Lockheed Goes To Work On Fusion Reactor Technology: Clean Power For Everyone Coming Soon
1.5 megawatt-hours, or “far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.” The researchers were also allowed to analyze the fuel before and after the 32-day run, noting that the isotopes in the spent fuel could only have been obtained by “nuclear reactions” — a conclusion that boggles the researchers: “… It is of course very hard to comprehend how these fusion processes can take place in the fuel compound at low energies.”
This new report [PDF] on the E-Cat was carried out by six (reputable) researchers from Italy and Sweden. While the new E-Cat looks very different from previous iterations, the researchers say that it uses the same “hydrogen-loaded nickel” and additives (most notably lithium) as a fuel. The device’s inventor, Andrea Rossi, claims that the E-Cat uses cold fusion — low-energy nuclear reactions, LENR — to fuse nickel and hydrogen atoms into copper, releasing oodles of energy. The researchers, analyzing the fuel before and after the 32-day burn, note that there is an isotope shift from a “natural” mix of Nickel-58/Nickel-60 to almost entirely Nickel-62 — a reaction that, the researchers say, cannot occur without nuclear reactions (i.e. fusion). The researchers say there is just 1 gram of fuel inside the E-Cat. For more info about the science/chemistry behind LENR, read our previous story about Rossi’s E-Cat.
The researchers are very careful about not actually saying that cold fusion/LENR is the source of the E-Cat’s energy, instead merely saying that an “unknown reaction” is at work. In serious scientific circles, LENR is still a bit of a joke/taboo topic. The paper is actually somewhat comical in this regard: The researchers really try to work out how the E-Cat produces so much darn energy — and they conclude that fusion is the only answer — but then they reel it all back in by adding: “The reaction speculation above should only be considered as an example of reasoning and not a serious conjecture.”
Anyway, now that we’ve got the necessary cynicism/scrutiny out of the way, let’s get down to what everyone’s really interested in: The utterly insane amounts of energy produced by the E-Cat. In the table below you can see some figures from the 32-day test. The most important figures are on the right hand side: a COP (coefficient of performance) of up to 3.74, and net power production of 2,373 watts. Remember that this is a small device that produced these kinds of figures for 32 days straight. Total energy obtained over 32 days was 1.5 MWh.
To put this into perspective, the E-Cat tested by the researchers has an energy density of 1.6×109 Wh/kg and power density of 2.1×106 W/kg. This is orders (plural) of magnitude higher than anything else ever tested — somewhere in the region of 100 times more power than the best supercapacitors, and maybe a million times more energy than gasoline. In the words of the researchers, “These values place the E-Cat beyond any other known conventional source of energy.”
Obviously, if these third-party findings are to be believed — if the E-Cat really is performing cold fusion — then this is rather exciting. We are talking about an extremely cheap, green, and dense power source that could quite literally change the world.
Before the world can be changed, however, there will now be a very extensive period of scrutiny from the scientific community at large. The previous third-party analysis of the E-Cat device, published in March 2013, was attacked and debunked very rapidly. It seems this new report has been intentionally designed so that there are fewer plot holes and logical leaps. The research paper has reportedly been submitted to the Arxiv pre-print server, with the hope of eventually being published in the Journal of Nuclear Physics.
The next few weeks could be very interesting indeed. According to one report at Sifferkoll, a big bank downloaded the new E-Cat report just minutes after it was made available online — and “oil futures have stayed volatile since.” And of course this morning Glasgow University announced that it would be selling its fossil fuel investments. Hmm…