Summary Report on ICCF8: The Eighth
International Conference on Cold Fusion
Originally Published in Issue #32,
by Jed Rothwell and Eugene Mallove
Photos by Barbara DelloRusso
The Eighth International Conference on
Cold Fusion (ICCF8) convened May 21-26, 2000, in Lerici, Italy at
the antique and beautiful Villa Marigola Conference Center. The
prior conference, ICCF7, was held in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, in
April 1998. Following the traditional North America, Europe, and
Asia rotation, ICCF9 will tentatively
be held in Beijing, China, May 2001, with some anticipated official
scientific sponsorship, according to ICCF9 organizer Prof. X.Z.
ICCF8 was unusual in having
significant sponsorship support from multiple official Italian scientific
organizations. The sponsors were: ENEA (Italian Agency for New Technologies,
Energy, and the Environment); CNR (National Research Council); INFN
(National Institute for Nuclear Physics); and SIF (the Italian Physical
Society). The ICCF8 conference proceedings will be published by
the Italian Physical Society in a peer-reviewed version in January
There were no great surprises at this conference.
A few researchers reported steady, reliable progress. A few were
still floundering around in the dark, making mistakes they should
have learned to avoid years ago.
This conference may have exposed two long-established
ideas as myths: 1) High loading is essential to all forms of cold
fusion (see Storms and Warner presentations below); 2) Cold fusion
experiments are inherently difficult to perform (see Warner). High
loading may not be needed after all, at least not with Ni, Ti, and
Pt. It may be necessary with Pd, but that is probably the "worst
choice" of metals, as Storms put it.
The best news from ICCF8 is that spectacular progress
has been made in correlating helium-4 and helium-3 with excess heat,
especially at SRI International (McKubre, 29) and Osaka University
(Isobe, 14). [Editor's Note: The number after the investigator's
name indicates the number of the abstract on the official ICCF8
The disappointing news was turnout. As expected, only
about 145 people showed up, the lowest number yet for an ICCF, although
this was the first time a conference had been held in late May,
when the end of academic year events may have interfered. Jed Rothwell's
comment: "The number of participants is asymptotically dropping
to zero because almost no young people participate. Most of the
researchers are retired professors, 65 to 75 years old. An
actuarial table will show that unless young people join the researchers,
the final conference will take place in about ten years, after which
most major participants will be incapacitated or dead! Most top
researchers have already retired or died. You would think that scientists
understand statistics and mortality rates, but they act as if they
have all the time in the world."
Co-compiler of this report, Eugene Mallove, is more
sanguine on this matter of attendance: Certainly, most ICCFs have
drawn on the order of 200 participants, with a high of about 350
at ICCF3 (Nagoya, Japan, October 1992). There were many who had
indicated an intent to come to ICCF8, but for whatever reason did
not make it-among these were those who are known to be very active
in the field, such as Dr. Claytor of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The ICCF7 Proceedings were dedicated to the memory of M. Okamoto,
and ICCF8 will be dedicated to the memory of G. Preparata, who died
in April 2000 (see obituary, p. 8, IE No. 32).
A list of ICCF8 authors is posted at: http://www.frascati.enea.it/ICCF8/programme.htm.
Most of the listed authors showed up. The conference organizers
said they would make continued use of the web page to publish things,
such as the list of participants. Several people at the conference
called upon authors to make better use of the Internet. Much lip
service has been paid to the advantages of the Internet in previous
ICCF conferences, but little has been done so far. Ed Wall of our
New Energy Research Laboratory (NERL) suggests that abstracts and
author addresses should have been made available to participants
before the conference, which would allow participants to
study the abstracts in advance, prepare questions, and correspond
with the speaker, "making it a much richer experience for all."
On the other hand, many presenters and attendees may prefer the
element of surprise or anticipation and would not wish for advance
The conference organizers videotaped the presentations
(as did we, informally for our research purposes, as did also our
colleague Akira Kawasaki). The ICCF8 organizers will be selling
their video tapes at a "very reasonable" cost, they said. They displayed
the video input on two large projection-screen televisions at the
front of the conference room, which helped those who could not see
the viewgraphs. Their cameras and microphones were well-placed and
professionally handled, so the video tapes should be of good quality.
We present a selection of conference highlights:
F. Scaramuzzi, M. Fleischmann: Lectures in
memory of Giuliano Preparata, centering on his contributions to
theory of coherent nuclear reactions. Scaramuzzi briefly described
the Italian government initiative in cold fusion, and Fleischmann
said the program may include work in other controversial areas such
as the effect of magnetism on health, which, as he put it, "will
make us even more enemies." From Jed Rothwell's perspective, this
may have been a counterproductive thing to mention, given the already
perilous state of cold fusion research. Mallove's view: If theory
designed to address anomalies of coherent atomic-nuclear energy
release in water-based systems has other implications, such as in
medicine, cold fusion scientists should not feel constrained to
address these simply out of fear of giving cold fusion opponents
more targets. (It is noteworthy that as of mid-June 2000, perennial
critic Robert Park of the American Physical Society had not yet
mentioned ICCF8 in his "What's New" column--either a sign of emerging
cold fusion ascendancy, or terminal boredom with the topic by Park.)
A. De Ninno et al. (93): "The Fleischmann-Pons
Effect in a Novel Electrolytic Configuration." Thin wire Pd deposited
on glass. This is a miniature, or even microscopic, version of the
electromigration in wire experiments which have been popular in
Italy for several years, work which Dr. Celani and his group has
done. These experiments are based on the theories of Fleischmann
and Preparata. Some Americans, including Storms, do not think that
electromigration can produce as much pressure within the metal lattice
as the Italians claim. These Italians may be putting too many eggs
in one basket by concentrating so much on this approach. This presentation
needs to be examined more carefully, but on the face of it, the
calorimetry is unconvincing, because the devices are so small and
power levels so low: around 50 mW total (input plus apparent excess
heat). The levels of material purity claimed are also suspiciously
high. The wires are so fine, they frequently de-laminate from the
substrate. We do not see the point of making such tiny devices,
but Peter Hagelstein of MIT pointed out they have the advantage
of loading quickly and starting the cold fusion reaction quickly.
Perhaps, but as far as we know, the thin film Pd devices do not
turn on any faster than the Ni or Ti cathodes, which have thousands
of times more mass, and which make stronger, more easily measured
P. Hagelstein (64): "A Model for Fast Ion Emission
in Metal Deuterides." A continuing and now much more robust theory
paper than Hagelstein of MIT has ever delivered--seeming to approach
the stage where calculations of effects from system descriptions
and reaction products might be carried out. Hagelstein told us he
has been working more closely with McKubre at SRI International
recently, and they have successfully designed experiments which
address theoretical questions. McKubre's
presentation confirmed this close collaboration. Hagelstein sees
significant progress both with theories (his own and the Chubbs'
in particular) and he thinks there is better agreement between data
and theory now than in previous ICCFs. He seemed quite optimistic.
F. Celani et al. (96): He weighed in
with the longest title we may have seen: "High Hydrogen Loading
of Thin Pd Wires Through Alkaline-earth Carbonate Precipitation
on the Cathodic Surface: Evidence for New Phases in the Pd-H System.
Unexpected Problematics Due to Bacteria Contamination in Heavy Water."
In the final portion of the lecture, Celani explained that they
have discovered bacteria which survive remarkably well in heavy
water, and which may be a previously unknown species. This is interesting,
but a distraction. Eugene Mallove, who sat near critic Douglas Morrison
of CERN, observed that this discovery by the Celani group seemed
to amuse him, perhaps to provide grist for future Morrison commentary.
Y. Iwamura et al. (59): "Nuclear Products
and Their Time Dependence Induced by Continuous Diffusion of Deuterium
Through Multi-layer Palladium Containing Low Work Function Material."
Iwamura's already formidable experiment has been improved. His group
now performs continuous in situ spectroscopic analysis of
apparent transmutations in a multi-layer thin film metal sample.
The apparatus is installed in a clean room and the cell is sealed
throughout the experiment. Deuterium gas is diffused through the
diaphragm "cathode" by producing a vacuum on one side of it. (It
is not strictly a cathode, or an electrode, but that is what they
call it.) The sample is not removed from the apparatus during the
experiment, making contamination unlikely. Analysis in situ
is performed with XPS (X-ray Photoelectric Spectroscopy) and SIMS
(Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry), and after the experiment with
ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry). With the
Pd-D sample, Mg, Si, and S appear in the Pd, and increase monotonically
as the experiment progresses. The Si and S isotopic abundance is
not natural. X-rays are observed. A Pd-H blank sample run in parallel
shows no excess heat, significant element formation, or X-rays.
Iwamura works for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, in
its Advanced Technology Research Center. Several large Japanese
companies are continuing to support research projects (despite the
demise of the official program, see IE, No. 30, p. 26). Some
corporate projects are surreptitious. They sent representatives
to the conference, but they do not want to go on record and we would
not want to endanger the funding by naming them. They might even
be collaborating with US-based companies. The researchers are grateful
for the funding, and express their appreciation to their anonymous
corporate benefactors, and so do we. Occasionally the behavior of
these corporations is dumbfounding. After Toyota made a show of
abandoning cold fusion research a few years ago, two other Japanese
automobile companies jumped in. They explained to a startled Japanese
researcher, "now the field is wide open"--as if only one company
can do research at a time.
J.J. Dufour et al. (40): "Hydrex Catalyzed
Transmutation of Uranium into Lead." Uranium hydrides were subjected
to magnetic fields and electric currents. This seemed to increase
the speed at which uranium converts to lead by a small but easily
measured extent, and it produces commensurate excess heat. The samples
were 500 to 900 mg, and they initially contain 1.5 to 2 ppm of lead,
evenly deposited throughout the sample. After the treatment, the
"periphery" of samples (presumably meaning the surface layers) contain
2000 ppm of lead, or 20 ppm for the entire sample. Gamma activity
decreases by up to 1%. The lead is measured by dissolving the sample
and measuring with ICP-MS. Dufour believes that cold fusion is caused
by what he calls "HYDREX" (electromagnetic metastable proton electron
resonance), and like most experimentalists with a pet theory, he
always seems to find evidence for the theory. However, people with
other theories were impressed by the care with which these experiments
were performed, and some of them found support for their own ideas.
There have been other reports of radioactive decay being sped up
or enhanced. The first and most impressive example was in a series
of experiments performed in the 1960s by O. Reifenschweiler, which
were later reported in Physics Letters A. Also, there are
a host of groups such as CETI, Cincinnati Group, Trenergy, and Monti
America, which have or continue to claim success with low-energy
remediation of ingredients of nuclear waste.
J. Warner and J. Dash (6): "Effect of Cold
Work on the Amount of Excess Heat Produced During the Electrolysis
of Heavy Water with Titanium Cathodes." Warner is a graduate student
with Prof. John Dash at Portland State University (Oregon). He gave
a fine lecture. These results were described at the recent APS meeting
in Minneapolis in March 2000. The group continues to make progress.
This experiment is relatively foolproof and it nearly always produces
excess heat with high confidence. One of the reasons it works so
well is because they stick to the "KISS" formula--"Keep It Simple,
Stupid!"--meaning they do not burden the experiment with complex
instrumentation, or attempt to measure anything other than excess
heat in situ. After the run they look for evidence of anomalies
and transmutations with electron microscopy and EDX at Portland
State, and with NAA at another lab, Reed College. This simplicity
is an advantage and a disadvantage. Storms pointed out that this
method cannot reveal much about the reaction. You cannot measure
electrochemical conditions and control parameters such as OCV (Open
Circuit Voltage), or look for helium or X-rays with such simple
equipment. When you add in on-line detectors, the experiment becomes
complicated and difficult. Still, it would be nice if other researchers
would master the art of generating excess heat and doing reliable
calorimetry before they launch ambitious programs to measure helium
or X-rays. Another problem with this experiment is that the acidic
electrolyte erodes about 40% of the cathode, destroying most evidence
of transmutation or interesting surface changes. On the other hand,
this bolsters his contention that some spots on the surface metal
are transmuted, because it is unlikely that contamination would
stick to the metal.
Warner does not think that loading is an issue with
this experiment, because the effect either turns on immediately
or not at all, and the material does not appear to form a titanium
Our group at Cold Fusion Technology, Inc. (New Energy
Research Laboratory, NERL) will soon attempt to replicate these
titanium excess heat results with an identical Calvet or SEC (Seebeck
Envelope) calorimeter (made by Thermonetics, Inc.), and Storms will
also try to do this when he gets a chance. He has done a preliminary
test of a sample provided by Warner, which showed no excess heat.
Dash and Warner have been quite helpful. If other groups can replicate
Warner et al., it will bolster the claims. Warner says he
would be delighted, particularly if NERL or Storms can do it before
his oral doctorate examinations. Compare Warner's response to that
of another company (our good friend CETI), which threatened to sue
anyone who attempted to replicate their bead cathodes. Multiple
replications would prove that cold fusion is easier than most experts
have claimed over the years, and the missing element has been good
teaching, enthusiasm, and the will to show other people how to do
Every summer for several years Dash has hired two or three high
school students to perform cold fusion experiments. Every year they
fail at first, for prosaic reasons such as leaky seals, contamination,
or bad electrical connections. After a few failed attempts, the
students learn how to produce excess heat. Dash's calorimetry has
improved over the years. We very much doubt he is making a mistake,
although one cannot be sure until he is replicated. Dash and Warner
now use an advanced Calvet calorimeter along with an array of eight
isoperibolic cells wired in series. They ignore an excess heat signal
under 100 milliwatts, that is, only two or three sigma. This is
a conservative estimate of the error margin with the Calvet calorimeter.
Other cold fusion scientists should be as careful, summarily rejecting
low-sigma results. It would give people more confidence in this
M. McKubre et al. (29): "The Emergence
of a Coherent Explanation for Anomalies Observed in D/Pd and H/Pd
Systems." There is so much to say about this, it is hard to know
what to squeeze into this preliminary note. McKubre has outdone
himself with the Case and Arata replications, which are far better
than the originals. The helium issue is now closed. Cold fusion
produces helium commensurate with heat, meaning the helium-4
production rate is comparable to a hot fusion deuterium-deuterium
(D-D) reaction yielding helium-4 plus a 23.8 MeV gamma ray, only
there is no gamma ray, just equivalent energy in the form of heat.
The helium can only be a product of the reaction, not contamination,
for several reasons: mainly because in 4 out of 16 cases it was
measured at levels far above atmospheric concentration. (In other
words, the helium may have leaked out of the cell, but under no
circumstances could it have leaked in.)
The helium-3 and tritium results were also definitive.
The ratio of helium-3 to helium-4 in nature is about 1:800,000.
With the Case replication it reaches 1:67, 12,000 times higher than
in nature, and in the inner chamber of the Arata replication the
ratio is 44,000 times higher than nature. McKubre thinks the helium-3
is mainly the product of tritium decay, so we may now soon add McKubre's
group to the list of those generating tritium in cold fusion experiments.
Huge amounts of tritium were found in some cells.
The researchers devised a machine to pierce the Arata double structured
cathodes and extract a sample of the gas inside them while rigorously
excluding outside contamination. Samples were tested at one of the
world's most sensitive mass spectrometers, in a laboratory specializing
in the detection of helium, hydrogen, and other light elements at
One sample of unknown contents from a newly opened cell turned out
to have over 1000 times more tritium than anything previously submitted
to that instrument. It put the instrument out of commission for
Here is a quote from McKubre's summary at the end
of his talk: "These results obtained in three different metal sealed
cells, by three different calorimetric methods, with both electrochemical
and gas loading experiments. The helium-4 analysis have now been
performed in four different institutions, helium-3 analysis in two
Helium has been detected for many years by different
researchers, but never in such large amounts, at such high concentration.
It has never been observed with such large signal-to-noise ratios,
or produced so consistently and reliably. The Case cell works about
two-thirds of the time at SRI International, and the Arata DS-cathodes
work every time. These are difficult experiments and it is
extremely unlikely they would work as smoothly in laboratories with
less skilled researchers. This is no claim of "easy replicability,"
such as Warner and Dash make.
After the lecture, McKubre was asked about evidence
of transmutations or other changes to the cathode material. He said
it was too early to comment on this subject. Tom Passell, retired
from EPRI, told us that he has acquired some of the used cathode
material and he is conducting the analysis. He has subsidized, below-cost
access to high resolution mass spectroscopy.
In this research, SRI cooperated closely with Osaka
University, McMaster University, Pacific Northwest Labs, ENEA, and
individuals including Les Case, Russ George, and Tom Passell. This
openness and wide-ranging collaboration is exactly what this field
needs most. SRI, McKubre, Tanzella, and Tripodi should be congratulated
for these spectacular results.
J. Kasagi et al. (71): "Low Energy Nuclear
Reactions in Solids." Continuing work by the group from Tohoku University
in Japan, which demonstrates that with very low-energy bombardment
of metals, such as palladium, by deuterons and lithium ions, unexpected
enhancements in the reaction rates of D + D or Li + D occur. The
implications for cold fusion are many.
E. Storms (32): This was originally slated
to be about thin layers of Pd on inert substrates, but Storms has
not had much luck with those cathodes, so instead he spoke about
excess heat from Pt-yes, that's right, platinum! These results are
presented in detail at:
Furthermore, Eugene Mallove of NERL visited the Storms
laboratory in April 2000, and found a cell active at that time producing
excess heat from a Pt-Pt cathode-anode combination. The data and
care with which they were obtained were extremely convincing. Note
well, ye skeptics: This does i mean that Pt-Pt control-experiment
methodology has been overturned--read on!
Storms now has two active Pt cathodes. He had some
interesting new things to say about this experiment. During the
lecture, Storms pointed out that this is the first cold fusion experiment
in history to be fully published on the web, including all data
points (in spreadsheets).
When Storms cleaned off the Pt and removed all depositions
from the surface, especially by placing the cathodes in boiling
water for a while, the cathodes ceased producing excess heat. He
then took steps to deliberately build up layers of deposition,
by putting the cathode in concentrated electrolyte, that is, high
molarity electrolytes, made by dissolving a lot of powder reagent
Michael Melich told Jed Rothwell, "This is old news.
Pons and Fleischmann reported excess heat from Pt in 1989." It may
be old news, but no one else has followed up on it actively to our
knowledge. Excess heat from Pt has been the guilty secret of cold
fusion, perhaps because it seems to show that any metal will produce
heat under any conditions, and there are no "blank" (null, or control)
experiments. The instruments always show heat sooner or later, with
any combination of heavy water, light water, Pd, Pt, Ti, Al, or
even Au or W. The skeptics long ago seized on this and said it proves
that all excess heat must be an instrument artifact. They may have
a partial point, albeit not for the right reasons. We suspect that
many reports of heat from oddball configurations with non-standard
calorimeters may be, in fact, artifacts.
- Up to 800 mW of power, and 330 kJ of total energy
was produced by the Pt sample, in completely reproducible patterns
- There is a linear relationship between applied
current and excess power.
- These results suggest that other metals which produce
this effect may also involve surface layers (rather than the bulk).
- Many researchers . . . who are committed to understanding
palladium, should have an open mind, and consider that perhaps
they are barking up the wrong tree.
- It isn't really the metal producing the excess
heat effect; it is something being deposited on the metal, and
palladium is not the best substrate, because it takes time for
the palladium to load such that it can support the surface layer
Storms concluded by saying, "Indeed, people ask me what am I using
to calibrate; what is dead . . .?" [In other words, if Pt produces
heat, what metal never produces heat and can be used as a reliable
control blank.] "Clean Pt is dead--there is no doubt about that.
Obviously it can come alive. . . With some humor and irony, I suggest
you use palladium [as a control]."
X.Z. Li (62): "Nuclear Physics for Nuclear
Fusion." Theoretical discussion of a resonant mechanism whereby
a large cross-section for fusion without strong neutron or gamma
emission may be obtained. A theory from which both cold fusion
and hot fusion can learn.
G.G. Miley (65): "Advances in Thin Film Electrode
Experiments." At first glance this looks impressive, but we have
very strong doubts about the calorimetry and think thin film on
glass is a poor choice of materials. The thin film pulls off too
easily (de-laminates) and it does not have as much surface area
as beads or convoluted structures like coated Ni fibrex, which looks
like compressed steel wool.
at NERL helped arrange the funding for this research and frankly,
we are very disappointed by the results so far, although the thin
Pd-wire experiment that showed a heat burst at a high loading ratio
is intriguing (but not definitive and not reproduced, as yet). Miley
and his students did good work a few years ago working with CETI,
but unfortunately that partnership failed, the University of Illinois
was upset with CETI, and the graduate students who were working
on that project graduated. The
new crop of people made major errors. Apparently, Miley was so busy
with his other commitments, including hot fusion projects and meetings,
that he did not adequately supervise the project, so it went badly
off the track, although he thinks it has gone well. Storms also
has doubts about the Miley calorimetry and he is preparing to test
Miley thin film cathodes when they can be delivered to him. The
Storms and NERL tests of the Miley cathodes will determine whether
such cathodes can be used for demonstration cells, as we had hoped.
U. Mastromatteo (42): "An Energy Amplifier
Device." At first glance we find this unconvincing, but intriguing.
The author, a senior researcher with an Italian solid-state electronics
firm, described a thin film device manufactured like a semiconductor.
will present the author's full paper in a subsequent issue of Infinite
Energy.) The only major indication of cold fusion is apparent
excess heat, and the calorimetry is based on secondary or tertiary
evidence from the metal melting point and loading behavior, even
though the device is small and low powered, and could easily be
installed in a conventional calorimeter. This research is well-funded,
so there is no reason for such inadequate instrumentation. It is
possible that the apparent excess heat may be caused by stored energy
in the melted substrate (a phase change which does not show up as
a temperature increase).
Mastromatteo is at SGS-Thompson Microelectronics,
one of Europe's largest semiconductor companies. (http://us.st.com/stonline/index.shtml).
The company has vast experience fabricating similar devices, deep
pockets, and they are seriously interested in developing a commercial
heat source. That's wonderful, but why haven't they done adequate
calorimetry yet, since the work was initially reported at ICCF7
in 1998? One possibility: Dr. Mastromatteo told Eugene Mallove that
this project does not have high priority within the company's lucrative
Y. Arata and Y.C. Zhang (18): "Definitive Difference
among [Bulk-D2O], [DS-D2O], and [DS-H2O]
Cells in the Deuterization and Deuterium-reactions." This
was most certainly a very important paper, and it may have been
definitive, but alas we have few clues about what Arata said. His
English is so poor and halting, that despite thirty years of experience
listening to Japanese-accented English, Jed Rothwell could not make
out what he said. His viewgraphs do not help much either. They show
a tangle of graphs too small to read from a distance, and tables
without headings. We will review the video tape, but will probably
not understand what he has in mind until the proceedings are published
in January 2001. Note, however, that McKubre at SRI has obtained
remarkable confirmatory excess heat and helium results with Arata's
T. Passell and R. George (100): "Impurity Analysis
of Palladium Exposed to D2 and H2." Passell
performed neutron activation analysis on four samples of Arata's
double cathode powders which had been exposed to many atmospheres
of pressure of either deuterium or ordinary hydrogen. Four samples
appeared to show evidence of enhanced zinc isotope ratio content--factors
ranging from 6 to 14 of exposed samples relative to virgin samples.
Tests on samples obtained from Dr. Li and colleagues at Tsinghua
University showed similar results for ordinary hydrogen exposure.
This is a fascinating paper about analytical work that was financed
on a shoestring by Passell.
M.H. Miles (58): "Calorimetric Studies of Palladium
Alloy Cathodes Using Fleischmann-Pons Dewar Type Cells." A description
of the research at the NHE laboratory, similar to the version that
was published in IE No. 30.
Y.E. Kim and A.L. Zubarev (33): "Ultra Low-Energy
Nuclear Fusion for Bose Nuclei Confined in Ion Traps." A theory
paper by this top theorist in nuclear physics from Purdue University,
who has been in the cold fusion field from the outset.
V. Violante et al. (34): "Hydrogen Isotopes
Interaction Dynamics in Palladium Lattice." A complex study performed
in cooperation with SRI International.
T. Mizuno et al. (103):
"Production of Heat During Plasma Electrolysis in Liquid." The tungsten
glow discharge experiments described in many articles in Infinite
Energy, beginning with Issue No. 20, and now discussed here.
Mizuno showed three new color photographs of the plasma that forms
over the cathode. The form and color of the plasma changes as excess
heat develops. We hope to publish a copy of the photos on a web
An interesting positive replication of this experiment
was reported informally by Peter Mobberley from the UK (see also
in this issue, Testing Update, p.
38). He uses a "long reach" tungsten spark plug as the cathode.
The outside electrode is cut off and a large stainless steel iron
bar is used as an anode. That is an excellent choice of materials,
because spark plugs are standardized; they are made of rugged, well-tested
alloys; and the ceramic packaging is ideal for this purpose. Mobberley
reports ~70% excess heat, highly repeatable. He has crude but seemingly
adequate instruments: a Variac and an analog three-phase electric
meter. Since he is in the UK, the mains voltage is high, which is
convenient for this experiment, which begins to work well at 150
to 200 volts when electrolyte temperature is high enough, about
80°C. Mobberley also discussed with us privately a variation of
the experiment with a plasma formed in a ceramic separator placed
between two electrodes, in highly concentrated electrolyte. We at
NERL will attempt to replicate this soon.
An interesting connection: Storms discovered that
the excess heat effect does not take place in the Pt bulk, but rather
in layers of deposited material on the surface of the Pt. When he
cleaned this Pt surface off by scrubbing the metal and placing it
in boiling water, the effect went away for a while until another
layer of deposited material grew on the metal surface. Mobberley
takes this a step further, moving the reaction site away from the
metal to holes in a ceramic--in fact, he employs a pepper-shaker
(known as a "pepper-pot" in the UK). Rothwell's first reaction was
to say that this removes metal from the picture altogether and makes
the effect look like something that happens in water, but Mallove
reminded him that there is a great deal of lithium in the highly
concentrated electrolyte used by Mobberley.
Mobberley's technique, if successfully replicated,
might overthrow some accepted cold fusion "dogma." Perhaps
the Ohmori and Mizuno glow discharge at the metal surface, and the
Mobberley discharge in the middle of the electrolyte, far removed
from the metal surface, is a separate phenomenon that has nothing
to do with that standard approach to cold fusion. It is Mobberley's
opinion that it may have to do with much-discussed lithium-proton
or lithium-deuteron reactions, leading to helium-4 formation. Wouldn't
that be lovely!
M. Swartz (70): "Metanalysis of Patterns of
Success in LENR/CF." Mitch Swartz did not attend the conference,
but his analytical paper was published in our last issue, which
was distributed at ICCF8.
A. Roussetskii (75): "Application of Cr-39
Plastic Track Detector for Detection of DD and DT Reaction Products
in Cold Fusion Experiments." Numerous
charged particle tracks are seen from deuteron bombardment at low
energy of titanium deuteride. Evidence of 3He-, triton-, and proton-generated
E. Del Giudice (92): "A Simple Model of the
'Cohn-Aharonov Effect in a Peculiar Electrolytic Configuration."
This should be spelled "Coehn-Ahronov," meaning the electromigration
effect, of which Martin Fleischmann is so enamored. Since Giuliano
Preparata had put considerable theoretical effort into the effect,
it is now to be called the "Preparata Effect."
Y. Isobe et al. (14): "Search for Coherent
Deuteron Fusion by Beam and Electrolysis Experiments." A very impressive
set of three experiments conducted at Osaka University. In experiment
1, with conventional bulk palladium electrolysis, low levels of
excess heat and up to 1016 atoms of helium were detected.
In experiment 2, a 3 KeV electron beam struck palladium and titanium
deuterides targets, and charged particles and X-rays were detected.
In experiment 3, highly loaded titanium deuterides was irradiated
with a deuterium or proton beam. The lecture was not long enough
to do justice to three experiments, but details were available during
the poster sessions.
G. Mengoli et al. (7): "Anomalous Effects
Induced by D2O Electrolysis at Titanium." Titanium was
electrolyzed in D2O 0.6M K2CO3
at a high temperature: 95°C, in an externally heated cell. The calorimeter
incorporates a Dewar cell and an external condenser. We have not
looked at this closely, but water-based calorimetry at these temperatures
is extremely difficult, because heat lost as water vapor is difficult
to measure accurately. This research is well-funded, and we do not
understand why they do not employ something like a Calvet calorimeter.
The authors claim the initial heat output was ~200 mW, and it later
increased to ~2 W. They also claimed there were hours of heat-after-death
when electrolysis power was turned off and external heating continued.
This may be difficult to believe, because it would be unprecedented
for titanium electrolysis. The calorimetry looks questionable, but
Mengoli also showed surprisingly strong evidence for transmutation
of titanium into a radioactive scandium isotope, with what looked
like unassailable evidence: gamma ray coincidence counting and determination
that the half-life of the gamma decay was consistent with the radioactive
isotope as identified by the energy of the gamma ray spectrum. (In
many experiments calorimetry is more believable than spectroscopy,
but not always.)
S. Chubb and T. Chubb (25): "Theoretical Framework
for Anomalous Heat and Helium-4 in Transition Metal Systems." An
enthusiastic and clear performance, as always. Chubb compared some
aspects of cold fusion to HTSC, the Mössbauer effect, and other
well-established phenomena; he ended by suggesting that in these
effects, groups of atoms band together in what might be called a
meta-particle (Jed Rothwell's term), and a change which affects
them all simultaneously, which explains how the heat manages to
couple to the lattice at the speed of a nuclear reaction, without
tearing apart the host metal. He thinks this is true simultaneity,
or as one member of the audience called it, "superluminal electrolysis."
H. Kozima (46): "TNCF Model--A Phenomenological
Approach." A highly unconventional theory, which postulates the
existence of "quasi-stable thermal neutrons" or free neutrons floating
around inside the lattice for indefinitely long periods of time.
Several theorists suggested privately that this should have been
relegated to a poster session, but Dr. Kozima has been most insistent
on the validity of his theory. He has tried to connect it with other
theories with which he finds kinship. Battles over cold fusion theories
continue to generate much "excess heat" within the field.
Fleischmann et al. (106): "Case Studies of Experiments
Carried out with the ICARUS Systems." A closer look at some of the
apparent mistakes made in the Japanese NHE (cold fusion) program.
In IE No. 30, p. 31, we listed some of the reasons why Fleischmann
disputes the NHE's negative conclusions. Unfortunately, Fleischmann
was pressed for time, and he reiterated these and other reasons
in such detail and so rapidly that we expect that few people in
the audience were able to follow the discussion. (His talk prompted
the only half-way impolite, argumentative question from CERN's Douglas
Morrison. At other ICCFs Morrison has repetitively challenged presenters
over what he regarded as inadequate testing protocols and theories.
See page 32 for more on Morrison.)
The Loading Issue
Since 1989, it has been taken for granted by
most researchers that the cold fusion effect occurs in the metal
lattice, and that it requires high loading, that is, nearly as many
deuterons in the lattice as Pd atoms. Fleischmann has long maintained
that the reaction occurs in the "bulk," (inside the metal lattice)
and not on the surface. In 1989, when Preparata began developing
theories, he and others set forth two propositions which have been
widely accepted as givens:
1) High loading is essential; the reaction takes place
in the lattice.
2) The reaction does not generally produce neutrons
or tritium; it produces mainly helium-4.
The second proposition has now been proved by McKubre's
results, but the first is in trouble, and its unquestioned acceptance
may have delayed the development of the field for many years. There
is no question it is true in a sense, at least for Pd. It has been
confirmed experimentally with as much confidence as helium-4 production.
The questions now raised are: Why is it true; what is true about
it; and can the benefits of loading be achieved by some other method
Yet Storms ended his talk by saying, "The idea that
high loading is not necessary would be a stunning reversal, a sign
that much research over the last ten years has been misguided.
Few of the conference attendees are interested in hearing this news."
There is no doubt high loading is necessary for excess heat in Pd.
Many people have observed this, and McKubre's famous curve of loading
versus heat proves that loading correlates closely with heat in
Pd. However, evidence has now emerged that loading is not important
with other metals, and with Pd it might only be needed in order
to "crowd" deuterons at the surface. In other words, the deuterons
crowded inside the bulk of the metal may contribute little or nothing
to the reaction. Nothing happens until most of the bulk is filled
with deuterons and they begin spilling out onto the surface, and
only (or mostly) the ones at surface participate.
You might achieve the same results by eliminating
most of the bulk; that is, by making the Pd a micron-scale thin
film, or by using a metal like Ni, which absorbs few deuterons (or
protons). As Storms put it, describing his own positive Pt results,
there is "no diffusion, no loss rate; the ions stay at the surface."
This is a naive, simplified model, but if anything like it turns
out to be true it will be ironic that so much effort and so many
millions of dollars have been spent to increase loading, if it is
determined that loading plays no fundamental role in the reaction.
Scaling Up, and Down
Many Italian mainstream researchers are working
with ever-smaller devices, which are now on the microscopic scale.
A. De Ninno (93): She described a thin film
"wire" 2 microns thick, 50 microns wide, and 80 centimeters long.
They are based on the electromigration theories of Fleischmann and
Preparata. The Italians may be putting too much emphasis on these
theories, which may not be widely respected outside their circle.
They may be betting too much research on them. They report several
effects which they think are interesting anomalies, but which other
researchers suspect may be prosaic instrument errors caused by the
difficulty of working with such small devices. Problems such as
tiny levels of impurities or a segment of the thin film that has
torn off the substrate (de-laminated) might be extremely difficult
to observe directly, and they might cause some of these "interesting"
effects. For example, De Ninno reported an apparent cutoff of the
Baranovski curve, which relates electrical resistance ratios to
loading. She said the cut-off is predicted by theory, and after
you take this cut-off into account, loading is actually extremely
Other researchers say the curve may not really be cut-off, and loading
is not so high. Because the electrolyte conducts almost as well
as the thin film "wire," De Ninno must interrupt electrolysis power
for a fraction of a second to measure resistance, and other researchers
suspect that during that brief pause the wire is deloading, and
losing a substantial amount of the deuterium in the wire.
Friday morning, the last day of the conference,
was a time to take stock of what had been accomplished at ICCF8.
Conference organizer Francesco Scaramuzzi of INFN, Frascati noted
that there had been twenty-six oral presentations and about fifty
confirmed poster presentations. He remarked that of the 145 registered
participants, the four leading countries were: Italy (41), U.S.
(38), Japan (22), and Russia (12). He spoke of a "lively conference,
rich with results." He said there had been "strong confirmation
that we have the production of excess heat and helium and their
correlation. Yes, there is excess heat and yes, it is of nuclear
origin." He considered the work on transmutation presented at the
conference to be "high level" and an "indication of the nuclear
character of the phenomenon." In his opinion, cold fusion could
only be understood in terms of coherence--an important aspect of
the behavior within condensed matter, which he said would have more
general implications for physics.
Scaramuzzi acknowledged that most of the scientific
community does not think that cold fusion exists and that "it is
not science." He called that an "incomprehensible position" in view
of the peer-reviewed articles on the subject that have already appeared.
Even so, he said that he considered cold fusion to be still in the
stage of a scientific problem, not quite ready for the commercial
arena. Differing with this position was Dr. Biberian from France,
who said in his summary, " We are sure that it is real. .
.We need applications to make the world realize it. . .We need to
be more pro-active." He suggested that cold fusion people should
not be like the fabled Cinderella, "waiting for her prince to come."
Dr. Yury N. Bazhutov of Russia, also touching on emerging commercial
interest, noted that more than half of the Russian participants
had received financial backing from private companies to come to
In his overview, Prof. Akito Takahashi of Japan agreed
that "science only is not enough." He said there was a need to extend
interest in cold fusion to "industry people, people from other fields,
and young people." He called the 4He-excess heat correlation
"almost confirmed" and low-energy nuclear transmutation "nearly
During the open-microphone session that followed the
official summaries, an Italian researcher, Dr. Roberto Andreani,
who heads ENEA's laboratory for hot fusion and is trying
to get support for the ITER (thermonuclear) reactor, had kind words
for the cold fusion community. He joked that he does not "receive
a very good reception" when he talks about cold fusion to his hot
fusion colleagues. He considers that the cold fusion work at ENEA
is "very well done." Andreani urged that progress be made to create
"absolutely convincing experiments . . .I wish you good success
in your work, but remember that you have strong opposition."
Cold fusion researcher Dr. Jean-Paul Biberian
made a special announcement near the end of the proceedings: the
first international conference on biological transmutation
had been held in Geneva, May 1, 2000. There had been sixteen attendees
from Italy, Switzerland, and France. He had been doing experiments
with bacteria and seed-sprouting already, observing unexpected element
changes on the order of a few percent. A non-profit organization
is being formed to support continuing conferences, publications,
Dr. X.Z. Li of China, who is both a cold fusion and
hot fusion researcher, had the last word. He is the organizer for
ICCF9 in Beijing in 2002. "What will be the theme for ICCF9?" he
asked. Answering his own question, "Coherence-in solid materials,
in research and development, and in cold and hot fusion!"
He looked forward to the day when cold fusion and hot fusion would
"merge," since he believes that both communities are "working for
the same goal: nuclear fusion without strong radiation." Well, at
least some hot fusion people--those in aneutronic
hot fusion--have that vision. Li suggested that cold fusion researchers
should consider the possibility of developing a heater based on
the "heat-after-death" phenomenon.