Multiple sources have confirmed to New Energy Times that a team comprising NASA engineers and an investment group from the U.S. is expanding its interest in the low-energy nuclear reaction research of Italian biophysicist Francesco Piantelli. A meeting with the group and representatives of Piantelli will take place in the next few days.
According to Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, NASA was working months ago on experiments based on Piantelli’s research.
Piantelli’s work with LENR goes back two decades and includes two dozen scientific publications and conference presentations. Piantelli and his colleagues’ only significant challenge came from a group at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, but Piantelli’s group published an effective rebuttal.
The Piantelli group’s nickel-hydrogen LENR work remains the most promising demonstration of LENR technology. New Energy Times wrote two feature articles on Piantelli’s work in 2008. We also wrote a summary of the work in the Wiley and Sons Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia, excerpted as follows:
Whereas electrolytic D/Pd experiments have typically produced scientifically meaningful levels of excess heat, such effects were generally observed only in the milliwatt range. The Piantelli group’s Ni-H gas experiments produced excess heat in the tens of watts.
The researchers explain that an anomalous heating effect in the Ni-H cell takes place “when a cell containing a nickel rod is maintained at temperatures above a critical value and is filled with gaseous hydrogen at subatmospheric pressures.” The critical value is obtained by a heater in the cell that provides constant input power to initially raise and keep the cell temperature at its working value, about 700K. When the heat production rises above the equilibrium condition, the authors identify this as the excited state. Because the experiment can run in the excited state for months a time, the researchers were also able to observe sporadic evidence of both neutrons and gamma rays, which are generally hard to detect in LENR systems because those experiment run for much shorter periods.
Whereas excess-heat-producing electrolytic D/Pd experiments typically ran for days before the electrode corroded or the researcher stopped replenishing electrolyte, the Piantelli group’s hydrogen gas experiments ran continuously in a stable state for months at a time. In November 1998, the group reported two experiments in Il Nuovo Cimento.
Cell “A” produced 38.9 +/-1.5 watts of heat, and cell “B” produced 23.0 +/-1.3 watts of heat. The cells produced excess power continuously at a slowly increasing rate during that period: cell “A” for 278 days; cell “B” for 319 days. The integrated excess energy was 900 MJ for cell “A” and 600 MJ for cell “B.”
New Energy Times has published a bibliography of papers (and download links where available) from the Piantelli group here. The list includes Piantelli’s patent applications. Among other things, the Piantelli work requires very specific surface preparation performed under an ultra-high vacuum.
A few related events happened in September.
On Sept. 2, Samantha McRoskey, an analyst with Diligence Global Business Intelligence, representing an anonymous investor, contacted New Energy Times to learn more about Ni-H LENR research. We directed her to our published reports and analysis.
On Sept. 5 and 6, a team comprising representatives from an investment group and NASA visited Andrea Rossi’s showroom in Bologna. The team went there with an explicit agreement about test parameters and opportunities to observe and evaluate Rossi’s claims. They did not observe any positive results.
On Sept. 22, NASA conducted a LENR Innovation Forum workshop at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Speakers included NASA scientists Joseph Zawodny, Gustave Fralick, Michael Nelson, Jim Dunn and Dennis Bushnell and retired University of Illinois professor George Miley.
At the meeting, Bushnell said that LENR has a strong potential for a new source of energy. He was optimistic about nickel powder LENR solutions.
“The temperature you can get out of [LENR] is interesting,” Bushnell said. “We’ve had to be careful [in our research in] terms of the energetics. I don’t think there is a power [limitation] problem.
“I think the problem now is of raw courage to look into something that is new. We’ve been fortunate to have a center director at Langley that has the courage to support us to do this. We’ve been at it for three or four years.
“The U.S. efforts on this, for reasons I don’t understand, haven’t gone to the Widom-Larsen theory. They also haven’t gone to try to understand the 18 years of hydrogen-nickel [work] with really superb intellectual content. We need to get off of the Pons-Fleischmann electrochemistry and get into flow systems.”