The Big Question: Will cold fusion really end world’s energy crisis?
Why are we asking this question now?
The question of cold fusion and its practicality has been out in the open for a while now. This has been all the more true since Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann came out with their claim that they actually recorded this process in a scientific setup in their lab. But, very soon it was proved by others that the ‘Pons – Fleischmann’ experiment was more a misinterpretation of data and a few laboratory errors rather than a revolutionary process to produce energy. But with the latest disaster in Japan and Fukushima Nuclear Plant once again the world is sensing a real danger of the current fission based nuclear reactors. So where exactly do we move on from here?
The seriousness of current situation
Nuclear reactors are generating waste across the planet on a daily basis. According to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) there are about 439 nuclear reactors in the world today that are spread across 31 countries. But safety concerns that come attached with these nuclear reactors are ever present and growing by the day. No matter how hard science tries to keep up and improve on safety mechanisms that it calls ‘fool-proof’, it just has not been able to achieve that even after decades of development in safety features. While the horror at Chernobyl jolted the 80’s and 90’s a reality check about fission reactors, the latest catastrophe at Fukushima reiterated the fact that safety is never guaranteed.
While it would be wise to point that these were the only two nuclear disasters that were scaled at ‘Level 7’ on the International Nuclear Event Scale, there have been others that have also spewed radioactive material and caused concerns at a smaller scale. As the world today produces 13 to 14 percent of its electricity using nuclear fission process, can we really afford another Chernobyl? This is where the concept of cold fusion comes in.
While fusion generally takes place at phenomenally higher temperatures, cold fusion proposes a nuclear fusion at room temperature or at similar conditions. Most of these experiments involved Palladium and its ability to react with Heavy Water (Deuterium) to produce an exothermic process in the end. While none of the results have so far been able to convince the world of a successful cold fusion process, let us take a look at designers who are already counting on it to power them on.
Innovations that count on cold fusion
Torus Design Concept Home
Designed to take advantage of the Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR – the name which people have attributed to cold fusion in the last decade or so after the initial idea was considered unviable) this concept home is powered by a cold fusion system. There is also a green house, an underground shelter along with every other feature you would find in a home. The only extra addition is the Cold Fusion power source.
E-Cat cold fusion power plant
Andrea Rossi is set to prove to the world that cold fusion is indeed a viable and reliable power source, which can power our homes in the years to come. He has already produced an E-Cat cold fusion power plant, which supposedly produced 470 KW of energy in five hours. The problem though is that it could not produce continuous and sustainable power. But this seems to be a bit of a start.
E-Cat engine to heat your homes
This one again comes from Andrea Rossi and while the man even filed for a patent on the engine and its technology, it was struck down with reasons of lack of proper scientific validation or experimental results to back it up. We really do not know if the E-Cat machine works well and if Rossi has stumbled upon perfect cold fusion, even if it is unknowingly or all of this is indeed false.
The Hurdles and the possibilities ahead
The first major hurdle for cold fusion is very simple and it is scientific validity. The core principle test of science is repeatability. Under the same conditions and with same materials, the same result must be produced every single time. Cold fusion has just not achieved that and sporadic one or two claims of doing so will not make the technology acceptable. Certain theories regarding cold fusion are plagued with gaping logical holes. Sustained and controlled energy production is another problem.
If the hurdles are overcome and cold fusion does take place, then we could be headed into a future that does away with both carbon emissions and radioactive waste. Just for that sake, we do hope men like Andrea Rossi are right and cold fusion turns a reality in the next few decades.