Cold Fusion a year later

By Mark Gibbs, Network World |  Data Center, energy

Over this same period a number of other companies have announced plans to build and sell commercial cold fusion products but, to date, there's nothing you can buy from Rossi or anyone else. In fact, no cold fusion system has been proven to work at a level that could be called practical or even verifiably over unity.

One of the more encouraging tests of a cold fusion solution was recently conducted by Defkalion, a Greek company. The test was witnessed by a respected scientist, Michael A. Nelson, and seemed to show that excess heat was being produced, albeit with the caveat that a lot of additional testing would be required to confirm the results.

So, the big question is still whether there is such a thing as cold fusion that generates more power than is input, or whether it is due to some other more conventional chemical process. This has become a matter of huge and often heated debate.

A recent paper, unpublished until now, by Dr. Kirk L. Shanahan, of the Savannah River National Laboratory, titled "A Realistic Examination of Cold Fusion Claims 24 Years Later," is heavy reading but well worth it for its highly critical and detailed analysis of the reality of cold fusion.

Dr. Shanahan's conclusion is not in favor of cold fusion: "The case for cold fusion (or 'LENR') stands as unproven today. That fact will remain for all time. If tomorrow, someone discovers the reproducible formula for generating low energy nuclear reactions ... that fact will not change. The failure of some scientists to obtain [cold fusion] does not prove [cold fusion] does not occur, because their work can always be criticized as being inadequate. Thus, the possibility that cold fusion exists will always be open. The only thing that science can do is show how to reproducibly get an effect. Therefore, it is likely that claims to have discovered the way to get LENRs will persist for a long time. However, there is a big difference between claiming (or asserting) something, and proving it."

That really underlines what the difference is between cold fusion fan boys and completely believe in its existence, and those who remain skeptical and demand proof in the form of useful technology, by which I mean a technology that delivers real, valuable commercial results. This is something that no one -- not Rossi's Leonardo Corporation, not Defkalion, nor any of the other players in the market -- has yet managed to do.

So, whether something that might or might not be cold fusion exists and is useful in practical terms isn't yet a dead issue, but as of now, a year later, it's all still jam tomorrow.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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