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2012; 9:30 pm MDT
Brillouin: "Understanding How LENR Works Will Enable Us to Be First"
Robert Godes, inventor of the controlled electron capture reaction (CECR)
being commercialized by Brillion Energy Corporation of Berkeley, CA, says that
understanding how "cold fusion" works gives them a strong advantage to
move ahead of the other players to make it first to market with affordable,
clean, distributed nuclear power.
Interview > Listen
On April 17, Sterling Allan conducted an interview with Robert (Bob) W. George II, who serves as CEO of Brillouin Energy Corporation; as well as by the inventor,
Robert Godes, who serves as CTO at Brillouin as part of the Free
Energy Now series.
One of the most exciting fields in the exotic free energy world right now is
colloquially called "Cold Fusion," or Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) -- "low energy" referring to the relatively low energy required to
initiate the nuclear event that produces copious amounts of energy, usually cleanly.
There are several things that make it exciting. For me, the rebel element of something that mainstream academia for so long called "junk science" finally being vindicated over and over brings huge satisfaction and a grin to my face. The fact that there are multiple groups competing for the "first to market" honor, not just one, and that each group has certain elements that make them strong, and others that make them weak, so the potential winner is not obvious, adds to the intrigue. Another point of high interest is the human drama involved, both within each group as well as between the competing groups. Moments of heroism are intermingled with moments of infamy.
It's like the horse race of the century, with several strong contestants taking turns in front.
What is dumbfounding to me is that more people don't share in the excitement of following the saga that is destined to change the planet profoundly: making energy affordable, clean, distributed, portable, sustainable, and opening all kinds of new opportunities (such as
flying cars and
asteroid mining), not to mention creating gobs of jobs.
With the advent of any one of these exotic free energy technologies (and there are
emerging, each with multiple players like I just described for LENR), not only do we have the tangible mechanism for recovering from our global economic downturn, but we can finally manifest the world of the Jetsons.
With the entry of Brillouin (pronounced "brillo" - "in") Energy Corporation (BEC) into the LENR fray, the excuses to not pay attention just went to zero -- not that there were legitimate excuses before.
On Tuesday, I was privileged to conduct a 1.5-hour interview with Robert W. George II, who serves as CEO; as well as with the inventor, Robert Godes (pronounced "God" - "ez"), who serves as CTO. Since they are both named Robert, the way they distinguish between them is that Robert George goes by "Bob". And the inventor goes by "Robert."
"We Know How It Works"
Photo of one of the Brillouin prototypes.
Though they are latecomers in the public eye, they are not newcomers to the science; and they think they have an advantage that will make all the difference to enable them to actually make it to market first in a major way: They understand how it works, thanks to the work and inventive intuition of Robert. And because they understand it, they can optimize the design more rapidly, complete with the ability to turn on/off the reaction, govern it up and down, and run it in steady state -- capabilities that none of the competitors have yet had to the same extent.
For example, when I was watching the data emerge from the Defkalion set-up, when I was in
Greece (story), I was expecting to see a steady curve, but instead what I saw were intermittent spikes from the nuclear events. The Brillouin curve would be steady.
Speaking metaphorically of the competitors' technology, Robert said: "They have a carburetor, but we know how the spark plug works (and the glow plug)."
They have had two significant independent validations of their scientific model and claims. One of those was by Los Alamos National Laboratories.
The other was by Dr. Michael
McKubre of Standford Research International (SRI), who subsequently joined their board of advisors.
McKubre was especially impressed by the consistency of the results. This was the first time (in the LENR experimental arena) that he was able to repeat something every time, without exception.
McKubre is best known as the primary professional interviewed in the 60 Minutes piece on cold fusion
that aired April 19, 2009 -- exactly three years ago today.
SRI is a highly respected laboratory involved in cutting-edge technology.
Two Boiler Types
One of the next development steps is going to involve a relationship with SRI to build and test the Brillouin New Hydrogen Boiler (NHB) or "Hot Tube", entailing BEC's new dry boiler system, which will be capable of heats from 400ΊC to 500ΊC. This technology will be capable of running power plant turbines. Licensing this boiler technology is going to be the lowest hanging fruit because of the number of power plant systems that have been mothballed by increasingly stringent EPA regulations. By re-energizing these "stranded assets," the capital cost of building a system is dramatically reduced, since the only thing they have to add is the clean boiler.
BEC expects to be able to generate power at 1 cent per kilowatt-hour with no toxic emissions of any kind.
Here in Utah, having abundant coal and natural gas resources, we have some of the cheapest power in the world, and it wholesales at 4 cents/kw-h -- four times more than what Brillouin will be able to provide it for, making for a rapid return on investment.
The BEC business summary adds: "The NHB can also supply high-grade process heat to factories for various industrial operations including manufacturing, distillation, food processing, chemical production, and the desalinization of seawater."
Brillouin's other product, which is already developed and proven from thousands hours of focused testing, is called the Brillouin Boiler. It is their original wet boiler system, containing distilled water and electrolyte. It is designed to produce heat between 100ΊC and 150ΊC. The prototype of this Boiler is continuing to run tests at the
company's Berkeley lab.
With limitations in their budget, they had to use off-the-shelf components and cobble together something to prove the principle. Once with get adequate funding, they will be able to build a wet boiler system that is optimal to their design.
The wet boiler would be adequate to most water heating needs in the market, from residential to commercial -- such as water heaters and home/business heating. The NHB system, on the other hand, would be used for generating electricity and use in higher heat applications.
How it Works
One of the biggest surprises for me in this interview was learning that Nickel is not consumed in the reaction. According to Robert, this is not Nickel-Hydrogen fusion reaction. Nickel is merely a catalyst.
Robert said that the nuclear process they are utilizing is the same (though better understood and thus controlled) as is being used by their competitors: Andrea Rossi's
Hyperion, Piantelli's Nichenergy, George Miley's LENUCO, and Celani's Cold Fusion Energy Inc., for example.
Exotic FE: Nuclear
Fusion > LENR-to-Market
Weekly -- April 19, 2012 - Highlights this week
include: Defkalion update; overview of CashFlow interview of
Brillouin; Rossi claims additional factory to be built in Europe;
Piantelli (Nichenergy)'s conference presentation; Miley's company,
LENUCO, to commercialize LENR; Celani's conference presentation. (PESN;
April 19, 2012)
According to Robert, all these technologies use essentially the same process, though some do it more effectively than others.
Here is how it works.
"A tiny amount of hydrogen protons are converted into neutrons. These newly produced neutrons are soon captured by hydrogen ions or other atoms in a metallic (e.g. nickel) lattice near to where the hydrogen ions were converted to neutrons. The captured neutrons generate heat because the new atoms that are one neutron heavier shed excess binding energy as heat to the lattice, resulting in a dramatically clean, low-cost, hi-quality heat output."
Robert says that "cold fusion" definitely is not an accurate name for it, and neither is LENR. It does not involved conventional nuclear fission or hot nuclear fusion processes. He has renamed the process Controlled Electron Capture Reactions or CECR, or "phonon-moderated hydrogen reactions."
According to their business summary:
"Evidence suggests this reaction involves the synthesis of neutrons, which accumulate on Hydrogen dissolved in a matrix (lattice), which progresses to deuterium, then tritium and onto quadrium that decays to helium. At Brillouin, these reactions are promoted and catalyzed in a highly energized nickel matrix. The process releases thermal energy far in excess of what is possible from chemical reactions. The important feature is that neutrons are generated and accumulate in a comparatively low-energy environment, and this accumulation generates heat."
In other words, with the proper electromagnetic stimulation, hydrogen is stimulated to become helium and heat.
One of the reasons that the miss-labeled "cold fusion" process has been so difficult to comprehend is that it requires a cross-pollinated understanding from several disciplines including mechanics, materials science, electronics, molecular and quantum chemistry, quantum mechanics, and astrophysics. Robert's unique background has given him the academic training and exposure he needed to tie these things together. The near two years he spent living in Ethiopia helped engender the motivation to find solutions to make energy affordable in the developing world.
A 9-page article by Robert describing the model was featured in the November/December 2008 issue of
Infinite Energy. Last month Brillouin posted an animated CECR video
with the caption: "An animated description of the physics that underlie the phenomena previously known as Cold Fusion. This shows the reaction can be driven using pulses of electricity through the lattice."
Last November, a 22-minute video was posted explaining Brillouin's model.
Water as the Fuel Source
In the NHB wet cell, not only is the water there as a support, but it is also the fuel source. The required hydrogen comes from distilled water.
And we're not talking about a consumption rate of fuel that you might compare to an internal combustion engine. This isn't chemistry we're talking about. It's nuclear -- clean nuclear.
Robert pointed out that 1.024 ml (about the size of a #2 pencil eraser) of water provides as much energy as two 48-gallon drums of gasoline. That is 355,000 times the amount of energy per volume -- five orders of magnitude.
And what's coming out the other end of the reaction? Heat and Helium. No radioactivity. No pollution.
Ease of Manufacturing
While the concept of exactly how this works is very complex, the hardware needed to build these systems will not be difficult or expensive to make or assemble or manage. We're talking scuba tank, electronics from old fashioned TVs, case, pumps. And there is the added advantage of not having to worry about fuel storage and conveyance.
The BEC boilers will be slightly larger than the ones they will be replacing of comparable output.
Robert expects that a BEC system will last 3-5 years without needing any servicing, including refill or replacement of the nickel lattice.
While Robert is fairly open about certain aspects of his model about how CECR (formerly "cold fusion" and LENR) works, there are certain aspects that he has filed for patent protection on, and still others that he plans to maintain as proprietary or trade secrets. Those closely guarded secrets primarily have to do with the circuitry that he uses to control the CECR technology. "These trade secrets constitute a challenging barrier to entry for competitors."
He was able to get the prestigious patent office of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP in San Francisco to agree to write up his patents in exchange for BEC stock -- something they rarely do. After doing extensive due diligence, the patents were written up by the firm's Dr. David Slone, who is a senior patent attorney with expert experience, having originally received both his PhD in high-energy physics, and his JD Law from Stanford University.
The patents were not awarded due to the U.S. Patent office's criminal political stance of not awarding patents to anything having to do with cold fusion. (That is my sentiment, not BEC's.) The first two patent applications are now published as PTO Application number
20070268045, filed November 22, 2007, and PTO Application number
20070206715, filed September 6, 2007.
According to BEC's Business Summary:
"One of the intellectual property methods claimed in Brillouin's Patents, and being used in both systems, is designed to aid stimulation of phononic activity by introducing Q pulses. These are high current pulses through the lattice of our CECR reactor. The Q pulses cause electromigration, which means the nickel atoms and the hydrogen ions get moved by passing electrons. In other words, electromigration causes the creation of cold neutrons, which is an endothermic reaction. The cold neutrons accumulate on the hydrogen nuclei, from 1H to 2H to 3H to 4H then to 4He in
milliseconds (see "step" block diagram below). Each time a neutron is added to the hydrogen nuclei it is an exothermic reaction. Unlike plasma physics, where high-energy particles would be emitted, this binding energy is released as pure heat."
Slone's filings now include a third Patent application for the New Hydrogen Boiler system.
Just as BEC was able to attract top patent filing expertise because of the strength of the technology and its inventor, Robert; so also were they able to attract a talented CEO under similar terms.
Start-up companies usually can't afford Robert W. George II, who took his first company public in 1982, which involved a partnership with MIT, and Carnegie Mellon University; and has licensed to the likes of United Parcel Service, U.S. Postal Servive with manufacturing done by Raytheon.
Notwithstanding the lead held by their competitors, Bob said: "I'm convinced Brillouin will be the first to market with commercial cold fusion." And the time frame for that is
conservatively a year from now.
Godes himself has been successful in bringing earlier inventions to the world market. He's not just a head-in-the-clouds dreamer. "What I like is seeing my products in use. I want to make a lot of
money producing something of value that people are willing to pay for."
He first came up with the CECR concept in 1992 when he was reviewing some cold fusion literature and heard the skeptics pooh-poohing it. "No, I can see why that would work", he said to himself.
But it would take several years before he realized no one else was seeing what he was seeing, so he began to do his own
design and came up with his first working reactor in 2002.
One of his motivators was seeing the Moller flying car, and wanting to see a power source created to enable that technology to really take off.
The fiasco of MTBE in the California gasoline, which cause him some personal health issues, was also a strong motivator.
Hasn't Leonardo Corp Already Gone Commercial?
Some of you might be wondering why Brillouin would be thinking they could be first when 1) Andrea Rossi claims to have already made it to market with his 1 MW
plant (story), and 2) Defkalion expects to begin rollout in July of this
Regarding Rossi's 1 MW plant... From what I understand, it can't be considered "commercial" yet because they are still working out the bugs. It's in beta at best, and is likely to stay there for a long time because of Rossi's tendency to rush through the mechanics, thinking he has a commercial unit when he has something that works.
Regarding Defkalion... What is going to be ready by July is a fully operational prototype. The licensees will then need to engineer that for production and ramp up for production. That can take 6-18 months.
I tend to agree with Brillouin that understanding the process will give BEC a decided advantage and could result in their winning the commercialization race. Part of that will depend on if they can raise the funds they need in a timely and adequate manner.
One of the reasons they decided to start poking their heads up from "under the radar" was that they were too low-profile and were having a hard time getting the financing they needed. They have had a lot of valuable responses as a result of the
interview they did with James Martinez of Cash Flow Radio.
The reason I still have Defkalion in #1 position in our Top 5 is because they do have a lead, and are likely to keep that lead at least for the next few months. I'm going to put Brillouin in position #2.
"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." // "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and
right." -- Albert Einstein
ADVISORY: With any
technology, you take a high risk to invest significant time or money
unless (1) independent testing has thoroughly corroborated the
technology, (2) the group involved has intellectual rights to the
technology, and (3) the group has the ability to make a success of
truth passes through three stages:
First, it is ridiculed;
Second, it is violently opposed; and
Third, it is accepted as self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
"When you're one step ahead
of the crowd you're a genius.
When you're two steps ahead,
you're a crackpot."