Jan 162015
Jean-François Geneste

Jean-François Geneste

Jan. 16, 2015 – By Steven B. Krivit –

Jean-François Geneste, a staff member of Airbus Group Innovations, is optimistic about the future of low-energy nuclear reactions (LENRs), he told an audience on Saturday in England.

“If LENRs really work,” Geneste wrote in his slide presentation, “the world will change dramatically. … We want Airbus to be a major actor in tomorrow’s world.”

He spoke at an invitation-only meeting organized by Michel Vandenberghe, president of small Swiss-based company LENR-Cities, founded in August 2014. The meeting was held at Magdalen College, part of Oxford University, although there is no indication that the meeting was an official college or university event. The college advertises that it routinely rents conference facilities for commercial events.

Geneste’s presentation contained nothing scientific about LENRs. It offered his philosophical perspective on physics and science.

Geneste, trained as an aeronautical engineer, has a penchant for new physics, theory and mathematics. He is the author of several books, including Physique: de L’esprit des Lois (Physics: The Spirit of Laws).

On Vandenberghe’s LinkedIn Web page, he describes Geneste as the “Airbus Chief Scientist.” This caused a lot of excitement among LENR enthusiasts because of the endorsement of LENRs from someone with such apparently high stature as the top scientist for the entire Airbus corporation.

A quick search of the Internet turned up no official reference to any Airbus Chief Scientist. According to Marie Caujolle, a media relations manager with whom New Energy Times spoke on Wednesday, Airbus has no such position.

Geneste responded to an e-mail from New Energy Times and wrote that his affiliation is not with Airbus but with Airbus Group Innovations. According to Geneste’s LinkedIn profile, his title is “Vice-President Chief Scientist at Airbus Group.” However, the Airbus Group Web page, which lists many chiefs, does not list anybody with the title of “Chief Scientist.”

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Nov 212014

LENR Conference at Magdalen College in January
Nov. 21, 2014 – By Steven B. Krivit –

New Energy Times has learned that low-energy nuclear reactions (LENRs) will be featured in a conference at Magdalen College in the United Kingdom on Jan. 10-11, 2015.

The conference is being organized by Angelo Ovidi and Michel Vandenberghe. Ovidi is the chief executive officer of Kressen Ltd., based in the United Kingdom. Vandenberghe is the president of LENR-Cities, a small Swiss startup.

Ovidi contacted New Energy Times yesterday, but he does not have a tentative agenda or list of speakers yet.


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Nov 142014
Bill Gates Looks at LENRs

Bill Gates Looks at LENRs

Nov. 14, 2014 – By Steven B. Krivit –

Bill Gates, pioneer in the digital world, is exploring low-energy nuclear reactions (LENRs), the frontier of energy research.

On Wednesday, he visited a small laboratory on the sprawling campus of a government lab in Frascati, just outside of Rome, Italy. The lab is one of several large ones under the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment.

While at ENEA-Frascati, Gates listened to a lecture by ENEA scientist Vittorio Violante and observed LENR experiments in his lab. Gates was there with Lowell Wood, a physicist who once worked with Edward Teller at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Wood is now a professor of physics at the University of Houston.

ENEA-Frascati has been working on thermonuclear fusion research for many years. Gates, too, has had an interest in energy research and has been funding Terrapower, a commercial effort to make a practical traveling-wave nuclear fission reactor.

New Energy Times visited the Frascati LENR laboratory in 2007. Click here for our feature story on their research.

New Energy Times describes LENRs as “laboratory experiments which have the potential to produce nuclear-scale energy and nuclear products but without the harmful effects of conventional nuclear energy. LENRs are weak interactions and neutron-capture processes that occur in nanometer-to-micron-scale regions on surfaces in condensed matter at room temperature. Although nuclear, LENRs are not based on fission or any kind of fusion, both of which primarily involve the strong interaction.”

Aldo Pizzuto (ENEA Director of Fusion Technical Unit), Federico Testa (ENEA Commissioner), Lowell Wood, Bill Gates and Vittorio Violante (seated)

Aldo Pizzuto (ENEA Director of Fusion Technical Unit), Federico Testa (ENEA Commissioner), Lowell Wood, Bill Gates and Vittorio Violante (seated)

Bill Gates discussing LENRs.

Bill Gates discussing LENRs.

Short video of Bill Gates visiting ENEA-Frascati laboratory

ENEA Press Release

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Oct 122014
Andrea Rossi, E-Cat Inventor

Andrea Rossi, E-Cat Inventor
(Image courtesy Mats Lewan)

October 12, 2014 – By Steven B. Krivit –

In a document recently circulated on the Internet, collaborators of Andrea Rossi, a convicted white-collar criminal with a string of failed energy ventures, have again tried to establish credibility for the device that Rossi calls his “Energy Catalyzer,” or “E-Cat.”

His collaborators said that they performed an independent test, despite the fact that Rossi’s hands were all over the device. It’s been a while since New Energy Times has written anything on this topic, so this latest claim offers an opportunity to review the broader situation for newer readers.

Most of the authors of this latest document have been collaborating with Rossi for several years. With one exception, the authors are the same as those in a 2013 document that New Energy Times discussed in our news articles “Rossi Manipulates Academics to Create Illusion of Independent Test” and “Scientific Ethics of E-Cat Promoters Questioned.”

New Energy Times covered Rossi’s claims extensively in 2011 and, after several months of investigation, visiting the empty garage that Rossi called his laboratory and interviewing him and his key collaborators, determined that his claim lacked scientific credibility.

In July 2011, we published “Report #3: Scientific Analysis of Rossi, Focardi and Levi Claims.” The 200-page report included scientific and engineering analyses from 20 independent experts. The following month, we condensed that report into two pages.

A few weeks later, we distilled our findings into four sentences: ” In a seven-month period, the Rossi group sought credibility for its claim of extraordinary levels of excess heat through scientific and academic validation. In seven public attempts, the group tried to demonstrate convincing experimental evidence for its claims. In all attempts, the group failed. It has no experimental evidence on which to base its extraordinary energy claim.”

Rossi responded to our and other scientific critiques, saying that he didn’t need scientific validation and that he would go directly into commercial production of a working 1 MW reactor.

He wrote on his blog, “We have already passed the phase to convince somebody. We have arrived at a product that is ready for market. Our judge is the market. In this field the phase of the competition in the field of theories, hypotheses, conjectures etc. is over. The competition is in the market. If somebody has a valid technology, he has not to convince people by chattering, he has to make a reactor that works and go and sell it, as we are doing.”

A year later, on Feb. 17, 2012, he wrote on his blog, “In Autumn we will surely send the detailed offers to all the horde of pre-orderers. The deliveries will start hopefully within the next winter, surely within 18 months.”

The drama surrounding Rossi’s proclamations about a working 1 MW reactor available for purchase soon escalated. (See articles “Rossi E-Cat Never Delivered To Customer; Needs Gaskets” and Rossi Blames E-Cat Delivery Discrepancy on Translation Error.”) There is no evidence that Rossi has produced and delivered a single working commercial reactor.

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Sep 142014

Chase Peterson, Former University of Utah President

Sept. 14, 2014 – By Steven B. Krivit –

Chase Peterson, a former University of Utah president, died on Sunday. He was 84.

He died of complications from pneumonia, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Peterson, who served as president from from 1983 to 1991, played a key role in the March 23, 1989, public announcement of room-temperature “fusion” by University of Utah chemist Stanley Pons and University of Southampton visiting professor Martin Fleischmann.

Peterson, along with a team of intellectual property attorneys, coordinated patent applications, a press release, and a press conference to ensure that the university would retain rights to Fleischmann and Pons’ research.

The University of Utah team had been worried that physicist Steven Earl Jones, at nearby Brigham Young University, was trying to pirate the Fleischmann-Pons discovery and steal not only their thunder but also their claim of priority.

Peterson and his staff pre-empted Jones with a press release and news conference that triggered one of the most chaotic and controversial science stories the world has ever seen.

In March 1990, in his eagerness to promote “cold fusion” research in Utah, Peterson arranged for an anonymous donation to the University of Utah’s newly established National Cold Fusion Institute, in the hopes of attracting outside investment. When faculty members later learned that the donation did not, in fact, come from external funding but from the university itself, they protested.

On June 4, 1990, the Deseret News, wrote that the “academic senate called into question Peterson’s ability to lead the university.”

“In an overwhelming vote,” the News wrote, “the senate passed a resolution asking the state Board of Regents and the University Institutional Council whether it was in the best interest of the university for Peterson to continue at the helm.”

A week later, Petersen announced that he would retire during the following academic year.

Fleischmann died in 2012. Pons, who has declined all media requests since 2004, is believed to be living in southern France.

The idea of “cold fusion” — positively charged atomic nuclei joining together at room temperature — has long been discredited. However, new insight in the last decade reveals that there was, and still is, a valid underlying nuclear process to Pons and Fleischmann’s discovery, though it has nothing to do with fusion.*

* Krivit, Steven B., “ENERGY: Review of Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions,” Reference Module in Chemistry, Molecular Sciences and Chemical Engineering, Reedijk, Jan (Ed.), Elsevier, Waltham, Mass, ISBN: 978-0-12-409547-2

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