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Fleischmann to Work on Commercial Fusion Heater 245

deeptrace writes "California company D2Fusion has announced they are hiring Dr. Martin Fleischmann (of 'Pons and Fleischmann' fame). The company belives that they can produce a commercial fusion based home heating prototype within a year. They are also looking at other applications, such as using it as a heat source for a commercially available Stirling electrical generator."
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Fleischmann to Work on Commercial Fusion Heater

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  • by smokin_juan ( 469699 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @12:53PM (#14993886) Homepage Journal
    Animations are better... a wobble yoke in action [].
  • by leftie ( 667677 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @01:25PM (#14994004)
    There is no question that Pons and Fleischmann discovered some kind of previous unknown phenomena in their U Utah lab in the late 1980's. The question is what? If Pons and Fleischmann send in their research to scientific journals saying we did this experiment and we regularly got excess heat we can't expalin and we don't know why, Pons and Fleischmann are heroes to the scientific community.

    Where Pons and Fleischmann made their mistake was rushing to the press to stick a label "Cold Fusion" to their unexplained phenomena that they even admitted they didn't really understand.

    Whatever the phenomenon Pons and Fleischmann discovered is, too many people have repeated similar work and been successful getting similar results.

    Mendel did a lot of great work on genetics and heredity without knowing a thing about DNA. I have a feeling the Pons and Fleischmann work will be a similar situation. They found an experiment that proves something in a science we are incapable of analyzing yet.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @01:49PM (#14994098) Homepage
    Here's their SEC filing. []. Remember, lies here are felonies.

    On August 18, 2005, the Company acquired D2Fusion Inc. ("D2Fusion"), as a wholly owned subsidiary in exchange for a five (5) year convertible debenture in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000) and an agreement to advance up to two million two hundred thousand ($2,200,000) in the form of loans over the next twelve (12) months to capitalize D2Fusion' initial business plan. The stock purchase agreement further commits the Company to assist D2Fusion to have direct access to public markets within the next six (6) months for the purpose of raising additional funds in excess of those committed by the Company. D2Fusion is a research and development company staffed by scientists and engineers working toward the delivery of proprietary solid-state fusion aimed at entry level heat and energy applications for homes and industry. Solid-state fusion is a technology more widely recognized under the name "cold-fusion." Unlike the reactions in "cold-fusion," D2Fusion technology uses much simpler and more reliable solid state processes more akin to high temperature super-conductor physics to produce and control radiation-free fusion reactions. In this simplest form of fusion two deterium atoms which are contained and constrained under solid state conditions fuse to form a single helium atom. Each new helium atom created is accompanied by an enormous energy release. Under ideal conditions, one gram of hydrogen fuel is equivalent to billions of watts of energy. Russ George and Dr. Tom Passell, who head the Palo Alto based company, have been involved with solid state fusion research since 1989. Successful experimental prototypes have been tested at Stanford Research Institute. The immediate intention of D2Fusion is to produce kilowatt scale thermal prototypes which will be further tested and refined by collaborating research groups in the Silicon Valley, Los Alamos, the US Navy, and Frascati, Italy. D2Fusion's ultimate goal is to produce heat and electricity at a fraction of today's cost with no emissions. The Company is well aware of the controversy surrounding "cold fusion" technology. However, the Company believes that there is sufficient global evidence that the risk/reward ratio merits investment. Should D2Fusion's prototype technology be scaled to commercial size it will help solve much of the world's energy, water, and pollution problems.

    That "successful experimental prototypes have been tested at Stanford Research Institute" line looks very suspicious. For one thing, there is no "Stanford Research Institute" today. It's been "SRI International" since 1970.

  • by hairykrishna ( 740240 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @02:55PM (#14994328)
    Actually, no. If you pull two deuterium nuclei together you get Helium-3 and a neut (50% of the time) or Tritium and a proton (50% of the time). So, half of your reactions produce a neutron. The reaction you present, deuterium+deuterium->helium is actually VERY unlikely (basically impossible under normal conditions due to parity concerns). Even if, due to some phenomenon unknown to current physics, he was exclusively doing this reaction there would be a flux of high energy gamma rays which would be easily detectable.

    It is important to note that the cold fusion advocates claimed for a long time to be detecting excess neutrons and only switched to this new 'it must be D-D->He reactions' when people pointed out that their neutron detection methodology was badly flawed.

  • by Phys Rev fanboy ( 962859 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @02:58PM (#14994336)
    Admittedly, I'm a high-energy physicist as opposed to a condensed matter physicist, but to me it looks like a bunch of BS. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's completely wrong, but there is at least one very large hole - I didn't read much more after I realized this one. Its section on Coulomb forces never truly explains how the Coulomb barrier is overcome. It uses a bunch of words to state, as far as I can tell, that because deuterons are bosons they can ignore the traditional Coulomb pressure. It is true that, as bosons, they aren't affected by Fermi pressure, but the parallel they draw to superconductivity is backwards. Namely, in a superconductor, it is an arractive force overcoming the Coulomb force that makes electrons pair, not the other way around. They can make all sorts of approximations of many-body physics, but when it comes down to it they don't explain how a deuteron-deuteron Coulomb force can be overcome. (There is, of course, always the possibility that one deuteron will quantum-tunnel through the barrier, but the probability of that happening is so low that it can't really be useful as any kind of energy source.)
    Without that, their theory is up the creek without a paddle. I wouldn't mind seeing cold fusion, and I'll happily admit there are a number of things about physics that aren't understood, but that explanation doesn't work.
  • by mesocyclone ( 80188 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @11:32PM (#14996222) Homepage Journal
    There is no question that Pons and Fleischmann discovered some kind of previous unknown phenomena in their U Utah lab in the late 1980's.


    See my previous posting on the numerous experimental errors in their original experiment and paper. What they demonstrated is that they were very poor at experimental design, and did extremely sloppy calorimetry. I would suggest that anyone who tends to believe this stuff look into both the history of experiments in cold fusion in the late '80s, and then the fascinating story of the very similar polywater [] controversy of the late '60s.

    The cold fusion episode was a classic example of pathological science.

    Furthermore, people have been studying the thermodynamics of deuterium adsorption into palladum since the 19th century! Nothing new here.
  • by pfdietz ( 33112 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @05:29PM (#14999362)
    It's incomprehensible to me how anyone could have the reckless disregard for their personal integrity to lie so baldly and maliciously misinform naive readers.

    The thing is, we're not terminally deluded, as you apparently are. To the extent P&F's results were reproduced, it was because others reproduced the experimental sloppiness that led P&F to delude themselves into thinking they had discovered something interesting.

    There was a flood of mutually inconsistent 'results' during the initial flurry of work. It can all be explained as a variety of experimental errors, perhaps combined with outright fraud. There are no -- repeat, no -- convincing, replicable experiments that show nuclear reactions occuring in 'cold fusion' experiments of the P&F variety.

    But the cranks and idiots will continue to believe in cold fusion, just as they believe in UFOs as alien spacecraft, ESP, Bigfoot, and numerous other pseudoscientific tropes.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb