For nearly 25 years now, the idea that it might be possible to extract unlimited amounts of energy from the nucleus of a hydrogen atom at low temperatures has been pretty much in disrepute. When major laboratories were unable to detect nuclear reactions on their work benches back in 1989, the whole notion of what was then called "cold fusion" was debunked as junk science and for most remains so to this day. Fortunately however, a few scientists kept plugging away on just how one could get heat from the nucleus of a hydrogen atom. Now their efforts seem to be paying off. In recent months numerous respected scientists have been reporting at scientific gatherings that they are seeing increasing amounts of heat, which can only be coming from nuclear reactions, during experiments with hydrogen loaded into nickel and palladium under the proper conditions.
There have been so many of these reports by reliable and respected scientists that it has become absurd to claim that the phenomenon is fraudulent or that all these scientists are mistaken in their observations. Currently there are at least six different organizations around the world saying they have a commercially useful heat-producing device under development which they will be demonstrating soon.
To the comfort of skeptics, most of these organizations have been very circumspect in releasing details of their devices and the physics behind them. There are, of course several reasons for this reticence. Some may hope to keep their heat-producing secret as long as possible in hopes of making money from their discovery. More likely, however, is that while they have developed a way to produce heat, they really don't understand the physics underlying their device.
This situation however seems to be changing following a lengthy interview with a fellow out in Berkeley, California by the name of Robert Godes of Brillouin Energy. He has been working in this field for the last ten years and says that he not only has a reliable heat-producing device, but also understands the physics behind it – which he calls the Quantum Fusion Hypothesis. He says that this theory of just how low-energy nuclear reactions work has allowed the development of a device which produces heat immediately and reliably. Most interestingly, Godes says he has shared his insights with scientists at the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratories and SRI International, one of the leading US laboratories investigating the phenomenon. He says that both have verified that his theory does indeed work and that they can now produce heat from hydrogen every time they try.
Godes' hypothesis is interesting for those with even a smattering of physics in their background. First of all, he holds that the heat which is coming from infusing hydrogen into nickel or palladium is not coming from "cold fusion" in the classic sense of the term. It is not a deuterium fusing with deuterium reaction as takes place in the sun or H-bombs and which requires extremely high energies.
What seems to be happening in this new kind of fusion is that when hydrogen is "loaded" into nickel or palladium and subjected to the proper kind of an electromagnetic pulse, the hydrogen nucleus which is a positively charged proton acquires an electron which turns it into a low energy free neutron. Now a low energy free neutron is something very nice to have for it quickly combines with other protons to form deuterium, tritium and finally quadrium. The quadrium only lasts for an instant before undergoing a process called beta decay turning it into helium. This is where Einstein and E = MC2 comes in. The beta decay of quadrium results in a loss of mass which is turned into heat. If all this pans out as claimed, it could be one of the most important secrets of nature that has ever been discovered, for our energy problems are over.
This new hypothesis, it is not yet a theory, says that It would be possible to use water as the source of all energy that mankind could ever want with no bad or radioactive leftovers -- only helium and heat. Note that Godes says that if the reaction is done properly, the nickel or palladium which are only used as a matrix to hold the hydrogen in one place, are not consumed in the reaction. For those who are skeptical, and I don't blame you for this a lot to comprehend, I recommend Brillouin's web site (www.brillouinenergy.com) where you will find some reasonably comprehensible explanations and videos as to just how all this supposedly works. For those conversant with Bose-Einstein condensates, the Molecular Hamiltonian, Heisenberg confinement energy, and the dense mathematics of nuclear physics there are papers there for you too.
So what happens now? There is so much misunderstanding and skepticism about this phenomenon during the last 20 years, it is likely that the mainstream media will not touch the story until some highly respected institution rolls out a machine that is too hot to touch, will run for months without any visible source of power, and will belch fire and brimstone on command.
Much to its credit, the first thing that Brillouin Energy says it is going to do with its new technology is to build a prototype boiler using its new heat source that would eventually replace the ones currently burning coal in our power stations. This is clearly a brilliant idea for swapping out old coal fired boilers for ones that run on a few cups of water would be a no-brainer for the world's electricity industry – provided of course they can be made to work reliably.
Brillouin Energy says they have a contract with SRI International to design and build a prototype of what they call a "Hot Tube" boiler. If the concept works well Brillouin would license the technology to the world's boiler makers who presumably would work overtime replacing every fossil fuel fired boiler on the face of the earth. And that is just the start.
Tom Whipple is a retired government analyst and has been following the peak oil issue for several years.