Aug 24, 2012
LENR appears to be gathering steamBack
Brillouin Energy Corporation|Gas|United States|MW Plant|Chemical|Contentious Possible New Energy Source|Energy|Energy Densities|Low Energy|Low-energy Nuclear Reactions|Normal Chemical Reaction|Andrea Rossi|Denis Bushnell|Francesco Celani|Joseph Zawodny|Robert Godes|California|Radiation
© Reuse this
For those who are new to the story, LENR/LANR refers to the production of ‘excess heat’ – that is, more heat than is possible in a normal chemical reaction – when hydrogen atoms are embedded within a nickel or palladium lattice and subjected to an initial electrical stimulation in the presence of a suitable catalyst. The stimulus apparently causes a reaction in which hydrogen atoms decay into helium, releasing potentially large quantities of energy but no dangerous radiation (or greenhouse gases).
This effect has now been demonstrated experimentally by numerous independent and reputable scientists and research institutions.
The VP of the International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, Francesco Celani, gave an hour-long speech on LENR in March, in which he cited many validated experiments.
In June, the chief scientist at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) Langley Research Center, Denis Bushnell, posted a brief commentary on ‘Low-energy nuclear reactions: the realism and the outlook’ on Nasa’s website. According to Bushnell, we now have “over two decades of hundreds of experiments worldwide indicating heat and transmutations with minimal radiation and low energy input”.
Yet, until recently, most of the scientific world greeted LENR claims with scepticism, as they confounded accepted physical theories and no one had a convincing theoretical expla- nation for how the process might work. That picture has now changed, as there are at least two hypotheses purporting to explain the anomalous heat effect.
One, called the Widom-Larsen Weak Interaction LENR Theory, is based on weak force/condensed matter nuclear physics and is being investigated and tested by Nasa scientists. Bushnell says: “The theory indicates energy densities some several million times [that of] chemical.”
Another hypothesis has been advanced by Robert Godes, an engineer based in California. He says the reaction is not fusion, as happens in the sun or in hydrogen bombs, and prefers the term Controlled Electron Capture Reactions (CECR).
Meanwhile, at least six companies are engaged in ‘Edisonian’ attempts to commercialise LENR/LANR devices that produce cheap, clean heat.
Our earlier column introduced the controversial Italian entrepreneur, Andrea Rossi, and his Energy Catalyser (ECAT) technology. The latest update on the official ECAT website claims that “one ECAT 1 MW plant has been delivered and is working in a military facility” in the US, while another was set to be delivered to a European customer.
A second company, Brillouin Energy Corporation, was established by Godes to commercialise his CECR process.
Until a few months ago, the various LENR devices were said by their developers to be capable of producing relatively low-temperature energy (up to about 150 ºC) suitable for water heating and a limited selection of industrial processes. But there may be much better devel- opments under way.
Rossi asserts that his revised ECAT plant design “is now stable at very high temperatures”, which “allows for a vast number of electricity solutions”.
Brillouin Energy claims to be developing a ‘hot tube’ boiler (HTB) that will be able to gene- rate heat at between 400 ºC and 5 000 ºC. Godes sees the most immediate application for the HTB as a replacement for coal-fired boilers in thermal power stations. Financially, this represents low-hanging fruit as most of the infrastructure is already in place – and many coal-fired power stations in the US have been idled owing to environmental regulations and low natural gas prices. This would also have the maximum initial impact on reducing carbon emissions, since coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel.
Cheap and abundant heat energy of this sort would also allow for affordable desalination of water in dry regions.
Bushnell, together with LENR scientist Joseph Zawodny, in a newly released Nasa video, makes even bolder suggestions about the potential of LENR to ultimately support personal flying vehicles and space travel. Bushnell says: “There are estimates using just the performance of some of the devices under study that 1% of the nickel mined on the planet each year could produce the world’s energy requirements at the order of 25% the cost of coal.”
So, the evidence seems to be accumulating – and the supporting theories slowly catching up – that human society may, over the coming years, undergo an energy revolution on the scale of the fossil fuel revolution or the discovery and use of electricity.
Given the complex web of energy, water, climate and geopolitical crises now confronting humanity, such a revolution is desperately needed. But abundant energy would need to be managed carefully – unlike what we have witnessed historically with fossil fuels – so that it does not lead to an accelerated destruction of the biosphere.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Dr Jeremy Wakeford News
Article contains comments
Updated 4 hours ago The Department of Public Works (DPW) on Friday signed an agreement with the Public Servants Association (PSA) and the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), committing to work towards effective and efficient delivery of services within the DPW....
Updated 5 hours ago The Black Management Forum (BMF) on Friday announced the appointment of Themba Dlamini as MD, with effect from April 1. Dlamini, which was currently the CEO of the National Gambling Board would be replacing former Nicholas Maweni, who resigned last year.
Updated 5 hours ago Corporate activity at an international level has resulted in the disappearance of Hitachi Power Africa (HPA), which was controversially associated with the African National Congress’s Chancellor House, and the emergence of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa...
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
This Week's Magazine
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) is inviting expressions of interest from eligible firms for the supply and install automatic fire suppression systems in the cable tunnels at its Nkula B and Tedzani power stations, on the Shire river. Escom will...
Lubricant company Castrol will provide lubricants, brake and hydraulic fluids for use in the Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC). The 1 600 km/h car, which will attempt to break the land-speed record in 2015 through to 2016, is being constructed in Bristol, in the UK.
State-owned electricity producer Eskom and government are assessing ways to secure the financial resources necessary to enable the utility to resume power-saving schemes, as well as to contract with those municipalities and independent power producers (IPPs) able to...
Diversified industrial engineering group PSV’s subsidiary African Cryogenics is gearing up to increase its operating capacity through an investment into a 7 000 m2 manufacturing facility, which is under construction and expected to be completed at the end of this...
Freight and logistics service provider Grindrod has a R10-billion project pipeline planned for sub-Saharan Africa, says Grindrod CEO Alan Olivier. He says the capital expenditure for some of these projects has already been approved by the Grindrod board –...
Next ArticleConventional biofuels won’t take us far