LONDON – Two Italian scientists have reported that they have successfully created a cold fusion reaction that produces energy at temperatures below 1000K through the fusion of nickel and hydrogen.
The process produces energy as it creates a copper isotope which then decays to produce a different nickel isotope yielding further energy, according to an online paper authored by Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the physics department of the University of Bologna. The two claim to have developed a cold fusion reactor capable of producing 12,400 watts of heat power from an electrical input of just 400 watts. They held a press conference to show off their apparatus working on Friday Jan. 14.
Conventional fusion reactions, where hydrogen is fused into helium, occur at millions of degrees. If room temperature fusion reactions could be realized commercially it promises abundant nuclear energy. It could in theory produce vast amounts of energy from the transformation of relatively small amounts of material and would likely transform global politics.
However, there is a great deal of skepticism around the topic of cold fusion. This has been the case since scientists were unable to reproduce results reported by Stanley Pons of the University of Utah and Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton in 1989. Pons and Fleischmann worked on the absorption of hydrogen by palladium.
It is reported that Focardi and Rossi have had their paper refused by peer-review publications.
Nonetheless the reactor showed off by Focardi and Rossi is beyond the research stage they say, and reports quote the scientists saying they plan to start shipping commercial devices within the next three months and start mass production by the end of 2011. Rossi's affiliation on the paper is given as Leonardo Corp. Leonardo (Bedford, New Hampshire) is a subsidiary of Eon srl a manufacturer of electric generators fueled by vegetable oils and animal fats.