New Scientist Magazine Segment on Cold Fusion

An article by David Hambling titled “Nuclear fusion: Can the stellarator unleash the power?” has been published on the New Scientist magazine website here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2075031-nuclear-fusion-can-the-stellarator-unleash-the-power/ The main focus of the article is the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator nuclear fusion reactor that has been built at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany.

However as a sidebar to the article is a section titled “Don’t Mention Cold Fusion”

So far the article is available only to subscribers, but someone sent me the text of the sidebar section, and below is an excerpt (for copyright reasons) with some of the main points covered.

Far, far away from the galaxy of mainstream nuclear fusion, a small but dedicated band of rebels is still devoted to the heresy of cold fusion . . .

Perhaps the loudest of the mavericks is Italian engineer Andrea Rossi, who says he has been operating his “E-Cat” cold fusion reactors, with a fuel of nickel powder and hydrogen, since 2011. Now in partnership with US company Industrial Heat, Rossi claims to be operating a 1-megawatt reactor producing heat for a secret customer in the US for a one-year trial …

Rossi has just been granted a US patent for the E-Cat technology, and the Japanese government has restarted funding for LENR research, apparently on the basis of work by Toyota and Mitsubishi . . . Airbus is one of the few willing to make a public show of interest, hosting a conference on low energy nuclear reactions in Toulouse, France, last October.

It’s really nothing new, but I see there is some significance that cold fusion is mentioned in a mainstream science magazine as being a serious topic, even though it is clearly labeled as being well outside the mainstream. I think this is probably the first time that the name of Andrea Rossi and the E-Cat has been published in New Scientist.

I’m not sure when the full text will become available openly online, but I believe the access restrictions are lifted after period of time.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    I saw the article on the magazine stand today.
    “…cold fusion…has had a bad rep since ultimately
    unreproducible claims were made back in the 1980s…”.

    All I could think of was this:
    “Psychological projection, also known as blameshifting, is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses by denying their existence while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly
    accuse other people of being rude.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection
    Replace cold with hot and 1980s with 1950s.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    “…a small but dedicated band of rebels is still devoted to the heresy of cold fusion . . .”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XGWXmxmaoE

  • theBuckWheat

    My primary concern for LENR devices is that until the physics is fully understood, the only way to ensure the device does not fall into an area of its operating envelope that either has thermal runaway or causes emissions of ionizing radiation, is to run a lot of devices for a lot of hours. Even then, the probability of misadventure only grows smaller. It never goes away. And a consumer device must be bullet proof, more reliable and safe than, say, the thermostat and valve assembly on gas hot water heaters.

    • US_Citizen71

      Multiple easy ways to insure that; meltable plugs for overheat protection and a rudimentary radiation detector (transistor with wire mesh attached to the gate) used to trip a circuit breaker, to name a few.

  • jousterusa

    It certainly is gratifyinf to see Rossi mentioned among the august scientists of ITER and the Stellarator. Let’s remember, before hailing the Stellarator, that it took 1 million man-hours to assemble and cost 370 million Euros. And it’s far from ready to serve as a power plant.

  • Roger Barker

    Much needs to be said about main stream media and covering of LENR. Good it’s finally done to the
    mutual benefit of believers and the ill-informed. It does annoy me the way mainstream media has been
    jerking us around by not covering the last 5 wondrous years of Rossi’s work. 🙁 A media outlet that pulls
    off the story and makes it front page news will make so much money it will be crazy! The mind boggles
    at the stupidity of these people. It’s great we have excellent websites like this one and lesser ones like
    eCatNews to spread the word, even if they are full of morons the word is being spread! I’m thankful for
    Mary Yugo and her cronies. They speak ill of LENR yet more are becoming interested! A blind man
    swallows many a fly!

  • LION

    I live in London UK and have just been out to Tesco for a late night shop and picked up a copy of New Scientist, the article is on page 35 and the piece on the E-Cat and Andrea Rossi is in the middle of page 36. I cant express the joy I feel at seeing Andria’s name and the E-Cat in New Scientist, in an article dedicated to Hot Fusion, seems they are covering their ASS for February RESULTS.

  • JedRothwell

    The opposition will be forgotten, and opponents will be forgiven. That’s how history works. Perhaps that is how things should work. As Winston Churchill said in 1940:

    “If one were dependent on the people who had been right in the last few years, what a tiny handful one would have to depend on.”

    He also said:

    “If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.”

    • http://magicmusicandmore.com/ Barry

      Jed, I was surprised Cold Fusion Times posted that article “Andrea Rossi E-cat Patent Application Rejected in 2016 – What’s Next for Rossi and Industrial Heat, LLC?” by Free Energy Scams. Seems they did more than misquote you. Doesn’t seem like Mitchell Swartz to forward stories like that.

      • JedRothwell

        The Free Energy Scams blog did not misquote me at all, but the author sure does misunderstand me!

        In my opinion, Rossi’s reactor at present cannot be commercialized for the reasons I gave, but that does mean it is worthless. It means people will have to spend several billion dollars making the reactor safe and fully certified. Several billion dollars in this context is a trivial amount of money. If it works, the Rossi device is worth trillions of dollars — far more than, say, the machines developed by Apple Computer over the last 30 years.

        Toyota reportedly spent $1 or $2 billion developing the Prius. I am sure it will take at that much to develop a Rossi device. Rossi working on his own with a small team cannot do it. That does not mean it cannot be done. It does not mean that a small team is a bad idea at this stage in the development. I do not know enough about what Rossi is doing to judge, but I note that from 1948 to 1952 only a handful of people were working on semiconductors, and they were all at Bell Labs. However, to make semiconductors ubiquitous in all of our technology, it was necessary for thousands of people to work on them, in hundreds of different companies such as Texas Instruments and Sony. Surely the same will be true of the Rossi device.

        (I am assuming for the sake of argument the device is real. I have no proof of that.)

        • Omega Z

          Jed,
          I assume you talking about the Nuclear issue.

          SGS certified Rossi’s 1st reactor. He recently,(within 6 months) mentioned he is working with SGS in an interview(Can’t locate it).

          On January 28th, a Annmarie asked Rossi about the expertise of those certifying the E-cat. Rossi’s answer was “Nuclear power plants, nuclear engineering”.

          http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=892&cpage=54#comment-1149864

          It could be Rossi is heading this issue off. SGS does certifications in this area. They could certify that the E-cat does not use Nuclear material, produce nuclear waste & doesn’t produce Ionizing radiation outside the reactor. They could determine this does not fall under the purview of the NRC. Or at least begin the argument against it.

          Personally, I have no issue with this technology being used in a micro grid such as several located within the city. It’s not like I’m looking for another major expensive appliance to worry about. I suspect economically, the micro grid will be far cheaper then the purchase & maintenance of ones own system. It can take a week or 2 getting a car worked on. That’s a long time without lights & heat.

          • Kevmo

            “SGS does certifications in this area. They could certify that the E-cat does not use Nuclear material, produce nuclear waste & doesn’t produce Ionizing radiation outside the reactor.”

            I’ve been saying all along that Rossi and others should simply portray this as a hyper-resonating chemical reaction. Let the eggheads work out the theory after a $Trillion has already been made from it.

        • Axil Axil

          If LENR is said to harvest Dark Energy, then nuclear complications could be avoided. Transmutation happens in electrical discharge and the NRC does not concern itself in that area. Who can proved that LENR is a nuclear process?

          • JedRothwell

            Most experts who have studied LENR believe it is a nuclear process. Until this issue is settled, theories are widely accepted, and LENR has been proved safe, it cannot be deployed for any commercial application. That would be taking a foolish risk with no benefit, for no reason.

            The issue can only be settled when many thousands of scientists have tested LENR and they are sure it is — or is not — a nuclear process. Only a handful of scientists have looked at it so far. No one has tested Rossi’s device, so there is no way for anyone other than Rossi to judge what it might be. Opinions do not count. Theories do not count. Thousands of reactor have to be constructed and then subjected to millions of hours of testing. The public will demand proof that the reactor is safe.

            The cost of building thousands of reactors and testing them for millions of hours will be trivial. Once the technology matures, the profits from selling cold fusion will pay back the total cost of the testing every few days, probably for thousands of years. The cost will be no greater than the cost of crash-testing a new car model.

            • Axil Axil

              If a chicken or a microbe can host the LENR reaction, or the LENR reaction can occur in a golden ball of Dennis Cravens, how can LENR be a nuclear process that is a concern of the NRC?

              Does the NRC now need to regulate how a chicken produces eggs?

              If a laser pointer can produce the LENR reaction as is done in the Holmlid experiment, do laser pointers require nuclear regulation?

              If using an arc welder to vaporize molten silver as is done by Mills to produce light, do welders require regulation by the NRC?

              When is LENR a dangerous nuclear process and when is it not?

              • JedRothwell

                You wrote: “If a chicken or a microbe can host the LENR reaction . . .”

                That is a big if. It is not clear whether this can happen or not. There is some evidence for it, but we need a lot more evidence to be confident.

                IF sometime in the future, it become clear that a chicken or a microbe can host LENR, and IF most scientists finally agree to this, and IF it is also shown that the reaction is fully controlled, safe and benign, then and only then it will time to commercialize cold fusion. Not before.

                “. . . or the LENR reaction can occur in a golden ball of Dennis Cravens . . .”

                That is probably a nuclear reaction, like the test tube reactions that apparently convert deuterium into helium. That is a nuclear reaction by definition. It is apparently not dangerous, but we have to be sure of that before commercializing it.

                • Axil Axil

                  Jed.,

                  You suffer from the nuclear energy meme that all nuclear reactions are unsafe. But chemically induced nuclear reactions are safe: they happen every day in our bodies, our food, in lightning, in rocks, inside the sun, in electric sparks that waking on rugs produce on our fingers.

                • JedRothwell

                  I am well aware of the probable nature of cold fusion. It is probably safe. On the other hand several cells have gone out of control and exploded, one of them nearly killing Mizuno. So, in our present state of knowledge it is not safe. We need to learn much more about it to control it.

                  I doubt that cold fusion occurs in the body but if it does, that does not mean it is necessarily safe as a human technology. It may be well controlled in the body but it is definitely not controlled in test tubes today. No one knows how to turn it on, off, or how to turn it up and down.

                  In any case, before cold fusion is commercialized, it will have to proven safe to the satisfaction of the scientific community, regulators, and the general public. This will take a great deal of testing and billions of dollars.

                • Axil Axil

                  One of the arguments used against cold fusion by nuclear engineers is as follows: “if cold fusion is real, were are the dead grad students?”

                • JedRothwell

                  The fact that it does not kill grad students with radiation is not proof that it will not go out of control and explode. It has done that on many occasions. A small cathode or sample of powder sometimes produces a fraction of a watt and sometimes several watts. If you were to scale that up to the size of a practical machine, it might produce a kilowatt or it might produce hundreds of kilowatts and explode. This cannot be used in a practical device. We need to learn much more about it before that can be done. It is possible Rossi already knows much more, but he will have to prove this first, and then thousands of experts worldwide will have to independently confirm him.

                  This is not going to happen just because Rossi, you and small number of other people are sure the reaction is safe. Safety has been proved beyond any doubt in thousands of experiments running for millions of hours. This is the 21st century, not the 19th century.

                • Axil Axil

                  A tanker carrying gasoline or propane can takeout half of New England. People’s houses blow up all the time due to natural gas leaks. We are discussing safety tradeoffs here because nothing that can produce lots of energy is truly safe.

                • JedRothwell

                  Yes, I am aware of this. Please give me some credit for writing about these issues in the 1990s and in my book.

                  I think you should address the issues here. It is a fact that no one knows how to turn on a cold fusion reaction or make it go to one power level or another. People cannot control it to within a factor of 1000 (0.1 to 100 W). It is possible that Rossi knows how to do this but we have no proof of this. As I said, after he demonstrates such proof, it will take a lot of time and money to convince the world that he is right.

                  I am not saying that cold fusion will never be controlled and never be commercialized. I am saying that at present it cannot be done — except possibly by Rossi. We have no knowledge of what Rossi has accomplished.

              • JedRothwell

                You asked: “When is LENR a dangerous nuclear process and when is it not?”

                To answer your question, it is a dangerous process when it cannot be turned on and off on demand, and when it goes out of control, a cell explodes and shards of glass nearly cut Mizuno’s carotid artery.

                It may be that Rossi has better control over the reaction. I would not know. A few years ago he did not have that kind of control. One of his cells went out of control and came close to exploding.

            • Warthog

              That may be true for Europe and North America. Other parts of the world have different standards of safety and need for economic growth for their people. I suspect this is one reason the Industrial Heat execs are tapdancing with mainland China. Another point is that the small size of the reactor minimizes the potential damage even if a “catastrophe” does occur, unlike, for example, fission plants.

  • Private Citizen

    If LENR doesn’t pan out, believers will not “eat their words.” They will save face, saying they were lied to or that they drew the best conclusions based upon the best evidence at the time.

    Likewise, if Rossi’s LENR proves real, skeptics probably will claim victory, saying the hard proof they demanded all along finally was presented.

    Human nature.

    • georgehants

      Private Citizen, “If LENR doesn’t pan out” there is not the slightest need for anybody to apologise unless they said more than, one must keep an open-mind on it and as with any subject ascertain Evidence.
      The only people that ever need to apologise are the fools who give half-witted opinions as if they are Facts.
      I am of course talking in this case about scientists who have never learnt the most basic and important laws of science.
      For example most uneducated scientists would be foolish enough to try and make out that they or any part of science could show that Fairy’s do not exist.
      Incompetence is not acceptable in science.

  • bachcole

    I deeply regret the publication of this article. The longer they hold out the greater will be the embarrassment to the mainstream and the greater will be the destruction of the ivory towers.

  • JedRothwell

    The New Scientist has published some good articles on cold fusion, but it also published two of the most scurrilous, outrageous attacks on the field that I know of. There were worse than Nature or the Scientific American — and that is saying a lot.

    One of the attacks is quoted on page 4, here:

    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MalloveEclassicnas.pdf

    The other attack was published on May 1, 1993. It was a review of Fleischmann and Pons paper in Physics Letters A. F&P included two graphs. One from early in the experiment showing very little heat: around 2 W/cm2, which was less than their first experiment. The second graph showed a great deal of heat later in the experiment: 20 W/cm2. The New Scientist reproduced the first graph and claimed it was the maximum heat. Fleischmann and many others complained but the New Scientist never responded or published a retraction. It was an out-and-out lie.

  • Bob Greenyer

    I read New Scientist for 20 years – I have a whole bunch of issues in my cellar – it was key to me appreciating science. They are actually pretty open minded and I found it fascinating the number of times in 20 years I saw things come to fruition or be dismissed by new evidence.

    I spoke at length with David Hambling a good while back – he is a freelance writer and New Scientist is one publication that commissions his work – I like his writing style, it would be worth getting a copy as this is inching to main stream – expect more publications to start cautious positioning for a yes / no on Rossi’s research as the test nears an end.

    There are many out there that watch in silence. Regardless of F9 turns out to be ‘positive’ / ‘negative’ or ‘E-Cat X is better, don’t want to talk about old E-Cat’ – expect a told you so follow up article.

  • Sanjeev

    NS have covered cold fusion in past, and they seemed either neutral or curious about it. A search of their archives for CF should bring up some very interesting historical stuff. NS is a bit different from other popular science magazines in this matter.

    • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

      Yes, a quick Google search on “new scientist” “cold fusion” produces a large number of links to articles and references, including even (March 2003) an interview with Drs Mosier-Boss and Miles of SPAWAR on the subject.

      • enduser

        Quite a few public libraries subscribe and let you read NS on-line on their web sites