Metal (gray) holding hydrogen ions (purple) as a sponge holds water (called a metal hydride) can provide one potential fuel for LENR
How would you like to replace your water heater with a nuclear reactor? That’s what Joseph Zawodny, a senior scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, hopes to help bring about. It would tap the enormous power of the atom to provide hot water for your bath, warm air for your furnace system, and more than enough electricity to run your house and, of course, your electric car.
If your thoughts have raced to Fukushima or Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, let me reassure you. Zawodny is not suggesting that you put that kind of reactor in your house. What he has in mind is a generator that employs a process called Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions. (The same process is sometimes called Lattice Energy Nuclear Reactions. We’ll just call it LENR.)
“But if LENRs could be proved and tamed—a very big if—the effect could be transformative. Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA Langley, wrote in an online article that LENRs could potentially satisfy the world’s energy needs at a quarter the cost of coal. Zawodny adds to that enthusiasm in an accompanying video. “If we were to have such a thing,” he says, “it would be the sort of technology that would fuel our future growth and expansion and have the ability to raise the standard of living of the entire world.”
NASA is in the news again with some commentary on the Widom-Larsen ultra-low-momentum neutron theory of low-energy nuclear reactions. It seems the growing pressure to be the first success story for LENR as an alternative energy source is creating some interesting dynamics among the various competitors.
NASA and the Widom-Larsen group, who are working on commercialization of LENR, have had quite the history. The following article details the unfolding drama.
NASA scientist, Joe Zawodny, has made clarifications on NASA’s recently released video on LENR.
There have been many attempts to twist the release of this video into NASA’s support for LENR or as proof that Rossi’s e-cat really works. Many extraordinary claims have been made in 2010. In my scientific opinion, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I find a distinct absence of the latter. So let me be very clear here. While I personally find sufficient demonstration that LENR effects warrant further investigation, I remain skeptical. Furthermore, I am unaware of any clear and convincing demonstrations of any viable commercial device producing useful amounts of net energy.
This short video from NASA and Dr. Joseph Zawodny, Senior Research Scientist, states that the new type of nuclear reactions ‘has the demonstrated ability to produce excess amounts of energy, cleanly, without hazardous ionizing radiation, without producing nasty waste’.
Some call it cold fusion, some call it LENR, NASA calls it a Method for Enhancement of Surface Plasmon Polaritons to Initiate and Sustain LENR.
Last week, NASA, under the pressure of an FOIA request, released the power point slides from an internal presentation in which three of its senior scientists discussed the nature of LENR and its impacts on space and air travel. NASA has been funding LENR research in the U.S. and has had continuing discussions with Andrea Rossi and other scientists working in the field for many years.
NASA’s Joseph Zawodny concludes that LENR is indeed a form of nuclear power, but not what is commonly thought of as “cold fusion.” Zawodny believes that the transformation of one element into another is consistent with neutron absorption as other scientists claim. He goes on to point out that under one theory of what is happening, decay products of the reaction are turned into heat and gamma rays are screened out. In comparing the energy output of LENR to fission, conventional fusion, and chemical reactions, Zawodny notes that LENR is theoretically capable of producing 8 million times as much energy as a comparable chemical reaction. This of course explains why a very slow reaction can produce excess heat while consuming only minimal amounts of hydrogen and nickel.