(Note- this is a stereotypical title, more exactly almost everything was wrong and not so necessarily what I knew about it)
We must re-think completely CF/LENR because it has problems and it is very different from how we know it today.
We must re-write radically the history of CF/LENR in order to re-build a good future for it.
The real cause of all the problems of CF/LENR is that it was discovered BEFORE ITS TIME in the worst system possible, with the less adequate metal. Knowledge and tools missing, CF/LENR was too complex, too new, too unexpected, too messy, too multifaceted, too dynamic, too non-linear and too weird to be really understood and controlled at the time of its discovery. CF/LENR proved to be really at the far right side of the Medawar Zone . http://www.geocities.jp/hjrfq930/FTEssay/Essays/Gluck.htm
The discovery of CF has happened in such unfortunate circumstances that I considered a new word has to be coined for it: “miscovery”
The Fleischmann- Pons Cell was the cradle of CF/LENR but it almost became its coffin, and continues to be its bed of Procrustes, limiting its development and making the process almost unmanageable, irreproducible and not scalable..
The connection of CF/LENR with electrochemistry was absolutely fortuitous and does not generate a single advantage for the field; on the contrary, wet systems annihilate the chances of CF/LENR to become an energy technology. (functional LENR needs temperatures at which the pressure of water is too high for practical electrolysis). The dominant but false electrochemical model of CF/LENR has defeated the catalytic model.
The discovery of heat excess in palladium was the most unfortunate event possible, because due to the very high solubility of deuterium in this metal, the bulk is competing with the active sites for the gas, that leads to the necessity to achieve and maintain high loading D/Pd. We can speak about the Pdisaster of the field.
The merits of the Founding Fathers are really exceptional and because the have discovered the phenomenon in pessim circumstances. They were able to see profound connection where nobody has dared to think.
In the long perspective, in the case of CF/LENR, we were barking not at the wrong tree, we were barking at a dwarf, weakling bush…
However, because for so many years the conditions and tools
for solving the problem of a commercial LENR based energy source were not discovered or were not available, it is not fair and not justified to speak about errors, the experiments made by the supporters of the field have helped it to survive in conditions of extreme hostility.
In time we have discovered that there are formidable obstacles on the way to an energy source and the much feared Coulomb Barrier is not the most difficult of those.
Under the stressing pressure of weak results and due to the impossibility to find an acceptable explanation- both of the results and of the failures the collective orientation in the field became non-optimal:
- CF/LENR has lost its original, definitory aim (to be a competitive energy source and claimed to be a promising scientific issue, despite the unreliable and unrepeatable experimental results;
- it was more and more suggested that the Scientific Method alone is able to make us to understand CF/LENR and to solve its problems
Noble ideas, however only strictly controllable/manageable experiments can yield genuinely scientific knowledge and only a hybrid, technological and scientific approach can generate progress. Scientism is damaging for CF/LENR due to its inefficiency.
Cold fusion is too complex a matter to be left to physicists. More exactly- “to physicists alone” being a really multi-disciplinar and trans-disciplinary issue. Systems thinking and understanding complexity are vital. LENR, I believe, is a movie, not a photo, an opera, not a song- to use ~artistic metaphors.
CF/LENR is oppressed, pariah science due to its bad reputation management in its early period; due to its claim to be fusion it contradicted the ruling theories of the mainstream science. The experimental results were not sufficiently strong to demonstrate more than the very existence of excess heat release- however at low intensity, scaringly bad reproducibility and for very limited duration, not convincingly enough. The situation is clear- “no mercy”- only a commercial device generating plenty of energy, able to replace the existing sources can change the general opnion about CF/LANR.
From what we start to learn now, “no mercy” will be equally valid for many, if not all sacred cows and pet memes of CF/LENR. First, palladium will become 4-letter word.
The field has serious problems due to the fact that the scarce sources are always managed inefficiently; this is the Matthew Effect and CF/LENR suffers due to an external Matthew Effect (being considered bad science gets no funding) and an internal
Matthew Effect (chanceless palladium based systems get the greatest part of the money invested in the field); palladium still remains a cultic metal.
A few personal thoughts
I have concluded relatively early that CF happens similarly to heterogeneous catalysis in small areas- active sites and this explains the great bad problem of the field, irreproducibility.
As I wrote in my message from the right site of the Medawar Zone:
“I personally think that the root of troubles and the start point of the final solution for Cold Fusion is its inherent catalytic nature: all the unexpected and highly desirable phenomena take place in very limited active areas, and the research strategy is to breed and multiply and reinforce and enhance these active areas.”
Knowing how disastrous can be poisons for catalysts, I easily deduced that CF functions so faulty because the active sites of CF are also poisoned, blocked by polar gaseous impurities from air. Later I have learned that nitrogen and argon are also competing with deuterium/hydrogen for the active sites, so the name of enemy is “alien gases.” Deep degassing or…death!
I had plenty of failures in my life, however this was the most unsuccessful idea I ever had. Actually it is nasty and dangerous; in case I am right, then all my colleagues who have rejected it sometimes with contempt due to its triviality and implausibility have made a huge error!
If true, the FP Cell that cannot be degassed (deeply) is sentenced to eternal irreproducibility.
I have proposed a strategy for building a good future for LENR:
The main principles are:
LENR is in essence technology, a practical energy source.
LENR is much more complex, dynamic and diversified as usually accepted now.
LENR is now in a deep creative crisis and in a “grow or die” (scale-up or perish) situation
LENR has a huge potential as new energy source.
These principles can be understood and applied only after a radical paradigm change in the field.
The critical “to be or not to be” issue is accepting the following:
in the “classic” LENR systems, even if the poisoning problem is solved, the density of the pre-formed active sites remains low and the energy density and production too small for applications.. New methods have to be found by which the active sites are generated in-situ continuously; thus enhanced excess heat is obtained. This process, called LENR+ can be scaled up and, using good and creative engineering can be transformed in an energy source.
LENR+ is the way, the truth and the unique hope because classic LENR systems are lost for technology.
LENR is static, LENR+ is dynamic, metaphorically LENR is the caterpillar, LENR+ is the butterfly.
But LENR+ is a mode of thinking and it is based on scientific concepts, disciplines and methods very different from those tried, with limited success, for LENR classic.