I've been following this story in the geek-singularity press for a little while about the development of a new form of cold fusion out of Italy that is, apparently, on the verge of commercialization. Cold fusion, you may remember, had a brief and humiliating burst into the news back in the 90s before the experiment by Fleischmann and Pons turned out to be un-reproducible. Cold fusion was then reduced to the status of perpetual motion machine - i.e. a laughing stock that was barred in all its forms from applying for a U.S. patent. And that, it seemed, was that.
But some people didn't give up - including NASA, the U.S. Navy and two scientists from Bologna, Italy named Rossi and Focardi. The basic idea - from my utterly ignorant standpoint - is that these guys put in some nickel powder, a secret catalyst, and then hydrogen. They heat it up a bit and it causes what's termed a Low Energy Nuclear Reaction - cold fusion - that generates excess and a waste product of copper (copper is a heavier metal than nickel - in other words the reaction is causing the hydrogen nucleus of one proton and one neutron to fuse with the nickel nucleus creating a new element, and isotope of copper).
I am suspicious of all claims that sound like magic, including yogic flying, warp drives and out of body experiences. However, this is interesting in a number of ways - first that it is apparently winning the support of some scientists, including the Chief Scientist at NASA. Secondly, that they are intending on launching a 1 megawatt system to power a Defkalion Green Technology factory in Greece this October and have a contract to scale up production of more units with an investor in the USA.
As I say, I'm suspicious and lack the science to say it makes sense or not but it appeals to the geek in me. Nor do I have any political conclusion to draw from any of this at this point - though I do like the fact that the Greek scientist says that the Energy Catalyzer, or E-cat, technology isn't meant for capitalists but rather for the human race. For that alone - and the (extremely unlikely) possibility that these guys have found a technology that will cause the fossil fuel industry to collapse in short order - I'm rooting for it to turn out to be more than just a tin hat brigade fantasy.
Rossi Provides More Answers about the Energy Catalyzer and Nasa's Dennis Bushnell lists it as the number one energy solution