Friday, January 21, 2011

Cold fusion rises from the ashes

Quite some time ago now, a couple of scientists called Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons told the world that they had discovered a method of achieving room temperature (ie: "cold") fusion in a test-tube.

Thanks to the power of the media to disseminate information without verification, the news spread like wildfire and the "cult" of cold-fusion was born.

Suffice to say that since those heady days back in March 1989, nobody has been able to successfully reproduce the experiments conducted by P&F in a way that has delivered concrete proof of their claims.

Over time, those claims were gradually dismissed by most in the scientific community, the results observed by the pair being put down to "bad science" and inadequate procedure associated with their experiments.

However, a small and eager band of researchers and experimenters have continued in their desire to turn cold fusion into reality.

There was a claim by North Korea a few years back that they had also discovered a way to reliably create cold fusion -- but, as with P&F's claims, this was never substantiated by solid, reproducible science.

Now, yet another group of researchers claim that they have accomplished this holy grail of energy generation.

Italians Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi have held a press conference and displayed their cold fusion device in action. Although there were other scientists in attendance who confirmed that the device was producing power, they were unable to quantify the degree of over-unity power generation, if it exists.

The pair are claiming that their invention can turn 400 watts of input energy into an output of 12KW, through the effects of cold fusion.

Naturally the scientific community remain skeptical, having had their hopes raised and dashed on too many previous occasions. Further reducing the credibility of the claims is news that Rossi has a bit of a criminal record -- raising suspicions that this could simply be an attempt to round up money from gullible investors.

They pair also admit they have no explanation for what triggers the alleged cold fusion reaction responsible for the huge energy output.

So is this a case of some misguided scientists making mistakes similar to that of P&F?

Is it a calculated attempt to separate the gullible from their wallets?

Or could it be that there really is something to cold fusion and that finally someone has come up with a practical way of producing it?

One more interesting claim is that the technology has been in use, heating an Italian factory for almost two years. More untruths -- or perhaps proof that this time we may have a solution to the planet's renewable energy needs?

Regardless of the facts, the internet is now abuzz with speculation and discussion.

Proponents and critics are weighing in from all sides and lunatics are coming out of the woodwork left, right and center with their own theories and claims to have confirmed P&F's work.

For those with little else to do and a penchant for this kind of thing will find plenty of interesting reading over the coming days and weeks as the online community goes into overdrive.

Personally, I don't think it's time to sell those oil shares just yet.

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