A Novel Use for Palladium Could Unlock Unlimited Power

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". . .there is 'no doubt that anomalous excess heat is produced in these experiments.'"

A fascinating article appeared recently on CBS news that deserves covering for no other reason than if the technology is even remotely feasible it deserves funding in the best research facilities in the country. The problem is the discovery is an old one, made 20 years ago by two well-respected electro-chemists, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons working for the University of Utah.

In 1989, they reported details of their early findings suggesting a low-energy nuclear reaction was occurring at room temperature, opening the potential for almost unlimited zero carbon energy sources. But other research centers weren't able to achieve the same results reliably.

Cold Fusion is described as a low-energy nuclear reaction. In a cell with a palladium cathode and electrolyte containing heavy water or deuterium (an isotope of water), an electric current is passed through the cell and, for periods of up to 2 days, excess energy is given off as heat. The problem is the cell can operate for days without the effect happening, and then suddenly it starts and later stops again. Supporters believe mass is being turned into energy, and a little mass equates to a huge amount of energy.

Although the concept had the potential to create enough power from just a fraction of a gram of palladium to power a laptop for 3 years, in the end the notion of cold fusion became debunked and has largely been discounted by the scientific community since.

So why has CBS reviewed the situation? In an interview with Michael McKubre, an electro-chemist at SRI International, he discusses his own experiments where he has seen energy released in more than 50 cold fusion experiments. The SRI is not the only lab still working on the concept. In Israel a company called Energetics Technologies has achieved some of the highest energy gains yet; CBS sent Rob Duncan, an expert in measuring energy, to check the research results. He found nothing wrong with the approach or calculations and, though he couldn't explain what was going on, he concedes further research is appropriate. The U.S. government seems to agree; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency did its own analysis and concluded there is "no doubt that anomalous excess heat is produced in these experiments." Now the Pentagon is funding more experiments at the naval research lab in Washington, D.C. and at McKubre's lab.

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