The Future of Energy: Part 1
That's only one of the possibilities Dennis M. Bushnell, NASA Langley's chief scientist, sees as ways to bring runaway climate change under control while entirely eliminating the need for oil and coal. In this two-part interview lasting more than 45-minutes, he discusses with EV World's Bill Moore a list of potential energy game changers, the most profound being Low Energy Nuclear Reaction or LENR, which we highlight in Nuclear Power We May Be Able to Live With.
This is one of the more fascinating, exciting… and chilling interviews we've done. Be sure to listen to Part 2 when it becomes available.
Part 1 Sections related to the Rossi/Focardi eCat Transcribed by Alan Fletcher
[04:25] Moore: What I’d like to do is maybe sort of walk down some of the ones that you think look the most promising from your perspective.
[04:34] Bushnell: OK .. THE most interesting and promising at this point .. farther term, but maybe not so far, is Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. This has come out of twenty years of people producing energy but not knowing what it is and we think we have a theory on it. It’s producing beta decay and heat without radiation. The research on this is very promising and it alone, if it comes to pass, would literally solve both climate and energy.
[05:10] Moore: .. You're sort of jumping ahead of me here, but that's great ...
[05:20] Bushnell: Let me finish the rack-up for you ... (discusses other top technologies)
[07:20] Moore: That's amazing .. well, OK, so lets back up, let's tackle the first one, Low Energy Nuclear Reaction -- which I was not at all aware of until one of my readers brought it to my attention -- the work being done by Rossi and Focardi in Italy .. and that, I thought, Well, OK here's another of these if you will Cold Fusion, you know, sort of things, and are they manipulating the experiment? There's a couple of scientists -- in fact I wrote about this recently in one of my newsletters .. two .. fairly prominent scientists from Sweden went down and investigated it and came back and said that they thought that there's something there. And what intrigued me was when I read something you had just recently published, I though Well, NASA's been looking at this, so let's take a look at this, because I find it EXTREMELY exciting that there might be something here, so what is it that you think is going on at the ... atomic level here?
[08:20] Bushnell: Well .. let me back up first a little. Pons and Fleischmann came out with an experiment that they labeled cold fusion about 22 years ago which had replication issues at the time, and also, all of the fusion theorists came out and said absolutely this is not fusion. And, of course, they were exactly correct, this is not fusion. We've gone through twenty years of massive experimentation worldwide, in almost every country, where they’ve been able to produce this effect ... but all of the energy produced by these cold fusion experiments over the last 20 years didn’t produce enough heat to boil water for tea. So people didn’t get too interested in it and nobody knew what it was.
Back in 05-06 Widom-Larsen came out with a theory that said, no it’s not cold fusion, it’s weak interactions using the Standard Model of quantum mechanics, only the weak interaction part. Says that if you set up one of these cells, and you don’t have to use deuterium, hydrogen works fine, nickel works fine, you don’t need palladium.
[09:40] If you set this up you produce a electron-proton connection producing ultra-weak neutrons and if you have the right targets out there you produce beta-decay which produces heat. And so at that point, in 06-07 we became interested and started setting up a set of experiments that we’re just about ready to start finally, where we’re trying to experimentally validate this Widom-Larsen theory to find out .. or not it explains what’s going on. And in the process, we've used the quantum theory to optimize the particular surface morphologies necessary to do this.
[10:35] Then, as you mentioned, in January of this year Rossi, backed by Focardi, who had been working on this for many years, and in fact doing some of the best work worldwide, came out and did a demonstration first in January, they re-did it in February, they re-did it in March, where for days they had one of these cells, a small cell, producing in the 10 to 15 kilowatts range which is far more than enough heat to boil water for tea. And so they say this is a weak interaction, it’s not fusion.
[11:15] So I think were almost over the (you know) "We don’t understanding it" problem. I think we’re almost over the "This doesn’t produce anything useful" problem. And so I think this will go forward fairly rapidly now. And if it does, this is capable of, by itself, completely changing geo-economics, geopolitics and of solving quite [?] of energy.
[11:45] Moore: .. I think this was either last week or the week before last when I ran a story on this. I went and took and looked at ... They were using, I believe, hydrogen and nickel, were they not, using hydrogen gas and putting that into this device. .. In looking at the video and photographs, it looks to be about the size of a fist and .. that thing was running I think from about 10:45 in the morning till about 4:30 when they finally turned it off and generating, I forget exactly what it was but it was a significant amount of energy in the form of steam.
[12:25] Bushnell: Well, it produces heat and it did so for days and it was in the 12 or 14 kW range and they are producing, with a large number of these devices, a 1 MW power plant for Greece at the present time.
[12:45] Moore: That’s pretty exciting. So you think that this theory then, that was developed -- are these NASA scientists that were working on that theory, 2005?
[12:50] Bushnell: No .. the theory was developed by Widom and Larsen. Widom is a faculty member at Northeastern and Larsen has a little company in Chicago.
[13:05] Moore: .. Allright, very good. So that looks promising because you can take and generate steam, and of course, that’s what a nuclear reactor or a coal-fired power plant is all about. They’re just there to produce steam and turn a turbine and produce power.
[13:20] Bushnell: Oh yeah, once you’ve got heat, you can do everything. We looked at using LENR to power a space-access rocket and it had better performance conceptually than a conventional fisson nuclear [?] rocket.
[13:40] Moore: Wow! Exciting.
The rest of the interview concerns other possible technologies.
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