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Does Italian Demo Show Cold Fusion, or Snake Oil?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the how-much-would-you-bet dept.

Technology 479

An anonymous reader writes "Today, Wired.co.uk is running a story, 'Cold fusion rears its head as "E-Cat" research promises to change the world.' It gives an overview of the technology that claims to fuse hydrogen and nickel into copper, with no radioactive by-products, to produce copious amounts of heat, inexpensively, with a 1 megawatt plant scheduled to come on line later this month. Apparently, Wired was not aware that today is a big test in Italy by scientists from around the world, who will be observing the technology in operation, including self-looped mode. A real-time update page has been set up at PESWiki, which has been a primary news provider of this technology since it was announced last January." Wired's article is remarkably optimistic. I'd love for this to be true, but many decades of scientific-looking free-energy machine scams make it hard to be other than cynical; the claim of a secret catalyst which "can be produced at low cost," controlled-access for outside observers, the lack of published science to explain the claimed effect, and skepticism even from the free-energy world — along with a raft of pro-E-Cat websites registered anonymously earlier this year — all make it sound like this follows the marketing style of previous "over unity" / perpetual motion machines. I invite Andrea Rossi to take part in a Slashdot interview, if he's willing to answer readers' questions about his claims.

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479 comments

Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626032)

Wired's article is remarkably optimistic.

Parts of it, yes. But I think the article does an okay job of keeping cautious. Maybe you read only the sentences you want to? Allow me to cherry pick a few:

Rossi's heavyweight supporters include 1973 physics Nobel prize winner Brian Josephson. Josephson also supports telepathy research.

Skeptics point to the lack of published science, and the way that Rossi keeps details of his special catalyst secret. They also point to his past involvement in Petroldragon, a company involved in converting organic waste into fuel, which collapsed in the 1990's amidst allegations of dumping toxic waste. (Rossi maintains that he was the victim in this complex case).

Until August of this year, Rossi was planning his big launch in Greece, and an E-Cat factory was being built in Xanthi. But the deal has somehow fallen through for unexplained reasons, vaguely blamed on pressure from "international energy interests" who may be threatened by the invention.

"According to my analysis, his claim has no scientific credibility," Krivit told Wired.co.uk. The device he claimed to heat a factory in Bondeno seems to exist only on paper."

At this point, I'm calling it 'tabloid science journalism.' This guy is looking to get rich quick not contribute to human knowledge so I'm not paying attention to him just yet. Hopefully I get to backpedal in a couple months when he starts shipping but ... well, I'm betting there will be some 'delay' imposed by 'ominous forces' as Rossi's wallet fattens.

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626124)

You'd think Rossi would want to pick up his $1,000,000 from JREF already. It's still available, and telepathy is one of the methods you can use to claim it:

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (1)

skepticult (110933) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626302)

I actually tried to help someone file for the JREF challenge years ago because I was sick of all the netkooks claiming the contest was rigged.

JREF never responded to the person. I still have the documents they sent in. I have no doubt they were a kook of the highest order, but it was kind of annoying to get no response at all.

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626220)

This guy is looking to get rich quick not contribute to human knowledge so I'm not paying attention to him just yet.

If what he's selling is true (my money is on not for the record) he can get rich and change the world for the better. I can't hardly blame someone with a potentially world altering invention wanting to keep it under wraps for as long as possible. Yeah, it's against the open source ethos, but it's also how reality works for 99% of the people out there; you don't give your work away for free. Quite frankly, this would be the exact kind of invention that the patent system works for; one that would still be useful in 20 years, is simple to replicate given a working sample (presumably), and is completely un-obvious to experts in the field.

Personally, they won't convince me until they are making money over the course of a year from operations (as opposed to investment) and/or they hand over a sample of the device to some independent researchers. There's way too much about this company that just doesn't smell right, but that's just my opinion.

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626650)

I call dibs on the Rossi-device-on-the-internet and Rossi-device-with-an-LCD-digital-clock patents!

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626846)

Screw that. I already filed patent apps for "Rossi-device-in-a-computing-device" (which is innovative prior art upon which your "Rossi-device-on-the-internet" infringes, and very likely your "Rossi-device-with-an-LCD-digital-clock" because I already patented the "Rossi-device-with-an-electronic-display" in addition to the aforementioned "Rossi-device-in-a-computing-device" which covers clocks) and "Rossie-Device-in-a-portable-wireless-communications-device," oh, and a "Rossi-device-powered-wheeled-vehicle." Those innovations are non-obvious and my intellectual party. Now, excuse me while I next file patents for "Rossi-device-powered-hairdryer, " a "Rossi-device-powered-toaster-oven" and of course a "Portable-Rossi-Device" for household power generation.

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626234)

The clandestine nature of the whole thing leads me to believe Rossi has Atlas Shrugged on his mind. Be on the lookout for dollar sign cigarettes...

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (2)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626258)

Until August of this year, Rossi was planning his big launch in Greece, and an E-Cat factory was being built in Xanthi. But the deal has somehow fallen through for unexplained reasons, vaguely blamed on pressure from "international energy interests" who may be threatened by the invention.

This one I don't find at all implausible, at least taken by itself. Greece is collapsing economically, corruption is hilariously wide-spread, and international energy interests include the likes of OPEC and Exxon; I wouldn't put a damn thing past those organizations, and Greek officials are probably about the easiest in the world to bribe at the moment.

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626448)

It is also possible that Greece was not corrupt enough. Italy is a good place if you want to set up scams... their legal system is fairly two-tiered.. if you have the cash you don't really have to worry about laws and the laws do a good job of making sure weaker people can not negatively impact you.

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (4, Insightful)

elmartinos (228710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626698)

Rossi does not want your money. He has solely funded all development of the e-cat with his own money: He has sold a company he owned, and he has now even sold his house. Peswiki asked him if they should set up a donation site for him, but rossi does not want that too. He also does not want to apply for FP7-ENERGY, a european research program for energy.

So Rossi either is a completely self-deluded man that manages to delude lots of other people around him as well, or he really has something working.

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#37627086)

He wouldn't be the first quack to sink his lifes savings into a non-functional device. Being completely broke seems like pretty good motivation to try and pull off a scam.

Re:Didn't Sound Optimistic to Me! (3, Insightful)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37627084)

He's waiting for Moller to make a bid to use it to power his air-car. That should have all the manufacturing capacity tied up for many years...

I do wish that... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626086)

... people had taken that much scepticism to global warming.

Re:I do wish that... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626178)

... people had taken that much scepticism to global warming.

You probably want to be more specific and say, "... people had taken that much scepticism to anthropogenic global warming."

Climate has always been warming or cooling, it's only in the last few years that we started blaming ourselves.

Re:I do wish that... (5, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626506)

You really find a lack of skepticism about global warming out there? Rather, despite more skepticism than about any other topic in current science, 98% of scientists with expertise in the field conclude that anthropogenic global warming is a major threat to our species.

Sometime you might try skepticism about skepticism. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. A skepticism that's promoted by a PR firm working for the oil companies, that previously promoted skepticism about tobacco and cancer on behalf of the tobacco companies, is a good target for skepticism about skepticism. Or do you believe that loading up the lungs with tobacco is health, too, just as you apparently believe that loading up the atmosphere with CO2 is benign?

Re:I do wish that... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626556)

Sometime you might try skepticism about skepticism.

I see it as an abundance of skepticism coupled with a lack of scientific knowledge. Same with the cigarettes.

Re:I do wish that... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37627066)

Add to that: deliberate for profit misinformation with a sprinkling of the fevered apocalyptic dreams of the ultra right wing fundamentalists and you have a deal.

Re:I do wish that... (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626984)

You really find a lack of skepticism about global warming out there? Rather, despite more skepticism than about any other topic in current science, 98% of scientists with expertise in the field conclude that anthropogenic global warming is a major threat to our species.

The question I'd like to ask the OP is, what is your track record on these issues? Has your skepticism on these subjects proven to be founded in the past, or have you had to eat crow over and over again before you move on to your next conspiracy?

Waste of space (1)

Lando (9348) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626088)

No reason to even look at this since there is absolutely no proof that this works because it's "Secret!!!!"

Why would you want to waste slashdot readers time by doing a question and answer with someone that has a magic spell to create energy, but of course no one can verify it.

Re:Waste of space (3, Informative)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626642)

There is LOTS of information available if you know where to look. It appears to dribble out and there is very little mainstream media covering it. But here are some good links to the science and demos:

http://22passi.blogspot.com/2011/10/test-e-cat-7-luglio-2011.html [blogspot.com]

http://www.esowatch.com/en/index.php?title=Focardi-Rossi_Energy-Catalyzer

http://coldfire-lenr.blogspot.com/2011/09/ready-set-go.html

But the most important public tests are happening today, and at the end of this month in the US.

Re:Waste of space (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626932)

Why would you want to waste slashdot readers time by doing a question and answer with someone that has a magic spell to create energy, but of course no one can verify it.

"today is a big test in Italy by scientists from around the world, who will be observing the technology in operation, including self-looped mode."

If it produces enough power to sustain its own activity, without consuming anything but water (and presumably nickel at a very slow rate), then at the very least we have a device from which we can use the waste heat to stay warm in the winter.

And if not, well, one more mad scientist disproven.

Either way, we will have "verified" it. The secrecy angle has no bearing on the validity of the tech - Would you honestly just give away the secret to a technology with the potential to replace OPEC's coffers with your own?

Can someone clarify (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626090)

Is the process pulling hydrogen out of water or are they providing pure hydrogen? If pulled from water would that mean the only byproduct is oxygen? If so this could be huge. Yes I did RTFA.

Re:Can someone clarify (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626194)

The process is pulling money out of the gullible.

Remember the second law of thermodynamics - you can't get something for nothing. It's not called "the second suggestion of thermodynamics".

Re:Can someone clarify (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626798)

Perhaps you should read up what the second law of thermodynamic actually states, before using it in arguments.
After all a transmutation like the proposed one is exothermic, so in fact it could work ;D
As you are obviously to lazy to educate yourself, the second law of thermodynamics says: "There is no change in state possible that only transfers heat from a body with low temperature to a bdy with higher temperature" Or: "It is impossible to build a cyclic(or periodic) working machine that lifts a mass by draining a reservoir of heat"
To make it blunt to you and the orther "we love the house of thermodynamcis" guys: nuclear reactions have nothing to do with thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is about the special physics of heat ... thats all.

Re:Can someone clarify (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37627072)

The process is pulling money out of the gullible.

Strange claim, since he hasn't sought any money from anyone, not even from organizations and government programs that might normally fund ideas such as his.

You can, at worst, accuse him of believing his own hype; the con-man angle just doesn't fit.

Re:Can someone clarify (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626388)

Is the process pulling hydrogen out of water or are they providing pure hydrogen? If pulled from water would that mean the only byproduct is oxygen? If so this could be huge. Yes I did RTFA.

If this turns out to be legit (and it's a very big if), then it's a nuclear reaction. The energy available from nuclear reactions dwarfs that of chemical reactions by many orders of magnitude, so chemical nature of the source of hydrogen would be irrelevant.

Re:Can someone clarify (4, Interesting)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626688)

I think the big question on everyone's mind is if this actually *is* a nuclear reaction. There could be some sort of chemical reaction going on with the hydrogen, causing it to give off heat. If so, this 'reactor' is just another hydrogen fuel cell (possibly more efficient, maybe not). Not that a fuel cell which can be made using a "cheap catalyst" would be a bad thing - Slashdot has had a number of stories of people working towards such. But, fuel cells are not an energy "source", in the same way as an alkaline battery is not an energy source - but it could be a very convenient storage mechanism.

Re:Can someone clarify (4, Informative)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626684)

The process is Ni powder + hydrogen gas + heat + pressure + (mystery processes/catalysts) = excess heat and transmutation of Nickel to copper. Water is not involved in the process.

Re:Can someone clarify (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#37627022)

Well, oxygen and copper.

This would be awesome; nickel and hydrogen are both extremely plentiful, and if copper is a byproduct, this would become a very inexpensive source of pure copper, which can eliminate at least some environment-damaging copper mines.

Where are the patents? (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626116)

Most of the world operates on first-to-file, not first-to-invent. If you had a working "secret sauce", how insane would you have to be to not file a zillion patents on it? Protecting such inventions is exactly what the patent system is actually for.

Re:Where are the patents? (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626152)

Re:Where are the patents? (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626564)

Reply to my reply: Aaaaaaaaaaahahahahahah. Is this for real?

It reads like an Al Gore infomercial, not a patent. More space is given to banging on about saving the planet than about the actual claims.

Ah, here's the snake oil: "said high temperature generates internuclear percussions which are made stronger by the catalytic action of optional elements [...] for a proper operation, the hydrogen injection must be carried out under a variable pressure".

Obvious troll is obvious. You can't replicate this? Oh, you don't have the right "optional elements" (kryptonite?) or you're not "varying" your pressure correctly.

Even if his magic boxes do anything, they'll just be operating as regular hydrogen fuel cells. Oh, right, the hydrogen? Minor detail, he can just crack it indefinitely using the excess power from the magic box, right? <wink>

Re:Where are the patents? (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626872)

That's pretty awesome... he claims that 1g of nickel can produce as much power as 517 tons of oil. So either he's a genius, or a complete nut. Either way, it should be pretty easy to prove. That kind of scale seems pretty damn hard to fake.

Re:Where are the patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626924)

[0063] The electric resistance temperature controlling thermostat has been designed to switch off said electric resistance
after 3-4 hours of operation, thereby providing self-supplied
system. continuously emitting thermal energy in an amount
larger than that initially generated by said electric resistance,
which mode of operation is actually achieved by an exothermal reaction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exothermic_reaction

Unless I am mistaken he is claiming in the patent that it is a chemical reaction?

Re:Where are the patents? (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626746)

It's funny that the first claim is for a "hexothermal" reaction of nickel and hydrogen.

Anyways...The patent mentions catalysts, but doesn't specify them. So for now, the sauce is still secret...
     

Maybe He's a Heinlein fan... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626272)

In one of Heinlein's novels (Friday?) a corporation takes over the world because an inventor creates a perfect energy source and he's so certain that no one will ever duplicate or reverse engineer his work that he refuses to patent it-- and thus maintains a monopoly for 100's of years.

Re:Where are the patents? (2)

ilguido (1704434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626418)

Most of the world operates on first-to-file, not first-to-invent.

Not in Europe. If you have not a fully working implementation of your idea, you can't file a single patent for that idea. You can't patent ideas, just inventions.

Re:Where are the patents? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626456)

When you file all the details become public. That's a big risk if you aren't sure you'll get it granted. Some choose to try, some choose to keep it secret for as long as possible.

My gut feeling? Scam. (0)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626122)

Strange contraption with stuff attached to it for no apparent reason other than maybe to look 'scientific'. Weird guy in sort-of business atire presenting it. Bad lit 'Prototype Powerplant' shed that looks like it's salvaged from a junkyard. Crappy website covering the issue. ... It all looks like a scam to me. That's my very first impression anyway,

Re:My gut feeling? Scam. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626262)

The powerplant is quite clearly a shipping container in the second image.

Re:My gut feeling? Scam. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626584)

Hey a shipping container would be a great housing. Doesn't stand out, does the job.

But I'll believe this when some details come out and other scientists get a look at it.

Rossi (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626130)

Professor Rossi is already independently wealthy, money is not his motivation. You can ask him questions on his blog and expect a prompt response... journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/

That's Bullshit, Explain This to Me Then (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626186)

Professor Rossi is already independently wealthy, money is not his motivation.

If his motive is pure and he does not want money, why must his nickel based catalyst remain so secret?

From the article:

The catalyst is secret, but Rossi says it can be produced at low cost.

Why doesn't he just file for an international patent and release a paper to a journal like all other scientists who are financially interested do? Hell, if he's "independently wealthy" he can screw the patent or anything and go down as one of the greatest men of all time. Think about how many wars, death and resource contention this could alleviate. Right now I view this as either a hoax or a person so filled with greed he's willing to let the world fester while he makes sure his cash and unimaginable wealth is secured. He certainly has a right to do the latter but talk about being an asshat.

Re:That's Bullshit, Explain This to Me Then (2)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626404)

Rossi has spent all of his savings on this. He would like to see his invention do well in the commercial market. Only a fool, or the GPL crowd, would think its a good idea to toil away on an invention for 20 years and then give the idea away without making a profit. Rossi has always stated that he expects to be vindicated not in scientific peer-reviewed papers, but by how many units he can sell. I believe he has discovered something of value--but this test, and the test in the US later this month will be very interesting.

Re:That's Bullshit, Explain This to Me Then (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626596)

If he spent all his savings on it he's no longer independently wealthy and has a vested interest in making money off it, whether it works or not.

Re:That's Bullshit, Explain This to Me Then (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626614)

If he's legit, then he could bring the economy to a different level. Thinking about the money you could make is very short sighted.

Re:That's Bullshit, Explain This to Me Then (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626628)

Ok, so he's not independently wealthy as the original poster claimed. And that means we have the existence of the profit motive to justify our concerns of fraud.

Re:That's Bullshit, Explain This to Me Then (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626638)

Oh, so he's not independently wealthy. According to your rendition of the past, he USED to be independently wealthy. But he's not now.

Of course, without evidence (say, his comprehensive expenditures record for this research), there's no provable difference between "He used to be independently wealthy, but sunk all his riches into this" and "He never had a cent, and he still doesn't" Both sentences would be continued "... and therefore needs to secure his exclusive rights to this innovation, in order to..." and then the endings could diverge again: "...recapture his massive investment." or "...cash in on all the suckas."

But yes, the test will be the thing. As long as it can be independently examined and repeated by disinterested parties. After all, it doesn't take that much to rig up almost any power-generating apparatus and CLAIM it's his innovative e-cat fusor cranking out the power.

Re:That's Bullshit, Explain This to Me Then (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626914)

I'm not sure your point. It is clear that he has spent considerable time and money building his contraptions. Where and how he got the money and how much he has left is of little concern as long as he can give his demos this month.

I've followed Rossi and he is eccentric. He may be delusional and or a scam artist. But I don't really think so--and out of the thousands of public comments he has made, he has never asked for money. He only asks to patient and he'll have something to show in October where the results should speak for themselves.

I understand the odds of success are slim, but I am wishing him success.

Re:Rossi (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626216)

I would've thought that an independently wealthy man could afford to publish in an open-access journal instead of inventing his own.

Catalyst or not? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626142)

The summary says that the device consumes hydrogen and nickel to produce copper by fusion (something that seems naively likely given their atomic numbers but a bit unlikely given their mass numbers, unless we're creating weird and radioactive isotopes here) but the article says that the nickel is just a catalyst over which the hydrogen passes.

Re:Catalyst or not? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626366)

On the FAQ:

The two isotopes 62Ni and 64Ni are apparently being transmuted into non-radioactive isotopes of copper and trace amounts of other stable and non radioactive elements such as zinc.

Where are the neutrons coming from?

in this world ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626144)

... we obey the laws of thermodynamics !

the free energy machine is already here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626164)

its called the "sun".

Self Important Much? (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626168)

I invite Andrea Rossi to take part in a Slashdot interview, if he's willing to answer readers' questions about his claims.

The guy doesn't answer to us. We're not experts; the vast majority of us aren't even educated layman on the topic of nuclear physics. How pretentious and pointless is it inviting him to waste time justifying his "claims" to us rather than suggesting he have an open Q&A with the staff at CERN or something?

Re:Self Important Much? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626196)

I think most scientists are actually enthusiastic to talk about their work, so it doesn't hurt to ask for an interview.

Re:Self Important Much? (3, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626358)

He's apparently not an expert either. He's not a physicist, but rather an entrepreneur. (But to be fair, his partner is a physicist.)

Actually, the invite from /. may be a great litmus test - if he eagerly agrees, it suggests that he's a charlatan who will take any publicity he can get--which he almost certainly is.

Re:Self Important Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37627006)

Rossi is an engineer.

Really incredible evidence! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626170)

Look at this graph. [blogspot.com]

Am I imagining that they've not actually graphed an object giving off energy over time, but an object being heated up and then slowly cooling?

Re:Really incredible evidence! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626292)

I just think the graph title of Bologna is funny.

Re:Really incredible evidence! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626402)

After reaching a temperature of around 450 to 500 Celsius, the reaction starts up. Once the reaction has started the input is lowered to around 80 watts.

So, he heats up a pile of nickel to 450-500 degrees celcius, then he turns the heat off. And he's surprised that it keeps boiling water for some time afterward.

Re:Really incredible evidence! (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626434)

The graph shows it reaching a steady state, not falling back to zero. I believe this is what they're referring to by "self looped" mode.

Re:Really incredible evidence! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626476)

No it doesn't. The graph starts slowly sliding back down, as one would expect of a large metal container full of hot metal. The temperature of the steam stays at 100C, but that's axiomic - if it wasn't at 100C it wouldn't be steam.

Re:Really incredible evidence! (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626672)

I'm fairly sure steam can be hotter than 100C, just as ice can be colder than 0C, and water can be any temperature between 0C and 100C. All figures assume 1000 millibars of pressure, obviously - allow that to change and, well, you can be even more flexible.

Nothing I'm writing here should be read as implying I think there's anything in the story, I'm just saying, steam, well, it's H2O in gas form, and gaseous H2O can get pretty hot.

Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626224)

The rest of the world wastes its time and money and effort on worthless green shit.

Nickel-hydrogen reactions were reported and written up by Focardi and Piantelli in the 1990s, this is old news.

Did Italy kidnap Elizabeth Shue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626228)

Only her and Val Kilmer know if this is possible.

ECAT Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626232)

journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/files/Patent_WO-2009-125444.pdf And this test is not secret, there are scientists from around the world present including a Nasa rep.

Just remember the song... (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626236)

Because it's the same one whenever claims violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics...

"I fought the law and the law won"

Re:Just remember the song... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626382)

Because it's the same one whenever claims violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics...

"I fought the law and the law won"

cold fusion (if it works) doesn't violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics; it's a conversion of mass to energy...

Bet (4, Funny)

Karellen (104380) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626248)

I bet you $200 it's not cold fusion, or any other kind of new physics.

Re:Bet (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626538)

A parimutuel betting system based on the success or failure of his idea would be awesome. I think even odds are a tough sell.

It would be the greatest new invention of the planet Rossi's device turned out to be a new form of energy with 6 to 12 coefficient of performance... but seems like we're due for a science breakthrough.

Did Italy Kidnap Elizabeth Shue? (1)

ButtMaster (2462272) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626280)

Only her and Val Kilmer know the validity of this story.

Re:Did Italy Kidnap Elizabeth Shue? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37627062)

Could this be used to extract the salt from 300,000,000 gallons of seawater a day? They'd have enough salt to last forever!

This is scientifically impossible (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626316)

Nickel has the highest binding energy of any nucleus. When stars die it is because they've turned every element into iron and nickel and it is impossible to fuse anything further exothermically. Heavier elements, including copper, can only be produced in supernovas and they take excess energy to make. How could you get energy out of changing nickel to copper if copper has a lower binding energy? You can't. This process, like most free energy scams, defies the conservation of energy at a fundamental level.

Re:This is scientifically impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626410)

It's more or less like muon-catalysed fusion, except with hydride ions as a longer-lived, easier-to-make alternative to muons.

Re:This is scientifically impossible (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626440)

And endothermic reaction is an endothermic reaction. Catalysts, novel mechanisms, etc. only let you alter the activation energy.

Re:This is scientifically impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626772)

only let you alter the activation energy

And they only do it by breaking the process into steps, much like climbing a staircase instead of a cliff.

Will this help us get off this rock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626324)

It's vitally important that the entire species get off this mudball so I hope this will let us build a space elevator so I can get my bungalow on Mars and eat Saturn's rings for breakfast.

denied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626364)

http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2009125444&recNum=1&tab=PCTDocuments&maxRec=&office=&prevFilter=&sortOption=&queryString=

ECAT World Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626446)

journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/files/Patent_WO-2009-125444.pdf

Only 1 megawatt? (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626466)

We've only got a couple more years before we're supposed to have Mr. Fusion providing at least 1.21 gigawatts!

Not Published (-1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626510)

When would I publish my findings on cold fusion? Let's see...

Have an idea? Nope, people would make fun of it.
Have a way to test it? Same again.
Have tested it, and it seems to work? Same again.
Have it working and reliable on a small scale? Same again. But also, it works! Why would I reveal my secret that nobody even believes is possible?
Have a large-scale test planned? Same as previous.
Have tested it large-scale? Same again.
Have it running large-scale and producing ridiculous wads of cash? Same again.

At no point does it make sense to publish your findings on any of the taboo subjects like cold fusion, even if it's really working. Even if it works, you'll be drummed out of polite society and the best you can hope for is that someone else can also do it. You don't even WANT that! You want to keep it to yourself an rake in the money.

Normally, for a non-taboo scientific discovery, you'd publish your findings at the third step above and let others try to disprove you. But it all gets turned on its head when the taboo subjects are involved.

Highly unlikely to work (3, Interesting)

rabtech (223758) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626692)

They appear to claim that injecting a nickel powder with hydrogen gas under high pressure forces hydrogen into situations where the nickel will capture a proton, turning into an unstable copper isotope, which will beta decay back to nickel emitting a positron which annihilates with an electron, producing heat energy.

As far as I know there is no known theoretical basis for such a reaction. Even if you could squeeze the hydrogen into really tight spaces in a heated crystal structure then cool it to get atomic forces to squeeze the hydrogen to an insane degree, you still won't come close to enough force to get proton capture. And the heat levels they are talking about aren't going to get there either.

History is littered with crackpots who believed their own nonsense and fakers who drummed up hype to get investor's money (or just coast for a few years while drawing a paycheck and not having to get a real job). I predict more of the same in this case.

WTF?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626728)

This place went from a news site, to a warez site, then to a Window$ fanboi site , and now it is a nutball krackpot site.

does it have quantum ions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37626774)

I bet this thing will bring about the Age of Aquarius and let me make real unicorns. Am I right?

I believe he is using... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626952)

Besides hydrogen which is supplying the needed electrons to turn nickle into copper but that he is also using Iron Ferrite Magnets.
Magnets have been shown to help in HHO production in fuel cell experiments
The Iron found in the used nickle would be explained by Iron Ferrite magnet deterioration in unit use.

The idea of getting more energy out of something than put in is NOT contrary to physics, in fact it fits quite well.
Otherwise life would not be able to sustain itself. Its really quite obvious it really about translation from one for to another, and how much the translation process require in energy.

 

I Want to Believe! (2)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626980)

I really do want to believe, but after finding an article that has real facts [pesn.com] about the E-Cat, it seems like a joke.

One argument skeptics are making about the most recent test performed is that the system was only allowed to self sustain for 35 minutes before the test was ended. Skeptics are trying to state that due to this short period of time, the energy expended that kept the water boiling was due to "thermal inertia." Simply put, they are trying to say that the heat retained in the metal and other materials in the device was enough to keep the water boiling for 35 minutes. This is absurd for many reasons.

Ok, when I have a rapidly boiling pot on the stove and turn it off, the boiling does stop in 1 minute, not 35. So, I can see why people are stumped after witnessing this "parlor trick."

The steam temperature of the E-Cat only dropped about 10 C (from 130 to 120 C) over the course of 35 minutes. This indicates that a very large amount of energy was being produced via a cold fusion reaction. If there was not a cold fusion reaction taking place, the water would have stopped boiling immediately, and the temperature would have dropped much more.

You and I have very definitions of "a very large amount of energy". We're talking about nuclear fusion, and you say that keeping a pot of water at 125 degrees qualifies as "a very large amount of energy"?

The Steam temperature is very different than the water temperature. I'm assuming that while the steam temp dropped from 130 C to 120 C, the water temp dropped from 400 C to 99 C. If you put the steam temp sensor far enough away from the production source, this seems about right. Even at 400 C, the water won't instantly boil away, and especially not if it is under pressure. I'm beginning to understand exactly how this parlor trick works.

The Wired article makes it sound as if the company has already designed the consumer unit, and is ready to put it in production. The facts I've listed above make it sound more like a strange phenomenon that warrants a bit of investigation. These are very different things. If the reaction in the lab isn't even self-sustaining, how can they be discussing the design of consumer units yet?

Site moving to high-traffic shortly. (PESWiki) (2)

sterlingda (732011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37627026)

Well, we got slashdotted, and we were already getting bogged down on the server from the traffic we were getting; so we're in process of moving the site to a high-traffic server. Sorry for the inconvenience. It should be resolved shortly. Today is a historic day for cold fusion. Lots of people will be watching.

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