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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 punkguitarist ( 962709 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @11:24AM (#14993564)
    Lets hope Dr.Martin Fleischmann doesn't embaress himself again. I very much doubt this too be true, but fusion in a year would be great!
  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @12:05PM (#14993688)
    However, they claim to have a patent on a "Wobble Yoke" that connects the four pistons together onto a single rotating shaft. This sounds just like a crank shaft on a regular engine. How can that be patented?

    A wobble yoke (otherwise called a wobble plate) transfers the up and down motion of the pistons into a rotation ALONG THE SAME AXIS AS THE PISTON MOTION. In a car, the crankshaft rotates perpendicular to the piston motion. Wobble plates are not new (they've been used in torpedoes among other things), but they may have patented some aspect of the linkage that hasn't been done before...

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @12:16PM (#14993725) Homepage
    You have to admit, subjecting these claims to the marketplace should prove whether or not there's anything to them. The number of people willing to believe their houses are warm when they are cold is probably a lot smaller than the number of people willing to believe they've been cured by quack medicine.

    But... the more things change...

    In 1945, The World Publishing Company published a nice little volume, The Atomic Age Opens edited by one Gerald Wendt and helping explain to the public what recent events meant. Along with quotations by military people who had witnessed the Trinity test, tutorials on neutrons and protons "doing their stuff" (as George Orwell once phrased it), and so forth, were some predictions for the future:

    "Dr. R. M. Langer, physics research associate at the California Institute of Technology, said five years ago in _Collier's_ magazine that U-235 could create a civilization in which man would dwell underground for better living....

    [In the future] 'Light is generated by fluorescence which occurs around U-235 and is piped under the house through transparent plastic sheets along the interiors of rooms,' Langer said. 'The household supply of U-235 is stored and used slowly in the chamber where plants are grown. Appropriate portions are automatically delivered through a tube-distribution system to stations where they are needed to provide heat or power for machinery or cooking....'

    Families will travel short distances in automobiles powered by small chunks of U-235 in a water tank inside the car, he said....

    Admitting that none of the ideas he envisioned have yet been worked out in practice, Langer declared that the difficulties were those of detail...."

  • by hairykrishna ( 740240 ) on Saturday March 25, 2006 @12:38PM (#14993823)

    You could power your house off 235 fission (hey, we do with power plants), possibly even light your house via the glow discharge around a reactor but some people suggest that giving every house a big lump of uranium may not be the most sensible thing to do. So, what prevents us doing this is health, politics and efficiency concerns.

    What prevents us using cold fusion is the fact that it doesn't work and has never worked!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 25, 2006 @02:49PM (#14994306)
    Even if what they discovered (and the jury is still out on that) is some kind of magic radiation free D-D-fusion, it still doesn't work.

    The whole contraption operates at atmospheric pressure, so what you get is at best steam at 100 deg. C or 370K. Converting this to electricity in a perfect (but unobtainable) Carnot machine with a heat sink at 300K gives an efficiency of a measly 20%. So unless this thing puts out at least 5 times the energy being put into it, it won't even be capable of driving itself. No experiment ever demonstrated a gain even near that level, even with fusion occuring a plain old heat pump will be a more efficient heater.

    In short, even if Fleischmann is right (which I very much doubt), there's nothing here to be commercialized. It's a scam, and Fleischmann is no scientist. He probably never was.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.