According to PhysOrg.com, two Italian scientists from the University of Bologna have taken on one of physics' historically most discredited concepts, cold fusion, and have actually succeeded in creating a sustainable reaction. Aside from the major implications of the energy market should this be validated and recreated (an issue that buried the original Cold Fusion discovery by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleishmann), one of the more economically important side effects of this purported rediscovery is that one of the byproducts of the reaction is none other than recently uber-bubbleicious copper. One wonders what the implications for the copper supply and demand curves (and equilibrium price) would be should the reaction documented by Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi be proven to not be a hoax. Is modern day alchemy the only thing that can dethrone copper from its historic price highs?
Few areas of science are more controversial than cold fusion, the hypothetical near-room-temperature reaction in which two smaller nuclei join together to form a single larger nucleus while releasing large amounts of energy. In the 1980s, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleishmann claimed to have demonstrated cold fusion - which could potentially provide the world with a cheap, clean energy source - but their experiment could not be reproduced. Since then, all other claims of cold fusion have been illegitimate, and studies have shown that cold fusion is theoretically implausible, causing mainstream science to become highly speculative of the field in general.
Despite the intense skepticism, a small community of scientists is still investigating near-room-temperature fusion reactions. The latest news occurred last week, when Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna announced that they developed a cold fusion device capable of producing 12,400 W of heat power with an input of just 400 W. Last Friday, the scientists held a private invitation press conference in Bologna, attended by about 50 people, where they demonstrated what they claim is a nickel-hydrogen fusion reactor. Further, the scientists say that the reactor is well beyond the research phase; they plan to start shipping commercial devices within the next three months and start mass production by the end of 2011.
Rossi and Focardi say that, when the atomic nuclei of nickel and hydrogen are fused in their reactor, the reaction produces copper and a large amount of energy. The reactor uses less than 1 gram of hydrogen and starts with about 1,000 W of electricity, which is reduced to 400 W after a few minutes. Every minute, the reaction can convert 292 grams of 20°C water into dry steam at about 101°C. Since raising the temperature of water by 80°C and converting it to steam requires about 12,400 W of power, the experiment provides a power gain of 12,400/400 = 31. As for costs, the scientists estimate that electricity can be generated at a cost of less than 1 cent/kWh, which is significantly less than coal or natural gas plants.
Several videos highlighting and supposedly validating the discovery have been released which we reproduce below, primarily for the benefit of our Italian-speaking readers, as they have yet to be translated in other languages.
And before the skeptics scream this is nothing but another scientific fraud, here are some of the third party reactions to the finding.
- Hope Grows as Journals Weigh in on Italian Cold Fusion Breakthrough (link)
- Specifics of Andrea Rossi’s “Energy Catalyzer” Test, University of Bologna, 1/14/2001 (link)
- Directory:Andrea A. Rossi Cold Fusion Generator (link)
- Rossi and Focardi LENR Device: Probably Real, With Credit to Piantelli (link)
- Rossi Discovery – What to Say? (link)
- Rossi and Focardi LENR Device: The Melich and Macy Reports (link)
- Focardi and Rossi Energy Catalyzer first jan 14 demo videos and summary of an online Question and Answer session from Jan 15 (link)
Obviously, should this discovery be validated by the global community and should wholesale cheap energy production based on this principle be adopted, the implications for the global economy will be unparalleled.