Oct 14 2011

A revolution in cheap power

energy @ 1:57 pm

Every now and then along comes a technology that is revolutionary and changes everything. But a very few of these new technologies cause fast change.

The whole idea of generating power from nuclear fusion has been, if you’ll excuse the pun, a “hot” topic for a long time. Most attempts to build fusion power generators have been mainly “Big Science” experiments costing millions of dollars, such as the National Spherical Torus Experiment, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor and the Polywell.

All of these designs rely on the creation of extreme environments where a high-temperature plasma (a very hot “gas” of ionized particles) is confined by a powerful magnetic or electrostatic field. This is not engineering you do casually. Or cheaply.

An Italian inventor named Andrea Rossi and his scientific consultant, physicist and emeritus professor, Sergio Focardi, have demonstrated a device called the E-Cat or Energy Catalyzer which, according to a 2008 patent application, involves “a method and apparatus for carrying out nickel and hydrogen exothermal reactions,” with the production of copper as a result.

The device is said to work by heating hydrogen to an “ignition temperature” using an external heat source, after which a catalyst, which has yet to be explained, causes the hydrogen atoms to “penetrate” the nickel and transform it into copper, producing energy in the process — essentially a nuclear fusion reaction — that is self-sustaining (i.e. the external heat source can be removed and the device will continue to function).

To read more of Mark Gibbs’ post, follow the link: http://www.networkworld.com/columnists/2011/101411-backspin.html?page=2

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