Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cold Fusion Again?

I still remember how excited I was back in 1989 when the original claim of achieving of cold fusion was made. I remember sitting in the communal kitchen where I lived in North London and excitedly telling someone about how important it might be if it was real. They were surprised that I was excited about this one news item. Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall were to come later that year.

Anyway, the claims couldn't be consistently replicated. But now some Italian scientists claim to have achieved cold fusion. By fusing nickel and hydrogen atoms. They claim a 12.4kW output from a 400W electricity input. They make a bunch of other claims. Their paper has so far not passed peer-review. Of course, I'm much more skeptical of outlandish claims after the first cold fusion debacle. Additionally, my understanding was that fusion only released energy for fusion of atoms less or equal to the atomic mass of iron. Producing copper requires energy. So this claim seems particularly out there.

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