Another "cold fusion" demonstration

Cold fusion in Italy?: Suvvia, vedi di non dire sciocchezze!
Cold fusion in Italy?: Suvvia, vedi di non dire sciocchezze!Courtesy NASA
Thems is what we calls "scare quotes" in the title of this post. (And thems in the last sentence is regular quotes.) Grammar is everywhere and nowhere!

Anyway, a couple of Italian researchers claimed last week to have a working cold fusion device. By fusing hydrogen and nickel, they say their machine is producing copper and about 30 times the energy they put into it.

Fusion is the process of mashing two atoms together to get a heavier atom and lots of energy. This process happens all the time... in the extreme heat and pressure of the sun and other stars. Here on Earth, the amount of energy extracted from a fusion reaction wouldn't be worth the energy it'd take to replicate the conditions of a star (to get the fusion going), unless we can figure out how to start a fusion reaction at near-room temperatures. So this new discovery is awesome, right?!

Yeah, well, probably not. It would be awesome, except lots of people have tried to produce cold fusion, even some claimed that they had produced cold fusion, and it has never ever worked out. And, in this case, other scientists reviewing their research say it looks like junk, the Italian scientists can't explain why their reaction works, and while they have demonstrated their device, they won't do so in a closed-loop system (where all the inputs and outputs can be accounted for.)

Nonetheless, they're saying that their fusion device will go into production by the end of this year. The world, I'm sure, will happily eat crow if these guys have solved humanity's energy problems, but until then we remain skeptical.

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