[This is the 4th time I have tried posting this. Let me break it into
Here are some notes about ICCF-15. This is written from memory a few
days after the conference. I did not take notes because I have some
difficulty writing with a pen and paper. So I may have forgotten
important details. Fortunately, a video of the conference was made
and will be distributed to the participants in DVD format. This will
help me prepare more rigorous and comprehensive reports. I do not
know if the video will be made available to the public.
The conference website is here:
The Abstracts are here:
The ICCF-15 conference was held in Rome, Italy October 5-9, 2009. It
was sponsored by the ENEA (the Italian National Agency for New
Technologies Energy and the Environment), the Italian Physical
Society, the Italian Chemical Society, The National Research Council
(CNR), and Energetics Technologies. The conference opened with brief
lectures by the presidents of the Physical and Chemical societies.
They expressed support and best wishes but they seemed to know little
about the subject. Silvestrini, a high official from the EU who is in
charge of efforts to reduce CO2 and prevent global warming, took part
in a panel discussion. He also expressed support for cold fusion but
again, he seemed to know little about it. I got a sense that he does
not realize that if this research pans out, it will solve the energy
crisis completely. He said he hopes this research will be "part of
the solution." In the past, high officials in government and national
societies have ignored or opposed cold fusion, so it was pleasant to
see official support.
Many new and important results were presented. In contrast to recent
conferences, there were no rehash presentations of research done long
ago or results presented at earlier ICCF conferences, although many
described progress or incremental improvements to work presented
earlier. Both the audience and the presenters included many younger
people, especially from the U.S. Navy, the ENEA and Japanese
universities. By "younger" I mean people in their 30s and 40s, rather
than retired professors in their 70s.
There appears to be lot of new funding for the research, perhaps a
million dollars or more per year. That's a lot by the standards of
cold fusion. There may be more effective funding now than there has
been since 1990. I cannot judge whether the dollar amounts are
greater, but the talent and instruments being brought to the subject
are the best they have ever been, with people from the NRL and two or
three U.S. universities with capabilities that rival long-time
researchers at SRI and the ENEA.
(I have to be circumspect about some aspects of this report, such as
describing which universities are doing what. They have not yet gone
public. They do not want to alert people such as Robert Park who
oppose cold fusion. Park and others like him try to derail funding
and destroy the researchers' reputations by various methods such as
publishing assertions in the mass media that the researchers are
frauds, lunatics and criminals.)
The conference organizers distributed two books, the book of
Abstracts with 117 abstracts, and a book titled "Cold Fusion, the
History of Research in Italy" (ENEA, 2008), 217 pages, with 27
papers. (See link above)
There were a number of excellent presentations and papers, such as
Duncan, Kitamura, Grabowski, Sarto and Mizuno and some poorly
presented work that are important and I hope will be made clearer in
the papers, especially Arata and Czerski & Huke. The latter ran
overtime and was cut off before Czerski got to the interesting part,
which is that plasma fusion itself does not obey the so-called laws
of fusion that plasma fusion researchers claim make cold fusion
impossible. Czerski & Huke have published previously. I gather they
have made progress but I had difficulty understanding the
presentation and as I said, it was cut off.
I will not try to cover all of the interesting papers since the
reader can read the abstracts. Some of the newsworthy papers that
impressed me are described below.
Grabowski et al. have made heroic efforts for several years to
replicate Iwamura. Unfortunately they have failed. They visited
Mitsubishi and observed the experiments first-hand. They also used
their extraordinarily sensitive equipment to look for praseodymium in
the laboratories at Mitsubishi. They found some on the weight scales
here. Trace amounts, but perhaps enough to explain some of the
Iwamura's results. Iwamura pointed out reasons why this is unlikely,
such as the fact the Pr did not show up in some experiments, and it
appeared to show up gradually during the course of the experiment. Pr
has only one isotope, so they cannot check for isotopic anomalies.
Subsequent experiments used starting materials that transmute into
extremely rare isotopes of elements with multiple isotopes, so they
cannot be contamination.
Whether Grabowski et al. has significantly weakened the Iwamura
results or not is a matter of opinion. One expert said to me he
considers this "a yellow flag, not a red flag." Another said
"Mitsubishi's work is superb and very careful, but it may not be
careful enough." No one doubts the good faith and hard work of both
Mitsubishi and the NRL. This experiment has been semi-independently
replicated and some of the latter transmutations have not been called
into question by the NRL, but on the other hand they could not be
replicated, either. So you cannot reach a conclusion.
To me, this demonstrates once again that you must have several
independent replications at high signal to noise ratios before you
can believe a result. That is absolutely essential to experimental
science, a fact often forgotten by supporters and skeptics alike. You
can NEVER be sure of a result until replications succeed, and you can
NEVER doubt it after they succeed. The only question is, how many
replications should it take? I say five. Others may settle for three
or hold out for 10. Skeptics who are not persuaded by 200 are not
playing by any known rules of science.
(This may be off topic, but I have been well aware of Grabowski's
work for many years. To those who say I have a big mouth and I never
keep secrets I say: 'Ha! So there! But I still do not want to hear
about your secret projects, okay?' I know of several other "secret"
projects. A few are secret because the researchers think they are
going to make a fortune with intellectual property. This is rare
because most projects are at universities and government labs where
the researchers will earn nothing even if they succeed. Projects are
never secret because of national security issues, contrary to what
some people imagine. Most are secret for one reason only: to keep the
skeptics at bay.)
There were several improved versions and new replications of the
Arata nanoparticle gas loading results, including work from Arata
himself, and from Kitamura, who reported replications earlier this
year in Phys. Lett. A. Arata has improved his calorimetry a great
deal and improved the geometry of the cell, putting the powder on a
series of small shelves which look a bit like the platters in a hard
disk. This allows the gas to reach the particles more quickly.
Kitamura et al. have increased power output by a factor of 8, I
believe mainly by increasing gas pressure by a similar factor. I find
that a little strange, and unnerving. It would seem to indicate that
this is a chemical effect. Takahashi and others confirmed that Pd
particles dispersed in other materials absorb more hydrogen than
Pd-black: "Nano-Pd dispersed sample (Santoku, Pd/ZrO2) retained 100
times more D(H) atoms after evacuation, than the Pd-black case."
Earlier this year I circulated a memo describing the advantages of
the nanoparticle approach. The title is "Gas loaded nanoparticle cold
fusion" and I uploaded a copy here. I also made vigorous efforts to
persuade the Japanese and U.S. researchers to collaborate and share
materials. Whether my memo had any effect I cannot say, but I am
pleased to report that people are collaborating. For example,
Takahashi and Kitamura showed SEM photos of their materials made at Missouri U.
In my opinion, the most outstanding nanoparticle paper is from the
NRL. Here is the whole Abstract:
Does Gas Loading Produce Anomalous Heat?
David A. Kidwell, Allison E. Rogers, Kenneth Grabowski, and David Knies
Chemistry Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375;
Materials Science and Technology Division, Naval Research Laboratory,
Washington, DC 20375
Simple pressurization of nanosized palladium with deuterium appears
to be a simpler and more rapid method to generate anomalous heat
compared to electrolytic systems. A survey of the literature
indicates that palladium particles less than 2 nm in size can obtain
a Pd/D loading near one at modest deuterium pressure. In hundreds of
reactions, we have routinely prepared palladium nanoparticles inside
an aluminosilicate matrix and have found that these systems produce
up to 8 fold more heat with deuterium compared to hydrogen.
Furthermore, a characteristic signature of a pressurization reaction
is its reversibility -- the heat released upon pressurization should
be absorbed upon evacuation. This reversibility is observed with
hydrogen but not deuterium. Although we are still seeking
conventional explanations for this excess heat, the anomalous heat
does not appear to be explained by impurities in the deuterium gas
nor other simple chemical or physical sources. The selection and
preparation of the particles, the experimental set-up, and results
will be discussed.
The aluminosilicate matrix is a nifty method of keeping the particles
apart, so they do not sinter into a large particle with less surface
area. Various other people have tried this in the past but they have
not succeeded as well. Arata separates the Pd nanoparticles by
dispersing them in Zr-O.
The part about reversibility is key. A chemical reaction that is
exothermic in one direction will be endothermic in the other. With
hydride formation in gas, the material heats when you form it, cools
down when you degas it. With electrolytic loading the cell as a whole
cools when you form the hydride, and heats when the cathode deloads,
because the orphaned oxygen during the formation phase removes more
energy from the system than you store in the cathode. Anyway . . . as
described in this abstract:
When you load deuterium into these nanoparticle powders, the
materials produce 8 times more heat that with hydrogen. And although
the chemical heat of formation with deuterium is reversible, there is
an extra component that produces heat only and no endothermic
reaction. You can call this extra component Mysterious Anomaly X.
Just don't call it "cold fusion" if you want to be funded. It is de
rigeur to say "we are still seeking conventional explanations" but
readers here know there is only one explanation, and You Know What It Is.
All recent experiments with nanoparticles and deuterium have produced
excess heat as far as I know. I do not recall hearing about any that
failed, either at the conference or in private communications. So
this experiment is either 100% reproducible or close to it.
[End part 1 - Mizuno follows]