Wouldn't it be great if you could produce 12,400 W of heat power with an input of just 400 W? Well, two Italian researchers claim to have done exactly this through use of cold fusion. Their claim brings back memories of Stanley Pons and Martin Fleishmann who, in the 1980s, claimed to have demonstrated cold fusion but whose work other researchers could never repeat.
The latest attempts at cold fusion have a ring of familiarity to those who remember the Pons-Fleishmann saga: Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna say that one of their cold-fusion reactors has been running continuously for two years as a heat source for a factory, but provide little detail about where this factory is or who runs it.
The two also wrote a paper about their nuclear reactor which was rejected by peer-reviewed journals. Not to be discouraged, the two published their paper in an online journal they founded themselves. They say their paper was rejected because they couldn't explain how the reaction works or how the cold fusion is triggered.
Rossi and Focardi do say that the atomic nuclei of nickel and hydrogen fuse in their reactor, and the reaction produces copper and a large amount of energy. They further say the reactor uses less than 1 gm of hydrogen and starts with about 1 kW of electricity, which drops to 400 W after a few minutes. Every minute, the reaction can convert 292 gm of 20°C water into dry steam at about 101°C. Raising the temperature of water by 80°C and converting it to steam requires about 12.4 kW of power, so the experiment provides a power gain of 12,400/400 = 31.
The Physorg.com site produced a write-up of the claims which goes into a few more details, though the nature of the cold-fusion reaction remains sketchy. It also hosts a video of a demonstration by the two researchers, though the presentation will not be particularly illuminating to anyone who doesn't speak Italian. That link is here: http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-italian-scientists-cold-fusion-video.html
The two researchers also issued a press release which can be read in English courtesy of Google Translate: http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=it&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ilrestodelcarlino.it%2Fbologna%2Fcronaca%2F2011%2F01%2F13%2F441795-realizzato_fusione_fredda.shtml