Nuclear technology has come a long way since it was heavily developed in the 1940s and 1950s. Instead of being used for war and destruction, nuclear power plants have been producing large quantities of relatively clean energy, powering our homes and businesses. These power plants operate on the process known as nuclear fission. Nuclear fission occurs by an atom colliding with other atoms, causing them to break apart and start a chain reaction. This process produces a lot of energy, but nuclear fusion would produce more, and it would be even cleaner. Nuclear fusion involves two or more atoms fusing together. However, until recently, fusion was only possible inside of a star (the sun operates on fusing hydrogen atoms together to make helium) or in science fiction.
Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi have written a report on the possibility of cold fusion. A cold fusion device was constructed and tested and was found to be 10 times more powerful than gasoline. This has been independently verified by other scientists analyzing the device. Nuclear fusion has been a target goal of energy entrepreneurs for decades, and for the past two years, Rossi has been claiming that he finally cracked the secret.
The device, called the Energy Catalyzer (or E-Cat), is a sealed steel cylinder that glows white-hot when powered. The scientists analyzing the E-Cat felt certain that the device is genuine and agreed to publish the research paper written by Rossi. According to Rossi, the device operates by fusing hydrogen to nickel, which turns it into copper. This process releases a tremendous amount of heat – tests on the reactor showed temperatures of over 1578° F (859° C). All this heat can be turned into electricity and the hydrogen-nickel fusion creates no radioactive byproducts, unlike fission. The hydrogen and helium fuel source is also much cheaper and cleaner than oil, and the fusion process is quite safe, which could ultimately lead to fusion powered vehicles, buildings, or even cities.
All of these findings are under the assumption that the E-Cat is a genuine fusion device. Rossi is incredibly secretive about his project, but claims to have overcome the barrier of fusion power: reducing the energy needed to produce the energy gained. So long as the device is on the level, this is a major step toward near unlimited, cheap, effective power. The device is under peer review now and if it passes, the world of energy production could change forever.
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