|Date: Mon, 19 May 2003
Subject: energy from new source - article
Here is an interesting tidbit on a possible "new form of energy". Sounds like they got the statistical fluctuations in fluids that violate the second law of thermodynamics to exceed that achieved by Wang, Evans, et al. The latter experimentally showed such an effect in cubic micron sized regions, for up to two seconds, and these results were formally published in July of last year. During that "reversal" time, reactions can and will "run backwards". Hence negative entropy can be formed, producing excess energy (which can subsequently be dissipated as heating). In a cubic micron of water, e.g., there are some 30 billion ions and molecules. A little region of 30 billion ions and molecules, where the law of attraction and repulsion of charges is momentarily reversed, can indeed see attraction of two H+ ions into a quasi-nucleus of deuterium, except for the flip of one quark. Even in regular fusion, it is known that the quasi-nuclei first formed before full fusion (in that case, by sheer brute kinetic energy and driving one charge into the repulsion of another until the strong force region is reached) more often decay by quasi-fission back apart again, rather than fusing into a new element to complete a transmutation. One probably should look at the reaction obtained by these folks (and measured by some scientists) in view of the yield from quasi-fissioning of quasi-nuclei formed by proven statistical fluctuations and the fluctuation theorem.
Take water and potash, add
electricity and get - a mystery
In results independently verified at Bristol University, a team from Gardner Watts - an environmental technology company based in Dedham, Essex - show a "thermal energy cell" which appears to produce hundreds of times more energy than that put into it. If the findings are correct and can be reproduced on a commercial scale, the thermal energy cell could become a feature of every home, heating water for a fraction of the cost and cutting fuel bills by at least 90 per cent.
The makers of the cell, which passes an electric current through a liquid between two electrodes, admit that they cannot explain precisely how the invention works. They insist, however, that their cell is not just a repeat of the notorious "cold fusion" debacle of the late 1980s. Then two scientists claimed to have found a way of generating nuclear energy from a similar-looking device at room temperature. The findings were widely challenged and the scientists, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, accused of incompetence, fled America to set up labs in France.
"We are absolutely not saying this is cold fusion, or that we have found a way round the law of energy conservation," said Christopher Davies, the managing director of Gardner Watts.
"What we are saying is that the device seems to tap into another, previously unrecognised source of energy."
According to Mr Davies, the cell is the product of research into the fundamental properties of hydrogen, the most common element in the universe. He argues that calculations based on quantum theory, the laws of the sub-atomic world, suggest that hydrogen can exist in a so-called metastable state that harbours a potential source of extra energy.
This theory suggests that if electricity were passed into a mixture of water and a chemical catalyst, the extra energy would be released in the form of heat.
After some experimentation, the team found that a small amount of electricity passed through a mixture of water and potassium carbonate - potash - released an astonishing amount of energy.
"It generates a lot of heat in a very small volume," said Christopher Eccles, the chief scientist at Gardner Watts.
The findings of the Gardner Watts team were tested by Dr Jason Riley of Bristol University, who found energy gains of between three and 26 times what had been put in.
In a written report, Dr Riley concluded: "Using the apparatus supplied by Gardner Watts and the procedure of analysis suggested by the company, there appears to be an energy gain in the system."
In tests performed for The Telegraph, the cell heated water to near-boiling, apparently producing more than three times the amount of energy fed into it.
Scientists admit to being astonished by the sheer size of the energy increase produced by the cell. "I've never seen a claim like this before," said Prof Stephen Smith of the physics department at Essex University.
"In the case of cold fusion, people talked about getting a 10 per cent energy gain or so, which could be explained away quite easily but this is much too big for that."
Prof Smith said he was sceptical about the theory put forward by the company. He conceded, however, that scientists had also been baffled by the source of energy driving radioactivity, as the key equation involved - Einstein's famous E=MC2 - had yet to be discovered.
According to Prof Smith, if there is a flaw in the company's claims, it lies in the measurement of the amount of electrical energy pumped into the cell. It is possible that, as sparks pass between the electrodes, there is an energy surge which would not be picked up by the instruments measuring the electrical input.
Prof Smith said: "This needs to be very carefully checked, as there could be far more energy going in than the makers think."
Prof Smith's views were echoed by Dr Riley, who said: "There's no doubt that there was a heat rise but I'd like to see a more thorough investigation of the electrical energy supplied into the cell."
While many scientists are trying to solve the mystery of the thermal energy cell, its huge commercial potential has already caused interest.
Cambridge Consultants, one of Britain's most prestigious technology consultancies, has teamed up with Mr Davies and his colleagues to develop a working prototype. "We've had a multi-disciplinary team working on this, and we're perplexed," said Duncan Bishop, head of process development at Cambridge Consultants.
"We are offering to risk-share on it, as it will need about £200,000 to prove the principle behind it."
According to the Gardner Watts team, it will take about six months to carry out tests putting the reality of the effect beyond all doubt. The company then plans to develop a prototype capable of turning less than one kilowatt of electrical power into 10 kilowatts of heat.
Mr Davies said: "The technology could be licensed by a company making household boilers for the domestic market. " He added that the plan is to have the first thermal energy cell devices on the market within two years.