Monday, January 17, 2011

Triumph looks in the mirror

Triumph looks in the mirror

I am rather good in waiting, despite the fact that instant is something I adore, starting with my daily and only coffee I am drinking in the morning. To not forget Google instant search!

 I have waited really patiently, faithfully hopefully, like a male Solveig
for Cold Fusion becoming a real technology. More precisely I have
been waiting 7966 days (or 21 years 9 months and 21 days – from March 24, 1989 – when I heard about the Fleischmann-Pons press conference to Friday this week when I have read news directly on the Web- from the Rossi-Focardi public demonstration at Bologna. They have shown  a real, working Ni-H reaction-based generator, and I have achieved the certainty –yes, it is possible, yes it works, yes it will be a very important, practical new source of energy. You can learn a lot there:  but also searching for “Rossi Focardi” It was a really interesting event.

Obviously, I was prepared- I had the great privilege to get information directly from the initiator, creator, developer of this systems and processes, professor Francesco Piantelli, from the University of Siena. who unfortunately was not present at the demonstration. Piantelli has found the solution of a very difficult problem.
The Rossi Focardi process is a kind of continuation, variant, or alternative (?)  of the original process which I have followed starting from 1994 when my regretted friend Gene Mallove has published a paper "An Italian Cold Fusion Hot Potato," in his Cold fusion Magazine.
The author was Bill Collis- who has quite special merits in the advancement of the field; Bill has assisted at a really wonderful early Piantelli experiment and has reported about it. The development of the field and that of the Piantelli Ni-H technology was far from being linear: a dreadful problem could not be solved for years- reproducibility of the experiments and one very disturbing- lack of a real theory that explains what happens, prohibits the things that are harmful for the processes and predicts what has to be done for a transforming a scientific process in a practical technology. Some 5 years ago, journalist Steve Krivit and me have asked our cold fusionist colleagues a few essential questions: and have concluded  that there are tens of cold fusion theories i.e. nobody understands well what happens, why and- that’s even more important- why not. But to be crystal clear, the phenomena are a scientific reality and an experimental certainty, however are not well controllable and have no firm theoretical basis.

To be a cold fusion “believer” even if on a rational basis as in my case is not good for your personal reputation as scientific researcher, the mass media still uses cold fusion as a metaphor for “impossible”- usually a bit combined with “crazy”. I survived and persisted, I followed the field with empathy, however with a constant level of discontent- why is not coming a Breakthrough that transforms cold fusion in an energy source erasing its status of lab curiosity?

Than last year more and more information came about Rossi and Focardi (whom I have met more times at the Asti Cold fusion meetings organized by Bill Collis and I know as a good scientist)
I have asked Professor Piantelli – knowing about his Ni-H process and got two information:
a) He has solved the problem of reproducibility and has a process in the pre-industrial phase; the focus has to be on safety problems;
b) Focardi and Rossi are going on their own, separate way.
A complex situation, but I have many similar ones during my practice, I have some 33 socialism style patents (a bit of honor and disproportionately low payment- if any...) and innovations and in some cases had to fight to protect my intellectual rights. I dare to claim here that I have good understanding of patents and know how describing processes- that are more subtle, hazy, false (yes, some facts have to be be hidden or omitted!) than product patents.

My favorite writer, Anatole France says somewhere in the “Revolt of Angels” that “truth is white but it is not pure” – it means reality is very complex, unclear, full of contradictions, even not perfectly knowable. For example- in this case Andrea Rossi claims that he
has discovered an original Ni-H process, developed it and his collaboration with Prof. Focardi has started later. That means – a very difficult problem can have more than one Solution. History will show how. Not in my lifetime- the essential thing is to have
a new energy source.

Was this event a triumph? In principle yes, even from a personal point of view I am vindicated for thinking that cold fusion is real.
It can be a triumph for many other cold fusion researchers who have now increased chances to get funding- but this will not be a simple effect- the outer and inner competition makes it difficult.
Technologically it is indeed a genuine kind of triumph.
Scientifically it is a still an open problem; the Ni-H process is only partially understood there is no quantitative theory..
Ethically it is complex, but it is well known- from the age when we have interbred with the Neanderthalians that the human societies
are NOT meritocracies.
Historically it is something very tortuous- and this is just a new beginning. Let’s the great adventure of commercial development start

Let’s say it was/is a real triumph, not an ideal one.


  1. That was not a triumph, but just a 20 minute duration of some trivial chemical reaction producing heat inside clumsy water pipe.

  2. Thank you dear anonymous! I like people who have strong opinions. But may I ask you to be a bit more specific, can you please tell something about that chemical reaction? I am a chemical engineer, have worked with pipes, like them, so please have the kindness to retract "clumsy" Otherwise everything is OK.