Cold fusion device survives independent scrutiny

I really don’t know what to make of this, since I am not a nuclear physicist, and even they seem boggled (wtf!!). Any of our more learned members care to comment?

the device that purports to use cold fusion to generate massive amounts of cheap, green energy – has been verified by third-party researchers, according to a new 54-page report. The researchers observed a small E-Cat over 32 days, where it produced net energy of 1.5 megawatt-hours, or “far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.” The researchers were also allowed to analyze the fuel before and after the 32-day run, noting that the isotopes in the spent fuel could only have been obtained by “nuclear reactions” — a conclusion that boggles the researchers: “… It is of course very hard to comprehend how these fusion processes can take place in the fuel compound at low energies.”

Our current understanding of atomic and subatomic processes indicates that cold fusion is not physically possible — at least not to the extent and at the rate its proponents claim. Basically, that’s because you need lots of energy to squeeze atomic nuclei close enough together before they will fuse, releasing the input energy plus the nuclear binding energy. To illustrate in more concrete terms, the required energy means that the fusion reaction only commences when the reagents are at temperatures of a few million °C, which is why a thermonuclear device (hydrogen bomb) requires a small primary fission device (usually a plutonium A-bomb) to get it going. Once going, the excess binding energy keeps it going as long as suitable fuel is available. (As an interesting historical aside, some of the scientists and engineers involved in the first thermonuclear test vaguely feared that it would continue until it had consumed the whole world and its atmosphere, turning Earth into a planetary supernova.)

Quantum tunnelling can account for a tiny fraction of the purported fusion the E-Cat device is reported to deliver. That is, the rate of nuclear fusion (and thus energy production) is way too high for this mechanism. If the measurements and the report are trustworthy, something else is going on.

For now, my call is that this report is based on a clever scam (or possibly a mistake), albeit that it bears occasional inspection because it’s not easy to dismiss those experts’ findings out of hand. If the energy figures stack up under repeated independent scrutinies, it would upend a good part of the Standard Model and we’ll learn something new, which is always exciting. In this case, it would be something radically new.