My observations regarding Cold Fusion might not be welcomed by the true believers, as this is something of a sacred-cow topic, but I feel that my comments need to be broached nonetheless.
Admittedly, I am not deeply immersed in the literature on the subject, and am operating from a fairly cursory exposure. Nevertheless, at least one well-known Cold-Fusion professional has heard the key component of my assessment and has confirmed its legitimacy. Hence I am confident bringing it before my esteemed colleagues.
It seems to me that the fixation on cold fusion within the FE/new energy community is more romantic than anything. It appears to be based more on a martyr syndrome than on foundational validity. To meet the basic criterion for a clean-energy future, this process must lead to cost-competitive technologies that can provide viable answers to the world's energy needs.
The problem goes like this. Mainstream science has turned cold fusion into an anathema science, an ersatz field of study. Asserting that there have been no consistent replications of the phenomenon, its critics conclude that it does not qualify under one of the primary criteria of science: consistent reproducibility.
Meanwhile, the cold fusion underground reports a myriad of consistent replications of various cold fusion phenomena. They are equally convinced with diehard certainty that cold fusion is not bogus science.
However, in my opinion, the real question is not whether or not cold fusion is a real phenomenon. I am confident that it is real, and that mainstream science is unfair in not at least acknowledging that much. The real issue, in my opinion, is whether or not cold fusion has the potential of providing significant power output for nominal device expense.
Is it capable of at least meeting -- if not surpassing -- the cost efficiencies per unit of energy output found in the solar or wind industries, bearing in mind the advantage of not having down time due to darkness or lack of wind?
The recent Washington Post article basically acknowledged that the science is real, but then came forward with the challenge that no one has yet even been able to boil a cup of tea. The cold fusion professional with whom I communicated confirmed this.
That is the real issue.
So, my question is this. Are we fixated on defending a concept that yes, works, but no, is not capable of providing significant power output?
If the answer to this question is "no," then I would urge the FE community to drop cold fusion as a pet project that must be defended with personal honor, and move their efforts to technologies for which the output capability question is answered resoundingly in the affirmative.
My guess is that the problem is in pursuing cold fusion as the primary mode of energy generation, whereas the ultimate role of cold fusion may be more supportive. Its role may be analogous to a transistor in a circuit: serving as one component of a multi-faceted system.
For example, it is likely that cold fusion is occurring in the unique electrolysis process of the Brown's Gas systems. As another example, perhaps the radiant energy technology Bedini is generating involves a cold fusion reaction in the batteries.
While these speculative examples may be off-base, they are intended merely to illustrate the “servant” role which I’m proposing that this cold-fusion phenomenon may be quietly playing in working technologies that are overtly based on other concepts.
We further our cause better by not being so fixated on cold fusion as a potential primary energy solution -- at least until someone demonstrates its applicability. Instead, let us adopt a strategy of seeking to get mainstream science to acknowledge that there is such a thing as cold fusion – and that it is reproducible according to their standards.
I think emotionally the reason that mainstream science treats cold fusion as taboo is because when it first came out, the mass media pumped up the same expectation of superabundant energy for cold fusion as what they have projected for hot fusion. We note in passing that after all the billions spent on that concept, there is still no commercially-operating hot-fusion power plant. Yet it remains the “holy grail” of conventional energy science. A double standard to be sure.
The let-down on cold fusion amounted to major egg on the face of its supporters and the media, and to immodest gloating on the part of its opponents.
Neither extreme is correct. As long as the established group condemns the newcomers’ work as completely false, and the opposing groups makes exaggerated claims of complete validity, the likelihood of reconciliation is daunting.
If we budge, they will probably budge too. If we back down from claiming it as a potential solution to the world's energy needs, and if they too step back from rejecting cold fusion outright as not a real science, then the door would be open at least to balanced and open-ended research.
Then, when someone mentions "cold fusion" in a scientific paper, they will no longer be jeopardizing their credibility in the field.
Taken down from the pedestal it probably did not deserve in the first place, and put in its proper perspective, cold fusion can then finally become the tool that it is intended to be -- a scientific phenomenon that shows up in certain conditions, and which contributes to this or that other process.
I realize that I am being a bit presumptuous in offering such a far-reaching solution in a field where I have so little experience. I beg your pardon for my boldness in presenting what I believe may be the key to an olive-branch strategy which would allow science to move forward.
Let us forge a bridge of understanding between two extremes that have hitherto been at odds -- unnecessarily.