Prologue:My readers know that I am completely and irreversibly dedicated to LENR. I want LENR to be understood and to be used as a significant energy source. For more than 23 long years, when asked about Cold Fusion/LENR, Nature has given us inaudible and incomprehensible answers therefore the field is a cognitive catastrophe. However, its actual chances to be used as an energy source were even worse- due to low intensity, high unreliability and constant ephemerity of the heat effects.
I will never dare to tell openly that, technologically, the Pd-D electrochemical system is a triple-dead horse or that ‘pure’ nanometric systems exhibit too low energy intensity, but I am patiently waiting for somebody to demonstrate the contrary.
Andrea Rossi’s announcements of his invention changed this. The situation became hopeful even though Rossi’s development is too slow, unsure, and tortuous.
However, this time LENR was lucky by the advent of Defkalion Green Technology, a ‘fast’ company with excellent problem solving abilities for engineering, technology, management and business strategy (see: http://egooutpeters.blogspot.ro/2012/06/interview-with-defkalion-i-business.html). Even on a scientific level, Defkalion will have a lot to offer the community, providing a platform for further theoretical approaches to be developed in the near future.
My relationship with DGTG can be characterized as “empathy from the first e-mail” and they understood my deep sorrow of the unsolved LENR mystery and its delay as an energy source.
They already answered my questions regarding their business strategy and future plans. They also generously helped me to understand the soul and essence of their technology- marching toward commercialization.
I have to confess here that I am lacking a quality that contributes a lot to the invincible charm of the young girls: naiveté. Hence, this total absence of naiveté- helps me to:
a) Understand the difficulty, problems, obstacles, traps, bad surprises of the development work done by DGTG
b) Avoid the unanswerable questions as the nature of their variant of the so called catalyst or pixie dust or even to the extent of their partners and associates
c) Accept that this help is a step-by-step process
d) Be honored, happy and grateful due to this privileged collaboration
e) Use all my residual grey cells to contribute to the understanding of their technology
The Source: Beyond online interviews, I had extensive discussions and e-mail exchanges with Defkalion’s CEO Alex Xanthoulis, CBO Symeon Tsalikoglou and of course their CTO John Hadjichristos. I have also read some internal reports and lab log data sheets. All of which provided me with this first level understanding.
The problem re-defined:
It is the first time in LENR history that we have a reliable process at a scale sufficient to analyze the product of the LENR reactions (see http://www.defkalion-energy.com/files/2012-06-9_Defkalion%20Status%20Update.pdf)
Additional tests analyzed by X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy and inductively coupled mass spectrometry and other methods allow us to KNOW what happens!
These analyses will show if Defkalion’s technology is somewhat similar to the best currently known LENR technology- Piantelli is based, as we know, on nanostructured Ni, deep degassing and special triggering methods- or not.
Short and somewhat lacunary description of Defkalion’s Technology:
For the time being, we still do not have the best proportion of the data, information, knowledge and wisdom (understanding) of Defkalion’s process; but this will soon change.
Defkalion technology uses Ni powder, seemingly normal micrometric probably treated in some way prior of use, proprietary additives and an original triggering method. They consider that 4 out of the 5 isotopes of Nickel are participating in the process.
Actually there are 3 main domains of working inner temperatures, typically low (185 C), medium (300 C) and high (550C). There have been indications as discussed about even higher temperatures reaching well over 650C, although it seems that too high temperatures generate some problems with material failures or runaways.
There is great room for future developments and applications. The open problem is if the reaction mechanisms do change in this broad range of temperatures.
Pressurized Hydrogen, up to 5 bars, is used as reactant and the essential clue is to separate molecular Hydrogen (inactive!) in atomic Hydrogen by using electric energy.
The reaction chamber is made of stainless steel 316 and the walls are surrounded by flow channels. Defkalion uses organic heat transfer agents.
It is important to understand their definition that the process is a dynamic system of the multi-stage set of reactions.
In the same time I hope that you will realize the idea that LENR Science knows one barrier (Coulomb’s) while LENR Technology knows more barriers. This is where you will appreciate the efforts and creativity of our Greek colleagues.
Prior to triggering (or part of it) Ni has to be heated up to 500 C in the case of the high temperature process. Triggering per se is a process in three stages:
Stage 1: Separate H2 in H (diatomic to monoatomic) - this is an endothermic process;
Stage II: Force Stage I some way the hydrogen atom in a more neutral form, similar to a virtual neutron able to penetrate the Coulomb Barrier;
Stage III: The Ni-H reaction of transmutation generates gamma radiation that is thermalized in infrared photons- heat- by the mechanism described by the Widom-Larsen theory- see the papers and the patent US 7,893, 414.
The entire process looks very much like Widom_Larsen but with additional points. I have discussed this subject thoroughly with the DGTG friends- as the results of the spectral and chemical analyses will come in. This is not a reason for despair for LENR theorists because Defkalion’s LENR process actually has differences that will be discussed later.
Continuing: In actual practice the initial heating to the necessary start temperature, say 300 to 500 C is performed with a tungsten heater, than Stage I is attained by firing a special spark-plug working at a high voltage and some proprietary optimal frequency.
Once Stage I is finished no more heating is necessary (this was different at Rossi!). During Stage II the frequency of firing of the sparkplugs determines the heat level. The energy consumed by one sparking is rather low- say 1.2 J.
If the reaction has started and Hydrogen is not leaking out, the reaction will be sustained for months; there had been some tests with the duration of 4-5 months and others are in work.
The reaction through this multi stage dynamic process can be easily controlled (stopped) through the control of the excitement of the Hydrogen itself.
Radiation measurements:The experimental situation is excellent: no dangerous radiation!
However, there is some radiation emitted. I have seen a lot of measurements performed both with NaI spectrometer and Geiger Muller counter and all confirm that a somewhat higher level appears only at triggering. The gammas have a relatively low energy, 50-300 keV. The maximum levels are under those internationally admissible. Is this a proof that the W-L mechanism (gammas converted to IR photons - is true and at work? We will see it soon.
Other data:The development of this technology is kind of a discovery process. Prior experience and transfer of know-how from neighboring technologies is of very limited use. There were some sporadic runaway experiments. Defkalion’s engineers have learned how to better control the reaction- a very steep learning curve.
Defkalion collaborates with leading companies and international entities where both controls, methodologies, machinery and know-how have provided them with invaluable and time saving advantages. The essence of collaboration for Defkalion is key and their fast progress shows this.
In my next writing about Defkalion, I will tell about heat generation- both bare reactor tests and calorimetric measurements. As told, the thermal power of the reactors is controlled basically by the firing rate of the sparkplugs’ firing rate and the frequency of these.
Conclusions:For the first time in LENR history, thanks also to Defkalion’s contributions and progress, we are on the way to understanding the Know-What, the Know-How and even the Know-Why of this viable, powerful energy source.