THE ASTI COLD FUSION WORKSHOP -- A PILOT FOR ICCF-7
By Bart Simon and Peter Gluck
REPORT ON ASTI WORKSHOP
Bart Simon and Peter Gluck
"The Asti Cold Fusion Workshop -- a Pilot for ICCF-7" ? The "Asti Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen/Deuterium Loaded Metals," actually the third Italian Workshop on Cold Fusion was organized by ENECO Ltd., chief organizer William Collis, one of most enthusiastic promoters of new energy research in Italy. Everybody has agreed that Bill has done a great job.
Hotel Conte Riccardi at Rocca d'Arazzo, some 7 kilometers from Asti, the capital of Asti province -- a very beautiful area of a wonderful country.
Nov 27, Thursday-Nov 30, Sunday 1997.
Some 60 cold fusioneers, experimentalists and theorists from Italy, US, Japan, France, England, Germany, Canada, Romania. Many of the international leaders of the field were present.
excellent conditions for the lectures (16) and the posters (5), and what is even more important, the best opportunities created for professional scientific discussions, for networking and for collaboration.
Sponsors, besides ENECO, included:
--Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Asti;
--21 mo Secolo Scienza e Tecnologia;
--L'ACN- L'Accessorio Nucleare srl;
--Associazione per lo Sviluppo Scientifico e Tecnologico di Asti;
--The Cincinnati Group from USA;
--Infinite Energy Magazine
General impression and problems.
The "cold fusion" war continues, on many battlefields. In Japan, the official "New Hydrogen Energy" will be stopped in April next year. The reason? "Appalling Management," in Martin Fleischmann's words. Excellent science (as demonstrated in the Asami et al., and the Kamimura et al. papers) combined with such management is a recipe for a disaster. 'Metrologomania' (focusing on measurement and not on the effect), investing many times more little grey cells in the means than in the aims: a cult for calorimetry displacing and replacing the efforts aiming a really strong and reliable excess heat effect. We are at a point where the lack of a theory hurts. A great gap between experimental practice and the most bright theories. One of the world's greatest theorists, Jean-Pierre Vigier, asking for a perfect, self-sustained demo, and for a public acceptance of the reality of cold fusion. With the existing theories: "We all are walking in the fog," as somebody remarked. More or less true. Existing theories which try to reconcile the experimental facts with classical physics cannot help, we need new thinking for the new reality. A brand new paradigm, back to the very basics, Their fault is in not consulting with the successful workers (as Prof. Yoshiaki Arata in Japan); not accepting reality: the classical bulk Pd/D2O system is not able to scale-up.
Some ways are good, some not; we had enough time to see the difference. "Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum," has to be applied.
CF is progressing through some leading, creative groups. One of these, the Cincinnati Group, was present at Asti, and showed us some very valuable and interesting things. We regretted the absence of the president of Trenergy who intended to speak about plasma-injected transmutation.
A strongly polarized field ---good perspectives for LENR/LENT as concluded from the paper of George Miley and the results of the Cincinnati Group contrasted to Mike McKubre's unforgettable lecture about the tremendous difficulties inherent to the classical Pd/D2O cell, and contrasted to the NHE papers. Somewhere in the middle, we learned that the Italian Piantelli et al , system is not dead at all; it is claimed to be nuclear; Piantelli is working separately from his colleagues; scale-up is more difficult than was thought. Good, but not excellent results are coming from France but this is only a new start.
Perhaps I was right stating the truism that the greatest peril and obstacle for CF is irreproducibility and that a solution for the future needs clever management and strategy. ICCF-7 is coming soon, and if the organizers will learn from the ASTI experience, the number of errors and blunders in the field will decrease.
First Day: 27 November 1997, Thursday.
William Collis: Introduction:
Our host described the history, leading principles and ideas, the "raison d'etre" of these workshops, a general image of cold fusion, some open scientific and some settled (and well settled) organization problems. He is promoting the foundation of an European CF community/ organization; he suggested the nice name of HEIDI, that is Hydrogen Energy Innovation and Development Institute (we all like very much Johanna Spyri's novel about the Swiss girl called Heidi). This foundation is conceived as a multi-national, industry-sponsored organization. Good idea, I hope it will become a reality.
Naoto Asami: "On the Material Behaviour of Highly Deuterated Palladium". A comprehensive study, performed in the frame of the now moribund NHE national Japanese plan. The optimum methods for obtaining a high D/Pd ratio in cathodes are presented and the metallurgy, structure, texture, phase composition of the hydride are thoroughly studied. A great part of these data can be found in two papers published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 253-254, 1997, pp 185 and 657. Unfortunately, even the highest D/Pd ratios couldn't generate strong, repeatable, reliable excess heat.
George Miley: "Transmutation Studies Using Thin Film Electrolysis." The lecture started with the announcement that the American Nuclear Meeting planned for 1998 will have a special session dedicated to the low energy nuclear reactions. In my opinion, this lecture was the highlight of the workshop. We learned about the decisive advantages of the thin-film systems, about the open problems, the complex analytical problems starting with adequate sampling, about all the possible impurities, isotopic shifts, theory based on the swimming electron layer concept. The task of making material and energy balances are immensely difficult for the moment. A must read paper.
Due to the absence of reports, the audience could not learn about the recent technological progress made by CETI, the company which created the first technologically viable thin film systems; however it seems that the prospects are good.
Francesco Celani: "The Effect of Gamma/Beta Phase Interface on (H/D) Overloading." Francesco Celani and his team won the Truffle Prize of the workshop for their global achievements and creative contribution to the CF field. He pioneered the use of high frequency pulsed current and of very long Pd wires for Pd loading. Great expertise in electromigration. Despite his innovative methods and very advanced calorimetry, the system still "offers" surprises. It was a front-line report, and we wait eagerly for a continuation.
Felice Iazzi: " Techniques for Loading and Controlling the Deuterium/Palladium Atomic Ratio." A study aiming to find neutrons, with clever combination of gas loading and electrochemical loading methods. They use gold plating and electro-migration to achieve high loading ratios and to avoid unloading.
Hiroshi Kamimura: "Excess Heat Measurement by Fuel Cell Type Electrolysis." An other study performed in the frame of the NHE program, with bulk cathodes. The results are entangled in the very subtleties of the high art of calorimetry, 7-18% excess found with one kind of measurement, not confirmed with an other kind. (isothermal vs. flow calorimeters) Anyway, marginal results are not useful in long range; we need more than some 300% excess, for a self-sustaining demo and for practical applications.
Stefano Veronesi: "Study of the Ni-H system at 600-800 deg K." This is about the Piantelli- Focardi-Habel system, work is continuing. This study has demonstrated that the source of excess heat is nuclear reactions (gamma radiation is found). I asked if the nuclear signals are in concordance with the heat measured and got an affirmative answer. Their calorimetry was questioned by Jacques Dufour. Sergio Focardi, the co-author of the first paper regarding this system explained me that there are problems with the scale-up of the heat excess effect. On other hand, Piantelli is working now independently; we learned that the FIAT company will continue to fund his studies.
After the dinner, a round table discussion was organized aiming to prepare the press conference of the following day. The discussions were dominated by the temperamental theorist, Giuliano Preparata who pleaded energically for straight attacks against the scientific establishment. The more moderate and diplomatic approaches (e.g by Collis, Vigier, Biberian and myself) the last based on a presentation of the technological prospects of the field, as those of CETI, CINCY, E-QUEST, ARATA, BLACKLIGHT POWER etc. couldn't convince the 'radicals. The possibility to persuade the Establishment by using a perfect theoretical demonstration was questioned by many, including Vigier himself.
The second day: Friday, November 28.
A press conference was organized at the Cassa di Risparmio di Asti, actually a great bank which is cleverly sponsoring innovative research. We listened to speeches of the organizers and the local authorities, Professors Preparata and Stremmenos expressed their opinion regarding the scientific Establishment. However, everything went well, Francesco Celani got the prize, a great genuine truffle and a Cincinnati Cell, other speeches by a beautiful lady (name withheld) representing the Cincinnati Group, by the prize-winner, photographs, no questions from the press.
Next point in the program was a splendid luncheon banquet at the elegant Hotel Reale. Then a visit to the Contratto Wine Cellars in a small town called Canelli. Back to the hotel Villa Riccardi; the guest of honor, Martin Fleischmann, had just arrived.
The third day: Saturday, November 29.
Jacques Dufour: "Effect of Hydrex on a Photoelectric Cell." Dufour's excess heat studies (rather complex and not directly scalable) have concluded that there are no nuclear ashes and hydrogen collapse mechanism is at work leading to Hydrex (Deutex) atoms. In the Asti lecture a very sophisticated but convincing study was presented: the hydrex state is formed due to strong magnetic fields, and excess heat effects were demonstrated by using a photoelectric cell. Dufour plans to present a transmutation effect of hydrex at ICCF-7. His experimental data are in concordance with Vigier's theory.
Bill Collis: "Cold Fusion or Cold Fission?" Collis has developed advanced computer programs for identifying and selecting the nuclear reactions which can take place in cold fusion systems. He suggested that any theory/explanation needs to account for the following observations: very few gammas, few X-rays, He, transmutations of heavy elements, similar levels of excess heat in H and D based systems, tritium and neutrons in H systems, no 14.1 MeV neutrons. Deuterium does not fuel the reaction, technical grade materials work better than pure ones (Mike McKubre especially makes this point). Perhaps the major contentious point here is the idea that H and D are not the fuel in CF reactions. Collis went on to discuss the kinds of nuclear reactions researchers should be looking for and the possibility of basing new experiments on theoretical predictions.
Peter Gluck: "The Reproducibility Problem in Cold Fusion Systems." Using a standard managerial technique (SWOT analysis - Strengths - Weaknesses - Opportunities - Threats) and an original classification of the experimental CF systems, Gluck opposed the classical bulk Pd cathode/D2O setup with the so called "evolutive energy" systems based on catalysis and/or cavitation. In his opinion, only the later can lead to viable and reproducible commercial energy generating (CETI, BLACKLIGHT POWER, E-QUEST, ARATA, HYDRODYNAMICS, YUSMAR) and/or LENT (CINCINNATI GROUP, CETI) devices. He predicted that classical theories will continue to fail in explaining the new phenomena, a radical paradigm shift will be necessary. Management is the key to the future development of the field.
Giuliano Mengoli: " The Nickel-K2CO3 System: an Electrochemical and Calorimetric Investigation." Obviously, Fleischmann's choice; an excellent electrochemical study with innovative calorimetry. It's value and beauty is in the details and these can be understood only by reading the paper in extenso.
Jean-Paul Biberian: "Cold Fusion Results Obtained in Grenoble, France." Biberian announced the major good news of the conference.The French government is now officiallly supporting CF research at Grenoble (talk about a reversal of fortune). The Grenoble group looks to be in good shape for at least the next three years. The program includes replication of the Fleischmann-Pons system, experiments with the CETI cell and work with solid electrolyte devices. Definitely positive results had been obtained, however Biberian was not contented with the level of the excess heat effects and is not absolutely convinced about the reality of the LENR results. A very good team and program, anyway, just starting large scale research.
Jean-Pierre Vigier: "Possible Theoretical Consequences of "Cold Fusion" Experiments." Vigier's theory of new Bohr orbits is a great achievement per se, irrespective of its correlation to cold fusion. According to it, the source of excess heat is the collapse of the hydrogen atom in tight orbits, a concept in the front-line of the theory (Vigier is developing quantum mechanics while Mills is radical and heretical, the future will show who was right). The results of Dufour and thats of Szpak are proving Vigier's theory, and in Belgrade a team of scientists is working in the same direction. New details about Vigier's theory will be found in publication in Physics Letters A.
Antonio Spallone: who works with Celani, reported on some of the Frascati experiments, more studies of Pd loading, more studies of excess heat production using flow calorimetry. Again the importance of dealing with electromigration in achieving high loading was discussed and a warning not to try and load the cathodes too quickly. This is the common theme--in pursuit of excess heat it is wise to design a protocol which can maintain high loading at high voltage. One of the main reasons for irreproducibility of excess heat is the problem of sudden, uncontrollable deloading in the course of an experiment.
Francesco Premuda: "A Unified Theory of Cold Fusion and Superconductivity." Premuda has presented his theory based on the possible formation of special zones in plasma localized in the defect places of the lattice. The ideas have been presented in a very highly mathematical manner. This paper has to be studied in extenso. An important aspect is the that of the dimensional, structural and functional characteristics of that peculiar places in the lattice; an adequate description/model has to be found. Premuda's theory is stimulating this endeavor.
Michael McKubre: "Materials Issues of Loading Deuterium into Palladium and the Association with Excess Heat Production." A most impressive work, with really tragical elements in it due to the terrifying complexity and difficulty of the subject, perfectly shown by McKubre. Irreproducibility seems to be inherent to this system and ultrafine details can transform a working cathode in a dead one. They are no two cathodes with the same loading-deloading behavior. McKubre reported about almost 8 years of research at SRI with pretty disappointing results, but scientifically clearly positive. My (PG) reaction was radical; "Crush your cathodes, Mike!"
Vittorio Violante: "Lattice Ion trap -- Classical and Quantum Description." A theoretical study demonstrating that nuclear reactions in the lattice are possible due to the combined effects of trap force, electrostatic interaction, and non-linearity. Both the classical representation and the quantum mechanical one show an interaction effect between deuterons in the lattice. A theoretical "new wave" work, with many Italian supporters.
Fulvio Frisone: "Study on the Probability of Interaction Between the Plasmons of Metal and Deuterons." A theoretical work; the author has studied the influence of impurity concentration on the phenomenon of fusing of deuterons, catalyzed by the "efficacious" interaction with the plasmons of the metal. The numeric calculation, conducted on different metals considering the degree of impurities present in the reticulum, shows that the probability of fusion is amplified by the impurities. This result is confirmed qualitatively by the trend of the potential gap that describes the interaction inside the metal (and by many experimental data).
Lino Daddi: "On the Detection of Cold Fusion Neutrons by Radioactivation." An experimental study and tutorial, describing the principle and practical application of the radioactivation method, specific for the detection of neutrons.
A very important example of application of the method to the Siena experiment is presented, where gold activation was used (to be published in Il Nuovo Cimento). The method can be used for both the cases of continuous or burst-like neutron emissions.
F.Celani, A.Spallone, P.Tripodi, P.Marini, G.Selvaggi, "A Preliminary D/Pd Loading Study: Anomalous Phase Transition Effect."
I.N.F.N.- Frascati National Lab.
C. Cammarota, W. Collis, A. Rizzo, C. Stremmenos: "Calorimetric Measurements on Nickel Samples Charged with Hydrogen," (in Italian). An experimental study, demonstrating exothermal reactions in the system (81 Mcal/mol Ni in 35 days), local melting (!), and formation of craters on the surface of the sample. New elements appear in these craters (study continuing). [Typical of charge cluster formation and explosion. Ed.]
Dr. Peter Gluck
Institute of Isotopic and Molecular Technology,
Cluj-Napoca, str. Donath 65-103, P.O.Box 700 Cluj 5, 3400 Romania
or: email@example.com .
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Jan. 26, 1998.