e-12 m into a smaller
    volume whose radius is about 5x10e-15 m. *

    * *

    *At the end of the process, the H- ion is at a distance from the core that
    is comparable with the nuclear radius; in fact in the fundamental status of
    the complex atom that is formed by adding the H- ion, due to its mass that
    is far greater than the mass of the electron, the H- ion is forced to stay
    at such deep level at a distance from the core that is comparable with the
    nuclear radius, in accordance with Bohr radius calculation. As above stated,
    owing to the short distance from the core, a process is triggered in which
    the H- ion is captured by the core, with a structural reorganization and
    energy release by mass defect, similarly to what happens in the case of
    electron capture with structural reorganization and energy release by mass
    defect or in case of loss of two electrons, due to their intrinsic
    instability, during the fall process towards the lowest layers, and
    eventually an expulsion of the the H- ion takes place as a proton, as
    experimentally detected in the cloud chamber, and nuclear reactions can
    occur with other neighboring cores, said reactions detected as
    transmutations on the active core after the production of energy.*

    * *

    *According to the above, the actual process cannot be considered as a fusion
    process of hydrogen atoms, in particular of particular hydrogen isotopes
    atoms; instead, the process has to be understood as an interaction of a
    transition metal and hydrogen in general, in its particular form of H-

    * *

    *The H-ion is the active agent in both the Piantelli and Rossi process which
    itself is just a variation of the Piantelli process.*

    * *

    *Upon reading this section of Piantelli patent, I remembered the THYRATRON.
    The hydrogen thyratron is a high peak power electrical switch which uses
    hydrogen gas as the switching medium. The switching action is achieved by a
    transfer from the insulating properties of neutral gas to the conducting
    properties of ionized gas.*

    * *

    * *

    *Of interest as applied the Rossi process, the Thyratron communication phase
    is achieved by introducing plasma into the grid/anode region via slots in
    the grid structure. The plasma is created in the cathode/grid region by a
    fast rising trigger pulse applied to the grid(s), which then diffuses to the
    grid slots where it comes under the influence of the anode field. The
    trigger plasma provides a copious supply of electrons so that anode
    breakdown proceeds until ionised plasma connects the cathode and anode.*

    * *

    *A thyratron differs from a vacuum tube in that it has a filling of hydrogen
    which plays a key role in the conduction of relatively large currents with
    only a nominal voltage drop across the tube.*

    * *

    *Electrons emitted from the cathode of a vacuum tube encounter a negative
    gradient or space charge caused by the presence of other electrons that have
    been previously emitted. The result is that most of the electrons return to
    the cathode while only those emitted with the highest energy succeed in
    penetrating the negative space charge and moving on to the anode.*

    * *

    *Because of the presence of gas or vapor molecules in the thyratron, an
    emitted electron that travels a sufficient distance is likely to collide
    with a neutral hydrogen gas molecule, and if the energy of the electron is
    sufficient it will cause the gas molecule to ionize. The neutral hydrogen
    gas is transformed into plasma of negative ions. *

    * *

    *The negative ions, which are relatively long lived, will migrate toward the
    most positive region of the tube. In doing so, partial neutralization of the
    negative space charge occurs, a condition which is conducive to an increased
    flow of electrons from the cathode. *

    * *

    *This process is cumulative in that the increased flow of electrons further
    increases the probability of ionization until the process, when carried to
    its completion, entirely eliminates the positive space-charge region. Thus,
    in addition to the higher energy electrons, practically all of the electrons
    emitted become available for anode current flow, with the maximum current
    being limited only by the size of the cathode.*

    * *

    *In the Rossi reactor, the reaction vessel wall is grounded and is
    electrostatically neutral. However, it will have a positive charge relative
    to the electron emitting cathode.*

    * *

    *Negative hydrogen ions will travel to the reaction vessel wall and impact
    the surface of the nickel oxide nanopowder affixed to those reactor walls. *

    On Sat, Apr 30, 2011 at 9:18 PM, Jones Beene wrote:

    > *From:* Axil Axil
    > Ø The internal heater can generate a 1000 times more H- ions that any
    > spill over catalyst element could possible produce.
    > Where did you come up with that?
    > First, let’s be clear. Spillover is NOT the negative ion. It is monatomic
    > and uncharged.
    > An internal heater can supply about .2 eV, of mass-energy for catalysis and
    > a good spillover catalyst provides almost 3 eV. There is at least a 15:1
    > difference.
    > Jones

  18. UninterestingConnections says:

    It is interesting that Nickel is only an alpha particle away from Iron … I wonder …

  19. Jason Calley says:

    Looks like another company approaching cold fusion through the medium of nickle-hydrogen reactions.

  20. Jason Calley.

    Thanks for that link but it hardly inspired confidence.

    My first impression was that the journalist was a scientific illiterate so I went to the Brillouin website and found the “Early Phase 2 data”. This turned out to be a pretty shoddy piece of report writing even for a high school student.

    If these folks are looking for funding they will have to come across as far more professional to have a chance. At least the Rossi/Focardi demonstration in January eliminated one of Huizenga’s (MIT) objections to cold fusion, namely poor calorimetry.

  21. Jason Calley says:

    @ gallopingcamel

    You may very well be right! Still, interesting that they are looking at something so similar to Rossi — or rather, it is interesting if the Brillouin people have truly developed their approach independent of the Rossi people.

    I suspect that there may very well be something profound and reproducible with reports of LENR, but keeping an eye on the various researchers is kind of like the scientific version of buying a lottery ticket. Every drawing is a long shot, but the tickets are cheap, the process is entertaining, and the potential pay off is huge.

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