The Atomic Car
It has all the hallmarks of a scam, but if you missed it last month, two Italians (Engineer Rossi and Professor Focardi) held a press conference on a thermal device that puts out 300% more energy than it needs to activate it. The heating action seems to be a LENR (low energy nuclear reaction) i.e. cold fusion. It is a copper cylinder filled with nickel powder, pressurized hydrogen and a heating element. When the cylinder is heated to 400 degrees,a reaction takes place that produces far more heat going out than the energy going in. Their long-term test unit showed 30% of the nickel had transmuted to copper. Science blogs around world are consumed with cries of scam while many physicists are going, “Hmmm, there might be something to it”. Many theories abound, but the basic concept is the nickel accepts a neutron from the hydrogen to become an unstable isotope which rapidly decays into the stable form of copper and heat. Since it is a LENR, low level radiation is detected but it is easily shielded by a water jacket and boiler walls. The modules have a projected five-year life before the quantity of copper buildup affects the efficiency. Unlike the Fleischmann-Pons cold-fusion failure or Taleyarkhan’s bubble tank which were experiments by academics with no thoughts past the laboratory, this device was created by an engineer with plans to have it on the market in the form of water heaters within the next two years.
Now many in academia are quick to dismiss this as a scam, so let’s take a look at the history of another famous development that affected us all. In 1903 it was mankind’s first powered flight and the world yawned. Because the Wright Brothers were yokels from nowhere Ohio, academics around the world called the witnesses liars and the photos fakes. Powered flight was impossible to them. It wasn’t until 1908 when they demonstrated their flyer before the US Army by taking an army officer into the air for an hour that the world stood up and took notice. After that, they were a household name and the world was changed forever. The same will be true with this device if they get their water heaters to market. Only then, the world will know that it has found a true alternative to oil.
The point is any form of energy can be used to propel an automobile and since this a heating device, steam power will surely make a resurgence. People supportive of the concept are already thinking in terms of Stirling cycle, closed loop steam/electric hybrids and many more. What the final form will be when Rossi/Focardi generators take to the road can only be guessed at as the technology will evolve just as the Wright’s wing warping was superseded by ailerons. Already some physicists say the same reaction can be created with lithium and produce fewer nuclear byproducts. Whatever form, I predict it will be less than a decade before LENR powered steam cars will be on the road. Filling stations will dispense distilled water instead of gasoline. Maybe Jay Leno is way ahead of curve with his collection of Stanley, White and Doble steam cars.