Andrea Rossi might hold the world Internet energy followers in thrall, and justifiably so, out there might be a challenge to the lead for “cold fusion” or LENR (low energy cold fusion).

From out of the Ukraine in Eastern Europe comes Professor Boris Bolotov and his engineer Waldemar Mordkovitch with a very different approach to fusion. Its still table top in size, runs at low, for fusion standards to date, quite cool temperatures and is reported to make electricity directly skipping over the heat step for power generation.  The new fusion candidate uses the transmutation of zirconium, in zirconium oxide form on to other elements to produce energy.

Bolotov Zirconium Based Cold Fusion Apparatus. Click image for the largest view.

A demonstration of this technology was held on March 25, 2011 witnessed by Poland’s Professor Pawlak Halina-Kruczek of the University of Technology and Dr. Hanna Bartoszewicz-Grumbles of the Institute of Power Engineering, Warsaw.

For the demonstration the table top sized cold fusion reactor was pulsed with a nanosecond pulse generator. The pulses of electricity went into the cell filled with a “liquid metal.” This produced a kind of electrical arc in the liquid metal. During the demonstration reports have it that one hundred watts of power input produced three hundred watts of pure electrical output plus excess heat.

Bolotov Cold Fusion Reactor Observed. Click image for the largest view.

The inventor claims it seemed both observers were satisfied.  No negative word is to be found from Halina-Kruczek or Bartoszewicz-Grumbles so far.

The lack of a separate generator to produce electricity might make this zirconium-based technology more commercially appealing. The ratio of input energy to output energy of this technology is reported to also be high. Mordkovitch is asserting a system could have an input of 5 kW and an output of 200 kW, 40:1, from a system that only costs €10,000 euro to build.

Observers see a connection that Professor Bolotov might be building upon the work of a group of Russian scientists who own a patent entitled “Silicon Extraction Method.”  In the patent they document a method of producing transmutations of various elements.

The waste materials are quite valuable.   The products from the fusion are said to be large quantities of rare palladium and iridium.  Both elements of cost over a thousand dollars an ounce, about 28 grams.

More tantalizing is the report that the Ukraine team is working with a Korean group for ways to quench the radiation.  The tantalizing has dual meaning; both that some kind of atomic activity is taking place and that the zirconium path might not be so inherently safe as the nickel based Rossi Reactor.

Mordkovitch is so confident about the technology, he has announced it is ready for licensing. He has set the price for a license at €15 million euro.

Here’s one to offset the hoax claims.  The team is making clear the system does produce gases containing heavy metals.  That’s one to set a chemist on edge at least until which heavy metals are known – those might be cause for concern, particularly if radioactive.

The Ukrainian team might be in possession of a Ukrainian patent (The translations don’t seem clear on this.), a step on the way to more acknowledgement.  But they are in the Ukraine, a wonderful if politically rootless and Russian influenced place.  It’s a country with little in the way of resources to lift an idea whether valid or not up to commercial scale.

On the other hand, should the reports on Korean involvement be true, the research progressed far enough that working units can be produced such that labs like the Koreans can take the research further perhaps the Zirconium based cold fusion can get a foothold.

But catching Rossi is going to be hard work.  Those advantages like producing iridium and palladium are going to help, producing heavy metal laden gases isn’t.  What type radiation production and the radiation levels aren’t known yet, either.  There is a long way to go.

Your humble writer hasn’t a clear idea whether or not the Ukrainian cold fusion is real, but it’s a glint, and a gleaming one at that.  Yet being in the Ukraine, a not very lawful place, not endowed with investor spirit, or experienced leadership from universities with background in bringing ideas closer to commercial use and it seems a dearth of capital an little help would benefit greatly.  Maybe what is needed will make its way there.  We’ll watch and wonder, with many questions. Good luck guys.  Please add us to your press release list.


5 Comments so far

  1. Musson on April 13, 2011 8:42 AM

    The simple and inexpensive transmutation of elements with Rossi and now the Ukranians could set off an interesting race to replace some mining with transmutation.

    Also, if heavier elements can be created through simple transmutations – it could have profound impacts on our theories of how our world evolved.

  2. Benjamin Cole on April 13, 2011 12:14 PM

    Energy revolution
    $1 million in federal funding boosts research on alternative fuels
    Mention the possibility of $30-a-barrel oil and most people will jump on the idea. Likewise, consider those millions of tons of harmful carbon dioxide spewing from industrial plants and ponder whether the emissions could be converted to an affordable hydrocarbon fuel.

    Those and other ideas being researched at UT Arlington’s Center for Renewable Energy Science and Technology (CREST) are so intriguing that the U.S. Department of Energy will provide $1 million in funding this academic year.

    So what about that $30 oil?

    Chemistry Professor Krishnan Rajeshwar is co-director of the Center for Renewable Energy Science and Technology. The center developed a microrefinery process that converts non-food vegetable oils to biodiesel.
    “It’s really a synthetic oil, the equivalent of heavy crude, made from Texas lignite,” says Richard Billo, associate dean of engineering research and CREST co-director.

    Although oil is a diminishing commodity with the biggest reserves in other countries, Texas is estimated to have more than a 200-year supply of lignite coal. Supplies elsewhere in the world are also vast. Problem is, your car doesn’t burn coal. It uses fuel refined from petroleum crude. Oil.

    While coal is also a hydrocarbon, it isn’t liquid. But it can be converted to a liquid, the equivalent of heavy crude oil, then transported to and refined in existing Texas refineries. The resulting gasoline, diesel and jet fuel are then distributed within a vast existing infrastructure—something not currently possible with, say, a transition to hydrogen fuel.

    The Germans successfully converted coal to synthetic oil in World War II using the Fischer-Tropsch process, notes Krishnan Rajeshwar, associate dean of the College of Science and CREST co-director. But even with modern methods, Fischer-Tropsch is still expensive, which is why CREST continues to research an alternative fuel technology using microfluidics.

    Drs. Rajeshwar and Billo are convinced that a microfluidic reactor can convert coal to synthetic oil at a fraction of the cost of the German technology. Billo says microrefineries built at a low cost can produce large amounts of synthetic oil in a fraction of the time of existing Fischer-Tropsch refining processes.

    “The exciting work being done by researchers in the colleges of Engineering and Science to turn coal into oil could revolutionize the way we generate energy in this country.”
    Indeed, a similar microrefinery process that converts non-food vegetable oils to biodiesel fuel patented by UT Arlington researchers will be used commercially for the first time in 2009. It reduces from 90 minutes to four minutes the time needed to refine biodiesel fuel.

  3. BFast on April 13, 2011 1:15 PM

    These are heady times! I don’t think most of us who are convinced of the validity of this technology really understand what difference it will make. Please check out to join the conversation about the technological, economic and social ramifications of cold fusion technology.

  4. Rockyspoon on April 27, 2011 5:14 PM

    Correction to the author: Precious metals are always measured in grams or ounces, and the “ounces” are always troy ounces, not 16-ounce-per lb ounces. A troy ounce weighs 31.1034768 grams, not ~28 like the author states. There are 29,166.6 troy ounces per short ton (2,000 lb). Know those two facts and you can convert precious metal units into ppm.

  5. SlakedMercury on June 23, 2011 12:02 AM

    28*16= 448 close to 453.6

    29,166.6 / 2000 = 14.58

    14.58 * 31.1 = 453.438

    So only 14.58 troy ounces per avoird. pound.

    So, gold close at about USD1550 is really 1550 * 14.58/16 = 1412.5 a ounce for
    $US 22600 a avoird pound. Most people would think 2200 more for a avoird pound.

    I was not one of them but, I do thank you for the report. Where do you hide your one lb bars?

    The trade is relative anyway. They will never touch the gold. I do not think a tenth of it would settle anyway in a push. Another virtual market.

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