Boy this technology better work considering all the press it’s getting. LENR stands for low energy nuclear reactor. A couple of weeks ago on this blog site we asked the question is cold fusion real and got lots of comments both for and against. Well the technology keeps on being hyped and if hype is a reflection of reality then we are looking at what could be an extraordinary new energy source. I, however, have my doubts.
In the latest posting, July 24, 2012, Andrea Rossi, the developer of the energy catalyzer cold fusion technology he calls E-Cat, claims he will deliver the first commercial 1 Megawatt e-Cat plant this year. He also indicated that a performance report showing that E-Cat is stable in temperatures over 1,000 Celsius will be released in a couple of months. This isn’t the first time that Rossi has promised delivery. Nor is it the first time that he has promised to release a report on the technology.
If you are unfamiliar with LENR and the E-Cat in particular, the technology relies on a chemical reaction that transmutes two elements into another releasing energy in the form of heat. In the case of E-Cat the elements are powdered nickel infused with hydrogen transmuting into copper. The amount of energy released is claimed to be 100 times the energy input. Rossi reports he can get enough heat from E-Cat cold fusion to power up steam turbines for electricity generation. Ultimately he hopes to directly generate energy from his E-Cats without a turbine. Well we’ll see!
Not to be outdone, a Rossi competitor, in fact a breakaway company called Defkalion is building its own LENR and joining up with a Swiss start up to deliver a car with a LENR on board. The first generation of iCar, the name the company has chosen, will use a Tesla Model S. The LENR is the Hyperion Series B. The developers of the technology claim the Hyperion will generate 10 to 45 Kilowatts of thermal energy. To produce 45 Kilowatts the LENR will consume only 300 watts. The iCar will have a single charge range of 36,000 kilometers (22,000 miles). The power storage of a Hyperion LENR is estimated to be 400 times the amount stored in conventional lithium-ion battery packs currently used by Tesla.
After successfully demonstrating the first generation iCar, plans are in the works to launch a second generation vehicle with an on board LENR capable of powering a car for 140,000 kilometers (87,000 miles) between recharges.
Again I ask the question, is all this hype going to actually produce something real? If so, then we will witness an energy revolution. If not, we can always remember P.T. Barnum’s quote, “The bigger the humbug, the better people will like it.” And this is one humdinger of a story right now.