Sunday, February 24, 2013

The current state of LENR, aka Cold Fusion

Will LENR break out this year? I went up to MIT for a couple of weeks in January 2013 to try to answer that question and a few others I had.

Years ago (1989), when Pons and Fleischmann were attacked by physicists, MIT and others, I had also given up hope for a solution to the ever present energy crisis as well. After all, if MIT (hot fusion) physicists say cold fusion is impossible why should I disbelieve them? There was also the lack of a theory to explain the excess heat, apparent fusion reactions, transmutations, helium 4, no measurable radiation or radio-active elements left after the LEN Reaction ceased.

But then I came across a report by Dr. Eugene Mallove and learned (again!) why I should not believe those with self serving interests. In the years since Fleischmann and Pons cold fusion was discredited, research funding withdrawn, patents denied, and careers and reputations destroyed for even attempting to work in the field. So very little progress, until recent years, when Andrea Rossi re-ignited the field with his claims. Unfortunately Mr. Rossi's background is not without blemish. So, even though he may have hit on the magic catalyst to get the reaction to work more reliably with outputs of 6 to 40 times input, the skeptics had a field day.  I got excited, particularly over the fact that Rossi claimed to make his 'Ecat' work with ordinary Nickel and Hydrogen instead of the more exotic materials (Palladium, Deuterium) that other researchers had widely reported to produce excess heat well beyond what chemical reactions could produce.

There are now many companies involved in LENR research and many LENR patents have been issued.  Theory is slowly catching up to explain the phenomenon and the observed and measured data  experimentalists are producing world wide.

To be continued...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

OK, You've measured head and flow, what's next?

Assuming you have some good figures for head and flow your next step should be penstock sizing. Go bigger when in doubt. The pipe doesn't cost much more compared to the labor.  If you had 200' of head, that's great, how long a pipe will you need? Have you measured the flow through a couple of seasons? If you email me some pictures with someone standing in the stream I can give you a ball park flow figure.  
Also check with local water resources authorities for flow data. Or take some rough seasonal measurements as explained on my blog. You'll want to size your power plant so that you will have enough water to run 95% of the time. This is why sometimes it is better to have two turbines of different sizes so when you don't have enough water to run the bigger unit you can at least make some power with the reduced water flow in the smaller unit. The head is constant, but the flow is the variable to be able to adapt to. The best way to adapt using a PaT is to have two.
Pump/motor working asTurbine/generator units are cheap and it is nice to have two PaTs in the powerhouse, one for low flow and one for high flow. It also gives you a backup power source incase of breakdown, maintenance or repairs.

Concentrate, and don't skimp, on the  intake structure, penstock and powerhouse first. If you run out of money with those three items, just get a split case pump on Ebay save the $9K to 12K you'd be paying for an 'engineered system'.  For this site you would be looking for a 3X4X12 with a 20 to 40 HP, 3 phase motor. An 'end suction' centrifugal pump will also work but is somewhat less robust. 

Here is a source of used steel pipe on my Blog.

How far a distance is your planned home from the planned powerhouse? I'm asking because most 3 phase motors can be set up for 480V so you can transmit power over longer distances with thinner wire and then using a step-down transformer at the house will give you better regulation plus the standard 240V/120V service.