1929 - 2022
The light in the world dimmed on Thursday, February 24, 2022, with the loss of Charles E. Entenmann, age 92. Charlie was our benefactor and friend at Infinite Energy and the New Energy Foundation.
It is not an overstatement to say that Charlie’s financial support kept the cold fusion field alive; without him, there certainly would be no 27th year of publication for Infinite Energy. Charlie was generous, kind and humble. His financial support was anonymous to the outside world, but he was not private about his hopes for a limitless source of energy. We are grateful that Charlie’s family—his son Charles W. Entenmann and daughter Susan Nalewajk—allowed us to bring his generosity some long overdue recognition.
Charlie helped fund projects in the field from the mid-1990s until the present day. He was instrumental in every facet of the field’s history—research, publishing, conferences and archives. He not only supported cold fusion projects, but was active in research directly.
Charlie’s foray into the field began with his son-in-law, the late John “Alf” Thompson. Through Alf, Infinite Energy founder Dr. Eugene Mallove met Charlie in 1996. Gene introduced him to so many researchers that Charlie later funded or worked with. One early collaboration was with Dr. James Patterson and his grandson James Reding of CETI on the Patterson power cell. This led to an unexpected invention and business. In the lab with Dr. George Miley testing Alf’s proposed process for producing inexpensive ferrate, Dr. Patterson cut his hand, which was covered in Alf’s ferrate. Though it stung immensely, the ferrate stopped the bleeding. Patterson, Thompson, Reding and Charlie formed Biolife, LLC, to research and market products to stop bleeding, including the first invention, QR powder (now called WoundSeal® and StatSeal®). Biolife now has numerous products sold to the consumer and healthcare markets.
After Patterson’s death in 2008, Charlie ensured that Biolife still worked on cold fusion. Eventually a new company, BioSearch, LLC, was formed, which has a focus on energy experiments. In late 2021, BioSearch’s report on some of the work was sent to all Infinite Energy subscribers (“A Study in the Direct Creation of Electricity from the Interaction of Palladium with Hydrogen/Deuterium Gas”).
The list of cold fusion researchers supported by Charlie Entenmann is long, and his relationship with many of them became personal and lasting. While we can’t endeavor to list every individual project he funded or was involved with, we would like to highlight a few collaborations that had great meaning to Charlie and the field.
Dr. Mitchell Swartz and all others with personal connection to Charlie quip about his downplaying the import and impact of his efforts. He referred to himself as “Charlie the Baker,” a nod to his early years in the Entenmann family’s bakery company. Swartz noted that this endearing name “brought lots of laughter to his physicist and engineering colleagues” who knew “what an inventive ‘baker’ he was.” Dr. George Miley recalled: “I first met Charlie at an ICCF conference. After my talk, which discussed the construction of multilayer thin-film electrodes, he came up to me and asked some detailed questions about the electrodes. I asked, ‘Are you a materials scientist?’ He replied, ‘No, I am a baker!’ Afterwards we got to know each other a little better over beer at a local pub.”
One of his earliest collaborators and friends in the field was Miley. Miley recalled: “I had always told Charlie that it is unfortunate that LENR reactions produce products which heat the cell. This forces use of a thermal cycle for electrical production, limiting the overall efficiency of the device. Charlie decided that there must be a way to provide direct conversion of the energetic LENR reaction products to electricity and he came up with an approach to do that...I am sure others would agree with me that it showed how creative Charlie could be with LENR technology.”
In addition to working together on experiments for many years, Charlie funded research work at the University of Illinois under Miley’s direction. Miley said, “I was incredibly grateful that Charlie arranged to support the work of several of my students.” Later, Charlie invested in Miley’s company Lenuco. Miley said that Charlie’s “enthusiasm for LENR was infectious.”
Charlie met Dr. Dennis Cravens and Dennis Letts while working with Patterson. He later funded work by both men. Letts noted, “In 2007 and 2008 I performed a series of experiments using dual lasers to trigger excess power in electrochemical cells. This work was made possible by the quiet generosity of Charles Entenmann...These experiments have been used by many to study the cold fusion effect, and to develop theoretical support for the cold fusion mechanism. I turned the knobs, but Charles provided the means through a timely grant to purchase expensive laser equipment. He had a tremendous impact upon our field and enabled much-needed research. His life has made a difference.”
Dr. Edmund Storms communicated with and was supported by Charlie for over two decades. He wrote, “Charles was one of those rare people, who, without formal training, could see the reality of cold fusion even though the well-trained could not. His generous financial support and personal encouragement helped to compensate for the profound ignorance of people we are expected to respect because of their training and political positions. His help in revealing the reality of cold fusion will go down in history as one of the great contributions by an ordinary man to an important discovery. Charles supported my work as well as the work of many other people when such help was critical. The discovery might have died in childbirth had he not taken an interest based on common sense and an ability to understand without being distracted by complexity and lies. Mankind survives only because such men exist...”
Swartz mentioned Charlie’s “creative and clever ideas...as he pushed a lot of novel inventing.” He stated, “Even in his early 90s, Charlie continued to learn much more about this rather difficult new engineering science.” Swartz is appreciative of the direct support he received from Charlie for JET Energy research and cold fusion meetings. Swartz said, “His contributions led to some terrific discoveries, such as the new active reproducible CF/LANR nanomaterial which can directly convert mechanical vibrations into a tiny amount of electricity. The first of those research reports was presented at the American Chemical Society in 2010, with Charlie as a co-author.”
Before Dr. John Dash’s death in 2016, his research at Portland State University (PSU) and efforts to bring students into the field was supported by Charlie. Together they established the now-defunct Eugene Mallove Laboratory for New Energy Research at PSU, in honor and memory of our founder. Under this mantle, Dash worked with graduate students pursuing work related to cold fusion. Numerous times Charlie directly funded travel expenses for Dash and students to attend ICCF conferences.
The scientific impact Charlie’s support has had is immeasurable, but his funding of publishing/historical efforts will also have a lasting effect. In addition to championing Infinite Energy for 25 years, he also supported: the early years of New Energy Times; a documentary project; an oral history collection; numerous ICCF and MIT Colloquium conferences; an online repository of papers and materials related to the field; scientist travel to conferences and labs for collaborations. He funded a book project by Dr. David Nagel; the book is expected to be completed later this year.
Charlie was a man of few words and great action. To make him proud, we have tried to briefly encapsulate his 25 years of giving to the cold fusion field. This was a difficult task, given how far and wide his contributions reach just in this field alone. His generosity, in financial support and in spirit, has amazed us.
The family obituary is available online.
Charlie, you will be so missed by so many.