The cold fusion debate (if you don’t know about this technology I refer you to two previous articles I have written for this blog site, Is Cold Fusion Even Possible?, and LENR Keeps Showing Up in the News – Is it Humbug or Real?), seems to be happening more in the minds of believers than on any factory floor. There is not a marketable, commercial LENR or cold fusion “reactor” in place anywhere. That’s the reality!
Now here’s the fantasy.
Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, back in December of 2011 during an interview on science talked about cold fusion and work being done at the University of Utah. He was referring to the Fleischmann/Pons experiments that led to the 1989 cold fusion announcement. Here is a transcript of his comments:
“I do believe in basic science. I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with — with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it.”
I’m glad he added that last sentence since it appears the University of Utah had “solved” cold fusion in his previous sentence. Is it coincidence that Mr. Romney sees cold fusion as a solved technology because it comes from an educational institution in the state of Utah? Is this faith-based science?
Did Mr. Romney not know that the University of Utah discontinued experiments in cold fusion two years after the 1989 announcement?
Did he not know that the University of Utah allowed its cold-fusion patents to lapse in 1998?
Did he not know that the original researchers, Pons and Fleischmann went to France to continue research for a subsidiary of Toyota and that the research funding from Japan stopped in 1997?
Don’t get me wrong, I think cold fusion would be an incredible technology if it could be pulled off. But every reference to it invoking proof comes with caveats. It’s always in the lab, or somebody has written a paper, or posted experimental results.
Take for instance the proof claim using a National Instruments video, a talk given at a recent conference. This video clip isn’t about cold fusion. It’s about measuring results from experiments using technology created by National Instruments, in particular, LabView, a new software application.
The video provides no proof of cold fusion’s viability other than to describe it as controversial and talk about someone’s masters thesis that lists 184 examples of “positive” experimental results. At the end of the talk the presenter states “we don’t judge, we measure.”
At this conference National Instruments sponsored a panel of experts and a LENR was demonstrated on the show floor. But the “expert” panel hyped the technology rather than demonstrated commercial viability. Representatives from companies like Defkalion Green, that purport to be ready to bring their Hyperion cold fusion reactor to market, did more talking than showing.
That seems to be the nature of cold fusion proof these days. A few websites, blogs and chats extolling a product and technology that fails to deliver. I’d like to see it if it is real. And I am certain Mr. Romney wants it to be as real as his positions and policies on so many other subjects for which he purportedly has expertise or receives expert advice.