Fusion and LENR Update from David Bailey and Jonathan Borwein (Update: Now on Huffington Post)

UPDATE (Aug 28, 2015)

I have been informed that an adaptation of the article linked to below has now been published on the Huffington Post. See here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-h-bailey/post_10010_b_8052326.html

David H. Bailey of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (retired) and University of California, and Jonathan M. Borwein, Laureate Professor of Mathematics, University of Newcastle, Australia, are the publishers of the Math Drudge website where they write about math and science subjects.

They have previously had articles published about LENR on the Huffington Post (see here and here), where they expressed interest in, as well as caution about about the claims of Rossi and others. Now they have written something of a follow-up article where they look at the latest news in both the hot and cold fusion fields.

The article is titled “Cold fusion heats up: Fusion energy and LENR update”. The full article can be read here, but here are some excerpts on the topic of LENR:

Several “reliable sources” have visited Rossi’s commercial site, and have verified that the system is working as claimed, as evidenced, for example, by the customer’s significantly reduced electric bills.

On the downside, from a scientific point view, Rossi’s work leaves much to be desired, to say the least. Rossi remains tight-lipped as to technical details, preferring to protect his company’s intellectual property through silence.

However, a few details have now come to light. For example, Rossi was just granted a patent by the U.S. Patent Office. The patent includes some heretofore unknown details, such as the contents of the “fuel” in Rossi’s reactors: it is a powder of 50% nickel, 20% lithium and 30% lithium aluminum hydride.

[. . .]

The present authors are as perplexed as anyone by these developments. As we observed in an earlier blog, Rossi’s work in particular leaves us with three stark choices: (a) Rossi and those working with him or independently have made some fundamental and far-reaching blunder in their experimental work; (b) Rossi is leading a conspiracy of sorts to cover dishonest scientific behavior; or (c) Rossi has made an important discovery with sweeping potential impact.

With each passing month, and with more researchers finding similar results, (a) and (b) look less likely. On the other hand, skepticism is certainly still in order until Rossi comes forward with more details on the designs and control techniques used in his system.

So it’s a cautious appraisal, but I think one that is actually quite typical of people who look at the picture with open minds, and yet with caution. I sense there is less of the assumption of a fraud or scam nowadays from people who carefully look at the overall picture with Rossi and the E-Cat, but the claims of Rossi are still considered by many as being so improbable and too-good-to-be-true, that there is an almost reflexive instinct to want to dismiss them. However I find that careful examination of the evidence makes the dismissal option quite difficult.

Drs. Bailey and Borwein contemplate some of the implications of what might happen if any of the the hot fusion or LENR projects deliver — which include an ‘environmental windfall,’ development of new energy applications, and a further drop in oil prices which could lead to more financial and geopolitical instability.

It’s good to see these mathematicians covering this important story. I look forward to more articles from them in the future.

  • Omega Z

    That’s if you believe in the Petrol dollar myth.
    This twisted term came about while the U.S. was importing 75% of it’s oil. Don’t you think a petrol currency would be of a country that was self sufficient & awash in surplus oil to sell rather then one dependent on others for 75% of theirs.

    It’s called the petrol dollar because that’s what everyone prefers to trade with. Because it’s stable. A dollar is a dollar is a dollar everyday.

    Now, The Fact is, If the dollar was to be greatly devalued, It would be a positive for the U.S.. The U.S. is in an enviable position of having all the necessary resources to be nearly 100% self sufficient.

    What that means is that it would not need to import anything of significance. What that would mean is that every little surplus it produced could be exported cheaper then about anyone else. And what that would mean is the wealth would all flow in & not out.

    This is why the World gets upset every time China takes it upon itself to devalue their currency. It’s to intentionally & unfairly make there products cheaper then yours putting you out of a job.

    All currencies should float & reflect it’s real value in real time. When 1 does what China does, All other Nations should immediately apply an import tax to counter it. This should apply to Country that purposely manipulates the value of it’s currency. Unless of course, the world body approves it for a short period to help out in a dire circumstance.

  • Publius

    I know Rossi isn’t a fan of Brillouin for whatever weird reason, but they are not slackers and have serious ambitions and IP on their side. The following article deserves some coverage.

    • Omega Z

      Rossi merely see’s Brillouin as a competitor. I don’t believe there’s any other issues beyond that. If I recall, Robert Godes even offered to help Rossi by sharing their controls technology. However, Understand that Rossi is very cautious after the DGT fiasco.

      Note that Industrial heat has contributed to 2 other LENR developers aside from Rossi & I believe 1 of those was Brillouin.

  • GreenWin

    This B&B episode confirms the disturbing absence of real journalism. By professional journalists. It is a combination of professional and amateur journalists that guarantee a free press. A free press is the foundation of democratic oversight. Without a free press we live in an Orwellian dystopia, or dishonest simulation. It cannot be blamed on the Ceti eel earwigs.

    While it’s nice to have a couple of math bloggers opine about cold fusion – the LENR story is not about science alone. Science is the tip of an iceberg. LENR is about vast social, financial, geopolitical, humanitarian changes coming our way – like a freight train. It is a story ANY real journalist jumps to cover. So where are they? Seymour Hersh, Judith Miller, Woodward, Bernstein, Edward R. Murrow, Cronkite, Wolfe, Novak, Greenwald?? This lack of a free press points to an even graver problem. The very same problem warned of by President Eisenhower:

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” D. D. Eisenhower, 1961

    A free press guards against such misplaced power.

  • LCD

    Purely extracting from metadata it seems possible that there is, to put it simply, a window that opens up into the nucleus, most likely with the lithium core, that allows these reactions to occur at certain low temp conditions. This window has somehow gone unnoticed.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who has suggested this and whatsmore it doesn’t seem to represent a major change to our current understanding of the standard model of physics. We already know our understanding of the organization inside the nucleus is inexact, riddled with averaged out approximations.

  • LCD

    Is that right did parkhamov get isotope shifts? Did I miss that?

    • LCD

      “Russian scientist Alexander Parkhomov published his replication of the Lugano results using flow calorimetry, and showing isotope shifts.”

  • Alan DeAngelis

    The hot fusion people plan to use lithium in the ITER. This isn’t an answer to your question but the E-Cat uses the more abundant lithium-7 isotope (natural lithium is 92.5% lithium-7 and 7.5 % lithium-6) and I think ITER will consume the less abundant
    isotope, lithium-6. So, it may be a few million years.

  • Roland

    Yes. Desalinization offers up most of the periodic table, when processing ocean water, including, potentially, 1000’s of years worth of lithium for a LENR powered civilization; economics (energy costs) are the only barrier to an atomic cornucopia.

  • Barney Holmes

    Interesting. Again no mention of selling ecats to the oil industry to heat oil in oil tankers for example which they have to do before pumping, I’m sure there are other examples. Its not going to replace everything quickly. In fact oil will be required for some time yet. It does not have to be a disruptive technology causing political instability if more would realise that the oil companies will use it (think of the refineries!).

    • Omega Z

      I have posted often that it will take several decades to transition. To my thinking, this is a Just In Time technology.
      There is 1.6 Trillion barrels of Oil reserves. Some new deposits will be found. Some presently counted deposits will prove not to be there or to be much smaller then estimated.

      Example why some of this happens.
      OPEC sets individual production rates according to so called proven reserves. The more you have, the more your allotted to produce annually. You can see the problem. If I’m an OPEC Oil producer, I’ll estimate I have more then I do so that I’m allowed a larger annual allotment.

      Other Countries use their Oil reserves as collateral for Loans. I recall years back when Indonesia’s Reserves were greatly inflated to obtain IMF Loans. After the loans were mostly paid back, they suddenly discovered their reserves were less then half what they had claimed.

      The point here is if 1.6 Trillion barrels -give or take- is even close , In 20 years, 60% of those reserves will be gone. Remember, Half the world is playing catch up. More trains, planes & auto’s will be built. However, at that point, the price of Oil will be such that many will no longer be able to afford it.

      With the advent of LENR, this peak supply can be extended to the point that the situation will never become that dire.
      LENR- A Just In Time technology…

  • Gerard McEk

    As Bob Greenyer replied to me about more or less the same issue: If we generate electricity with the Lithium, then we do not need the lithium batteries for the Tesla cars and the like anymore, we have enough lithium for the rest of the car’s life and more I guess. I replied that we all should buy a Tesla just as an Lithium investment and we will become rich while driving that beoutiful car! 😉

    • LCD

      I don’t see a world where a heat generation device doesn’t also require a battery for quick high power which a compact ecat cannot deliver.. yet

      • GreenWin
        • LCD

          Possibly but a “battery like storage device” will be required nonetheless even I’d it is a supercap.

          • Gerard McEk

            If it is just for start-up or high power supercaps will do int the future. If it is for longer duration than you may be right LCD.

    • Omega Z

      Yes, lithium batteries use over 2kg of lithium for each 10Kwh. Tesla D model is like 85Kwh.

      Throw in the Powerwall & you can start to get concerned. Especially when you would actually need multiple Powerwall units to actually be of any real use & dependability. Note that these batteries also use quite a bit of Nickel.
      They are proposing these batteries for everything, Plains, Trains, cars, homes, everything. Within a decade or so, Nickel & Lithium prices will be like gold & Platinum.

      I see the same thinking issue’s with this as with the transition to LENR. LENR will not replace everything in a couple years. It will take decades. It is the massive numbers. 10’s of Billions of units that will need replaced on a regular bases.

      Any way. It is my Guess that lithium batteries are only here until a better technology arrives. Without them using up all the nickel & lithium, there should be enough for LENR use for at least a millennium or more. At that point, It’s their problem. If the Scientific paradigm dogma gets out of the way, they should have conquered matter antimatter by then…

  • artefact

    Rossi on JONP:

    “Andrea Rossi
    August 28th, 2015 at 8:21 PM

    Prof. David H Bailey ( Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory- Ret.- and University of Davis, California)
    Prof. Jonathan M. Borwein ( University of Newcastle, Australia, Math laureate)
    Thank you for your unbiased and very intelligent article on LENR published by the Huffington Post.
    I am making my daily 16 hours inside the 1 MW plant in operation inside the factory of a Customer and your honest, unbiased and well informed article has given solace to my work, that I hope will be useful for something.
    I do not know if at the end of this year of R&D and tests on course we will have positive or negative results, but I know that if we will have positive results the merit will be also of your encouragement.
    Warm Regards,

    • artefact

      I wonder if Rossi is now more open to the press…

      • I guess not. Rossi isn’t a good PR front man. He should let Darden do this work.

        And as long as he don’t have a world patent on the exact LENR effect he uses, he will not give any hints.

  • If it works with Lithium, then we just know that it works with Lithium 😉

    But this doesn’t imply that it wont work with other elements.

    We even don’t have a verified theory about the physics behind this effect.
    We still cant be 100% sure that Rossi is genuine, also when every sign looks so.

    Let LENR prove itself, let it be accepted by mainstream physics, let a huge crowd of state funded researcher study this effect, and I’m sure we will see it working even with more abundant elements 😉

    • bachcole

      Imagine that when we learn the whole physics of LENR that we learn that lithium requires a vibrational rate of 158 kilohertz with an amplitude of 3.1416 joules, and iron requires a vibrational rate of 345 kilohertz with and amplitude of 5.6 joules. And magnesium needs a vibrational rate of . . . . .

      Hey, I am just making stuff up, but it is an illustration of what we may be able to do once we actually understand what is going on.

  • Mats002
  • Sandy

    The practice of using U.S. dollars to pay for oil imports is known as the “petrodollar”. If countries start implementing LENR power systems, and if they then import less oil, the use of U.S. dollars will decline. A reduced demand for U.S. dollars will cause the international exchange value of the U.S. dollar to decline. That decline could bankrupt the United States. So you can bet that the powers that be are going to very carefully control the adoption of LENR technologies.

    Approximately two-thirds of the foreign currency reserves of most countries on this planet are held in U.S. dollars. The central banks on this planet do not want to see the value of their foreign currency reserves fall precipitously. Those banks have the economic and political power to impede the proliferation of LENR technologies, and that is what they will do. The banksters will conspire to deprive Dr. Rossi of the full benefit of his intellectual property.

    • bachcole

      TPTB don’t have any say in the matter. Garage tinkerer are who is in charge of the spread of LENR.

    • LCD

      But it’s all relative sandy. The U.S. economy will be the worst economy, except for everyone else.

  • GreenWin

    For a real laugh check out UC Berkeley’s decade old “Understanding Science” diatribe on Cold Fusion. In light of present evidence, the correct name for this crack-pot team is “MISunderstanding Science.” LOL! http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/cold_fusion_01

    • Alan DeAngelis

      “The scientific community is responsible for checking the work of community members. Through the scrutiny of this community, science corrects itself.”

  • Mats002

    Is It too much to hope for some viral effect from this? Tweets about Huffpost increase fast now…

    • i expect nothing.

      • GreenWin

        HuffPo buried the story in their featured “blog” section. Bees and flu vaccine get headlines. HuffPo quit allowing comments – except via Facebook – last year. Thousands of readers cancelled their accounts. 🙁

  • GreenWin

    Thanks for your comments passerby. Indeed, FUD has been a staple of the disinfo industry for a long while. However, in the democracy defined by the U.S. Constitution, there is room for FUD – provided there is ALSO room for opposing points of view, i.e. the First Amendment. In the case of LENR there has been little to NO opposing point of view since the 2011 E-Cat demo. The claim for this will likely be “national security.” An increasingly fragile defense.

    Wiki-anything is puppetry. Puppetry is invoked by infants afraid to allow human beings access to facts in order to make their own decisions. Puppetry denigrates the human spirit by painting it ignorant,particularly incapable of ferreting out obvious success of LENR. I expect the “defense” of puppetry to claim, “greater good.” Such “good” must be demonstrable. And it must demonstrate how usurping the foundations of Constitutional law, moral and ethical principle, is justified.

    A very hard road to hoe for defense attorneys. I would not want the job. In the USA, the Constitution is clear – the First Amendment rules. And those who knowingly subvert the First Amendment must and will be prosecuted. Of course, beheadings are ruled out. This is not the Taliban. But a knuckle rap and dunce cap in the corner seems appropriate. Especially for our most ignorant and deleterious consensus scientists. 🙂

    • MasterBlaster7

      I didn’t realize that Puppetry was a legal term? haha. The truth is FUD and false advertising, to an extent, are allowed under the first amendment. FUD and false advertising do not easily trigger First Amendment exceptions. It is a gray area. You would have to prove ‘fraud’ for FUD and ‘false advertising’ for common false advertising. You need to show black and white breaches; FUD and common false advertising do not rise to that level.

      The good news with LENR, in its current form, is that it does not matter. IH is going to come out with a commercial product in the near term. It doesn’t matter at this point how many people ‘believe’ in it or not. The real damage is the 25 year chilling effect it had after Fleischmann and Pons in 89. That is the real damage…a two and a half decade delay.

      • GreenWin

        My point is FUD is allowed provided equal opposition is ALSO allowed. Media’s ignorance of non-consensus science provides near-zero opposition. And what little there is, e.g. this bit of ham-fisted opinion from B&B – ignores the factual background necessary for honest journalism. Which is why it is mere puppetry subverting a free press.

        Why must a free press be replaced by a couple of math-geeks? Where are the real journalists? Seymour Hersh, Judith Miller, Woodward and Bernstein, Edward R. Murrow, Cronkite, Wolfe, Novak, Greenwald?? As uplifting as the patents are, they point to an even graver problem. The very same problem warned of by President Eisenhower:

        “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted
        influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The
        potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
        D. D. Eisenhower, 1961

  • Alan DeAngelis

    I would prefer to hear what Brian Josephson has to say about LENR.

    The dynamics of hive integrity require that condescending clichés must be used in this regurgitation of the LENR story.

    • Alan DeAngelis


      “…researchers were unable to reproduce the claims of Fleischmann and Pons…”

      Yeah, let’s just gloss over this.

    • Bruce Williams

      I have been thinking this for a long time now. Frank, could you invite Brian J. to give us a summary of his current thinking on LENR ?

  • Tri Alpha has nothing to do with the Tokamak fiasco. None of us know with certainty what will be the predominate energy source in 25 years. It is interesting to watch the contestants. May the most efficient technology win. A link is hardly an endorsement. I don’t care who wins the contest as long as we get cheap and clean energy.

    • Zack Iszard

      The principle difficulty with hot fusion, which LENR applications seem to avoid (NANOR up to IH) is scalability. Powering your phone with hot fusion will take a LOOOONG time to figure out, but with LENR it’s already in the works at MIT. As far as the ultimate winner in major applications in the next half-century, it truly is completely up in the air. I see hot fusion dominating the large power-plants category (space craft and stations, perhaps land powerplants in the current sense) with LENR ruling medium- and small-sized applications (personal and commercial transport, building- to city-block-sized power-plants, robotics, personal electronics).

      Of course, with very little known about the true potential of each approach, it is pure arm-chairing, but it is very likely that LENR will dominate everything unless hot fusion can trump it with power or energy density at the large scale. It is very difficult to see hot fusion being ever applied at the direct consumer level given current understanding.

  • GreenWin

    Mr. Bailey and Mr. Borwein are an anomaly in themselves; being the only “mainstreamers” to acknowledge another milestone in LENR/Rossi history. The anomaly is more perplexing than cold fusion itself – as it has dark implications of incompetence or extra-Constitutional behavior. How can this be? Have Mr. Bailey and Borwein (call them B&B) not bothered to read even portions of ECW detailing the background of e.g. Industrial Heat/Cherokee Investment Partners, patent applications from NASA, Airbus, STMicro, Mitsubishi, Toyota, etc. As academics have they not bothered to read the Indian Academies of Science Special Section on LENR?

    Are B&B honestly not aware of the Japanese government’s restart of LENR research funding? Did they somehow “miss” the opening of the LENR research program at Tohoku University? Do they not know of Sweden’s energy research institute Elforsk commitment to LENR research? Or that the Swedish Academy of Science sponsored portions of the Lugano Study? Have B&B never heard of Drs. McKubre, Melich, Storms, Josephson, Miley, Miles, Rubio, etc etc – or of the Italian ENEA proof of He4 cold fusion experiments back in 2000?? What about the Navy SPAWAR program or the half dozen U.S. agencies that continue to fund LENR research? Apparently not. Suggesting B&B’s work leaves much to be desired, to say the least.

    Since the 2011 1MW demo, the blackout on LENR news and reportage has darkened substantially. This gives rise to one of several scenarios: 1) PTB at ABC agencies scrub the internet of LENR news in the interest of secrecy 2) Earth’s journalists and reporters have all been infected by the Ceti Eel earwig 3) the programmers of this simulation are incapable of rigorous honesty.

    It is nice that B&B have bothered to mention LENR. However, if they are to be taken seriously by any but a handful of math geeks, they need to do a lot more homework. They can start here:

    • Zack Iszard

      I prefer a simpler solution, though I hear the Ceti Eels are a nasty bunch.

      Out of sight, out of mind.

      Hot fusion is about the only thing mainstream physicists and futurists pay mind to, outside of a small portion of molten salt fission fans. Hot fusion developments are slow and incrememntal, which is sort of boring when you consider the huge strides that material science, plasmonics, photonics, and other techs applicable to quantum computing are making these days. A huge revolution in energy is just not on the radar of most of the mainstream. Incremental change in renewables is all most think about, and I say this because as a futurist with decent knowledge of futurists, that’s what I was thinking about before I discovered LENR as a youtube aside while trying to disprove over-unity magnet tricks. IMO, this is how most “converts”, or skeptical attention-givers, become aware of LENR. Because of the stigma, which runs much deeper than many readers of this board want to admit, this stuff doesn’t get much attention unless somebody is on a mailing list (or RSS feed, etc.) Unless one is looking for relations between Airbus, Tohoku University, news of and Cherokee Holdings, LENR’s progress will evade them.

    • Barney Holmes

      As to num 1. Who cares ? Straight to market. No need for trial by media or “guardians of science” … Ah, but its not real till I see it on TV right ?

      • GreenWin

        Those who knowingly act extra-Constitutionally (U.S.) will need a strong defense for doing so. Fundamentally there is no such thing. However, straight to market may simply delay financial disruption. Better to mete out the details in a curved transition, rather than drop a neutron bomb. Num 2 and 3 are more likely.

    • mcloki

      It’s the first of what will be many press releases touting startups “breakthrough” efforts in the energy field. These are put out to secure new financing or reassure current investors to keep their money invested. It’s going to be an interesting few months. Wait till all the “trillions in oil/coal/natural gas will be left in the ground” articles

    • oceans

      Chris – Tri Alpha – stockholders are in for a major loss of investment, now would be a great time to liquidate all Hot fusion equities before coldfusion enters the market in the first quarter of 2016, Tri Alpha is very much part of the reckless hot fusion boondoggle.

  • Bernie Koppenhofer

    Great article Frank, thanks. Is it possible we are already seeing the deflation hitting the economy?

    • SG

      When I first came to the conclusion that LENR+, including the e-CAT, were probably a commercially viable replacement for most if not all of our energy infrastructure, I tried to play out the most likely economic scenario–as I’m sure many of us here have.

      I thought then, as I still do now, that LENR+ would bring massive deflation, as the underlying cost in virtually all goods is energy. I also thought that because of our current Keynesian-based economy, central banks around the world would have no choice but to wildly print currency like never before (think QE3, QE4, QEforever) to combat the effects of deflation.

      While there would be short-term losers, in the medium to long term, all boats would rise.

      • Bernie Koppenhofer

        I agree there will be short term deflation, one, two maybe 3 years, but long term economic benefits and climate benefits. The Central banks have themselves in a real bind, they can buy (print money) but they cannot sell.