What is LENR?

LENR stands for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, (or sometimes Lattice Enabled Nanoscale Reactions) and refers to the phenomenon where anomalous amounts of heat are created when certain metals (e.g. nickel, palladium) absorb hydrogen or deuterium and an external stimulus such as heat or an electric current is applied. The reaction takes place at relatively low temperature and sometimes results in transmutation of elements as well as the production of heat. Either no strong radiation is produced or it is absorbed locally. The waste products have been found not to be radioactive. This phenomenon is also referred to as Cold Fusion, LANR (lattice assisted nuclear reaction), as well as other terms.

Modern interest in LENR began in 1989 when scientists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced at the University of Utah they had succeeded in generating nuclear reactions in laboratory experiments. This announcement sparked much interest in the media and in the scientific community, with many researchers attempting replicate the effect in their own experiments — many without success. The effect was not always easy to replicate, particularly as the preparation of the metal was critical and it sometimes took weeks for anomalous heat to appear. When the effect has been obtained it can also be difficult to control.

There are many attempts going on at the moment by various parties to be able to replicate and control the LENR effect. Several companies are now working on commercial products with claims of producing kW of power as heat. Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat invention has received a lot of attention because he was the first to publicly demonstrate his device and it has now been been tested by third parties, demonstrating at least ten times the energy of any known chemical reaction and showing that the E-Cat is capable of producing useful heat.

Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat seems to be the most promising candidate for the first useful commercial LENR product. He has a 1 MW plant currently undergoing production testing at a customer site (undisclosed), and if the year-long test proves successful, according to Rossi, widespread commercialization will begin in the first half of 2016.

Various claims are for a Coefficient of Performance (COP) from 6 to over 30 (meaning between 6 and 30 times more energy is produced than is input into a system). Even at the low end such a device would make obsolete virtually all other ways of producing power.

The high power- and energy density of LENR seems to compare with a nuclear process and Andrea Rossi is now testing a 1 MW plant which is intended to last for a year without refuelling. If LENR is proved that it works, the cost of energy would likely dramatically drop. LENR has the potential to be the energy source for humanity for the next centuries and may be able to stop the exhaust of CO2 in the atmosphere.

High temperature, more efficient designs would be suitable for powering transport, even aircraft, although this would probably take decades. This promise of inexpensive, safe, clean power is why many are now following the subject.

There are many theories about what causes this heat effect, but none has been widely accepted or definitively proven.

Further Reading:

Lenr-canr.org — A library of research papers on LENR
LENR Proof — Examination of the commercial viablity of LENR
LENR For the Win — An examination of the evidence for LENR
Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project — An open science project to provide convincing proof of the ‘New Fire’
Vortex-L — Archive of email list dealing with LENR-related topics