COLD FUSION ENERGY BREAKTHROUGH
Conference in Italy confirms scientific revolution
by Carol White
In times to come it is undoubtedly the case that March 23, 1989 will be
recorded in the annals of science as the occasion for the announcement of one
of the major breakthroughs of this century. That was the day Martin
Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced to the world that they were able to
achieve the fusion of deuterium molecules at room temperature through a process of electrolysis.
The two scientists had experimented with electrolysis of hydrogen, using palladium as an electrode, for many years before they decided to substitute
heavy water- deuterium oxide- for the simple hydrogen isotope. The logic of
this choice was the fact that palladium, for reasons not yet fully understood,
will concentrate up to 1,000 times the volume of gaseous hydrogen or
deuterium, in its lattice structure.
Thus, using one palladium and one platinum electrode, a plasma can be formed
through the process of electrolysis which will approach the density of
deuterium found in the stars- where, of course, fusion reactions are
Perhaps cold fusion is occurring at the center of the Earth. Understanding
how this cold fusion process occurs, may also give us a window upon biological
Experiments with hot, or thermonuclear, fusion in laboratories work with
extremely thin plasmas, and therefore, must achieve temperatures in the
hundreds of millions of degrees, before fusion can be expected to occur. In
both room-temperature and high-temperature fusion, the nucleus of a new
element is created by the fusion of two existing nucleii; for example, with the
fusion of two deuterium nucleii (isotopes of hydrogen), a helium nucleus is
formed. At the same time, energized particles and large amounts of heat are
The assertion by Fleischmann and Pons that they had caused deuterium fusion to
occur in a table-top laboratory experiment, at room temperatures, was so
extraordinary that initial skepticism was certainly justified. Yet,
surprisingly the reverse occurred. The two scientists turned into instant
media stars, while experimenters all over the world attempted to replicate
Then, within only a matter of weeks, the tide turned. As it became apparent
that the Fleischmann-Pons experiment was not as simple as it first seemed,
despite the fact that it could be performed on a table top in a laboratory,
many scientists rejected their claims out of hand. Fleischmann and Pons were
The media and the science mafia turned on those scientists who- along with
Fleischmann and Pons- remained convinced of the validity of the experiment,
and, incredibly, charges were leveled that these scientists were not merely
mistaken in their findings, but were actually practicing criminal fraud. But
the experimental results reported at recent conference in Italy were such
that no honest scientist can any longer give credence to such vicious
From June 29 through July 4, the Second Annual Conference on Cold Fusion was
held at Como, Italy. The nearly 200 assembled scientists, who included
chemists, members of the hot-fusion community, and theoreticians, were
virtually unanimous in their conviction that the Fleischmann-Pons experiment
has opened a new era in science- and potentially for technology, as well.
Those present included a sizable delegation from Japan, China, Italy and the
Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, Swedish, Australian, and Spanish work was also
represented, as well as one experiment conducted in Germany, in Dresden,
Unfortunately, Dr. Srinavasan of India was unable to attend to report on the
extensive experimental program in his country.
The drama of the conference was heightened by the hostile environment in which
it occurred, since attacks upon the integrity of experimenters and the validity
of their results, from the “official” scientific community, have not abated.
One conference highlight was the talk by Stanley Pons. Despite the fact that
/Fleischmann and Pons are trying to patent their process, on this occasion
they revealed a great deal about their experimental techniques which had not
been clear before.
For one ting, they typically take 200 hours to load the deuterium into the
palladium electrode. Thus, those scientists who dropped the experiment after
only days, never achieved the ratio of concentration of deuterium to palladium
atoms (a “loading” ratio of approximately 1:1) now known to be essential to
success. During the conference, however, a flash announcement of new results
from the United States Naval Weapons lab reported having achieved good heat
results- within one day- by blackening the palladium electrode first with
Also crucial to success is not to reuse palladium, since it is radically
transformed by the process of electrolysis. In fact, the treatment of the
electrodes is one of the “state” secrets still kept under wraps because of the
constraints of patent law.
The audience was electrified to learn from Pons that he and Fleischmann are
now getting high heat gain and repeatability in experiments done by coating a
silver electrode with a thin film of palladium. Ten out of 11 experiments
using this method were successful, said Pons, and the 11th was ambiguous.
Rumor at the conference had it that the 11th experiment had actually blown up
the testing device!
While Pons and Fleischmann remain the leaders in the field, their work has
been replicated, and thereby confirmed, internationally. Countless
scientists, from the nuclear community as well as from the field of chemistry,
demonstrated this in meticulous detail, in over 80 papers presented at Como.
Sophisticated measuring devices normally used in hot fusion experiments, from
Los Alamos in the United States, the Frascatti laboratories in Italy, and
Japanese labs, were used to measure the energy spectrum of neutrons released
as a result of cold fusion. Other reports noted the presence of tritium and
helium 4, as a result of the experiment. (the amounts and ratios of these
differ significantly from the discharges in “hot” fusion.)
Then there were the heat findings which showed the release of heat to be way
above anything which can be accounted for by merely chemical reaction. Here a
series of brilliant experiments in heat measurement were reported by M.
McKubre fro Stanford Research Institute.
Plain- and heavy- water experiments were conducted side by side, and put in
place in the same calorimeters (devices to measure heat) to obviate charges
that the experiment was being conducted without adequate controls. In every
case, the deuterium oxide produced extraordinary heat, while the plain water
behaved as expected during electrolysis, according to chemical criteria.
Fleischmann and a number of other electrochemists are convinced that it is the
heat results rather than other nuclear products which are most significant in
the experiment- after all, it is preferable not to have to deal with
radioactive materials. Nonetheless, a great effort was mounted over the last
year to establish the presence of these other concomitant of nuclear
reactions- particularly with the measurement of neutrons and tritium.
Various experimental techniques were reviewed in great detail a Como,
including statistical techniques which established conclusively that what was
being measured could not have been an epiphenomenon of background radiation,
rather than being produced by the experiment itself.
Dr. Heinz Gerischer, a recognized world expert in the field of chemistry, had
been skeptical about the reality of cold fusion before the conference;
however, he told the body he had changed his mind, saying that there is “now
sufficient evidence for phenomena which can be attributed to nuclear
Cold fusion appears to take place because of processes occurring in the
palladium which are akin in some ways to lasing. The direction for future
applications is not yet clear, although the electrical industry is already
funding a significant amount of research.
Cold fusion is not a replacement for thermonuclear fusion, but an additional
capability which can support the activities of a growing world population, so
that every child may be born into a world of material abundance and an
expanding scientific horizon.