>From time to time, people tell me that if only we had a practical device, cold fusion research would be funded. McKubre and many others have pointed that a practical device is the end-point of research, not where you start. People don't seem to realize this. Over at lenr-forum.com someone wrote:
". . . nothing could have a larger world wide market than even a modest compact space or water or food heater that runs long periods on a small amount of inexpensive fuel." My response: That is obvious. But unhelpful. If we had anything remotely like that, we could instantly get billions of dollars of investment money. If it were generally known that such a machine existed, every industrial company on earth would be frantically investigating it, and reverse engineering it at the earliest opportunity. The problem is to get from where we are now to the kind of thing you describe. We have to go from something like the repeatable but low power shown by Takahashi et al. and replicated by Beiting, to a larger, more reliable version. If that can be done at all, it will take some amount of money ranging from several million dollars to a billion dollars. I have no idea where in that range it will cost. The thing is: *no one has any idea*. No one knows whether it can be done, how it can be done, or how much it will cost. If anyone tells you they know these things, that is a good indication they don't know what they are talking about. Finding an effective way to do cold fusion might require something like the Wildcat Discovery Technologies approach, which must cost hundreds of millions. I have no idea how much, but it sure looks expensive. It is probably hundreds of times better than old fashioned manual R&D techniques. See: http://www.wildcatdiscovery.com/technology/high-throughput-workflow/#hs1: Needless to say, there is not a snowball's chance in hell that anyone will put that kind of money into cold fusion. It might take centuries to do the same amount of research that this technique could accomplish in a year. So we might never get there. We are trying to develop this without a theory, so the pace of progress is likely to be the same as it was with technology before 1700. The technique was mainly trial and error, so it took centuries to accomplish what modern science can accomplish in decades. So far, almost all of the investors and venture capitalists have been unwilling to lift a finger or risk any money to make that transition. Other than I.H. and the Mysterious Person funding Texas Tech., venture capitalists have been useless. They are waiting for the outcome to be a sure thing before they invest. As Mark Twain said about bankers, they will only give you money when you don't need it. Based on my experience, venture capitalists say they are in business of taking risks, but most of them are lying. They do not actually want to take risks. They want to invest in a sure thing that looks like a risk to other people. Those other people know less about the product, so they will not invest. This lowers the cost and lets the venture capitalist buy a larger share from the people who developed the product (the inventors, programmers, or businesspeople). Venture capitalists want to look as if they are taking a risk, without actually taking one. Cold fusion is an actual risk, so not one in a thousand venture capitalists will touch it. The other problem with the present era is that money is sloshing around in unprecedented amounts looking for a home, yet paradoxically the wealthy have never been wealthier. There is no need for them to take risks, so they will not take any. They can make a fortune by rentier capitalism. This was situation in California after the discovery of gold in the 1850s, which is why the Transcontinental Railroad could not be funded. San Francisco was filled with millionaires who could make another million easily and without much risk, by opening another gold or silver mine. The would literally -- actually -- light cigars with burning $100 bills to flaunt their wealth. Not one of them would risk investing an railroad, because they could make money without risk elsewhere. The railroad had to wait until Lincoln passed a law under which the Federal government subsidized the construction and lent a lot of money. Uncle Sam took most of the risk. It was a sure thing after that. Capitalists such as Leland Stanford were then willing to risk their own money, knowing that Uncle Sam had their back. (They might have lost money, but it was unlikely. They did have to pay back the loans, but they had decades to do that.) It was finished in 1869. The government made a lot of money on the interest for the loans, so it benefited everyone. The point is, capitalists would never have taken that risk on their own. >From time to time, exceptionally stupid capitalists have actually said to me: "This looks interesting. Call me if anyone ever comes up with a reliable method of doing it." I try to answer politely: "We won't need you if someone comes up a reliable method." What they are saying is akin to: "if you go looking for gold, and you happen to find tons of it lying around on the ground, free for the taking, I will be happy to come and take half of it away from you in return for nothing." They don't seem to realize that is what they are offering.