Cold Fusion, or Cold Shoulder?

For some, one of the greatest concerns of the present day involves the hope for a vast overhaul of the way humans use and obtain energy. While some advocate tapping existing resources (such as drilling for oil), many are focused on the future with emerging trends toward sustainable or “green” energy systems, which include utilizing ocean currents, wind, geothermal energy and sunlight in processes that can generate electricity. The energy innovations of the future, however, are occurring today, according to some.

The latest circumstance to have emerged with regard to such energy innovations occurred last week, when two Italian scientists with the University of Bologna announced that they developed “a cold fusion device capable of producing 12,400 W of heat power with an input of just 400 W.” Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi, the men behind the claims, released their information both through a scientific journal and a press conference held in Bologna which, curiously, was only open to the press on an invitation basis. 50 people attended the pair’s demonstration, where they claimed to have shown how their fusion device worked. But many questions remain… and they don’t merely pertain to the immediate question as to whether the two have indeed managed to harness the power of cold fusion.

While Rossi and Focardi say their unique process can produce energy in ways that cost “significantly less than coal or natural gas plants,” Clay Dillow, writing for Fox News, recently argued that we’ve yet to actually see reliable proof of what Rossi and Focardi are claiming. “The problem is, they haven’t provided any details on how the process works. After their paper was rejected by several peer reviewed scientific journals, it was published in the Journal of Nuclear Physics,” which Dillow points out was an online journal; and not only that, but a publication which Rossi and Focardi founded themselves.

“Further,” Dillow continued, “they say they can’t account for how the cold fusion is triggered, fostering deep skepticism from others in the scientific community.” If the two are actually making the claim that this process will be made available commercially by the end of 2011, how is it that they can state that their process works, if they indeed cannot account for what what exactly triggers the fusion itself? At best, the claims these two are making at present seem dubious… and for now, you can call me a pessimist if you like, but I’ll keep my bets on windmills and solar panels.

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Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.
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