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infinite energy


Infinite Energy Device Update
New Energy Research Laboratory Device and Process Testing Update
Published in IE Volume 5, Issue #28. By Ed Wall and Jeffery Kooistra. November 1999
On the electromagnetic side of things, the frontiers of knowledge were pushed back not at all since our last update. However, the reasons for this are good ones— we were concentrating on patenting and putting together demonstrations of the things we've already discovered for potential investors. So now we are acquiring more computing power and more machine shop tools so that the onslaught against the unknown can really progress at high speed.

On the cold fusion side, incremental progress has been made in researching the best processes to investigate and the best methods for proceeding in these investigations. Testing is proceeding on the Case cell. Because the Case cell investigation has been going on so long, a brief history seems in order.

Case Cell History
The idea of gas-phase cold fusion predated Dr. Les Case's experiments, which were announced at ICCF-7.1,2,3 However, the use of industrial catalytic material for cold fusion work did not attract much attention before he did his long series of tests to determine if such efforts might be commercially valuable. He came to the conclusion that an aneutronic nuclear process occurred that resulted in the production of substantial amounts of helium and excess heat within his cells using deuterium gas with a catalyst from United Catalysts, Inc. The externally heated catalyst and deuterium gave excess temperature readings, compared to runs where ordinary hydrogen was used in place of the deuterium. This announcement generated considerable excitement, and some replication work, including the first observation of the "excess temperature" effect right here at NERL (see IE No. 19, pp. 32-35).

EarthTech's Scott Little quickly put together a cell to see if he could confirm the claims.4 In a series of runs with a cell configuration that did not at all closely resemble Case's cells, no excess heat was detected in eight runs. The cell used three thermocouples inserted at different depths into the catalyst, and so a thermal gradient could be recorded. The cell was enclosed in insulation that was inside a flow calorimeter envelope, an insulated coil of copper tubing. Water flowed through the tubing and was warmed. The flow rate and measured increase in temperature determined the reported heat output of the calorimeter. Little obtained very nearly the same heat out as heater energy in for all the reported runs. He did report slight excess temperature in run 1b, but none in run 2, 3, 4, or 5. Run 6 had a slight increase in deuterium temperature, but none was noted in the catalyst bed. That run had an interesting thermal oscillation in gas temperature, which he believed to be due to thermal instabilities. It was repeated with quartz chips and the same anomaly was observed. In run 8, he did not use regular hydrogen, so no comparison of temperature was made, only heat determination was done, and no excess heat was seen. Little wrote, "There was no sign of the gradually increasing temperature that Dr. Case has observed."

Les Case lent a small cell to NERL, which he took the time to demonstrate to Gene Mallove. In this experiment, definite excess temperature was seen. Its characteristic was a gradual increase from above the established hydrogen baseline over several hours. In further experiments, we did not have the very same heating mantle that Dr. Case employed, so we improvised by placing a mantle at the bottom of a large Dewar and placing the cell on top of it and covering the Dewar. The cell had one thermocouple in the thermowell. At that stage, our calorimetry was rather simplistic, but gradually grew more sophisticated. Thermocouples were attached to the neck of the cell, which would provide data that was thought to be independent of the difference in heat conduction between the two gasses. In fact, no excess temperature of the catalyst thermowell or the neck temperature was found over an extensive set of runs. The variability of room temperature caused problems, so a constant temperature hood was constructed to improve the data resolution, but still no excess temperature was seen.

The repeated hydrogen charges and pressurization took their toll on the cell, which was made from a World War II surplus stainless steel oxygen bottle. Something called "stress corrosion cracking" was occurring in the vicinity of the welds. After a couple of welding repairs (see photo 1 in IE #28, p. 28), and more cracking, the cell had to be abandoned. Dr. Case was kind enough to provide us with an unmodified oxygen bottle to get us back in business.

By considering the difference between Case's arrangement and ours, it became apparent that both in Little's setup and in our Dewar, the cell was exposed to very little temperature gradient. Perhaps that gradient was essential to the process. Within the hood, the cover on the Dewar was removed and a fan was installed to blow the constant temperature air onto the exposed top of the cell. Getting the catalyst to the desired temperature range required much more heater power. A big temperature difference was also found between deuterium and hydrogen runs at the same heater power. Surprisingly, a similar temperature difference between different hydrogen runs at the same heater power was found. Any slight movement of the cell in the Dewar resulted in big catalyst temperature swings. This was disturbing, because it cast into doubt any sort of calorimetry that relied on simple thermometry. It was apparent that an actual calorimeter would have to be constructed. The calorimeter would have to allow for exchanges of gas without disturbing the cell.

It seemed possible to improvise something resembling a Seebeck Envelope by using the constant temperature air as the reference medium instead of the outside wall of a chamber. This idea may have merit, but after some failed efforts, it was decided to go ahead and build a water flow calorimeter, with a lot of help from Scott Little and Mike Carrell. Much has been written about this in previous Updates, so only the current status of the calorimeter at this time will be described. It works well, but the environment temperature fluctuations were still a problem, so a chamber was provided around the insulated tubing coil that is kept at constant air temperature. This results in some very steady heat readings, so steady that the biggest problem with heat output readings is that the peristaltic pump flow rate varies (as much as 1% in a day), which may be improved by enclosing the pump inside the constant air temperature chamber.

We have just reached day 32 in an almost continuous deuterium run that has seen the temperature of the catalyst gradually rise (it is still rising slightly) around 32ºC above hydrogen baseline. We can think of no prosaic explanation for this anomaly, yet there does not seem to be a corresponding quantity of excess heat as measured by the flow calorimeter. Although the higher catalyst temperature with deuterium only occurs with convection currents, those currents are not believed to be the cause of the slow temperature rise, because it is such a steady rise.

This large excess temperature only occurs when there is a considerable thermal gradient across the cell. The setup has about 20 feet of 1/4" tubing wrapped around the top of the cell, circulating cool water, while the heater is driving the catalyst bed to over 200ºC. The resulting thermal convection has to be considerable. Photo 2 shows the top view of the large coil with the cell inside, packed in fiberglass insulation, all within the constant temperature air chamber. A thermistor assembly is visible on the right. The layer of fiberglass insulation was installed around this big coil to reduce heat losses other than via water flow.

While we do see some rapid excursions in the temperature readings from the two thermocouples in the thermowell buried in the catalyst bed, they are less than 0.25ºC, which is dwarfed by the slow trend in temperature increase (see Figure 1 in IE #28, p. 29). It should be noted that some increase in catalyst temperature was seen with ordinary hydrogen. The rapid excursions are presumed to be due to convection currents.

A sampling canister with a Nupro bellows valve (very slow helium leakage) was purchased to sample our deuterium gas and sent to SRI. Fran Tanzella (Dr. McKubre's associate) ran tests on it and determined that the helium concentration was quite low, in fact, less than 0.1 ppm (5.22 ppm is atmospheric concentration). We are now at the point where we will sample gas from the cell and have the helium level determined again at SRI. Along with helium, nitrogen levels would be useful to determine whether atmospheric helium might be a possible source.

The change in the calorimeter to implement the constant temperature chamber essentially invalidated the pre-run calibration. Consequently, any determination of excess heat will be performed by a post-run calibration. This will be performed after many prolonged vacuum pump-downs of the cell, using a cold trap, and charging with ordinary hydrogen in order to remove all of the deuterium. This is done with the catalyst heated to promote release of trapped deuterium. It is expected that the pump-down cycles will continue until a consistent temperature reading for catalyst temperature is attained.

The heat measurement in the flow calorimeter is not as precise as would be needed to be confident in small amounts of excess heat. The standard deviation (sigma) of the heat output, which has been rather constant since the installation of the constant temperature chamber (15 days) is 0.2 W. Therefore, a minimum excess heat of 0.6 W is required to be seen as statistically significant excess.

The power to the cell heater was turned off and the cell cooled overnight. When the heateršs regulated power supplies were turned back on, the input power returned to its former level, as did the catalyst temperature and the heat measured in the calorimeter. The catalyst temperature did not repeat the weeks long slow rise to get back to 223ºC, where it was when the heater power was killed.

In summary, any excess heat is small and will be determined after the run is complete and calibration is performed with regular hydrogen. Helium analysis of the cell gas will be conducted at SRI.

HydroSonic PumpTM
After many months of waiting and anticipation, the nominal 75HP device was activated for the first time here on the night of October 13,1999; the local utility company required we run it at night. It seemed to run all right, but readings for current and voltage on the three phases seemed very high. This may be a result of the SCR controller, which switches power at each cycle in order to optimize power factor, creating a very non-sinusoidal waveform and confounding the power analyzer. That feature will be disabled for the next run, which will not be conducted until we can arrange for a better water flow system. The water flow rate was much too slow, but was all that our buildingšs well pump would provide. The output water was boiling in about a minute, with temperature climbing rapidly.

For now, we have no useful test data to report on the Griggs HydroSonic PumpTM, other than a successful power-up.

Pantone Engine
Paul Pantone called recently to tell us that his company, Global Environmental Energy Technology (GEET)5, decided to give away the plans to their main technology in the hope that people would take advantage of it. Paul has spent a large portion of his life developing a process that has the ability to make ordinary internal combustion engines capable of using fuels that are not ordinary fuels. Simply put, the device uses exhaust heat to pre-treat the air/fuel mixture on its way to the combustion chamber. On first inspection, the idea certainly seems like a good way to recover some waste heat, and it turns out that automobile manufacturer Jaguar, among others (see his website), have investigated this sort of method for their own reasons. A distinct feature that Pantone employs is a special rod within the air/fuel stream.

Many amazing claims are made about this technology, which revolve around the idea that an air/fuel plasma forms in the heat exchanger. There is one clear anomaly that seems to stand out. There is a magnetic field near this exhaust/fuel heat exchanger, which was reported to be very strong (i.e. strong enough to erase credit cards from typical viewing distance of several feet). This strong field was not witnessed in the limited testing of the small type of device in our possession, but a field was found, initially using a compass, and it seemed to have some anomalous properties. The field associated with any piece of steel is typically stronger than the background geomagnetic field and non-uniform, as found by examining various samples around the lab with a magnetometer, so it should not be surprising that a field would be associated with the heat exchanger rod.

Testing over a year ago on this 10 HP Tecumseh GEET modified engine revealed that the rod and surrounding steel diverted a compass needle from geomagnetic north both while the engine was running and when it was not running. The magnetization of the rod was found to be N on one end and S on the other, with field intensity close to geomagnetic strength. The rod was installed in the engine with its N end toward the muffler. The engine was run for about 7 minutes and the rod was removed. The end that was N was now S. The rod was reinstalled in the same way, so now the end near the muffler was S. The engine was run for another 12 minutes. The rod was removed and its field checked again. This time, both ends were found to be N, and the center was S. These checks were made with both a compass and magnetometer. The thermal gradient along the length of the rod, combined with engine vibration, may cause seemingly random changes in magnetization. It is too soon to conclude anything, but this is interesting.

NOTES:

  1. P. Raj, P. Suryanarayana, A. Sathyamoorthy and T. Datta. 1989. "Search for Nuclear Fusion in Gas Phase Deuteriding of Titanium Metal," BARC Studies in Cold Fusion, April-September.
  2. F.G. Will, K. Cedzynska, M-C. Yang, J.R. Peterson, H.E. Bergeson, S.C. Barrowes, W.J. West, and D.C. Linton (National Cold Fusion Inst., University of Utah, USA). 1991. "Studies of Electrolytic and Gas Phase Loading of Palladium and Deuterium," presented at Second Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, June 29-July 4, Como, Italy. T. N. Claytor, D. D. Jackson, and D. G. Tuggle, "Tritium Production from a Low Voltage Deuterium Discharge on Palladium and Other Metals," Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  3. E. Mallove. 1998. "Preliminary Confirmation Test of Dr. Les Case's Catalytic Fusion Process," Infinite Energy, 4, 19, 33.
  4. EarthTech Case Cell work: http://earthtech.org/cold-fusion/Case/
  5. GEET website: http://www.Friend.ly.Net/GEET/



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