The missing detail from the international effort to validate nickel-hydrogen as 
an anomalous heat source remains a mystery after 26 years. The positive reports 
of gain cannot be ignored, but something major is absent from the knowledge 
base which can explain the mixed results. 

As of now, the best scientific evidence for the thermal anomaly goes all the 
way back to Thermacore Inc. in the mid nineties, including one notable runaway 
reaction. Rossi may have had something valid at one time, but he lost the magic 
and has not been able to reproduce his own gain. His major backer wants their 
$11 million investment back. Randell Mills, despite his protestations, has not 
allowed truly independent replication and continues to stage deceptive PR 
events with a tin cup as the main feature. Plus, BLP no longer uses nickel. 
Parkhomov recently reports gain that is barely above noise. At least 8 
replication attempts of Parkhomov have scarcely shown anything out of the noise 
level. A few Russian, Italian and Chinese attempts look intriguing at first 
glance, and are begging for replication but are not yet reproducible even by 
the original proponents. The Italians, notably, have gone silent.

The following is an effort to identify and characterize the identity of what 
may be required for reliable replication, and it goes back to basics - to the 
active nickel reactant itself. 

Prior to recently, the key was thought to be the nanostructure of nickel powder 
... but the long list of partial successes (or failures) with nanostructured 
nickel have shown that physical structure alone is not enough. Nanostructure 
can possibly help, but it is almost useless without the more important detail. 
The new key finding which is suggested below was found by going back two 
decades to Thermacore and talking to remaining personnel, which Brian Ahern has 
done. It turns out that they did one thing differently twenty years ago - which 
was to use a variety of nickel from an Alberta mine and refining process. This 
is called Sherritt-Gordon nickel and the mine has been closed, since the nickel 
deposit was finally depleted after 60 years.

The specific operative detail of nickel from this source appears to be the 
impregnation of the nickel with dense hydrogen during manufacture. This can be 
done in several ways, but in the Sherritt-Gordon process, it requires the 
leaching of nickel ore using hydrogen in an autoclave under heat and pressure. 
This method is called "pressure hydrometallurgy".

The identification problem we face in LENR - is that dense hydrogen (aka UDH, 
DDL, or hydrino), whether it be defined by Holmlid, Mills or Dirac or as the 
magic "neutron" of W-L, does not turn up in an assay of nickel. Thus, the best 
way to learn whether the nickel has been activated by a population of dense 
hydrogen is to look at the method of manufacture, or in some cases the method 
of pretreatment of the nickel in the lab (for many days or weeks). 

Normal hydrogen would be released from molten metal during the process of 
manufacture and typically comes off as steam, having reduced the metal oxide -- 
but in the S-G process, a fraction of the hydrogen used has apparently become 
densified... and the UDH material will not be released as a gas. Instead, it 
can make the nickel from this process appear to vary in density from the normal 
8902 kg/m^3. 

The Sherritt-Gordon method of manufacture seems to impregnate nickel from its 
point of origin at the refinery by reducing nickel ore using hydrogen instead 
of carbon. This is seldom done in mining, because carbon is cheap while 
hydrogen, even if made from a local supply of natural gas, is more expensive. 
Processing in an autoclave under pressure is also more expensive. This method 
is the subject of about 45 patents which go back 50 years to one metallurgist 
named Vladimir Nicolaus Mackiw of Fort Saskatchewan,Canada chief metallurgist 
of the Sherritt Gordon company. The process was favored primarily because the 
ore also contained cobalt, which is both valuable and can be separated by 
pressure hydrometallurgy but not by coal-based extraction.

Some of the story can be found in "A History of Sherritt – Fifty Years of 
Pressure Hydrometallurgy at Fort Saskatchewan" – by M. E. Chalkley but the 
company itself appears to be unaware of the the dense hydrogen connection - if 
in fact this explanation is valid. 

The one way to know whether the "pressure hydrometallurgy" explanation is valid 
or not is to reproduce the Thermacore runaway. It is a bit of a surprise to 
realize that this obvious tactic has not been undertaken in the past 20 years. 
Of course, runaway reactions are not favored for obvious reasons, but perhaps 
that will change. Hopefully, thanks to the efforts of Brian Ahern, we should 
know the answer early in 2017. Stay tuned.

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