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infinite energy


New Energy Research Laboratory Device and Process Testing Update
Published in IE Volume 6, Issue #34, November, 2000
by Ken Rauen and Eugene Mallove

Thin-Film Cathodes and John Dash Cells
In 1999, Cold Fusion Technology, Inc. contracted with Prof. George Miley's group at the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana to design and produce ten thin-film cathodes that might be suitable for excess heat production in educational kits. These we hoped to market, after determining whether such cathodes really did produce adequate excess heat-the main objective of such a hoped-for commercial demonstration cell.

Professor Miley's group and students prepared a significant report of the project's results and transmitted this to us. These results have been discussed, in part, by Professor Miley at the American Physical Society meeting last March in Minneapolis, as well as last May at ICCF8, the Eighth International Conference on Cold Fusion. In recent months we obtained from the Miley group ten initial "first cut" cathodes, thin films of palladium and nickel deposited on a special glass substrate structure. We hope that these cathodes prove themselves.

At this time, we have contracted with Dr. Edmund Storms to test these cathodes in his very well-equipped Santa Fe, New Mexico laboratory. Storms has decided to employ a Thermonetics calorimeter, which Jed Rothwell (out of his own personal funds) had acquired for Dr. Storms. This is of the same design that Ed Wall had been using at NERL here in Bow, New Hampshire to begin testing prototype cells fashioned after the designs of Professor John Dash and Jon Warner at Portland State University.

In early September, Ed Wall decided to leave NERL for other pursuits, one of which is the study of patent law, possibly on the road to doing patent agent work. This, in part, explains why we have decided at this time to allow Dr. Storms to perform definitive tests on the Miley thin-film cathodes, as well as Ed Wall's initial design of a Dash cell replication. Ed Wall's two-year effort here at NERL helped us to significantly upgrade various capabilities, such as data acquisition and other infrastructure, in addition to his tireless work on experiments. His dedicated role will be missed. NERL is hopeful that in 2001 new projects and funding will lead to additional staffing opportunities for technically trained individuals.

Hydrosonic Pump
The Hydrosonic Pump still awaits mounting and alignment. NERL is now staffed by only one scientist, Ken Rauen, which forces us to prioritize projects. A local machinist was hired to help with the installation and alignment.

Mobberley Electrodeless Arc Discharge
The Eighth International Conference on Cold Fusion in May, 2000, presented a surprise. A newcomer to the field of low-energy nuclear reactions, Peter Mobberley of England, astonished some at the conference by announcing a new form of underwater electric arc discharge. He developed a new technique to get around the electrode decomposition problems experienced by Mizuno and Ohmori (see IE No. 20, IE No. 28, IE No. 32, and Device and Process Testing Updates in IE Nos. 22, 26, and 32). The arcing is removed from the electrodes by concentrating the electric field through the holes in a commercial, ceramic pepper shaker ("pepperpot" in British parlance). The arcing occurs at the ceramic holes instead, providing the electrodes have enough surface area. One electrode is inside the shaker, and the other is outside the shaker and inside the cell's electrolyte container, such as a beaker. Mobberley claims excess heat is released in this system, as much as 70% excess. The arc, which is said to produce the excess heat, changes from a typical bluish white arc to a lilac pink arc. NERL could not resist these claims and the seeming simplicity of the apparatus.

Ed Wall performed an initial "quick and dirty" experiment in June to produce the pink arc and to roughly estimate the heat released by temperature rise to the solution's boiling point. Seventy percent excess should be easy to observe. The pink arc was not seen then. It was difficult to arc at all, and when it did arc, it was a white arc. On top of that, it spattered and splashed terribly.

The Mobberley project is now handled by Ken. A new apparatus was needed, because the open beaker method splashes hot lithium-hydroxide all over the place; significant water vapor is lost even before the solution reaches the boiling point; and hot hydroxide solutions are excellent carbon dioxide scrubbers that form lithium carbonate, a limestone-like precipitate that makes a terrible mess of the test vessel.

A stainless steel, dewar-like flask was chosen as the reaction vessel. The metal construction provides the outer electrode. The inside of the double-walled flask is not evacuated like a true dewar; it is ported with hose barbs that are used as a water circulation jacket, providing the means to do calorimetry by temperature rise of water passing through the jacket. The stainless steel vessel was capped by a clear polycarbonate window, sealed by an O ring. Mobberley specified concentrated LiOH. The initial solution used by Ed Wall was most likely not concentrated enough, because it takes a long time for hydroxides to dissolve.

Power input was from a 208 VAC (alternating current is a new twist by Mobberley) source through a variac, and the electricity delivered to the cell was monitored by an Amprobe voltage and current data-logger. Heat output was measured by water jacket temperature rise multiplied by cooling water mass flow and specific heat capacity. Temperature was measured by 30 gauge type-J thermocouples on plastic-hose-isolated brass fittings at the inlet and outlet jacket ports, connected to a Hewlett-Packard data logger. Flow was measured by total water weight for the test period. The heat capacity of water is 1 calorie per gram-C. Actual electrolyte solution temperature was monitored by a mercury thermometer through the polycarbonate plate; the thermometer bulb being placed in the solution, near to the inverted ceramic shaker. Three layers of aluminized bubble-wrap and 2-inches of fiberglass insulated the entire test vessel. A tiny clearance around the thermometer and inner electrode allowed steam to escape without soaking the insulation.

Visual testing in a clear glass beaker verified the lilac-pink arcing above 85 C and above 155 VAC rms. Calorimetric testing in the stainless steel vessel at 208 VAC rms and solution temperatures around 95C produced 88.5% and 88.2% output/input in two runs. Steam evolution carried away a significant amount of heat. Weight loss by the solution as steam (spattering problems were solved and no droplet entrainment occurred) adjusted the efficiencies to 104% and 101%, plus or minus 2% error. We think these results are not significant, and certainly are far from Mobberley's claim of 70% excess. We await Mobberley's comments before continuing this investigation. Mobberley has yet another way of performing such experiments, which employs a small water pump to suspend the arc at the tip of an underwater electrolyte jet.

Of Special Note
It may seem odd that this regular report in Infinite Energy is so relatively sparce. This may give the entirely misleading impression that NERL does not do a lot of work. The reason that so little is said is not that we do so little, but that we have many other projects which are proprietary (at least for now) or in preliminary stages. We are investigating claims by some inventors under non-disclosure agreements. We also have projects of our own for which we expect to apply for patents. In time, these obscure activities, should they come to fruition, will be made public. Of course, there are some false leads that are also on our table, and these you might not hear about, though as many readers realize, we do not shrink from publishing negative results. There are even inventors who show up, receive our assistance, then for a host of bizarre reasons leave the scene never to be heard from again. But please keep in mind that the new energy tree will bear fruit in due season. That is ever our goal.



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