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You are here: > News > June 22, 2011

From Papp to PlasmERG - The Convoluted History of the Noble Gas Engine

The saga of Joseph Papp's Noble Gas Engine is a convoluted tale that spans more than four decades. It is a story of a paranoid inventor, a revolutionary technology, tragedy, and in recent times rapid development and commercialization. In a nutshell, here is the history of the "Noble Gas Engine."

Joseph Papp with his noble gas engine.

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by Hank Mills
Pure Energy Systems News

(A lot of drama has taken place in regards to this technology over the past four decades. The arguments, bad feelings, and hostility between individuals who have been involved with this technology continue to this day. Sadly, the negativity is actually accelerating, due to the upcoming commercialization of the technology. The goal of this article is not to document all the feuding that has taken place over the past four decades. My hope is that this article will serve to provide a basic background and history of the engine, let people know where this technology originated, and how it leads up to what is happening in present day.) 

From the little information that currently exists, it seems Joseph (Josef) Papp was born in the year 1933. He was the son of an electrician working for a coal mining company, in Tatabanya, Hungary. After childhood, he became a pilot in the Hungarian air force. During his time in the military he studied mechanical engineering. Allegedly, he later obtained employment in a nuclear power station, or research facility. The exact nature of his position is unclear, but accounts report he was either a janitor or a microfiche technician. 

One theory that has been circulated is that while working at the nuclear power station he accidentally obtained information about a novel nuclear process utilizing certain noble gases. Another theory is that he was given the information by scientists, who wanted it smuggled out from behind the iron curtain. Remember, the cold war was in full swing then, and not all scientists behind the iron curtain were satisfied with the communist state. 

Papp made his way to Canada in 1957, potentially smuggling the secret nuclear technology with him. This was just after the Hungarian uprising in 1956. In Canada he met and married his wife (a fellow Hungarian immigrant), Helen Maczko. Years later, they had a daughter, named Susan. 

papp's book Sometime after making his way to Canada, he started work on a "nuclear" submarine he claimed had the ability to transverse the Atlantic Ocean at high speeds of up to 300MPH. It was 28 feet long, and was shaped to glide through the water with little resistance. He built the submarine in a friend's garage, and showed it off to reporters. In fact, he wrote a book about the submarine titled, "The Fastest Submarine." 

The media was very interested in the submarine, but then suddenly his wife reported it missing. Days later, Papp was reportedly found in a small raft off the coast of France. The raft was no where to be found, and he claimed it sank before he was rescued. Did he really travel to the coast of France in the submarine? Was it really the first vehicle of any kind to use the technology? There is no way of knowing for sure, but one person claimed to have seen an individual resembling him, awaiting a flight to France, days before he was found in the raft. 

papp's sub papp's sub

In the year 1968, Papp moved to Los Angeles, California. Through his friend George Haley (a fellow Hungarian immigrant) he met Don Roser, an engineer and building contractor. In a few days, he had convinced Roser to fund the construction of a test engine utilizing his configuration of noble gases, magnetic fields, and an electric arc. 

The idea of an engine that could operate in any environment (under water or in space), would burn almost no fuel (tiny amounts of noble gases), produce no pollution, and generate lots of power (hundreds of horsepower and foot pounds of torque) motivated these two individuals to quickly build a prototype. They decided to retrofit a conventional 4-cylinder Volvo automobile engine. The components they did not need were discarded. 

The cylinders were filled with Papp's "secret" gas mixture of helium, xenon, argon, neon, and krypton. Apparently, part of the secret was how the gases were "treated." When the engine was turned on, an arc was produced in the cylinders, the gas mixture expanded, a force was produced that pushed the pistons, and the engine ran. It could be throttled from 300 RPM to thousands of RPM. Also, it produced almost no heat. The engine output hundreds of horsepower, for an electrical input of less than a kilowatt. 

Roser was excited, and wanted to do a public demo. However, Papp was paranoid, and did not want to do one. A compromise was made, and a demonstration of the explosive potential of the technology was made. 

The demo was performed in the California desert. A small amount of the gas mixture was placed in a sealed container. Observers from the Naval Underseas Warfare Laboratory made sure that explosives had not been secretly placed in the device. Before a crowd of witnesses the device was activated, and a huge explosion took place. The metal container was ripped open. This test proved that the gases could produce a huge force when excited.

However, this demo was not enough for Roser. He insisted that a demonstration of the actual engine take place. Reluctantly, Papp agreed. The demo of the engine took place in the parking lot of a refrigerator company, on a Monday in November of 1968. Many witnesses attended, including potential investors, students from Caltec, and the late famous scientist Richard Feynmann.

Gases were placed in the engine, and it started up. A long extension cord went from an electrical outlet to the control electronics of the device. Feynmann was very skeptical about the device, and thought it was a fraud. He was sure the cord was powering the engine, although basic electronic theory should have made it clear that such a thin wire could not power such a huge load without melting. At some point, he obtained permission to pull the plug from the engine. He thought the engine would then start to slow down, and stop. However, it did not, and kept running. Eventually, Papp asked for the plug back. He demanded that it be plugged back in, because the control electronics needed the power. After an argument, he took the cord and plugged it back in. Immediately, the engine exploded.

The explosion injured several people, and killed one individual. Feynmann accused Papp of putting an explosive in the engine to destroy the evidence of his fraud. The FBI got involved, but they could find no trace of explosives. Papp sued Caltec, and they settled out of court. 

The incident was a tragedy, not just because of the injuries and the death that occurred, but because many potential investors and supporters lost interest in the technology. In addition, Papp lost interest in the technology. Roser and Papp fought legal battles over the technology for years. During that time a patent was granted. Eventually, two more would be granted. Unfortunately, they could not put their differences aside and work together on the technology. 

Years later in 1973, Papp met an individual named Jim Adamson. Apparently, Adamson was very mechanically savvy, having helped build airplanes and missiles. By June of 1973, he had convinced Papp to bring a new engine he had been working on to a new location, and start testing it. A group of Papp's friends and Adamson decided to put the new six liter Papp Engine in an old school bus. They had a plan to drive the bus to San Diego from Los Angeles.

Before the drive took place, Papp suddenly disappeared. Oddly, two days later he was found. He had been shot (not killed) with a .22 caliber bullet. The claim was that he had been abducted, escaped, and was shot. At least some of his friends believed him. Others have considered the possibility he shot himself. No one knows what really happened. 

Six months later, Adamson convinced Papp to to continue testing the engine in a private building. Security was placed around the building, and a team of engineers were hired to work with Papp. The engine functioned, but soon afterwards the engine was damaged when a piece of metal gouged a cylinder. Immediately after the engine was fixed, the fuel mixer was damaged. Without this piece of equipment, the secret mixture of gases could not be produced. Work on the engine once again came to an end.

As time passed, Papp started accepting investment money. Much of this money came from a group called "Energy Executives" based in Nebraska. The checks went to a new corporation Papp formed, named "Papp International."

Over the years Papp International accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment money. Little progress was made until 1981 when a two cylinder engine ran, and was videotaped. 

Jimmy Sabori

In 1982 a company named "Universal Power Concepts" started investing in Papp International. During this time, an engineer by the name of Jimmy Sabori and his brother Jake started investing in Papp International through UPC. It is alleged they spent around half a million dollars. After waiting years for an engine, they eventually sued Papp. The court ordered Papp to work with Sabori on the engine. A new company named, "P & S Energy" (Papp and Sabori Energy) was formed. They attempted to work together, but Papp did not want to reveal his secrets. 

In 1989 Papp died of colon cancer. By the time of his death, little progress had been made on the engine. It seemed not to matter who worked with him or how much funding he received, little progress was made. Progress did not start to happen until after his death, when Sabori successfully built and ran multiple engines. These engines produced hundreds of horsepower and hundreds of foot pounds of torque. Also, they produced an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that could be captured and harnessed to produce electricity directly, without an alternator. Videos of these engines exist on the internet today. 

Before Papp died, a company named Rohner Motor had worked with Papp International for a period of time. Rohner motor was ran by Tom and Bob Rohner. Eventually, Papp International ended their relationship with Rohner Motor. 

Tom and Bob Rohner then cooperated with others to form a company named CEI (Clean Energy Inc.), which started working on the Papp technology. After a short time the company went into hibernation. A few other companies may have also formed to investigate or develop the technology, but no products ever reached the market.

The general trend was that everyone who tried to form a company to develop the technology failed to do so. Papp failed, Roser failed, Sabari failed, and Tom and Bob Rohner failed. Some of the failures were due to Papp's paranoia and unwillingness to share the technology. The latter failures may have been from a lack of funds. Whatever the reasons, from 1968 to around 2007 the technology did not get developed, did not advance, and did not get used in a single commercial engine.

Rohner's PlasmERG engine, prepping for market.  Note how much more simple it is.

Suddenly, around 2007 John Rohner (a brother of Tom and Bob) entered the picture. He had never worked for Papp International, Rohner Motor, or CEI. His only involvement had been designing an electronic controller for the engine. He gave the design to his brothers many years ago, and then focused on other projects. However, he was now ready to give the technology another look.

Using modern technology such as 3D design software, physics simulation software, and up to date electronics, he succeeded in building multiple prototype engines. They exceeded the capabilities of any previous engines built by Papp or Sabori. One reason they performed so well is that the critical control electronics were dramatically improved. Due to these improvements and modern components, instead of a kilowatt of input being needed, an average of only 200 watts of input was required to power the engine. Another reason was the design of the engine prototypes themselves. Instead of being retrofitted car engines, they were custom fabricated. 

These were not the only improvements. Using computer simulation software along with testing, dozens of gas mixtures were found that would work in the engine. It was also discovered that gases other than noble gases, such as hydrogen and nitrogen, could also work. An important improvement was that the tiny amounts of radioactive materials used by Papp to accelerate the process were eliminated. Instead, a novel electrode design on the cylinder head was utilized. Instead of an arc of electricity being produced, a ball of high voltage would be created between the electrodes. 

John Rohner formed the company PlasmERG, and started working to commercialize the technology. Despite the howls of skeptics, cynics, and naysayers he is pushing the technology to the marketplace. He is about to receive a patent covering the technology which he calls the, Plasmic Transition Process. A new company named, "Inteligentry" is being formed that will hold the IP, be the research arm of the company, and work to help new inventors develop their technologies.

The saga of the Papp Engine is a long and twisted tale. Thankfully, it seems there is going to be a happy ending. The most tragic part of the story is that the technology could have been developed decades ago if the world had been more open minded about the technology. Instead, skeptical naysayers such as Feynmann dismissed the technology.

Soon, no one will be able to dismiss the technology ever again. 

# # #

This story is also published at BeforeItsNews.

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Page posted by Sterling D. Allan June 21, 2010
Last updated September 04, 2012




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