Hot Fusion scientists mention the ‘Coulomb barrier*’ as an argument against the possibility of cold fusion at room temperature. We hear so much about the environments of the Sun and Stars and how the extreme temperatures and pressures there are necessary for the fusion of atomic particles to occur. The assumption is that there cannot be any fusion of elements here on Earth, without the million degrees temperature and extreme pressures found on the Sun.
What is missing in this analysis, is the fact that mankind has learned to manipulate the environments and processes here on earth. The Metallurgist, for example: when nature does not supply a low melting temperature metal, he develops a ‘Eutectic’ alloy that has the properties he needs. Metallurgy is the scientific study of metals and alloys and related processes. They have developed many processes they use to create alloys for modern industry.
Chemists don’t try to replicate the environments on the Sun when they set out to develop new materials. They have developed methodologies like ‘electrolysis’ (using direct current) to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction. The first successes with so-called ‘cold fusion’ were the electrochemists. CANR, the acronym for ‘chemically assisted nuclear reaction, is used in place of cold fusion. LENR for Low Energy Nuclear Reaction is also common for cold fusion. Until the exact process that is occurring within the LENR/CANR/Cold Fusion reactors is known, these temporary terms allow you to identify what subject you are talking about, see: http://lenr-canr.org/.
There were many physicists who took interest, like good scientists do, in the reported ‘cold fusion’ by Pons and Fleischmann in 1989 at the University of Utah. The ‘chemists’ announced the discovery of room temperature fusion and several chemists have led the research into so-called cold fusion. Hot Fusion Physicists were shocked to learn that “chemists” were involved with nuclear reactions and claiming success with cold fusion. This was supposed to be their territory and this was a threat to the hot-fusion industry jobs. So the reactions from the physicists to the announcement of cold fusion was swift and lethal to the careers of Pons and Fleischmann, see: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/6.11/coldfusion.html
Several physicists, ‘real open minded scientists’ dared to get involved with cold fusion experiments and succeeded in replicating the P&F heat productions. Francesco Piantelli, Sergio Focardi and others were successful with using Nickel and Hydrogen in their reactors. Then Andrea Rossi added a catalyst and increased the Ni+H reaction output of heat from his Energy Catalizer or E-Cat. Presently, the theory has not caught up with the experimental results. The Rossi E-Cat is now ready for commercial production and could be used for many home and industrial applications.
In summary, it is no surprise that Hot Fusion Physicists focus on the extreme environments of the Sun and Stars and think this is the only way to achieve fusion. Meanwhile, the Chemists and Metallurgists ignore the processes of the Sun and Stars and find ways to developing new materials. This may be an over-simplification of the complex interactions of these scientists but does make it easier to understand the 20+ years of quarreling about the reality or non-reality of cold fusion. Let us be patient with the development of cold fusion and perhaps we will see some reactors for sale this year.
* The Coulomb Barrier is the resistance to nuclear fusion by the ‘electric repulsion’ of Protons with positive charge. In order for the particles to get close enough for the attraction of the nuclear strong force to ‘fuse’ them, they must overcome this Coulomb Barrier.