EET

Low-energy nuclear reaction claim now in doubt

There is an old saying in science that fantastic claims demand fantastic proof. The proof of a low-energy nuclear reaction device (LENR) demonstrated in an Italian lab a few months ago apparently amounts to little more than some steam coming out of a little rubber hose. And that doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy those interested in verifying the claims of Italian physicists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi.

A few months ago, the physicists publicly demonstrated a LENR device they claimed could generate large amounts of excess heat. If true, the development could greatly impact energy generation schemes that involve steam turbines, among other things.

Physicist Rossi based his claims of generating excess heat on the nearly complete vaporization of room-temperature water into dry steam. If all the water that enters the LENR device leaves as dry steam, the device would be producing lots of energy because it takes a large amount of energy to vaporize water into dry steam.

But Steven Krivit, editor and creator of the online magazine New Energy Times, visited the Italian lab and wasn't convinced. His problem with the setup is basically that Rossi didn't seem to be measuring the steam to make sure it was dry steam. (Water vapor in the steam would mean much less heat was being produced.) Another problem: Steam was exiting the process through a small-diameter hose at a relatively modest clip. Calculations by other researchers have concluded it should have been shooting out at higher speeds if the process truly was what the Italians claim.

EE&T covered the initial announcement by the Italians: http://eetweb.com/news/cold_fusion_12111/

The New Energy Times published an issue devoted to the new findings and Krivit's observations: http://newenergytimes.com/v2/news/2011/37/NET37.pdf

The site Physorg.com published an item about the Italian research which includes some entertaining and spirited discussion by readers: http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-08-controversial-energy-generating-lacking-credibility-video.html

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